Junípero Serra High School (San Mateo, California)

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Junípero Serra High School
Serra HS Campus.jpg
Panorama of Junípero Serra High School campus in February 2019.
451 West 20th Avenue


United States
Coordinates37°32′46″N 122°19′3″W / 37.54611°N 122.31750°W / 37.54611; -122.31750Coordinates: 37°32′46″N 122°19′3″W / 37.54611°N 122.31750°W / 37.54611; -122.31750
Other namesSerra or JSHS
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
PrincipalCharlie McGrath
Enrollment830 (2019)
Campus typeSuburban
Color(s)Blue and Gold   
Athletics conferenceWest Catholic Athletic League
RivalSt. Ignatius
AccreditationWestern Association of Schools and Colleges[1]
NewspaperSerra Friar
YearbookEl Padre Yearbook

Junípero Serra High School (commonly Serra or JSHS) is a Catholic college preparatory high school in San Mateo, California, United States, serving students in grades 912. A part of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco, this school provides education for young men. The school has an academic focus with a college preparatory curriculum.[2]

School history[edit]

Serra High School was founded in 1944 by the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco and was originally located at Columbia Drive and Alameda de las Pulgas in San Mateo, which is the current site of St. Bartholomew's Catholic Parish. The original student body consisted of 86 freshmen and sophomores. The school moved to new facilities at 451 West 20th Avenue in San Mateo in the fall of 1955 when the student body grew to 576. In 1978, Michael Peterson was named the first lay principal of Serra and Fr. Stephen H. Howell was named the school's first president. From 2002-2004, Fr. Joe Bradley served as president, overseeing fundraising efforts for major campus renovation. In 2008, Barry Thornton, Ed.d, was named principal and Lars Lund was named president. Under their tenure, the school expanded course offerings and completed large-scale renovations.[3]

St. Mary's Courtyard
Statue of Saint Junípero Serra


More than 60 percent of Serra students are enrolled in honors and Advanced Placement courses. Serra has averaged an 80 percent AP pass rate over the past five years, which is more than 20 points higher than the national average.[4] Serra's Class of 2018 received more than $27 million in college scholarships.[5] Serra has a one-to-one device program in each classroom and 99 percent of Serra graduates exceed the minimum course requirements set for the CSU and the University of California. Serra features 30 honors and AP classes, and 93 percent of Serra faculty members hold advanced degrees.[6]

Brady Family Stadium and Freitas Field
Morton Family Gymnasium


Aquatics Center

The Serra athletic program has grown dramatically since its very modest beginnings in the mid-1940s. For a time in the years after World War II, the San Mateo school offered just three sports: Football, basketball, and baseball. Boxing was also available, particularly on one night of the year when so-called student "Golden Gloves" competition was presented. Early on, Serra joined an embryonic Catholic Athletic League, a Bay Area-wide aggregation of what were then small Catholic schools. The Padres had some significant successes in that circuit. Two of its varsity football teams were unbeaten in 1949 and 1954; those remain the only unblemished football teams in school history. Serra captured five CAL baseball championships and seven CAL football crowns. In 1967, as new Catholic schools were opening throughout the region, the Padres joined what was a direct outgrowth of the CAL, the new West Catholic Athletic League. Since that point, Serra's athletic program has flourished.

The school offers 14 competitive team sports. Stars like Tom Brady, Lynn Swann and Barry Bonds have attended the school. As time went by, the Padres became one of Northern California's signature prep sports entities and the league itself morphed into a state powerhouse. As of early 2018, the school had won 67 West Catholic Athletic League varsity titles, 31 Central Coast Section championships, and two state crowns (basketball in 2016 and football in 2017). Serra athletes had garnered individual state championships in several sports. A number of them had become Olympians. A total of 11 Serra baseball players, including the record-setting Bonds, have played in the major leagues; Jim Fregosi, Serra's first big league star, also managed several teams in the majors. Nearly a dozen Padres have played professional football. Brady and Swann, an all-American at USC and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, were both Super Bowl MVP's. Tom Scott is in the Canadian Football League Hall of Fame. In the mid-1970s, Jesse Freitas led the nation in passing at San Diego State. One of the most dominating exhibitions by a Serra football team occurred in 2017 when the Padres, coached by Patrick Walsh, posted an overall 13-2 record (10-0 vs. West Catholic Athletic League opponents, a feat never accomplished before in the history of the league) and won a California Interscholastic Federation state championship, the first for a San Mateo County high school football team since 1926.

Campus renovations[edit]

Phase I of Serra's master plan was completed in 2005, featuring new facilities for football, baseball, and wrestling, along with a 150-space parking structure. Phase II was completed in 2011, and created five new science lecture-labs, a new music room, two art classrooms, an academic resource center, and a 550,000-gallon infinity pool for competitive aquatics. In 2016, Serra undertook a smaller project, renovating the playing surfaces used for baseball, football, soccer, lacrosse, and track.[7]


  • El Padre yearbook
  • Serra Friar newspaper
  • Traditions magazine


Junípero Serra High School is a Roman Catholic school. It offers faith and theology education through its Campus Ministry program and curriculum. Campus Ministry offers four-day-long Kairos retreats, retreat leadership opportunities, liturgical leadership opportunities and Immersion trips to Watsonville, West Virginia, Nicaragua, San Jose and Los Angeles. The Campus Ministry office also manages the school's Christian Service program. Theology courses offer instruction in the Catholic faith, morality and worship, and stress the importance of individual faith development.[8]

Notable alumni[edit]


Junipero Serra High School is a part of a program called Tri-School, a partnership with Notre Dame High School, Belmont, and Mercy High School, Burlingame, both all-female schools. The schools host some morning classes with mixed education and collaborate in other activities as well.


  1. ^ WASC-ACS. "WASC-Accrediting Commission for Schools". Retrieved 2009-06-05.
  2. ^ "Junipero Serra: About Serra". www.serrahs.com. Archived from the original on 2016-09-02. Retrieved 2016-08-08.
  3. ^ "Serra History - Junipero Serra High School".
  4. ^ "Serra High School: Academics". www.serrahs.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-31. Retrieved 2016-08-08.
  5. ^ "Junipero Serra: College Acceptances". www.SerraHS.com. Archived from the original on 2016-08-17. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
  6. ^ "Academics - Junipero Serra High School". SerraHS.com. Retrieved April 26, 2017.
  7. ^ "Facilities - Junipero Serra High School". SerraHS.com. Retrieved April 26, 2017.
  8. ^ "Junipero Serra: Faith & Service". www.SerraHS.com. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
  9. ^ "Norm Angelini Stats | Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  10. ^ Henderson, John (January 2013). "CU Buffs lineman David Bakhtiari declares for NFL draft". Denver Post. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  11. ^ Scalise, Stephanie (March 7, 2009). "Secret to success: Take a leap". San Mateo Daily Journal. Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved February 16, 2014.
  12. ^ Travers, Steven (2003). Barry Bonds: Baseball's Superman. Sports Publishing LLC. p. 38. ISBN 1582616825.
  13. ^ a b Ringolsby, Tracy (February 14, 2014). "Fregosi, former player, manager and scout, dies at 71 Six-time All-Star for Angels spent 53 years in baseball, led Phillies to 1993 pennant". MLB.com. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  14. ^ a b "Junipero Serra High School San Mateo, California, US". TagWhat Mobile Site. Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
  15. ^ Ringolsby, Tracy (February 12, 2014). "Fregosi suffers stroke on MLB alumni cruise". MLB.com. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  16. ^ "With a rich history of football, Freitas still loves the game". Pomerado News. October 26, 2005. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  17. ^ a b c Hirsley, Michael (January 26, 2002). "Bay Area school generates athletes". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
  18. ^ Wise, Tim (September 2, 2012). "A Kick in the Gut(feld): Racism, Welfare and FOX's Clown Prince of Prejudice". The Daily Kos. Retrieved February 16, 2014.
  19. ^ Jetter, Cathy (January 25, 2013). "Batter up!". Pleasanton Weekly. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  20. ^ Schmalz, Valerie (September 5, 2011). "Serra High christens $21M arts, science, pool complex". The Catholic Voice. Retrieved February 16, 2014.
  21. ^ a b Garchik, Leah (July 16, 2003). "Every question deserves an answer". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  22. ^ Reid, John (September 10, 2009). "Serra baseball decision still festering". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  23. ^ "Junipero Serra High School Traditions Vol. 32 No. 3" (PDF).
  24. ^ Elfin, David (November 15, 2012). "Lumpkins Returns to College Hoops After Attempting Pro Baseball Career". CBS News. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  25. ^ U.S. Olympic website, March 15, 2018
  26. ^ California State Senate website, March 14, 2018
  27. ^ "Tony Renda's drive rooted in his upbringing". INSIDENOVA.COM. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  28. ^ Pucin, Diane (October 13, 2013). "Voice Of Experience". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 9, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
  29. ^ "Beyond Tom Brady: Other notable Serra High alums". The Mercury News. 2015-01-30. Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  30. ^ Nathan Southern (2014). "Michael Trucco Biography". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on March 9, 2014. Retrieved February 16, 2014.

External links[edit]