St. Joseph High School (Westchester, Illinois)

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St. Joseph High School
10900 West Cermak Road
Westchester, Illinois 60154
United States
Coordinates 41°50′57″N 87°53′36″W / 41.849264°N 87.89341°W / 41.849264; -87.89341Coordinates: 41°50′57″N 87°53′36″W / 41.849264°N 87.89341°W / 41.849264; -87.89341
Type Private
Motto Vincit Qui Laborat
(Victory Belongs to Those Who Work)
Denomination Roman Catholic
Established 1960
Oversight Archdiocese of Chicago
President Br. Tom Harding FSC
Principal Ronald Hoover
Teaching staff 35
Grades 912
Gender Coeducational
Enrollment 605 (2011)
Campus type suburban
Color(s)      red
Athletics conference Chicago Catholic League
Mascot Joe Charger
Team name Chargers
Accreditation North Central Association of Colleges and Schools[1]
Newspaper The Lance
Yearbook The Blazon
Tuition US$9,450
Affiliation Christian Brothers

St. Joseph High School (or St. Joe's) is a Roman Catholic, coeducational, college prep school in Westchester, Illinois, and is sponsored by the Christian Brothers of De La Salle.

St. Joseph High School is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools and approved by the Illinois State Board of Education. St. Joe's is a member of the National Catholic Educational Association and the Christian Brothers Educational Association. The school is also a member of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) and the [Chicago Catholic League] (CCL).


Students come from more than 100 elementary schools from the western suburbs and the City of Chicago. The students are accepted for admission based on the entrance exam, grade school records, and teachers’ recommendations for freshman year. Transfer students are accepted based on their academic records, discipline reports, and recommendations.


Samuel Stritch, Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago, invited the Christian Brothers to start a new high school in Westchester, Illinois. Though classes began at the new school in September 1960, work on the building continued through early 1961. The school was dedicated on September 16, 1961 by Cardinal Stritch's successor, Cardinal Albert Gregory Meyer.[2]

The school earned national attention in the 1994 documentary film Hoop Dreams. The subjects of the film, William Gates and Arthur Agee, were both students at the school, and both played on the basketball team under head coach Gene Pingatore.

In 2004, the school became the first Catholic high school in the state of Illinois to enter an all wireless, all laptop learning campus. Every student and teacher receives an IBM/Lenovo laptop computer which they either purchase or lease from the school.[3]

St. Joseph was an all-male institution until 2005, when Francis George, O.M.I., Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago, permitted the school to become coed in light of the closing of Immaculate Heart of Mary High School, the neighboring all-female institution.[4] Prior to the opening of school in 2006, St. Joseph's purchased the former grounds and building of the Immaculate Heart of Mary High School, and started the second semester of the 2006-07 school year by moving classes into the building. The original St. Joseph High School building is now used primarily for athletic facilities.[5] Since 2008, enrollment has steadily declined, from a peak of near 800 to, now, just above 590.

Great Seal[edit]

In the center is the crest of the De La Salle Christian Brothers, also known as the Brothers of the Christian Schools, the Catholic congregation who sponsors St. Joseph High School. At the top of the crest is the Latin phrase Signum Fidei, which means "Sign of the Faith", and is the motto of the Brothers. Below the Brothers’ crest is the broken shield, the family emblem of St. John Baptist De La Salle, the 17th century French saint who founded the Christian Brothers. Below it hangs the star of Bethlehem, a symbol used by Lasallian schools around the world.

On one side of the star of faith is the symbol of the atomic age which depicts the school's dedication to learning and technology. On the other side is the hammer and chisel representing the school's patron saint, St. Joseph the Worker, who was noted for his simple, but hard work as a carpenter and as the foster father of Christ.

The entire crest is surrounded by plumes and a knight’s helmet, representing the English tradition of the Village of Westchester.

Finally, at the top of the great seal of St. Joseph High School is the school motto, “Vincit Qui Laborat,” which means “He conquers, who labors.” Directly below the school seal is a cross to indicate Roman Catholic Church.


There are three academic programs in which students pursue coursework: Honors, College Prep (A), and College Prep (B).[6]

Coursework is broken down into three divisions:[6]

  • Applied Sciences: Mathematics, Science, Computer/Technology, Physical Education
  • Language Arts: English, Fine Arts, Foreign Language
  • Social Sciences: Religious Studies, Business, Social Studies

The school offers the following AP courses: Calculus,[7] English Literature, Studio Art, Spanish Language,[8] and European History[9]

In addition, students have the opportunity to take certain business courses on-line through Triton College.[10]

Every spring, St. Joseph High School hosts ChargerFest and (since 1995) sponsors its US$10,000 Super Raffle, which are the school’s biggest fundraisers. ChargerFest features a buffet, door prizes, additional raffles, games, and music.

In December 2005, St. Joseph High School hosted an event entitled “Becoming a True Leader,” which featured prominent leaders of today sharing leadership experiences and advice with the entire St. Joe's student body and visitors. Cardinal George began the program by blessing the St. Joseph community and the school’s past heritage and new initiatives.


St. Joseph is a member of the Chicago Catholic League.

The school won the 1998—99 Illinois High School Association boys' basketball championship.

St. Joe's Head Basketball Coach Gene Pingatore and alumnus Isiah Thomas were both members of the first class of the East Suburban Catholic Conference’s Hall of Fame in 2006. The school won the 2014—2015 Illinois High School Association boys' basketball championship.

Notable alumni[edit]

Famous alumni include basketball players (left to right) Isiah Thomas, Evan Turner, and Demetri McCamey