St. Augustine High School (San Diego)

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St. Augustine High School
SaintsHS San Diego.jpg
Unitas ∙ Veritas ∙ Caritas
Unity ∙ Truth ∙ Love
3266 Nutmeg Street
San Diego (North Park), California 92104
United States
Coordinates 32°44′3″N 117°7′25″W / 32.73417°N 117.12361°W / 32.73417; -117.12361Coordinates: 32°44′3″N 117°7′25″W / 32.73417°N 117.12361°W / 32.73417; -117.12361
Type Private, Day, College-prep
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic;
Order of Saint Augustine
Established 1922
Sister school The Academy of Our Lady of Peace
President Edwin Hearn
Principal James Horne
Chaplain Fr. Bob Gavotto, O.S.A.
Faculty 69
Grades 9-12
Gender Boys
Enrollment 725~ (2014)
Average class size 185
Campus size 7.2 acres (29,000 m2)
Color(s) Purple and Gold         
Athletics 15 sports
Athletics conference CIF San Diego Section
Mascot Halo Joe
Team name Saints
Rival Cathedral Catholic
Accreditation Western Association of Schools and Colleges[1]
Publication Santos (literary/art)
Newspaper The Augustinian
Tuition $16, 800(2014-2015)
Admissions Director Mike Haupt
Athletic Director Mike Stephenson

St. Augustine High School is a private Catholic high school for young men under the direction of the Order of Saint Augustine located in the North Park district of San Diego, California and founded in 1922. It is located in the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego.

Named after Saint Augustine of Hippo, an early Christian theologian, St. Augustine teaches young men within the framework of the Catholic faith and in the Augustinian tradition. This culturally diverse school serves the communities of San Diego County and Tijuana, Mexico. The school also publicly states, "We open our doors to all boys we believe will benefit from our academic program."


Early history - 1920s to the 1950s[edit]


In 1922, John Cantwell, Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles and San Diego, asked the Order of Saint Augustine to satisfy the need of a new boys' school in the southern part of the 80,000-square-mile (210,000 km2) diocese. (The Order also operate Villanova University in Pennsylvania, and Merrimack College in Massachusetts, and in the early decades many of the school's religious staff were trained at these colleges.) The Order of Saint Augustine opened St. Augustine High School in the St. Vincent's parish meeting hall on September 18, 1922 with 19 students. The school moved to its current Nutmeg Street location in the year 1923.

Student affairs and expansion[edit]

Due to a need to accommodate a greater number of students, the school expanded multiple times in its early history, beginning with the construction of Sullivan Hall in 1947, adding 350 additional spots for additional students. In the 1950s the school constructed a new set of classrooms, erected a gymnasium, and added additional improvements to the monastery. However, despite these expansions, by the late 1950s, the school was suffering from overcrowding.

In 1956, the school became the first private school admitted to the San Diego City League of Athletics.

Middle period - 1960s to the 1970s[edit]

During the 1960s and 1970s, the school committed to smaller class sizes, new curricular innovations, and honors programs. In September, 1978, PSA Flight 182 crashed and exploded several blocks (Nile and Dwight Streets) from the campus. The school shut down and became a triage and command and control center for those authorities who responded to the emergency posed by the crash, culminating in the utilization of the gymnasium as a makeshift morgue. The following year an arsonist burned down the school's library, which has since moved to Villanova Hall.

Into the modern era - 1980s to the present day[edit]

New buildings completed in 2007

In the 1980s and 1990s, the school moved towards computerization and renovations occurred around the campus. The biggest change during this era was the creation of an on-campus parking lot and the closure of Bancroft Street, which previously divided the campus into two separate sections. In 1997, the school celebrated its 75th anniversary. The school continues to grow in the new millennium, and is embarking on an extensive building campaign which calls for most of the school being demolished and rebuilt to meet modern standards of building codes and architectural tastes. The school will also feature the latest in technology made readily available to its students and faculty.

On June 2, 2006, together with the San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders, the Auxiliary Bishop of San Diego Salvatore Cordileone, the school's President John Keller O.S.A., ASB President Alexander Guittard, and various members of the Augustinian and general school community, the school broke ground for the first phase of the school's building campaign. Work commenced in the summer of 2006 and was completed in the fall 2007 for Phase One. The second and third phases have been planned for the near future, with final completion of the project projected to fall within the early 2010s.


Tuition at St. Augustine for the 2015-16 year is $17,333.[2] However, students can apply for tuition assistance, whether in the form of a grant or scholarship or by working for the school (at the Lunch Counter, Bookstore, Maintenance Office, or Library). The top ten scorers on the entrance exam receive a $2,500 dollar scholarship each year, for a total amount of $10,000 over all four years.

Student profiles[edit]


The student body consists of many different national origins.

Most students live near and within typical driving distance of the school. The bulk of students live in San Diego and surrounding areas including La Mesa, Kearny Mesa, Point Loma, Downtown, and Beach areas. However, some students have longer commutes from areas in the North (such as Carlsbad, Del Mar, Valley Center, and Oceanside), the East (Poway, Escondido, and Lakeside), and the South (such as Chula Vista, Eastlake and Bonita) A number of students commute daily from Tijuana. Most students are Roman Catholic; however, the school accommodates people of other faiths, including non-Christian ones and some degree of non-faith in personal belief.



Saints offers courses in the following subjects:

  • Religion:
    • Faith Survey
    • Ethics
    • Morality
    • Old Testament
    • New Testament
    • Comparative Religions
    • Religion in America
    • Philosophy (Honors only)*
  • Social Sciences
    • Psychology*
    • World History*
    • Economics*
    • United States History*
    • Civics and American Government*
    • Speech
    • Leadership (ASB)
  • Foreign Language
    • Spanish*
    • Latin*
    • French*
  • English*
  • Mathematics
    • Pre-Algebra
    • Algebra I
    • Geometry
    • Algebra II
    • Statistics (AP only)*
    • Advanced Math
    • Pre-Calculus*
    • Calculus*
    • Business Math
  • Sciences
    • Sports Medicine
    • Physics*
    • Biology*
    • Anatomy and Physiology
    • Chemistry*
  • Visual and Performing Arts:
    • Concert Band
    • Symphonic Band
    • Music Theory*
    • Guitar Performance and Theory
    • Painting, Drawing, and Mixed Media
    • Ceramics
    • Art History (AP only)*
    • Theater Arts
    • Digital Photography
  • Computer Studies
    • Web Design
    • Graphic Design
    • Microsoft Office

(* denotes that an Advanced Placement or honors equivalent version of the course is offered)


For the 2010-2011 school year, Saints changed its schedule to a modified block format. On Monday and Tuesday, students take six classes for forty-five minutes each. On Wednesday and Thursday, they only take three classes a day, for eighty-five minutes each. On Friday, students again attend all six classes, but classes are shortened and school ends at 12:45.


Students experience several (including three mandatory) retreats at Saint Augustine. These retreats are:

  • Freshman Overnight Retreat
    • This retreat takes place over the first weekend in October, during which the entire freshman class is split into several groups where they discuss and learn about the Saints community and their place in it. The groups are led by a pair of either junior and senior "Big Brothers," one of whom opens their home for the evening prayer service for their group, before returning to Saints. The freshmen spend the night in the gym and are dismissed on Sunday afternoon after mass and final activities. This retreat is mandatory.
  • Sophomore Retreat
    • This one-day retreat at Mission San Diego de Alcala continues the theme of helping the community, both in global and local capacities. In past years, the focus of this retreat has been on the plight of African children, followed along with a screening of Invisible Children, culminating with a talk given a refugee from an African nation. This retreat is also mandatory.
  • Junior Retreat
    • This retreat is also a one-day event and focuses on building the relationship of the students in the class. Several activities build on the themes and the day finishes off with a mass. It takes place at Mission San Diego de Alcala.
  • Kairos Retreat
    • It is optional for seniors to go on Kairos, but it is strongly encouraged. The retreat takes place several times each year and juniors are permitted to attend Kairos in the spring.

Extracurricular activities[edit]



The school supports numerous sports teams that are accredited by the CIF (SDS Division) such as:

In these sports, Saints has 25 total CIF San Diego Division III Championship teams.

In the past few years several club sports have been organized by the student body. These sports are either non-traditional sports or the sport club has not been credited by CIF. For example, the Roller Hockey team started as a club, and eventually the school applied for the CIF Roller Hockey division. Some of the club sports include:


The student body actively participates in Intramural sports. Teams are organized by homeroom and generally teams of one grade play the same grade and gradually move to play other grades. The final games of Intramurals are popular with the students and the school extends the lunch period to accommodate the finals.

Visual and performing arts[edit]

In areas other than sports, the school supports numerous art disciplines including the dramatic, musical, and fine arts. Students artwork is prominently displayed throughout the campus. Student bands are popular and play at "8th Grade Visitation," some rally days, and at the Annual Saints/OLP Talent Show.

Theatre arts[edit]

The school is known for the successful theatrical productions put on by the students, and is recognized as a chapter of the International Thespian Society.

Recently, the school revived its annual musical with Oliver!. As of late, theatrical successes include such musicals as How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Seussical, The Wizard of Oz, West Side Story and Little Shop of Horrors. Plays produced include Arsenic and Old Lace and Dracula. Saints also hosts the "Flying Ferrets," an improv team.

Music programs[edit]

The instrumental music program has grown to include over 100 students and includes the Saints Marching Band & Pageantry Corps, the 32nd Street Jazz Band, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Pep Band, Winter Drumline, Pit Orchestra and Jazz Combo and Jazz Guitar Ensemble. They also offer courses in Guitar, American Popular Music and AP Music Theory.


The school is also active in journalism and the literary arts with two school-wide publications: The Augustinian and Santos. The Augustinian, published 5-6 times per year, is the school newspaper. Santos, published once yearly, features Saints students' artwork of all aspects.

Club and Special Groups[edit]

Like any high school, Saints has a wide variety of student clubs and associations. St. Augustine H.S. has or has had such clubs as:

School spirit[edit]


The "Halo Joe" logo on left, and the mature "Saint" on right

The mascot is known as "Halo Joe", who has appeared in various forms over the years. They range from a comical looking angel with halo and bruised eye to a more warrior-type angel holding shield and sword. The original art was conceived in 1971 by Jesse Ochoa, class of 1971. The comical mascot is most commonly seen on school sweatshirts, while most other versions appear in printed materials or other school spirit merchandise. The mascot also is seen in costume form at sporting events where he is escorted by Saints cheerleaders to rally spirit.

School support[edit]

The school receives many donations from both organizations and private individuals. In addition, the school's Austin Parents Association is an all-around fund raising organization that contributes to all aspects of campus needs. During the school year, the APA donate for scholarships, sports programs, arts programs, and capital improvement fund. The APA prides itself in working with school administration to determine priorities in funding that benefit the entire school. The Austin Parents Association raises money throughout the year, but its yearly "Big One" is a major event for the school and occasionally throughout the years finds itself on the Society Pages of the San Diego Union-Tribune.


  • Mass on Wednesdays (Originally Friday)
  • Spirit Wear on Fridays (Originally Thursdays)
  • Senior Parking Lot (During the 2006-2007 School Year, it was demolished to allow for the construction of a new underground parking lot, which the seniors now use.)
  • Freshmen Welcome Week
    • Freshmen must wear beanies during Freshman Welcome Week
    • Freshmen bringing Lunch for their senior Partner
    • Freshmen participate in various activities primarily for the amusement of the rest of the student body. These activities include, but are not limited to, tricycle races and wearing costumes chosen by the seniors.
    • The singing of the Alma Mater
  • Turkey Trot
  • Block 1 Donations (Generally for the Hogar Infantil Orphanage during canned food drives)
  • Freshmen and sophomores must sit in the gym's bleachers during mass and assemblies. Juniors and seniors are allowed to sit on the gym floor in chairs.
  • Seniors are allowed Spirit-Dress Mondays, in addition to Fridays where the whole school is allowed Spirit Dress.
  • Seniors are allowed Off-Campus Lunch privileges, and can drive to local restaurants for lunch instead of remaining on campus.
  • Seniors have some late-start days.
  • Senior Trip to Grad Nite at Disneyland Park, part of the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim
    • This is by invitation, and subject to the behavior of the previous class to visit. A well-known incident (class of 1971) of hooliganism involved many students and the commandeering of rafts to Tom Sawyer Island (now known as "Pirates Lair at Tom Sawyer's Island").[citation needed] However Disneyland Resort Officials later changed park operations and now keep this attraction closed on Grad Nights because of such activities and liability with it being surrounded by water and lack of proper lighting.
  • Senior March (senior walk on a designated course through the campus on their last official day with the band play "When the Saints go Marching In/Out" and the rest of the school stands along the path and claps and cheers)
  • After an alumnus becomes a priest, he is allowed to give the whole school a day off when he returns to Saints to celebrate his first mass.

Alma Mater[edit]

The Saints Alma Mater closely resembles the Alma Mater of Villanova, an Augustinian university in Pennsylvania which also closely resembles the Alma Mater of Villanova Preparatory School, an Augustinian college preparatory school in Ventura Country, California:

When the twilight shadows gather
Out upon the campus green,
When the blue and purple night
Comes stealing on the scene,
Loyal sons of Saint Augustine
Sing a hymn of praise
To our dear old Alma Mater
And our High School days.

Saint Augustine, Saint Augustine
When we leave your sheltering walls
We will leave an echo ringing
Through your treasured halls.
We will leave an echo ringing
In the twilight cold,
While our memories are singing
"Purple and the Gold."

When the last big meet is over
And the last roll call is heard.
When the oldest pedagogue
Has had his final word
We shall come to Alma Mater
In our dream again
With a prayer to St. Augustine
And a strong Amen.

It is sung most commonly after many sporting events by both the crowd and participating team. However, it also recited at the end of Freshman Welcome Week, class and sports rallies, and Graduation. The first verse is most commonly the only verse recited. The second is used on occasion, while the third is used rarely if ever.


St. Augustine is one of four Catholic high schools in the San Diego area, leading to a natural state of heightened competition between the St. Augustine and the other Catholic schools in the region: the former University of San Diego High School, now known as Cathedral Catholic High School, and the former Marian Catholic High School, now known as Mater Dei Catholic High School. (The fourth, the Academy of Our Lady of Peace, is an all-girls school and has long been considered as a sister school to Saints).

The rivalry that is most prevalent is between Saints and USDHS / Cathedral, which has spanned many years. This bitter rivalry can be likened to a high school version of a USC/UCLA, Michigan/Ohio St. or UNC/Duke type feud. Since the early 1970s, a yearly 'Charity Bowl' (now called the 'Holy Bowl'), first hosted at Jack Murphy Stadium (Qualcomm Stadium) by Bob Hope, occasionally at Balboa Stadium, and now at Southwestern College Stadium, has been the highlight of the rivalry. The two schools' football teams have in fact met in every season since the foundation of University High, except for 2007, when the game was cancelled as part of a county-wide cancellation of all high school sports during the October wildfires and, like all other cancelled football games, was not rescheduled.

College matriculation[edit]

Saints is also known for its consistently high graduation rate, as well as its high proportion of students who intend to advance to universities; nearly every year the entire graduating class has done so, with the exception of a few students choosing to enter the military.

Top students regularly matriculate to various prestigious institutions such as Princeton University, Stanford University, Yale University, Harvard College, Cornell University, The University of Southern California, University of California, Berkeley, Boston College, Dartmouth College, The University of Pennsylvania, University of Notre Dame, Georgetown University, Washington and Lee University and Villanova University. A small number of students have gone on to attend the various United States military academies.

A large number of students traditionally choose to attend the various colleges of the University of California system including University of California, Los Angeles, and University of California, San Diego, and the various California State University campuses; in 2007, over 50 students planned to attend San Diego State University.

Others attend local private colleges, such as the Catholic University of San Diego. Some students attend community colleges locally. Some students attend schools abroad, especially in Mexico.[1]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ WASC-ACS. "WASC-Accrediting Commission for Schools". Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  2. ^ St Augustine Web Site (PDF) Retrieved 1 September 2015.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "FRED JONES". Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  4. ^

External links[edit]