Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, California)

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Mater Dei High School
Mater Dei High School, Santa Ana, California
1202 West Edinger Avenue
Santa Ana, California, (Orange County) 92707
United States
Coordinates 33°43′36″N 117°53′1″W / 33.72667°N 117.88361°W / 33.72667; -117.88361Coordinates: 33°43′36″N 117°53′1″W / 33.72667°N 117.88361°W / 33.72667; -117.88361
Type Private, College-prep
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Established 1950
Superintendent Gregory Dhuyvetter
CEEB code 053-240
Rector Fr. Wyatt Williams
Principal Frances Clare
Faculty 217
Grades 912
Gender Coeducational
Enrollment 2,100 (Fall 2013)
Color(s) Scarlet and Gray         
Athletics conference Trinity League;
CIF Southern Section
Mascot Monarch Lion[1]
Team name Monarchs
Rival Servite[2]
Accreditation WASC,[3] WCEA[4]
Average SAT scores 522 (Critical Reading)
525 (Math)
516 (Writing)
Average ACT scores 24.4 (English)
23.6 (Math)
24.9 (Reading)
23.1 (Science)
24.2 (Composite)
Yearbook Crown
Tuition $11,950 – $13,350[5]

Mater Dei High School is a private, Catholic, co-educational secondary school in Santa Ana, California in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area. It is located in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange. With an enrollment of 2,100 students (Fall 2013) Mater Dei High School is one of the largest Catholic high schools in the United States. Mater Dei High School offers a comprehensive academic program in college prep, honors and Advanced Placement courses. Mater Dei High School is also known for its highly successful athletic programs, especially boys basketball, football, baseball and water polo. During the last decade, Mater Dei's Varsity sports teams have captured 28 CIF, 7 state and 2 national championships.

Statue of Mary in Grotto of Mater Dei High School


Mater Dei High School first opened in September 1950 with 111 students. During that first year, a statue of Mary, Mater Dei was presented to the school by the Young Ladies Institute. It was placed in the school's main courtyard, the Grotto, where it remains today.

The first principal was Father Joseph L. Eyraud, who supervised a faculty of seven, including the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The first graduating class chose the lion as the mascot, and it was decided that the school mascot should be called the "Monarchs" and wear red and gray.

In the 1960s, the school had an enrollment of 2,150, making Mater Dei the largest Catholic high school west of Chicago.

In 1998, under the direction of then Principal Patrick Murphy and Rector Fr. Steve Sallot, the architectural firm of PJHM/MKA began a long process of designing a new master plan for entire campus. Capital campaign improvements to the campus include:

  • The Gorden & Gail Lee Family Chapel & Campus Ministry Center
  • New parking lot (formerly Baker Street)
  • The Armona Guidance & Counseling Center
  • The Muth Family Learning Center
  • A science wing with state-of-the-art lab/lecture rooms
  • The Josef D'Heygers Academic Services Clocktower
  • The Reed & Angela LeVecke Student Activities Center
  • The Carol Ann LaRosa ASB Center
  • The Shamrock Plaza (named by the John O'Connor Family)
  • A new visual arts complex and faculty services center
  • The Meruelo Athletic Center
  • Ward Family Fitness Center
  • Andry Golf Practice Facility
  • Lyon Homes Aquatics Center
  • The Rod Dedeaux Baseball Complex at Joe O'Hara Field
  • The Rick Muth Track
  • Field Turf fields
Monarch Lion


Category Stats
Religious background: 85% Catholic; 15% other
Cultural background: 41% White; 3% Black; 28% Hispanic; 15% Asian; 13% other or undeclared
Academic: 62% of student body attended Catholic elementary school; 38% attended private school or public school
17 AP and 20 Honors classes; 40% enrolled in AP or Honors classes
99% continue on to college; 80% qualify for a four-year college
2013 SAT scores: 79% took the SAT; 522 average critical reading, 525 average writing, 516 average math
Up to 30% receive a total of $750,000 annually in need-based tuition assistance


Mater Dei offers a comprehensive academic program in college prep, honors and Advanced Placement.

  • Mater Dei has had 137 National Merit Finalists in its history
  • 21 Honors and 18 AP classes offered; 28% enrolled in Honors and 20% in AP
  • 67% of students appear on the honor roll with a 3.0 + GPA
  • MediaLink, an integrated digital multi-media system is in classrooms
  • All students and teaching faculty utilize an iPad which has enhanced the educational and assessment process with digital textbooks, applications and online learning resources through
  • SAT and ACT Scores are above national and state averages


Through involvement in either performing or visual arts, students at Mater Dei High School have avenues of creativity in and out of the classroom.

  • The Performing Arts Department includes comprehensive Choral and Hand-bell, Instrumental, Theatre, Dance, and Pep programs.
  • The Visual Arts Program offers an array of classes for beginning, intermediate and advanced artists in various mediums including pencil, paints, ceramics, photography and graphic design.


Mater Dei High School offers 21 CIF-sanctioned sports, ranging from football to tennis to water polo. The school's athletic teams are named after the Monarch lion. Mater Dei High School was ranked #1 by ESPN Rise & Max and #2 by Sports Illustrated on its "Best High School Athletic Programs" list.[6]

  • The school has two Heisman Trophy winners in school history
  • 25 student athletes from the Class of 2013 signed a National Letter of Intent to compete in collegiate athletics

Mens Basketball[edit]

Since Gary McKnight began coaching the Monarch's varsity basketball team in 1983,[7] the Monarchs have won 28 league titles (23 consecutive),[8] 21 CIF Southern-Section championships,[9] 12 Southern California regional titles, and, in a record 12 appearances,[10] tied the state-title record with 8 CIF state championships.[8] On January 18, 2010, McKnight won his 844th game, breaking the state High School Basketball Wins record previously held by Mike Phelps (Bishop O'Dowd in Oakland and St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda).[11][12] As of the 2010–2011 season, McKnight is the winningest high school varsity basketball coach in state history with a record of 892-81.[11]


The football program is described as a powerhouse with a strong reputation and a huge attendance. It has been recognized for following innovative concussion prevention and treatment programs. Coach Rollinson led the Monarchs to achieve a #1 ranking in the Nation (ranked by USA Today) two times, in both the 1994 and 1996 seasons.[13] [14] The "holy war" rivalry between Mater Dei and Servite was named the #1 high school rivalry in California by USA today, with Mater Dei leading at 36-15-2 (2013).[15]

Mens Water Polo[edit]

The water polo team, led by Coach Chris Segesman, has dominated Southern California Water Polo in recent years. The team had a 105-game win streak in 2013,[16] in addition to winning 6 CIF championships in the last 9 years. In 2016, three Mater dei water polo players, Bret Bonanni (2011), McQuin Baron (2013), and Thomas Dunstan (2016) were selected for the US Olympic team competing in Rio.[17] Mater Dei water polo is rivals with LA-area school Harvard Westlake.[18]

Spirituality & Service[edit]

Christian education is intended to "make people's faith become living, conscious and active, through the light of instruction" (The Bishop's Office in the Church, 14). Mater Dei High School is a unique setting within which this ideal can be realized in the lives of students.

  • 100% of student body complete at least 80 hours of community service prior to graduation

Tradition & Family[edit]

Building on 60 years of experience, Mater Dei High School is rich in tradition

  • Alumni network of 25,000 have pursued careers in medicine, law, technology, finance, government and ministry
  • Active alumni association with online social networking through Facebook
  • Class reunions keep Monarchs connected to former classmates, faculty and their alma mater
  • Family events throughout the school year (the Family Mass & Pancake Breakfast, Father-Daughter Dance, Mother-Son Brunch, Grandparents Day and Marian Mass)

Notable Alumni[edit]


  1. ^ MDHS Facts
  2. ^ Mater Dei-Servite rivalry
  3. ^ WASC-ACS. "WASC-Accrediting Commission for Schools". Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  4. ^ "WCEA/WASC Accreditation". 
  5. ^ MDHS Tuition Schedule
  6. ^ "Top 25 athletic programs for 2007-08 - More Sports -". CNN. 2008-05-20. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b Los Angeles Times  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b
  12. ^ "Varsity Times Insider". Los Angeles Times. 18 January 2010. 
  13. ^ Lehrer, Jonah (10 January 2012). "Jonah Lehrer on concussions in adolescents and the future of football – Grantland". Retrieved 25 February 2012. 
  14. ^ High School Football National Championship
  15. ^ "Best Rivalry 2013". Retrieved 2016-08-06. 
  16. ^ "Mater Dei's winning streak ends at 105". Retrieved 2016-08-06. 
  17. ^ Times, Los Angeles. "Water polo: Three former Mater Dei players make U.S. Olympic team". Retrieved 2016-08-06. 
  18. ^ "Boys' water polo defeats rival in summer tournament | The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle". Retrieved 2016-08-06. 
  19. ^ "Schea Cotton" (PDF). Archived from the original on March 5, 2015. 
  20. ^ Fryer, Steve (December 18, 2012). "Mater Dei's Duarte is offensive player of the year". Archived from the original on January 16, 2016. 
  21. ^ "Danny Espinosa Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved December 3, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Tiki Ghosn UFC Bio". Retrieved 2014.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  23. ^ Ben Bolch, Leinart Chosen State Player of Year, Los Angeles Times, December 5, 2000. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
  24. ^ "Bob Meacham Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved December 3, 2012. 

External links[edit]