Oratory Preparatory School

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Oratory Preparatory School
425 Morris Ave.

, ,

United States
Coordinates40°43′27″N 74°22′10″W / 40.72417°N 74.36944°W / 40.72417; -74.36944Coordinates: 40°43′27″N 74°22′10″W / 40.72417°N 74.36944°W / 40.72417; -74.36944
TypePrivate, All-Boys
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
School code311435
NCES School ID00863464[4]
PrincipalEvan O'Dowd
Head of schoolRobert Costello
ChaplainFr. Matthew Dooley
Faculty36.6 FTEs[4]
Enrollment373 (as of 2017–18)[4]
Student to teacher ratio10.2:1[4]
Campus size10 acres (40,000 m2)
Color(s)  Navy
Athletics11 varsity sports
Athletics conferenceUnion County Interscholastic Athletic Conference
Team nameRams[3]
AccreditationMiddle States Association of Colleges and Schools[2]
PublicationThe Phoenix (literary/art magazine)
NewspaperThe Omega
School fees$300 (2018-19)[1]
Tuition$22,350 (2018-19)[1]
AffiliationRoman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark
Academic DeanOwen McGowan
Admissions DirectorThomas Boniello
Athletic DirectorJ. Patrick Gist

Oratory Preparatory School, commonly known as Oratory Prep, is a Roman Catholic college preparatory day school for boys in grades 7-12, located in Summit, in Union County, New Jersey, United States, approximately 19 miles (31 km) west of Manhattan. The school is located one block away from the Kent Place School and is in close proximity to Summit High School.

The school is associated with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark.[5] Oratory Preparatory School is a member of the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools.[6] The school has been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Elementary and Secondary Schools since 1973.[2]

As of the 2017–18 school year, the school had an enrollment of 373 students and 36.6 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 10.2:1. The school's student body was 80.7% (301) White, 6.2% (23) Hispanic, 5.9% (22) Asian, 4.0% (15) two or more races and 2.9% (11) Black.[4]

The school was founded in 1907 as Carlton Academy, with grades 4-12. Most of the students lived on campus. Due to the school's relatively small size, students in a given grade are not individually ranked. Oratory is home to young men from more than 70 communities in the New York metro area. Tuition for the 2018-19 academic year was $22,350 and a $300 registration fee is required; this does not include costs for transportation, books and meals.[1] Each year 100% of Oratory seniors are accepted to four-year colleges.[7]

Awards, recognition and rankings[edit]

In 2015, the United States Department of Education announced that Oratory had been recognized with the National Blue Ribbon School Award of Excellence, the Education Department's highest honor. Oratory was one of 15 schools in the state and one of two private secondary schools across the nation to receive this distinction.[8][9]


Though the school is named Oratory, it does not have any connection to the Oratorian Fathers. However, there may have been an association in the past, as advertisements for the school in The New York Times during the 1910s mention the Oratorian Fathers. The reason for the name change is said to be that the school wanted to attract Oratorian Priests, however this plan proved to be unsuccessful. Oratory was founded as an exclusive boarding school serving boys in grades 4 through 12, although in 1964 it became strictly a day school.

Oratory originally resided on a 15-acre (61,000 m2) lot, but was reduced to its current ten after selling off a portion of land in the 1960s. In 1967, the school was sold to the Archdiocese of Newark after running into financial difficulties. Among century-old specimen trees and rolling hills, the campus consists of two main academic buildings, athletic fields, and a prayer garden. Around the start of the 21st century, the campus was conversationally referred to as "The Park" by Summit residents because it had various athletic fields, intricate lamp posts, its own irrigation system, and a small pond that was used for skating during the winter season.[10] The Fr. John J. Bain Academic building, built in 1959, contains classrooms, gymnasium, computer lab, and chemistry lab. Oratory's Cavalero Memorial Field, an artificial turf field constructed in 2010, hosts a baseball diamond as well as Northern New Jersey's largest high school soccer field.

In 2006, the land was assessed at $6,270,000, and the buildings at $2,752,700, a total of $9,022,700.[11]

Capital improvement plan[edit]

Oratory Prep is governed by a 21-member Board of Trustees, appointed by the Archbishop of Newark. Annual Giving provides approximately 20 percent of the school's annual budget, which currently averages about $3.9 million. Corporations, foundations, parents, and alumni contribute to the Annual Giving Program.

With support from all resources, Oratory has made significant changes to the school in the past five years. Beginning in 2003, the school has required, as part of the "Anytime, Anywhere Learning Program", personal laptop computers for grades 9-12, and put the entire campus on a wireless internet network. In the summer of 2004, a $1.3 million renovation to Fr. John Bain Academic Building was completed, resulting in major renovations to each classroom, and the installation of smartboards. In 2005, a new library and art studio was built in the location of the previous stage area. In 2010, an artificial turf field, named Cavalero Memorial Field, was constructed on the former Kelly Field. That same year after the observation that the library was unused, they turned the library into a state-of-the-art music room, and started a jazz band.

Throughout the summer of 2006, improvements included renovations to the main lobby and gym, and the installation of an up-to-date security system, complete with 18 security cameras and new servers. A new marquee is located on the Morris Avenue side of the campus.


The Oratory Prep Rams[3] compete in the Union County Interscholastic Athletic Conference, following a reorganization of sports leagues in Northern New Jersey by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA).[12] Prior to the NJSIAA's 2009 realignment, the school had participated in the Mountain Valley Conference, which included public and private high schools in Essex County, Somerset County and Union County.[13] With 500 students in grades 10-12, the school was classified by the NJSIAA for the 2019–20 school year as Non-Public A for most athletic competition purposes, which included schools with an enrollment of 381 to 1,454 students in that grade range (equivalent to Group II for public schools).[14]


  • Soccer (MS, F, JV, V)
  • Cross Country (MS, JV, V)


  • Basketball (MS, F, JV, V)
  • Swimming (V)
  • Indoor Track (V)
  • Ice Hockey (JV, V, MS)
  • Bowling (V)
  • Fencing (V)


  • Lacrosse (JV, V)
  • Baseball (MS, F, JV, V)
  • Golf (V)
  • Tennis (JV, V)
  • Track & Field (MS, V)
Carlton Academy's first football team. Photograph circa 1913.

The boys cross country running team won the Non-Public Group C state championship in 1974 (as co-champion) and 1975.[15]

The boys track team won the indoor track Non-Public Group B state championship in 1980.[16]

The boys' track team won the Non-Public indoor relay state championship in 1980.[17]

Oratory Golf's home course is Canoe Brook Country Club. The golf team was NJSIAA Non Public B State Champions in 2004-05, and won the NJSIAA Prep B state championship in 2005-06. For the 2006 season, the Oratory golf team was ranked 20th in the state by The Star-Ledger.[18] Steve Zychowski won the state and Mount Valley tournaments and helped lead the golf team to a win in the NJSIAA Parochial B tournament in 2009.[19] The golf team most recently won the North Jersey Non-Public B title in 2013, as well as earning the title of Union County Conference Champion for the Watchung Division in 2014.

For 14 consecutive years through 2009, the swim team won the Mountain Valley Conference and won the NJ Prep B Championship in 2004.[19] The cross country team was the NJISAA Prep B State Champions in 2004, and has continually placed first in the conference for the past ten years. The team is led by Coach E.J. Cronin, who is also the junior varsity baseball coach. The varsity baseball team were conference champions in 2006, a feat not accomplished since 1956, and had a perfect in-conference record of 12-0.[7]

The spring track team won the New Jersey Prep B Championship two years running (2009 and 2010).[19][20] The track team won the inaugural winter track Prep B championship in February 2011.[21]

Extracurricular activities[edit]

  • A Cappella
  • Art Club
  • Beginning Greek
  • Book Club
  • Carlton Fellows
  • Chess Club
  • Digital Art Club
  • Educational Tours Program
  • Environmental Club
  • Fed Challenge
  • Filmmaking Club
  • Fishing Club
  • Fitness Club
  • History/Politics Club
  • Intramurals
  • Italian Club
  • Middle School Consortium
  • Mock Trial
  • Model UN
  • National Art Honor Society
  • Newspaper
  • Operation Smile Club
  • Quiz Bowl
  • Robotics Club
  • Rowdies Fan Club
  • Science Team/Science Club
  • Sports Enthusiasts Club
  • St. Philip Neri Club
  • Student Ambassadors
  • Student Council
  • Technology Club
  • Video Game Club
  • Yearbook

Mock Trial[edit]

The mock trial team, sponsored by the New Jersey State Bar Foundation, began at Oratory in 2003. In 2006, 2007, 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2018, the team won the state regional final championship, and in 2007 the team won the state semifinals, finishing third in the state, and in 2016 finished 2nd in the state. The team has won the Union County Championship 13 years, including the past eight years. In 2007 the team qualified for the American Mock Trial Invitational held in New Jersey. There the team won two of three trials and finished fifth in the nation. The team was coached by Bill Martin, Director of Student Activities, since the team's inception.[22] In 2012, the team won the state championship, marking the first time that a school from Union county had won the state championship.[23]

Annual events and fundraisers[edit]

  • Father/Son Communion Breakfast
  • Family Mass
  • Oratory's Annual Golf Classic
  • Spirit Week
  • Fashion Show
  • Ram Day
  • Open Houses
  • Spring Gala

Headmasters and faculty[edit]


  • Mr. Charles H. Schult (1907–1917)
  • Msgr. James F. Newcomb (1917–1923)
  • Msgr. Joseph M. Capoano (1923–1931)
  • Rev. Felix J. Kelly (1931–1945)
  • Rev. John J. Bain (1945–1967)
  • Rev. James F. Pindar (1967)
  • Rev. Joseph W. Russell (1967–1968)
  • Msgr. Michael Fitzpatrick (1968–1974)
  • Rev. Theodore Osbahr (1974–1975)
  • Rev. Michael Fitzpatrick (1975–1978)
  • Mr. Joseph T. Boland (1978–1980)
  • Rev. Floyd Rotunno (1980–1994)
  • Rev. Paul Manning (1994–1996)
  • Rev. F. Kevin Murphy (1996–2002)
  • Bro. Robert J. Wickman (2002–2005)
  • Mr. Timothy Lynch (2005–2007)
  • Mrs. Marlene Kostka (2007–2009) *Interim Head of School*
  • Mr. Robert Costello (2009–Present)

Noted alumni[edit]



  1. ^ a b c Tuition & Financial Aid, Oratory Prep. Accessed October 16, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Oratory Preparatory School, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools. Accessed September 29, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Search ResultsOratory Catholic Prep School, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed October 20, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e School data for Oratory Preparatory School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed September 1, 2020.
  5. ^ Union County Catholic High Schools, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark. Accessed March 6, 2018.
  6. ^ List of Member Schools, New Jersey Association of Independent Schools. Accessed August 13, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Oratory Prep Fast Facts, accessed September 10, 2006 Archived May 3, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Oratory Prep Named a 2015 National Blue Ribbon School", Summit Patch, September 30, 2015. Accessed October 10, 2015. "U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made the official announcement Tuesday morning that 50 private schools and 285 public schools from across the country have been chosen for this prestigious honor based on academic excellence. Of the 50 private schools, we are one of only two secondary schools to receive this distinction."
  9. ^ 2015 National Blue Ribbon Schools All Public and Private, United States Department of Education. Accessed October 10, 2015.
  10. ^ Rae, John W. & John W. Rae Jr. (1985). Summit's Forgotten Past "The Gilded Age." Summit, NJ, John W. Rae.
  11. ^ Tax Records, accessed February 5, 2007
  12. ^ League & Conference Officers/Affiliated Schools 2020-2021, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed October 20, 2020.
  13. ^ Home Page, Mountain Valley Conference, backed up by the Internet Archive as of February 2, 2011. Accessed December 15, 2014.
  14. ^ NJSIAA General Public School Classifications 2019–2020, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 20, 2020.
  15. ^ NJSIAA Boys Cross Country State Group Champions, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed October 20, 2020.
  16. ^ NJSIAA Indoor Group Championship History, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 20, 2020.
  17. ^ History of the NJSIAA Indoor Relay Championships, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed December 1, 2020.
  18. ^ Final Golf Top 20, The Star-Ledger, June 19, 2006.
  19. ^ a b c Polakowski, Art. "Success recognized in Oratory sports", Independent Press, June 8, 2009. Accessed June 21, 2011.
  20. ^ Staff. "NJ Track: Oratory boys, Villa Walsh girls win prep B titles", The Star-Ledger, May 19, 2010. Accessed June 21, 2011. "Laroche's double fueled Oratory, which scored in 14 of 16 events to beat runner-up Pennington, 152-127."
  21. ^ Koomar, Joe. "Rambling On: Oratory becomes track power with third prep championship", Independent Press, March 6, 2011. Accessed June 21, 2011. "On February 15, Oratory's winter track squad defied all odds and captured the inaugural Prep B state championship. Oratory dominated the meet from start to finish. In the 3200 M Run, Cormac Raeda, Joey Mascolo and Mark Weinhoffer finished one-two-three respectively."
  22. ^ Oratory Prep team rules in court, The Star-Ledger, March 22, 2007
  23. ^ Dougherty, Susan. "Oratory Prep Mock Trial Team Wins State Championship". SummitPatch, March 22, 2012. Accessed March 24, 2012. "After scores of Mock Trial scrimmages and matches this year among 221 high school teams in New Jersey, only two schools were left standing to compete for the title of Mock Trial State Champions on Thursday, March 22, 2012, at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick. Oratory Prep School of Summit was named New Jersey State Champions by one of the two presiding judges, The Honorable Barry T. Albin, the Chief Justice of the NJ Supreme Court."
  24. ^ Golway, Terry. "On Politics; The Bishops, in Codey, Have a New Target", The New York Times, November 14, 2004. Accessed October 16, 2018. "He is a graduate of Oratory Prep in Summit, and his wife, Mary Jo, attended Caldwell College and Seton Hall, all Catholic institutions."
  25. ^ Saturday Morning Shootout: Danny DeVito, AMC (TV network). Accessed April 2, 2007. "DeVito attended Our Lady of Mt. Carmel grammar school and Oratory Prep School in Summit, New Jersey, but appeared in only one school play, as St. Francis of Assisi."
  26. ^ Nationally Recognized Photographer at Oratory Preparatory School[permanent dead link]. Oratory Preparatory School. Accessed March 13, 2008. "When Justin Guariglia, a 1992 graduate of Oratory Preparatory School in Summit came 'home' on January 24 to present an assembly program to the student body of grades 7 – 12, he did not know what to expect...."
  27. ^ "William J. Lyons Jr.", The Hour (newspaper), April 22, 2014. Accessed November 2, 2017. "A graduate of Oratory Preparatory School in Summit, NJ, he attended Notre Dame University until enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1943."

External links[edit]