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Bellarmine College Preparatory is a private, Jesuit, all-male preparatory school in the College Park neighborhood of San Jose, California. Founded in 1851, Bellarmine and its sister San Jose Catholic girls school, Notre Dame High School, are the oldest secondary schools in the state.[citation needed]

Bellarmine College Preparatory
960 West Hedding Street


Coordinates37°20′32″N 121°55′07″W / 37.342172°N 121.918542°W / 37.342172; -121.918542Coordinates: 37°20′32″N 121°55′07″W / 37.342172°N 121.918542°W / 37.342172; -121.918542
TypePrivate, College-prep, Day
MottoMen for and with Others [3]
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic (Jesuit)
Patron saint(s)Robert Bellarmine
Established1851; 168 years ago (1851)
FounderFr. John Nobili, S.J.
CEEB code053080
PresidentChris Meyercord
PrincipalKristina Luscher
Faculty180 lay, 11 Jesuits
Enrollment1,625 (2009–2010)
Average class size25.5
Student to teacher ratio12.3:1
Campus size25 acres (100,000 m2)
Campus typeUrban
Color(s)Blue      and      White
Athletics34 teams in 13 sports
Athletics conferenceWest Catholic Athletic League (most sports)
Peninsula Athletic League (in lacrosse)
Skyhawk Conference (in rugby)
MascotBellarmine Bell
Team nameBells
AccreditationWestern Association of Schools and Colleges
PublicationBellarmine Political Review (newsmagazine)
Written Echo
(literary/art magazine)
NewspaperThe Bell Online
YearbookThe Carillon
EndowmentUS$57.6 million
TuitionUS$22,230 (2019–2020)[1][2]

Bellarmine is a Catholic school within the Diocese of San Jose[11] and sponsored by the Society of Jesus.



Bellarmine has its origin in 1851[12] when Father John Nobili, S.J., founded Santa Clara College for elementary, secondary, and college age students. This structure continued until 1903 when the elementary grades were discontinued.

In 1912 Santa Clara College became Santa Clara University and the high school division became Santa Clara Prep. In November 1925, Santa Clara Prep purchased the old campus of the College of the Pacific in the College Park neighborhood of San Jose for $77,500 and moved from the Santa Clara University campus to its new location. The school colors changed from the red and white of Santa Clara University to blue and white to honor Mary, the Mother of Jesus. In 1926 the school opened its doors with only 200 registered students. At the same time, its name was changed to Bellarmine at the prompting of Archbishop of San Francisco Edward Joseph Hanna, who suggested that the school honor Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, a Jesuit of the sixteenth century who had recently been canonized a saint and declared a Doctor of the Church.

The oldest building on campus is Berchmans Hall and was used as a dorm for seniors. The building is named for St. John Berchmans, a Jesuit seminarian who died in 1621. The house was built for Charles B. Polhemus[13] in 1916 and was originally at Stockton Avenue and Taylor (then called Polhemus) before being purchased and moved by the school to its current location at Elm Street and Hedding in 1946.

For almost 20 years the number of students remained at 200 until the school needed to increase its student population and improve its campus buildings. Fr. Gerald Sugrue, S.J., was given this task and began the process which would lead the school into the post-war era. The old College of the Pacific buildings were replaced by new classroom buildings, the Schott Academic Center, a library, St. Robert's Jesuit Residence Hall, Vincent O'Donnell Residence Hall, Samuel L. Liccardo Center, Wayne Valley Memorial Gymnasium, James A. Carney Science Center, the Leontyne Chapel, and Matthewson Hall. Bellarmine was a boarding school until the 1982–1983 academic year, when the O'Donnell dormitory was converted to classroom and administrative functions. Bellarmine's enrollment has grown to more than 1,500 students from all parts of the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2001, Bellarmine celebrated 150 years of educating young men in the Jesuit tradition. In 2010, the Sobrato Center for the Humanities and the Arts was opened, a building that includes numerous classrooms and a new theater. Also in 2010, the Schott Academic Center was demolished, and at the beginning of the 2011-12 school year Bellarmine dedicated its new Lorry I. Lokey Center, housing math, religious studies, and social science courses. A new student life center that contains counseling and resource centers opened in 2012. A newly renovated baseball diamond opened in 2013 and in 2014 a new wrestling building erected from where the old fitness center stood.


The curriculum requires coursework in English, mathematics, social studies, science, foreign language, fine arts, physical education, and theology, while additional courses in computer science are available. Bellarmine also provides an honors and Advanced Placement program, preparing students to take more than 24 AP tests.


The Bellarmine Bells field 34 teams in 13 sports in the West Catholic Athletic League (WCAL) of the CIF Central Coast Section. Sports include football, basketball, baseball, soccer, volleyball, water polo, swimming, diving, lacrosse, tennis, cross country, golf, wrestling, track and field, and ice hockey. As of the 2009-10 school year, Bellarmine added rugby as a club team, competing in spring in the Skyhawk Conference. The campus includes an outdoor swimming pool, baseball diamond, and gymnasium, along with new facilities for soccer, football, and all-weather track. Since 1981, Bellarmine leads CIF Central Coast Section schools with 115 Division 1 titles.

The swimming team won the California state championship in 2012.[14]

Co-curricular programEdit

Bellarmine's co-curricular program offers nearly 150 different student groups and clubs emphasizing the arts, athletics, hobbies, diversity, leadership, service, scholastics and student government. The intramural athletic program offers touch football, dodgeball, basketball, softball, and rugby.

Speech and debateEdit

With over 170 participants, speech and debate has experienced success at the local and national levels. In 1994, Bellarmine won the team speech and debate National Forensic League Championship in Kansas City, MO. In 2003 and 2004 the team won the California State Championship, then came in second in the state in 2005 when it was ranked as one of the top two teams in the nation. In 2006, its policy debate team captured the National Championship. For nine years, 2006-2014, Bellarmine's Speech and Debate program won the California State Championship. [15] Bellarmine also competes against local schools in the Coast Forensic League.[16] In 2009, it reached the final round of the Tournament of Champions.[17]

Fine artsEdit

In addition to course electives in painting, photography, ceramics, art history, sculpture, drawing, and graphic design, Bellarmine supports student groups including a cappella and improvisational. Music electives include symphonic band, lab band, jazz ensemble, percussion ensemble, wind ensemble, music appreciation, and choir. The symphonic band, percussion ensemble, and jazz ensemble have won honors and in the Heritage Festival in Los Angeles the Bells won 1st place in symphonic band, 1st and 2nd place in percussion ensemble (at the most advanced level), and the sweepstakes award for highest overall score.[citation needed] Bellarmine also awards national music awards including the John Philip Sousa Award and the Louis Armstrong Award. Student concerts often showcase these groups along with other student bands. Over 100 students participate in the Theater Arts program which produces a fall drama, winter musical, and spring comedy. Students also get a chance to display their film talents in the Bellarmine Film Festival in April and May.


The robotics team is named the Cheesy Poofs, with a team number of 254. It has won the world championships in 2017 and 2018.[18][19][20]


The College Park Caltrain station is adjacent to the campus. The station is only served by 4 trains a day, timed to correspond with the school's hours. The school has lobbied Caltrain to avoid cutting service to the station.[21]


  • Bellarmine Art Magazine – also known as BAM, the annual art magazine presenting students' works over the year, published by Bellarmine's Creative Coalition (previously known as the Bellarmine Intergalactic Design Studio Club)
  • Bellarmine Political Review – also known as BPR, the newsmagazine covering news outside campus, produced by students
  • The Bell Online – the official student newspaper covering school news, produced by students.
  • The Carillon – the yearbook and news website covering school news, produced by students
  • Connections – a magazine published for the alumni, friends of the school, and parents of current students, replacing the parent magazine "The Bell News"
  • The Family Newsletter – produced by the Bellarmine Mothers' Guild, offers news of interest to the current students and their families
  • The Written Echo – a collection of various prose and poetry works from students; plans have been made to publish a joint edition with sister school Presentation High School.

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ "Tuition - Bellarmine College Preparatory". Retrieved 2019-07-16.
  2. ^ " - Bellarmine College Preparatory". Retrieved 2019-07-16.
  3. ^ "Admissions - Bellarmine College Preparatory". Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  4. ^ "School administration". About Us. Bellarmine College Preparatory. Archived from the original on 1 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-30.
  5. ^ "Welcome". Admissions. Bellarmine College Preparatory. Archived from the original on 2 November 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-24.
  6. ^ "Achievements". Academics. Bellarmine College Preparatory. Archived from the original on 25 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-30.
  7. ^ Martinez, Jennifer (2007-11-30). "Donations to same-sex schools show gender gap". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 2007-11-30.
  8. ^ "Program". Athletics. Bellarmine College Preparatory. Archived from the original on 24 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-30.
  9. ^ "Conference Affiliation". Athletics. Bellarmine College Preparatory. Archived from the original on 10 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-30.
  10. ^ WASC-ACS. "WASC-Accrediting Commission for Schools". Retrieved 2009-06-05.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-03-22. Retrieved 2010-04-23.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ Santa Clara University. "About SCU". Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  13. ^ a b c "Oldest building at Bellarmine boasts long history in San Jose neighborhood". 13 August 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  14. ^ National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association
  15. ^ BCP news Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine BCP archives BCP detail BCP
  16. ^ "CFL". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2006-12-07.
  17. ^ "Westminister v. Bellarmine". Archived from the original on 2009-05-08. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
  18. ^ Bidwell, Allie (May 6, 2014). "Robotics Competition Teaches Students Leadership, Not Just Engineering". US News & World Report.
  19. ^ NOGUCHI, SHARON (May 18, 2017). "Bellarmine's Cheesy Poofs win world robotics competition". The Mercury News. Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  20. ^ O'Connor, Brandon (April 24, 2018). "Team 456-Siege Robotics competes for world title". The Vicksburg Post. Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  21. ^ Gottshalk, Mary (March 24, 2011). "Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose campaigns to keep Caltrain station open". The Mercury News. Retrieved 2018-03-17.
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  23. ^ Jim Harrington Oakland Tribune (6 May 2012). "Review: Bassnectar thrills hometown crowd in San Jose". Retrieved 24 January 2016.
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  25. ^ Connections (PDF). Winter 2007. pp. 26–29 Missing or empty |title= (help)
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  28. ^ "Site Has Moved". Retrieved 24 January 2016.
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  30. ^ "Kevin Frandsen Statistics and History -". Retrieved 24 January 2016.
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  32. ^ "Local guy Juan Gamboa legging it out with San Jose SaberCats". 24 March 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^ "Francis Maka Bio - ARENAFOOTBALL.COM". Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  36. ^ "Philippine Daily Inquirer - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  37. ^ a b "Metroactive Features - Bellarmine Preparatory School". Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  38. ^ "Kevin McMahon profile". USA Track & Field.
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  42. ^
  43. ^ "Eric Thames Statistics and History -". Retrieved 24 January 2016.
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  45. ^ "Meet the Associate Attorney General". Retrieved 24 January 2016.

External linksEdit