Salpointe Catholic High School

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Salpointe Catholic High School
Salpointe logo.png
1545 East Copper Street, Samos
Tucson, Arizona, Pima County 85719
United States
Coordinates 32°15′14″N 110°56′57″W / 32.254009°N 110.949170°W / 32.254009; -110.949170Coordinates: 32°15′14″N 110°56′57″W / 32.254009°N 110.949170°W / 32.254009; -110.949170
Type Private, coeducational
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic,
Established 1950
School code 030510
President Kay Sullivan
Principal Sr. Helen Timothy, IBVM
Faculty 133 (as of 2015)
Grades 912
Enrollment 1,093 (2015)
Student to teacher ratio 15:1 (as of 2015)
Color(s) Maroon and gold         
Fight song The Lancer Fight Song
Sports Arizona Interscholastic Association
Mascot Lancer
Team name Lancers
Rival Catalina Foothills High School
Accreditation North Central Association of Colleges and Schools [1]
Newspaper The Crusader
Yearbook Horizons
Athletic Director Phil Gruensfelder

Salpointe Catholic High School is a co-ed Catholic high school in Tucson, Arizona run by the Carmelite Order. It is located in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson.


Salpointe Catholic High School is named for Arizona's first Bishop, Jean-Baptiste Salpointe, who worked as a missionary in the Arizona Territory from 1866 to 1885.

In the late 1940s, Tucson's parochial grammar schools had nine grades. The desire to build a Catholic high school for these graduates prompted the Diocese of Tucson to purchase the 40-acre (40-acre (160,000 m2)) Florence Addition. Salpointe Catholic High School began in 1950 as a modest school consisting of what is now the Farr Patio and cafeteria. On the first day of school, Salpointe opened its doors to 100 students. At this time, Tucson High School and Amphitheater High School were the only other high schools in Tucson. Salpointe had nine classrooms, a library and administrative offices. The first principal was Rev. Victor Stoner. He was followed by Rev. Edward Carscallen and Rev. George Dyke.

In the summer of 1952, Msgr. Francis Green, pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul Parish, visited the Chancery Office in Chicago where he met Rev. Romaeus O'Brien, O. Carm. He mentioned that Bishop Daniel Gercke of Tucson was thinking about asking a religious order to operate Salpointe. In the spring of 1953, Msgr. Green made a formal request that the Carmelites come to Tucson. Rev. Joseph Bonaventure Gilmore, O. Carm., Provincial Counselor, and Rev. Kenneth Moore, O. Carm., Assistant Provincial, met with Msgr. Green, Msgr. Don Hughes, President of the Salpointe School Board, and other pastors. Fr. Gilmore became the first Carmelite Principal in the summer of 1953. In August, he wrote to Rev. Raphael Kieffer, O. Carm., Carmelite Provincial, asking that the two promised Carmelites arrive as soon as possible.

The day school opened, Fr. Frank Florian McCarthy, O. Carm., and Fr. Carl Pfister, O. Carm. arrived from Mt. Carmel High School in Chicago. The original faculty consisted of three Carmelites, six Sisters of St. Joseph, three Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, two Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and one Benedictine. Two laymen and one laywoman were also on the staff. On September 8, 1955, Bishop Gercke transferred ownership of the forty acres and buildings, then known as Salpointe High School, to the Carmelites for "$10.00 and other valuable considerations."

Much of Salpointe's early development (1954–1966) was due to the generosity of Helena S. Corcoran (with the support of her husband) who donated $8–$10 million for expansion of the Salpointe campus. Under her sponsorship, the school grew from 400 to 1,000 pupils, and the physical infrastructure that forms much of today's campus was established.[2][3]

In 1993, the Catalina Foothills Unified School District went before the U.S. Supreme Court to argue that it did not have to provide an American Sign Language interpreter to a deaf student attending Salpointe Catholic High School. The district argued that, while the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act would normally require such services if the student attended public school, providing it for religious instruction at Salpointe would be unconstitutional. In Zobrest v. Catalina Foothills School District, the court found "that the Establishment Clause does not bar the school district from providing the requested interpreter."[4]


Policies and procedures[edit]

Admissions decisions are made on the basis of information provided on several application forms, recommendations, transcripts, and a personal interview.[5]

The admissions process starts in the fall of each year,[6] before a student intends to enroll at Salpointe. Several important admissions-related events are held at Salpointe including Open House[7] and Step Up Day.[8]

Transfer and mid-year applications are accepted for consideration throughout the year.[9]

Administrative structure[edit]

"President/Principal" model[edit]

The administration of the school consists of nine members headed by the President. Answering to the President are the Principal, Director of Operations, the Director of Athletics, the Director of Campus Ministry, the Assistant Principal for Faculty Development and Supervision, Assistant Principal for Student Services, the Director of Counseling and the Director of Advancement.[10]

Board of Members and Board of Directors[edit]

The Board of Members consists of the members of the Provincial Council of the Society of Mount Carmel of Illinois (the Most Pure Heart of Mary Province of the Carmelite Order). Members serve for a term of three years.

The purpose, philosophy, and mission of Salpointe Catholic are the responsibility of the Board of Members. They also select and terminate the president of the school and the slate of candidates for principal. Certain financial measures require the approval of the Board of Members as well as any changes to the Articles of Incorporation and changes in the bylaws.[11]

The Board of Directors is a committee of up to 18 members serving as the policy making body for the school. Membership consists of up to four representatives of the Carmelite community and at least 10 members of the community at large. As trustees for the Carmelite Order, this Board oversees the administration of the school, makes policies affecting all areas of school operations, oversees its financial well-being and plans extensively for the future.[12]



Salpointe offers a four-year program with seven classes per year for all students. Salpointe curriculum requirements for the class of 2014-2015 include four credits in English, four credits in Mathematics, four credits in Theology, three credits in Science, three and half credits in Social Studies, two credits in the same World Language, one credit in Exercise Science, one credit in Fine Arts, a half credit in Career and Technology Education, a half credit in Service Learning, and three and a half credits in electives. Twenty-seven credits are required to graduate. The student/teacher ratio is 15:1. The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools named Salpointe the first college preparatory school in Southern Arizona in 1987 because of its college prep curriculum. Salpointe was the third school in the state to receive this classification following Brophy and Xavier in Phoenix.[13][14] The school is also certified by the Western Catholic Education Association.

College preparatory education[edit]

A selection of students from Salpointe's graduating class of 2015

All courses are college-preparatory. Humanities, Advanced Placement and honors courses are offered. Salpointe has a high school to college conversion rate of 95%. 245 students in the Class of 2015 were admitted to 175 colleges, universities and military academies. 80% matriculated to four-year institutions, 15% matriculated to two-year institutions and 5% selected military service or work. 56% of seniors participated in varsity athletics and all 24 athletic teams averaged a 3.5 GPA or higher.[13][15]

Humanities program[edit]

The Humanities program is a challenging two-year program offered to highly motivated students. Established in 1978, the program provides an integrated, interdisciplinary, multi-cultural approach needed by students to actively take part in their communities and a complex global universe. All final placements in Humanities require department approval. This program fulfills English and Fine Arts requirements for graduation.[16]

STEM program[edit]

Salpointe's Robotics Class as part of their STEM Center

In 2015, Salpointe opened their Cracchiolo Family Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Center. The 8,000 square-foot building was part of a $12 million capital campaign that also funded a new athletics complex and student center. The STEM center focuses on engineering, robotics and biotechnology and includes a 3D printer, a biomedical lab, classrooms and outdoor work spaces.[17] Salpointe's STEM program is one of the first integrated STEM high school curricula in Southern Arizona.[18]

As of 2016, the courses offered in the STEM program include Engineering 102, Engineering Fundamentals, Intermediate Robotics, Mechanical Engineering and Design, Advanced Robotics, Biotechnology, and Environmental Engineering.[18]


Over 85% of students participate in co-curricular activities each year. Salpointe sponsors 24 varsity athletic teams competing primarily at the Division II level. Lancers have accumulated the largest number of AIA Scholar-Athlete awards in the State of Arizona and have won 259 Region Championships, 46 State Runner-Up and 27 State Championships in various sports, including football State Championship in 2013.[19] On campus facilities include a gymnasium, weight room, wrestling room, football, soccer, rugby, track, baseball and softball fields. Tennis, cross-country and swimming utilize off campus facilities.[20]

Salpointe athletes are often recruited to play NCAA athletics. A few of the recent alumni to reach collegiate athletics are Tommy McGeorge (University of Iowa, tennis), Whitney Dosty (Arizona, women's volleyball), Bryce Livingston (West Point/Army, track and cross country), Tyler Graunke (Hawaii, football), Jack Darlington (Nevada, football), CJ Kaufman, Jr. (Akron, soccer), Max Fritz (San Diego, football), Kristofer O'Dowd (USC, football), Chris Ciarvella (Cornell, football), Matt Ransom (Princeton, football), Kevin Grenier (SMU, football) Charles Blase (San Diego, soccer), Michael Descisciolo (Arizona, football), Emma Darlington (Arizona, women's swimming), Jonathan Khan (Arizona, golf), Alex Johnson (University of Pacific, golf), Scott Tunnell (Newman, golf), Ryan Scheffer (Notre Dame de Namur, golf), Robert Perrott (University of Pacific, golf), Sybil Dosty (ASU, basketball), Analisa Marquez (Arizona, soccer), Jade Michaelsen (University of New Mexico, women's volleyball), Jacob Hunter (Yale, baseball), Dan Slania (Notre Dame, baseball), Sean Craig (Air Force, football), Zach Fregosi (Trinity, baseball), Sara Brown (Michigan State, golf), Erik Carter (Denver, lacrosse), Brian Prouty (Arizona, golf), Jacob Arzouman (Arizona, football), Catie Coyle (Maryland, women's volleyball), Jordan Scelfo (Incarnate Word, football and baseball), Gabi Ruiz (Harvard, softball), Kelli Ford (Grand Canyon University, soccer), Paige Peterson (DePaul, softball) and Kendra Strohm (University of Texas, tennis), Matthew Dunn (University of Arizona, tennis).[21]

The Lancer Fight Song[edit]

(sung to the melody of the Notre Dame Victory March)[20]

We're going to tell you something tonight,
About the team that you're going to fight,
We're the Lancers, Salpointe High,
If we don't win we're willing to try !
Out on the field we're ready to fight (FIGHT!)
We're going to fight with full force and might (MIGHT!)
Win or lose we'll stick together,
Onward to victory!
Lancers, Lancers, Let's take State!

Fine Arts[edit]

Drama and theater[edit]

In addition to widely notable athletics, Salpointe's drama department is recognized by the Arizona State Thespian Board, and has been invited to perform school productions on the "main stage" at the Arizona State Thespian festival.[22] In 2013, Salpointe's drama students, with their production Cash on Delivery, were invited to perform in front of thousands of their peers at the State Thespian Festival, under the direction of Dana Milne, the school's Director of Fine Arts.[23]

In 2012, Salpointe was the first-ever Southern Arizona school to receive state selection of a one-act performance to be performed at a national level.[24]

In 2016, the school maintained an active drama department, and performed multiple sold-out performances of classic shows including Irving Berlin's White Christmas and Charley's Aunt.[25]

Band and orchestra[edit]

Salpointe also has a band and orchestra, which have, on multiple occasions, been featured on a local Tucson, Arizona based news station, for their weekly "wake up call".[26] In 2016, one of Salpointe's brass musicians, Alexander Melnychuck, was included as part of the GRAMMY Camp — Jazz Session and GRAMMY in the Schools Media Team.[27]

Under the direction of John Anzelmo, their band and orchestra director, and Andrew Lepore, the jazz band director,[23] Salpointe offers jazz band, orchestra, and band classes, that perform multiple times throughout the school year.

Pastoral care[edit]

Campus ministry[edit]

Under the guidance of the Carmelites, Salpointe has developed an active campus ministry. Students are encouraged to attend a number of retreats throughout their time at Salpointe, culminating in the Kairos experience during their junior or senior year.[28]

Counseling services[edit]

In addition to routine academic counseling and schedule management, the school counselors are also actively engaged in helping students mature in their decision-making, values clarification, and interpersonal relationships.[29] Salpointe's Counseling and Guidance Department has undertaken a number of novel initiatives in recent years such as the Community of Concern[30] program. The Community of Concern committee sponsors annual forums to inform parents about medical, legal, criminal and social aspects of drug and alcohol abuse.[31]

The school has also established a mandatory drug testing program to screen every student at least one time during the school year for drug use.[32]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ NCA-CASI. "NCA-Council on Accreditation and School Improvement". Archived from the original on April 29, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  2. ^ "The History of Salpointe Catholic High School". 
  3. ^ "Salpointe Catholic High School Directory Listing". 
  4. ^ Rehnquist, William (18 June 1993). "LARRY ZOBREST, et ux., et al., PETITIONERS v. CATALINA FOOTHILLS SCHOOL DISTRICT". Legal Information Institute. Cornell Law School. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  5. ^ "Admissions Applications". 
  6. ^ "Important Admissions Dates". 
  7. ^ "Open House". 
  8. ^ "Step Up Day". 
  9. ^ "Transfer Students". 
  10. ^ "Salpointe Administration". 
  11. ^ "The Salpointe Board of Members". 
  12. ^ "Salpointe Board of Directors and Subcommittees". 
  13. ^ a b "Salpointe Catholic High School". 
  14. ^ "School Profile". 
  15. ^ "Salpointe Catholic High School Profile 2015–2016". 
  16. ^ "Humanities Department". Retrieved 7 November 2012. 
  17. ^ Dale, Mariana. "Salpointe opens new STEM center". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved 2016-03-15. 
  18. ^ a b "STEM - Salpointe Catholic High School". Retrieved 2016-03-15. 
  20. ^ a b "Welcome to Salpointe Athletics". 
  21. ^ "Collegiate Athletes in the Class of 2011". 
  22. ^ Huicochea, Alexis. "Salpointe drama class takes main stage at state festival". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved 2016-03-17. 
  23. ^ a b "Salpointe Catholic High School Fine Arts Department - Salpointe Catholic High School". Retrieved 2016-03-17. 
  24. ^ "Salpointe Catholic High School drama troupe". Retrieved 2016-03-17. 
  25. ^ "White Christmas Opens To A Sold Out Show". The Crusader. Retrieved 2016-03-17. 
  26. ^ "GMT Wake Up Call: Salpointe Catholic HS". KGUN. Retrieved 2016-03-17. 
  27. ^ "Students Selected For GRAMMY Camp — Jazz Session And GRAMMY In The Schools Media Team". GrammyInTheSchools. Retrieved 17 March 2016. 
  28. ^ Salpointe Catholic High School Campus Ministry Main Menu
  29. ^ "Counseling and Guidance". 
  30. ^ Community of Concern
  31. ^ "The Community of Concern". 
  32. ^ "Drug Testing Program". 
  33. ^
  34. ^ :: Women's Soccer :: Kelly Cagle
  35. ^ Patricia Preciado Martin talks about her work based on her Mexican-American family
  36. ^ Player Bio: Tairia Mims, Official athletic site of the UCLA Bruins
  37. ^ Home Web Page for Antonio Nagore, tenor
  38. ^ Sarah Garrecht Gassen (2010-01-09). "A man of faith and devoted to rule of law". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 

External links[edit]