Benedictine High School
Benedictine High School is an all boys academy that teaches ninth through twelfth grades. The school is located on North Sheppard Street in the heart of Richmond’s museum district. The school is associated with St. Benedict’s Church and is located at Hanover and North Sheppard Streets, which is where mass for the high school is held monthly. The school was founded by Benedictine monks from Belmont Abbey in North Carolina in 1911 and originally was named Benedictine College. The motto of the order of St. Benedict is –That in all things, God must be glorified. This motto reflects the attitudes and beliefs the faculty hopes to embody in their students and they glorify God by placing him at the center of all they are and all they do.
The founders wanted to establish a learning community for high school boys and adopted a military academy model, which is consistent with the monastic lifestyle based on order, discipline, and obedience. The school describes its objectives as fostering a life of virtue, nourishing a love of truth, and promoting a healthy lifestyle. A quote painted on the walls of the school office states that “The mission of Benedictine High School is to help our cadets develop morally, academically, physically, and spiritually so that they are ready to succeed as adults in college and in life.” The school seeks to promote Catholic values, leadership, academic excellence, and service. As a Catholic school, Benedictine teaches students to exemplify the values of their faith that will guide them through their lives. As an academic school, the goal is to prepare graduates for study at a four year institution of higher education and to encourage camaraderie and loyalty. As a military school, students are taught leadership skills, discipline, and teamwork.
Benedictine High School is Richmond’s only Catholic, military boys’ school. The leadership program is grounded in the Army JROTC curriculum, and the students first learn how to follow and then how to lead. Benedictine offers a traditional high school curriculum with an atmosphere that promotes a strong emphasis on moral values and theological education. There are 33 faculty members. Classes begin early in the morning and run through mid-afternoon. The students are required to take four years of theology and are given options of different religious classes their senior year. Also, four teachers teach all the theology courses for the seniors and swap classes throughout the year to keep the pupils interested and alert. Each student is also required to complete four community service hours every nine weeks. Benedictine High School admits qualified students without regard to race, color, ethnic background, national origin or religion.
A mass is held monthly at St. Benedict’s Church and also held for special events such as graduations and school dances. Students participate in the mass by offering most of the readings and singing in the choir. Each day a designated student is in charge of the morning announcements and recites a prayer selected from prayers such as Signum Crucis (Sign of the Cross), Doxologia Minor (Glory Be), The Hail Mary, The Lords Prayer, and I Confess. Students are highly encouraged to pray before each class. Students in foreign languages classes are also taught prayers in those languages and are encouraged to use them. There is a chapel in the basement of the school where a priest is generally available for prayer and confession. Other religious activities include a gathering of the student body and staff for a Liturgy of the Word prayer service annually before Thanksgiving and Christmas recess. Prior to the Easter recess the students perform a live version of The Stations of The Cross for the entire school.
Benedictine High School
304 North Sheppard Street
Richmond, VA 23220
Benedicting High School website
Head of the Benedictine Theology Department
Profile prepared by Kim O’Connor