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St. Peter's Preparatory School
Private high school in Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
Private, day, college-prep school in Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
Students are enrolled from counties in Central and Northern New Jersey, as well as from nearby New York City. The school has a faculty of 83, made up of 2 Jesuits, 71 lay teachers, and 10 counselors seven of whom work on college placement. Tuition for the 2020-21 school year is $19,456, while mandatory fees total $1,300.
As of the 2017-18 school year, the school had an enrollment of 947 students and 80 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student-teacher ratio of 11.8:1. The school's student body was 59.1% (560) White, 12.7% (120) Hispanic, 11.6% (110) two or more races, 10.6% (100) Black and 5.6% (53) Asian.
Foundation and growth
Saint Peter's Prep was founded in the Paulus Hook section of Jersey City as one department within Saint Peter's College (now Saint Peter's University) by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 3, 1872. Along with the Preparatory department were the Collegiate and Grammar departments. As a school for young men, Saint Peter's opened in September 1878 with seventy-one students in the Preparatory department. Academic degrees were first conferred in June 1889. At this time the only building on the campus was Shalloe Hall at 144 Grand Street. Mulry Hall, on the corner of Grand and Warren Streets, was built around the turn of the century as a local social club, before being acquired by the school.
Separation from the college
In 1918 Jesuit Superiors decided to close the College division in order to focus more attention on other Universities in the Northeast. It remained closed until 1930; during this time, however, the Preparatory division remained open. The College division reopened in another location in 1930 and in 1936 settled at its current location. The College and Preparatory departments were officially incorporated separately on February 10, 1955. Although Saint Peter's College has not been located at 144 Grand for over eighty years, at an entrance to the original building, Shalloe Hall, a window pane above the door still reads "Saint Peter's College."
The original building, Shalloe Hall, is named after Francis J. Shalloe, S.J., and was built in the 1870s. Mulry Hall was dedicated in 1913. Across the street is the Humanities Building (previously known as the Freshman and Science Building and still commonly referred to as the English Building). This four-storied building was constructed in the 1880s and until 1924 housed the Academy of Saint Aloysius, an all-girls school. Prep acquired the building in 1924 and in 1995 completed a thorough renovation of the structure, including a revamping of the Siperstein Library. Hogan and Burke Halls on the west side of campus were constructed in 1942 and 1965-66, respectively. In 1948 the Memorial Gymnasium was dedicated. It is commonly referred to as "The Barn", from its unique shape.
In 2005 Prep completed the purchase of the vacant Saint Peter's Grammar School as well as the Saint Peter's Church adjacent to Prep's existing property. Recent renovations over the past twenty years include a remodeling of Warren Street as a pedestrian walkway during school hours, named after Pope John Paul II, the upgrade of the Humanities Building and Memorial Gymnasium, and the construction of James F. Keenan, S.J., field about three blocks away. The new field has provided the soccer, rugby, and lacrosse teams a home field, as well as practice space for the football and baseball teams. Beginning in the 2010-2011 academic year the former church was converted into a temporary multi-purpose space to serve as the lunch room, renamed the "O'Keefe Commons." In October 2011, renovations of the 50-year-old Burke Hall were completed and the building was rechristened the "Moriarty Science Center." Major renovations on Mulry Hall began at the conclusion of the 2013-2014 school year, including an updated facade and modern classrooms.
Recent years and the future
On June 22, 2009, the board of trustees voted unanimously to approve phase one of the Campus Master Plan. Developed over several years, the plan lays out the future of Prep's campus. Given the limited amount of space available in downtown Jersey City, every effort was made to maximize the limited resource.
Phase one included a remodeling of Saint Peter's Church into a temporary cafeteria/multi-purpose space known as the O'Keefe Commons. This was completed over the summer of 2010 in time for the beginning of the 2010 academic year. This phase also included a complete renovation of Burke Hall along Warren Street into a premier science building, including roof space for a greenhouse and other outdoor learning capabilities. A new main entrance along Warren Street was also constructed.
The remaining phases of the Master Plan were to be approved by the Board once funding for the remainder of the project was secured. Prep introduced a campaign, "Imagine: The Fund for Saint Peter's Prep," for the financing of the Master Plan projects. Total gifts, as of September 29, 2010, were over $13.6 million.
The other phases included the construction of a large multi-purpose space in the York Street parking lot, extensive renovations of Mulry Hall and Hogan Hall, a major reconfiguration of the former Jesuit residence, possible accommodation for parking on campus underground, construction of a new academic building (along York Street), and the conversion of the upper floors of the Humanities Building (former Freshman Building) into office space for non-academic administration and external affairs.
Hogan Hall was renovated in summer 2017, and renovation of Mulry hall is to begin in May 2018.
Students at Prep are required to take one year of Latin (two if they receive a scholarship), three years of mathematics (four years recommended), three years of history, two years of science (at least three years recommended), four years of English, two years (three years recommended) of modern language (Spanish, French, German or Italian), and four years of religion. Prep offers art and music classes for students wishing to broaden their creativity and to pursue the arts in college. Independent study courses include Greek Honors, Portfolio Art, and instrumental music. Other elective classes are offered to juniors and seniors, and there are many honors and AP classes to choose from. The school has inaugurated the John E. Browning, S.J., '46, Learning Center, which features resources for individual learning and a learning specialist.
Saint Peter's offers 18 sports and 38 teams, including football, soccer, cross country, basketball, bowling, fencing, indoor track, wrestling, swimming, ice hockey, baseball, golf, volleyball, outdoor track, lacrosse, tennis, and rugby. In 2010, Prep inaugurated a club crew team which was made varsity in 2012, and in 2011 a club water polo team.
Saint Peter's Prep Marauders Logo
The football team won the NJSIAA Non-Public A North state sectional championship in 1989 and in Non-Public Group IV in 1994 and 2005. Saint Peter's Prep football won the 2005 Non-Public Group IV state championship defeating Don Bosco Prep 22-15. In 2006, Saint Peter's Prep fell short in the finals of the Non-Public, Group IV tournament, losing to Don Bosco Prep 41-0. Saint Peters won the Non Public Group 4 Championship in 2015, with a win over Paramus Catholic.
Prep has one of the most successful football organizations in New Jersey. On September 14, 2007, coach Rich Hansen surpassed coach Bill Cochrane as the all-time most-winning coach in Prep history, and was honored in a pre-game ceremony on September 28 against Bergen Catholic High School that was nationally televised on ESPNU. Coach Hansen set a record in the 2007 year, winning 70 consecutive HCIAA games.
On November 17, 2007 the Marauders beat Bergen Catholic by a score of 41-7. This victory advanced Prep to its third state sectional championship game in three years, all of which have been against Don Bosco Preparatory High School. On December 2, 2007, the Marauders played Don Bosco Prep again, and lost 42-14 in the Non-Public, Group IV sectional championship game. This was the third consecutive state championship game in which the two met, with Don Bosco winning two of three.
The Saint Peter's Prep volleyball team achieved 100 consecutive wins in Hudson County in 2006, but ended the winning streak at the county championships against Bayonne High School that same year. It has consistently been ranked among the top ten teams of the state of New Jersey. The team won the 2007 Boys Volleyball - North state sectional championship over Bayonne High School (25-17, 25-20). The team moved on to play for the NJSIAA overall state championship on June 8, 2007 against East Brunswick High School, falling 25-21, 25-22.
The Prep basketball team won the 2008 Hudson County Coviello Division Championship by defeating #2 seeded Union Hill by a score of 48-47. In the process they pulled off "upsets" against #1 seeded Bayonne, 79-76 in overtime, and #5 seeded Emerson in the 2nd round, 71-55. This marked the first time the #8 seed won the tournament.
The swimming team has won over three dozen county titles, holds the majority of Hudson County's swim records, and Prep swimmers and divers have accounted for more titles than any other team in the past 30 years. The team drew attention throughout the state in 2011 when beloved senior swimmer, B.J. Giannone, collapsed and died at a swim meet at Saint Peter's College (now Saint Peter's University). The team took on NJ #7 Scotch Plains, the school which Giannone's girlfriend swam for, only 3 days after his death. The crowd set unofficial records for attendance at a regular-season New Jersey high school dual meet. The team also wore sweatshirts printed with the number 20.67, the time that the official score board malfunctioned to in the 50 freestyle on B.J.'s last individual race on the night of his death. The saying "Live Like B.J." become popular among teammates, family, and friends, and some members of that team took to wearing bracelets with the saying. Giannone's memory was memorialized in 2013 with the creation of the annual B.J. Giannone Award for "embodying the spirit and camaraderie of B.J." Junior and team captain, Matt Jasko, who was a freshman on the team at the time of B.J.'s death, was the first to receive the honor. In 2014 the team won its 40th county title and finished ranked 8th in the state.
The Saint Peter's Prep Crew team is led by Coach Alex Canale. In 2013, the JV 4+ took first place at Stotesbury Cup Regatta, the largest high school regatta in the world. The team also won the SRAA National Championship Regatta and placed second at the Garden State championships. Along with the JV 4+, other Prep boats have succeeded in many regattas.
The fencing team won the overall state championship in 2017 and 2018, and was sabre team winner in 2017. In 2017, the Saint Peter's Prep fencing team defeated Columbia High School 16-11 to win the state championship, the second Prep team to win a state championship after the football team.
At Saint Peter's, each year of study includes a Christian Service requirement. Service is as follows:
Freshmen - 10 hours: fulfilled through Freshman Day of Service
Sophomores - 10 hours: fulfilled through club or athletic team service opportunities along with Koinonia.
Juniors - 60 hours: to be decided upon with direction from the Campus Ministry department.
At the end of his sophomore year, a student may participate in a summer immersion trip, typically lasting one week. Locations of trips include West Virginia, Camden, and the New York Metropolitan area, among others. Completion of this trip fulfills a student's junior service requirement.
The summer of 2009 saw the introduction of the school's first international service trip. Ten rising juniors and seniors, along with two faculty members, traveled to the Working Boys' Center in Quito, Ecuador. The group updated a blog with reflections and experiences throughout the trip.
Retreats are an essential component of Saint Peter's Campus Ministry program. They provide students with the chance to step away from their busy lives and reflect on their relationships with God, family, and friends. The retreats also offer students an opportunity to reflect on themselves - providing them the time to examine who they are, where they come from, and what they believe in. The retreats are as follows:
Freshman "IgNite" Retreat: It occurs a few days before the regular school year begins. Incoming freshman stay overnight with their homeroom at the school where they are introduced to Ignatian spirituality. This is mandatory for all freshmen. Formerly, the retreat began after school and ended the following day. This retreat first took place in 2007.
Koinonia: This combines service and retreat in an Urban Immersion experience. As a homeroom, students spend a weekend together serving at a food bank and senior center in order to work with the poor and marginalized in society. The retreat shows the importance of "a faith that does justice."
Kairos: When translated from Greek, kairos means "the appropriate time" and is loosely translated as "God's Time." It is an opportunity for juniors to reflect on the presence of God in their everyday lives. The themes for the four-day retreat are based on Ignatius'Spiritual Exercises, and they challenge students to a deeper self-examination than the reflections of previous retreats. The first took place in 2007, and there are now six scheduled each year.
Emmaus: The Emmaus Retreat program has been a part of Prep since Fr. Ned Coughlin, S.J., directed the first "Emmaus Weekend" in 1977. A three-day retreat, Emmaus provides students with the opportunity to examine their own spirituality and their relationship with God, form a community with classmates and faculty members, and open their minds and hearts to the experiences, beliefs, and feelings of others. There are eight Emmaus retreats throughout the year. The retreat is optional, although most seniors attend. There have been over 260 Emmaus retreats over the years. Although the location of the retreat has changed over the years from the Jersey Shore to the mountains of Passaic County to its current location in Warwick, New York, the essence of the experience remains one that stays with Prep men for many years.
Formerly, Emmaus was a retreat available to juniors and Kairos for seniors; however, this changed in the 2011-2012 school year. Currently, Kairos is the junior retreat and Emmaus is the senior retreat.
Social justice issues
Starting in 1998, Prep has hosted an annual Arrupe Lecture, named after the former Superior General of the Society of Jesus Pedro Arrupe, S.J., on a social justice topic. From 1998 through 2008 this entailed a one-time lecture on such various topics as Jewish-Christian relations, the death penalty, and urban poverty. In 2009, under the direction of then-campus minister Ryan Heffernan, the program took a new direction, becoming a week-long program focused on social justice issues - in 2009 genocide and ethnic conflict and in Spring 2010 poverty in the United States. The Fall 2010 series addressed United States immigration issues.
^ abTuition & Fees, Saint Peter's Preparatory School. Accessed September 5, 2020. "Tuition for the 2020-21 academic year is $19,456.... The mandatory annual fees, which are not included in tuition for the academic year, are due in full on June 1. These fees are an activity fee of $750, a book fee of $300, and a technology fee of $250."
^Bove, Matt. "Boys Fencing: St. Peter's Prep wins first state title, 16-11, over Columbia", NJ advance Media, February 23, 2017. Accessed February 23, 2017. "One more touch for junior Declan Alvidrez was all that separated St. Peter's Prep from its first state title in program history with the Maruaders ahead of Columbia by four points in the state championship meet.... After what felt like an eternity with some long points, Alvidrez was able to persevere and get the final touch to clinch the meet with 14 points, and St. Peter's Prep went on to win by a score of 16-11 in the NJSIAA boys fencing state finals Wednesday at Morris Hills High."
^Manual of the Legislature of New Jersey, 1986, p. 273. Accessed August 4, 2019. "Charles J. Catrillo, Rep., Jersey City - Assemblyman Catrillo was born in Jersey City Aug. 13, 1945. He attended St. John's School and St. Peter's Prep."
^"Class Notes: The '90s", p. 59, Prep Magazine, Fall 2016. Accessed July 9, 2018. "Nick Chiaravalloti, '90 represents District 31 (Bayonne and Jersey City) in the New Jersey State Assembly."
^Aron, Michael. Interview with James P. Dugan, Eagleton Institute of Politics Center on the American Governor at Rutgers University, February 27, 2008. Accessed July 22, 2019. "Q: Did you go to public or parochial school? James P. Dugan: I went to parochial grammar school, and I went to St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City, a Jesuit prep school, which I always preface, or I always continue the many descriptions of St. Peter's Prep as the best learning experience I ever had."
^The Life of Will Durant, Will Durant Foundation. Accessed June 7, 2007. "His teachers were nuns, and he practiced his religion so fervently that no one doubted that he would become a priest. In 1900 he entered St. Peter's Academy and College in Jersey City, where his teachers were Jesuits, and, one of these, Father McLaughlin, urged him to enter the Jesuit Order following his graduation in 1907."
^"Bishop Flesey", Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark. Accessed July 9, 2018. "He attended St. Aedan's Grammar School and St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City, graduated from St. Peter's College with a BA in History in 1964, and attended Immaculate Conception Seminary until 1969, when he was ordained."
^Hague, Jim. "Fine night for Prep Hall of Famers", The Hudson Reporter, May 17, 2005. Accessed July 9, 2018. "Hannan spent 10 years in the big leagues, after beginning his baseball career in Jersey City, attending St. Peter's Prep. Last week, Hannan's trip down memory lane included a stop back in his hometown, when he was among 19 former great athletes and coaches honored in the inaugural class of the St. Peter's Prep Athletic Hall of Fame at the induction dinner at Puccini's in Jersey City."
^Lynch, James. "The Cost of Energy: What's The Answer", The New York Times, January 7, 1979. Accessed July 17, 2019. "Born in Teaneck and raised to Maywood, Mr. Hynes attend St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City -- "half the politicians in New Jersey went there, it seems" -- riding three buses for the 15-mile trip from his home."
^Janiga, Bruce. "Side by Side with Ken Jennings", Sondheim.com, undated. Accessed July 23, 2008. "I lived in Jersey City, went to St. Peter's Prep, went to St. Peter's College on a dramatic scholarship."
^Gardner, Amanda. "Theater; Tony Awards' New Jersey Ties", The New York Times, July 23, 2008. Accessed November 7, 2017. "Nathan Lane (nominated for best performance by a leading actor in a musical for The Producers) was born Joe Lane in Jersey City in 1956. Mr. Lane grew up on Clendenny Avenue and can track much of his early career to New Jersey. His break-out role was as the Common Man in A Man for All Seasons while attending St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City."
^Castro, Peter. "Charmed Life", People (magazine), November 3, 1997. Accessed July 9, 2018. "Don't let that beguiling smile fool you. Newcomer Paolo Montalban will roll right over anyone who gets in his way.... At St. Peter's Prep in New Jersey, Montalban, who had already mastered the piano and violin, learned to play the sax, bassoon, flute and piccolo."
^Manual of the Legislature of New Jersey, 1986, p. 229. Accessed February 23, 2020. "Edward T. O'connor, Jr., Dem., Jersey City - Senator O'Connor was born in Jersey City Oct. 6, 1942, He attended St. John the Baptist School, St. Peter's Prep, and St. Peter's University, where he was graduated with a degree in modern languages."
^Williamson, Don. Confrontations: No Challenge Too Tough, p. 287. Page Publishing Inc., 2017. ISBN9781635681710. Accessed July 17, 2019. "That desperate nonsense was rejected by New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Mark Sullivan (St. Peter's Prep alumnus), saying Hecker had until the end of that day to pay the judgement or be jailed that afternoon."