Saint Sebastian's School

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Saint Sebastian's School
St. Sebastian'S School Seal.png
1191 Greendale Avenue
Needham, Massachusetts, (Norfolk County) 02492-4699
United States
Coordinates 42°16′10″N 71°12′25″W / 42.26944°N 71.20694°W / 42.26944; -71.20694Coordinates: 42°16′10″N 71°12′25″W / 42.26944°N 71.20694°W / 42.26944; -71.20694
Type Private
Motto Semen est sanguis Christianorum.
("The blood of Christians (i.e., Christian Martyrs) is the seed [of Faith]".)
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Established 1941
Founder William Cardinal O'Connell
Headmaster William L. Burke III
Chaplain Father John Arens
Faculty 65
Grades 712
Gender Boys
Enrollment 375 (2015)
Average class size 11
Campus Suburban
Campus size 26 acres (110,000 m2)
Color(s) Red and Black         
Athletics conference Independent School League
Mascot Arrow
Team name Arrows
Rival Belmont Hill
Accreditation New England Association of Schools and Colleges[1]
Publication The Quiver (literary magazine)
Newspaper The Walrus
The Dart
Yearbook The Arrow
Assistant Headmaster Michael Nerbonne
Dean of Students Brendan Sullivan
Director of Admissions Gregory Wishart
The Henry T. Lane ice rink at Saint Sebastian's School.

Saint Sebastian's School is an independent, all-boys Catholic secondary school located in Needham, Massachusetts on 26 acres (110,000 m2). The school instructs young men in grades seven through twelve. Founded in 1941 by William Cardinal O'Connell, Archbishop of Boston, the school is named after Saint Sebastian, the Christian martyr who survived an attempted execution by arrows. It is the only Catholic school in the Independent School League. Approximately 350 students are enrolled, with 25% receiving financial aid. Since 1990, the School headmaster is Mr. William L. Burke III.


Academic Building

The School features a rigorous academic program focusing on the liberal arts and offers Spanish and Classics courses. Writing is emphasized with numerous courses in the English curriculum, with Freshmen (9th grade) students taking a special class to hone their skills. Public speaking is also emphasized, with each student required to deliver an annual speech during his class's weekly chapel meetings.

The student:teacher ratio at St. Sebastian's is 7:1. The average class size is 11. The school offers 20 classes at the Advanced Placement level. Students are all assigned a faculty advisor and at the end of every academic quarter, awards for honors students are presented before the school community.


St. Sebastian's has a competitive athletic program, with 11 varsity sports, and 35 teams in total. Its school colors are red and black, and teams are known as the Arrows. Over the years the Arrows have had an intense rivalry with the Belmont Hill School. St. Sebastian's School is a member of the prestigious Independent School League.

The school has one of the top ice hockey programs in the United States, dating to its founding in 1941. The school regularly produces picks in the NHL Entry Draft, notably, four first round draft picks in its history, such as Noah Hanifin, make it the most of any high school in the US. In June 2003 the school was tied for the most picks from a single high school, ever, at four.[2][3] St. Sebastian's now has five first round picks after Hanifin's pick in 2015. The team is now coached by Sean McCann, a former Harvard assistant coach and captain, and also a Hobey Baker finalist. St. Sebastian's has produced the most current NHL players of any high school, at five.

The campus rink, the Henry T. Lane Rink, is named in honor of Henry Lane who served the school for over 40 years, first as the Varsity Hockey coach and later the Athletic Director. Lane was also a graduate of St. Sebastian's in the class of 1949. St. Sebastian's has had great success in recent years with lacrosse, winning the ISL Championship in 2012. The School's sailing team was also ranked seventh in the country in 2001. Also, the St. Sebastian's varsity golf team achieved back to back undefeated seasons in addition to back to back ISL Championship Victories in 2009 and 2010.[citation needed]

Furthermore, in its 2012 season, St. Sebastian's football team recorded an undefeated record of 9-0, capturing the ISL championship, as well as the NEPSAC championship, becoming the first team in the school's history to have an undefeated season while also winning a bowl game.[citation needed]

In 2017, the varsity baseball team won its first ISL Championship in ten years. The golf team also managed its second ISL Championship in two years, with two undefeated records.

Rounding out the spring in 2017, the varsity lacrosse team won the ISL Championship as well. After reaching as high as #8 in the national rankings, the varsity lacrosse team was invited to the first annual Geico High School Lacrosse Nationals hosted by Catholic University. The Arrows took down St. Anne's-Belfield (on ESPN3) with a final score of 21-8 and fought valiantly in a close 10-12 loss (on ESPNU) to The Hill School (Ontario, Canada). The lacrosse program has recently established itself as one of the top programs in New England, regularly producing D1 prospects at top college programs such as Maryland, Johns Hopkins, Dartmouth, Harvard, Cornell, Holy Cross, Michigan, Army, Penn, and Brown.

Extracurricular activities[edit]

St. Sebastian's has 6 student publications and 33 different clubs and activities. The school newspaper, The Walrus, is published monthly. The school's debate team competes among private secondary schools in New England. Other student groups manage The Arrow, the school yearbook, as well as The Quiver, a creative literary magazine, and The St. Sebastian's Journal, a collection of student-written scholarly essays. Other students run the school's closed-circuit television network, perform community service (The Arrow Club and Labels Are For Jars), perform in dramatic productions, compete in such activities as chess, robotics, support students of color (MPA), and advocate against destructive decisions such as drug and alcohol abuse (SADD).

The Guild of St. Irene[edit]

The Guild is the school's association for the mothers of students, rather like the PTA. Founded in 1949, the Guild works for the enhancement of St. Sebastian’s School through social events, fund-raising, and volunteer activities. It is named after St. Irene, who befriended and healed St. Sebastian.


  • Red & Black Day: A field day in which the student body is split into two teams (Red and Black). During the day these teams compete in competitive events like tug-o-war, flag football, wiffleball, frisbee golf, and Jenga. This day promotes school spirit and unity through healthy competition.
  • Painting The Hills: On the day before St. Sebastian's homecoming, the students paint the numbers and nicknames of the varsity football and soccer players on the hills that overlook the respective fields.
  • Unity Day: The Friday after the first quarter ends, students participate in "fishbowl" activities, talk in groups consisting of students in different grades, and listen to some alumni. This day promotes the act of coming together, and becoming more united, especially with students of different races, social backgrounds, interests, and religions.
  • Black History Month Assembly: Each year during Black History Month the students of MPA organize an assembly to appreciate the most celebrated heroes among African Americans.

Notable alumni[edit]

Politics and government service[edit]





External links[edit]