Seton Hall Preparatory School

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Seton Hall Preparatory School
SetonHallPrep Emblem.jpg
Seton Hall Preparatory School is located in Essex County, New Jersey
Seton Hall Preparatory School
Seton Hall Preparatory School
Seton Hall Preparatory School is located in New Jersey
Seton Hall Preparatory School
Seton Hall Preparatory School
Seton Hall Preparatory School is located in the US
Seton Hall Preparatory School
Seton Hall Preparatory School
120 Northfield Avenue
West Orange, (Essex County), NJ 07052
United States
Coordinates 40°46′30″N 74°14′52″W / 40.77500°N 74.24778°W / 40.77500; -74.24778Coordinates: 40°46′30″N 74°14′52″W / 40.77500°N 74.24778°W / 40.77500; -74.24778
Type Private
Motto Hazard Zet Forward
(Despite hazard, forward)
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Patron saint(s) St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Established 1856
President Msgr. Michael Kelly
Headmaster Msgr. Robert Harahan
Assistant Headmaster Michael Gallo
Faculty 79.8 FTEs[1]
Grades 912
Gender Boys
Enrollment 937 (as of 2015-16)[1]
Student to teacher ratio 11.7:1[1]
Campus Suburban
Campus size 55 acres (220,000 m2)
Color(s)      Royal Blue and
Athletics conference Super Essex Conference
Mascot Pirate
Nickname SHP or The Prep
Team name Pirates[2]
Accreditation Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools[3]
Publication Spectrum (literary magazine)
Newspaper The Pirate
Yearbook Tower
School fees $1,450[4]
Tuition $16,000 (2016-17)[4]
Affiliation Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark;
New Jersey Association of Independent Schools
Dean of Studies Kevin McNulty
Dean of Men Mark Smith
Athletic Director Larry Baggitt
Admissions Director Michael Zinsmeister

Seton Hall Preparatory School, generally called Seton Hall Prep or "The Prep", is a Roman Catholic all boys' high school located in the suburban community of West Orange in Essex County, New Jersey, operating under the supervision of the Archdiocese of Newark.[5] Founded in 1856 with an original enrollment of five boys, Seton Hall Prep was originally located on the campus of Seton Hall University where it became commonly known as "The Prep" as a way to distinguish it from "The University."[6] In 1985, The Prep moved to its present location which was, at the time, West Orange High School. Seton Hall is the oldest Catholic college preparatory school in New Jersey.

As of the 2015-16 school year, the school had an enrollment of 937 students and 79.8 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.7:1. The school's student body was 72.4% White, 11.1% Black, 6.0% Asian, 1.8% Hispanic and 8.8% two or more races.[1]

Seton Hall students follow a college preparatory program, with four-year requirements in the English language, mathematics, and theology. After completing a traditional core program during the first two years, students may establish a curriculum geared to their college and career plans from a wide selection of courses in science, history, language, fine arts, English and physical education. College-level Advanced Placement (AP) courses are available in 17 areas.

"The Prep" is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools[3] and is a member of the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools.[7]


Founded in 1856, Seton Hall Preparatory School is the oldest Catholic college preparatory school in New Jersey.

Bishop James Roosevelt Bayley, first Bishop of Newark and nephew of Elizabeth Ann Seton, purchased an estate in Madison, New Jersey using money donated by Catholic Charities, that would become the site of Seton Hall Prep. Five priests and eight laymen formed a Board of Directors to establish a Catholic preparatory school, college and seminary. The inaugural class of five students first met on December 1, 1856.

Seton Hall President Rt. Rev. Bernard McQuaid purchased an estate in South Orange in 1857, to which the school moved in 1860 to accommodate a larger student body. The Prep subsequently would spend the next 125 years on the institution's South Orange campus.

Until 1928 the President of Seton Hall College was also the head of the Preparatory Division. At that time, Rev. D.A. Mulcahy became the high school's first director. The following year Rev. William Bradley was named director, then principal and ultimately the school's first headmaster in 1938.

The Prep school's population grew further over the next decades, with peaks in enrollment during World War II and in the mid 1970s. The school occupied three main buildings on the university campus— Mooney Hall, Duffy Hall and Stafford Hall. A significant portion of the student body boarding on campus until The last of the boarding students graduated in the mid-1950s.

In the early and mid twentieth century Prep drew its students principally from Essex and Union counties, but as the state's transportation system expanded in the 1960s and 1970s, the school began to draw students from Morris, Bergen, Hudson, Passaic and Middlesex counties.

In 1980, Rev. Michael E. Kelly became the first alumnus headmaster. Five years later The Prep acquired an 11-acre (45,000 m2) campus of its own in nearby West Orange.

In 1993, the school purchased a 44-acre (180,000 m2) tract of land on nearby Prospect Avenue, overlooking the New York City skyline. Beginning in 1993, The Prep began construction on the Edward D. and Helen M. Kelly Athletic Complex there.

In 2005 the school celebrated two milestones, marking The Prep's 150th anniversary, as well as the 25th anniversary of Msgr. Kelly's headmastership.

Prep life[edit]

The Prep offers a co-curricular activities program, with numerous academic, service, performance, cultural, publication, and recreation clubs and activities. Additionally, the Prep offers fifteen interscholastic sports, most with accompanying sub-varsity level teams. The main campus, accessible to Interstate 280 and several bus and train routes, is augmented by a nearby 44-acre (180,000 m2) site, The Kelly Athletic Complex (KAC), providing auxiliary athletic facilities, including a 400m all-weather track, a game field for lacrosse and soccer, and practice fields.


Students coming from ten New Jersey counties and Staten Island, New York City, the breadth of background the students bring to academic and extracurricular activities is a source of great pride. Drawing students from such a wide area, more than 130 towns, even Staten Island and New York City, the Prep draws its student population from points as far as Jamesburg and Edison, to Chester and Denville, to Lyndhurst and Montville, to Pompton Plains and Kinnelon as well as Paterson and also Hoboken. At the same time more than 80 students come from West Orange itself, 75 from neighboring South Orange/Maplewood and East Orange, and large contingents from close-by Bloomfield, Cedar Grove, the Caldwells, Verona, Morristown, Florham Park, East Hanover, Summit, Livingston and Morris Plains.


Seton Hall takes as its mission the development of the whole man—spiritual, intellectual, social and physical. Seton Hall community proceeds from a belief that growth as a whole person is not limited to secular knowledge but involves the spiritual fulfillment that has been a central concern in its educational tradition. In as much as such growth and maturity are rooted in personal and social responsibility, a code of conduct and expectations is in place to guide the student community in their daily activities. Consequent to its Catholic identity, the Prep seeks to foster an ecumenical and diverse community, faithful to a Judeo-Christian heritage.

Extracurricular activities[edit]

"The Prep" offers many activities. Most students are involved in some type of after school program. Some of these clubs are as follows.

  • Misc.- Video game club, United and Divided Strategy Club, Break Dance Club, the Awesome Club, the Cookie Club, the "You Lost the Game" Club
  • Performing Arts — Art Club, Band, Brass Ensemble, Chorus, Fall Drama, Jazz Band, Spring Musical, F.A.C.E. (Free Association for Creative Expression), V.O.I.C.E. (Voices of Insight Causing Enlightenment)C-Tonians Acapella Group
  • Interscholastic Competition Clubs — Math Team, Math Club, Mock Trial/Future Lawyers Club, Forensics, Debate & Student Congress, Chess Club, Quiz Bowl, Seton Hall Prep robotics team.
  • Publishing — Pirate (School Newspaper), Spectrum (Literary Publication), Tower (Yearbook).
  • Science Clubs — Cichlid Association, Ecology Club, Apple Club, Science Club.
  • Recreational Activities — Fishing Club, Ski/Snowboard Club, Break Dance Club, Guitar Club, Photography Club, Guitar Club, Video Game Club, Ping-Pong Club, The Cookie Club, Car Club, Cinema Club, Museums Club, Pirate Adventure Club, Pirate Nation.
  • Student Organizations — Ambassadors, National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, Math Honor Society, Peer Leadership, Student Council, St. Rose Tutoring Program, Knights of Setonia (the school's religious organization), Kairos.
  • Culture Clubs — The Prep features clubs for several ethnicities, and are some of the most popular amongst the student body: Deutscher Klub (Germany), Iberian Society (Spain and Portugal), the Spanish Club (for other Spanish-speakers not from Spain), Italian Club, West Indian Organization, Faces of African Descent (F.A.D.), The Gaelic Society (Irish descent), and the all-around Cultures of the World Club.
  • Service Organizations - Operation Smile, Invisible Children, REBEL, Autism Big Brother, Wounded Warrior Project, Pax Christi, Nothing But Nets.
  • The Red Cross Club - Focusing on problems such as wounded veterans and collecting food for the poor.

Other organizations at "The Prep" include Future Business Leaders of America, the Future Lawyers Club, and Future Physicians of America.

In 1958–59, 1964–66 and again in 1968, the school's chess team was the New Jersey high school team champion, winning the Father Casimir J. Finley Trophy.[8]


The Seton Hall Prep Pirates[2] compete in the Super Essex Conference, following a reorganization of sports leagues in Northern New Jersey by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA).[9] Prior to the NJSIAA's 2010 realignment, the school had competed as part of the Iron Hills Conference, which was made up of public and private high schools in Essex County, Morris County and Union County.[10]


Following the 2007 baseball season, the Pirates were ranked 1st in the country by a number of media outlets. The team was led by Rick Porcello who was selected by the Detroit Tigers as the 27th pick overall in the first round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft.[11] He signed a contract with the Tigers in August for $7 million, the richest deal ever for a high school player. In its May 28, 2007 update, Baseball America ranked Seton Hall Prep third in the country, the only New Jersey school on its Top 50 ranking.[12] The team won the Baseball - North A state sectional championship with a 3-0 shutout of Immaculata High School in the tournament final.[13] The 2007 team moved on to win the North A state championship with a 10-1 win against St. Joseph High School.[14]

Seton Hall Prep currently has 24 state baseball championships. The Prep also has four North championships.


The boys' basketball team won the 2005 Non-Public, North A, state sectional champion, defeating Saint Joseph Regional High School, 63-54 in the final game.[15] The team went on to win the 2005 Tournament of Champions, with a 63-60 win over St. Patrick's High School, in a game played at Continental Airlines Arena.[16]

The basketball team's longtime head Coach Bob Farrell achieved his 700th career win during the 2007-08 season, the same night that then-senior Ashton Gibbs broke Keven McDonald's all-time over 30-year-old scoring record of 1,774 points. Gibbs attended the University of Pittsburgh and saw considerable playing time as a freshman, including in the elite eight loss to Villanova University on March 28, 2009.[17]

Seton Hall Prep alumni -- including Ira Bowman, Brevin Knight and Brandin Knight -- have gone on to play in the National Basketball Association as well as numerous others with notable success overseas and in the NBADL. Pirate basketball alumni include: Ashton Gibbs (Pitt) and Sterling Gibbs (Texas). Once known as a feeder school for the Seton Hall University Basketball Program, the Prep is known as a state as well as national brand in the game of basketball. Alumni Brandin Knight (Pitt), Ira Bowman (NJIT), Marcus Toney-El (FDU) are all currently Division 1 assistant basketball coaches, and Michael Malone is an assistant with the NBA's Golden State Warriors.[18]


The lacrosse team won the Group IV state championship in 2004, defeating Christian Brothers Academy in the championship game.[19]


The soccer team won the 2005 North A state sectional championship with a 5-0 win over Don Bosco Preparatory High School. In 2007 the team achieved a number one statewide ranking from The Star-Ledger and a number five ranking in a national coaches' poll. The 2007 team won the North A state sectional championship with consecutive 3-2 wins over No. 1 ranked Don Bosco, and then the new No. 1 team and rival Delbarton in the North Jersey Final.[20] The team moved on to win the Non-Public A state championship with a 2-0 win over Christian Brothers Academy.[21] They finished the season at 22-1, with several school records: 16 shutouts, 22 wins, 95 goals.

In 2009, the Seton Hall Prep soccer won another state championship; defeating Christian Brothers Academy 1-0. SHP finished the season Number 1 in the state and Number 8 in the nation. In 2010, the Seton Hall Prep Soccer team was ranked Number 1 in the nation but failed to secure back to back championships.


Since the program's inception, the Pirates indoor and outdoor track teams have produced individuals and relay teams that consistently compete on the conference, state, and national level. A number of former Pirates have competed on the international level for the United States and Jamaica.

In 2007, the Pirates established a school record 4 x 400M relay time of 3:13.83, which won the NJ Meet of Champions in 2007, and also won a state championship for track. The relay team consisted of Grant Mayes (Syracuse University), Corey Alexander (George Mason), Patrick Blackie (University of Miami), and Clayton Parros (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). In 2009, Clayton Parros established a school and New Jersey all-time state record in the 400m running a time of 45.71 seconds, breaking the record that had been held by Olympian Dennis Mitchell since 1984.[22]


For decades, the Pirates have been among the elite of New Jersey high school hockey programs, along with long-standing rivalries with Bergen Catholic and Delbarton (which had even been mentioned in an episode of HBO's The Sopranos). Their home ice is South Mountain Arena at the Richard J. Codey Ice Rink in West Orange, New Jersey, the former practice facility of the NHL's New Jersey Devils. Former Coach Peter Herms, who had coached the team for 14 years until his resignation in 2010, was inducted into the inaugural class of the New Jersey High School Ice Hockey Hall of Fame. Herms, along with co-coach John Warchol (who is also a member of the inaugural class of the Hall of Fame), led Seton Hall to six Gordon Cup championships, four NJSIAA Non-Public titles and three Tournament of Champions titles, which were won in 1998, 1999 and 2004.[23]

Notable alumni[edit]

List of Seton Hall Preparatory School alumni


  1. ^ a b c d School data for Seton Hall Preparatory School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed October 20, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Seton Hall Preparatory School, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed October 9, 2016.
  3. ^ a b Seton Hall Preparatory School, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools. Accessed August 5, 2011.
  4. ^ a b Tuition, Seton Hall Preparatory School. Accessed October 9, 2016.
  5. ^ Essex County Catholic High Schools, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark. Accessed August 13, 2017.
  6. ^ Our History, Seton Hall Preparatory School. Accessed August 5, 2011.
  7. ^ List of Member Schools, New Jersey Association of Independent Schools. Accessed August 13, 2017.
  8. ^ N. J. High School Team Champions 1956 – Present, New Jersey State Chess Federation. Accessed August 13, 2013.
  9. ^ [Seton Hall League Memberships – 2015-2016], New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 9, 2014.
  10. ^ Home Page, Iron Hills Conference, backed up by the Internet Archive as of February 2, 2011. Accessed December 3, 2014.
  11. ^ Hill, Ben. "Seton Hall Prep features top draft talent: Porcello, Danieli expected to be prominent selections", Major League Baseball., May 28, 2007. Accessed May 31, 2007. "Yet, in the northeast portion of the Garden State resides Seton Hall Prep, a Catholic boys school that currently fields what is widely considered to be the best high school team in the entire country.... This season's team is especially notable in that it includes four players who have earned Division I baseball scholarships, two of whom -- pitchers Rick Porcello and Evan Danieli -- are expected to be prominent selections in the First-Year Player Draft on June 7. Porcello, in fact, is the consensus pick as the top high school pitcher in the country, and possibly the best right-hander available in this year's draft pool.
  12. ^ Matthews, Alan. "High School Top 50: May 28", Baseball America, May 28, 2007. Accessed June 6, 2007.
  13. ^ 2007 Baseball - North A, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed July 22, 2007.
  14. ^ 2007 Baseball - Non-Public Finals, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed July 22, 2007.
  15. ^ 2005 Boys Basketball - Non-Public, North A, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed June 4, 2007.
  16. ^ 2005 Boys Basketball - Tournament of Champions, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed June 1, 2007.
  17. ^ Winter Sports Action Archived 2008-07-25 at the Wayback Machine., Seton Hall Preparatory School. Accessed July 15, 2008.
  18. ^
  19. ^ History of the NJSIAA Boys' Lacrosse Championships, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed February 1, 2017.
  20. ^ 2007 Boys Soccer - North A, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 14, 2007.
  21. ^ 2007 Boys Soccer - Non-Public Finals, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association and finished with a No. 5 National ranking. Accessed November 14, 2007.
  22. ^ Staff. "Clayton Parros runs 45.71 to smash state record in the 400 (High school Boys Outdoor Track news)", The Star-Ledger, June 6, 2009. Accessed January 15, 2014. "Clayton Parros of Seton Hall Prep in West Orange broke the state record in the 400-meter run with a 45.71 to finish second at the 34th Southwest Classic last night at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. The North Carolina-bound Parros finished behind Tavaris Tate of Mississippi (45.42) and broke the New Jersey high school mark of 46.02 set in 1984 by U.S. Olympian Dennis Mitchell of Edgewood."
  23. ^ Bruno, Paul. "NJ boys ice hockey: Herms resigns as Seton Hall Prep coach", The Star-Ledger, July 22, 2010. Accessed November 7, 2017. "Seton Hall Prep coach Peter Herms, arguably the best ice hockey player ever to come out of the school, announced his resignation yesterday after 14 seasons as head coach at the West Orange school.... Named to The Star-Ledger's first All-State team as a sophomore in 1979, Herms was inducted into the inaugural class of the New Jersey High School Ice Hockey Hall of Fame in March. Herms, along with co-coach John Warchol, helped guide Seton Hall to six Gordon Cup championships, four NJSIAA Non-Public titles and three Tournament of Champions crowns (1998, '99 and 2004)."

External links[edit]