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St. John's College High School

St. John's College High School in Washington, D.C., established in 1851, is the second oldest Catholic Christian Brother's school in the United States, and the oldest Army JROTC school. It was founded by Brother John of Mary, F.S.C., and two other Christian Brothers in St. Matthew's parish, at 15th and G Streets.

St. John's College High School
2607 Military Road, NW
Chevy Chase, Washington, D.C. 20015
United States
Coordinates 38°57′44″N 77°3′17″W / 38.96222°N 77.05472°W / 38.96222; -77.05472Coordinates: 38°57′44″N 77°3′17″W / 38.96222°N 77.05472°W / 38.96222; -77.05472
Type Private, military
Motto Religio, Scientia (Latin)
(Religion, Knowledge)
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Established 1851
President Jeffrey Mancabelli
Principal Christopher Themistos
Faculty 75; 70% hold a master's degree or higher
Gender Coeducational
Enrollment 1,200 (2016)
Campus Urban
Campus size 30 acres (120,000 m2)
Color(s) Scarlet and gray         
Athletics conference WCAC
Accreditation MSA[1]
Dean of Students Courtney Hall
Dean of Academics Shannon Egan
Admissions Director Susan Hinton
Athletic Director Brian Griffin
Head of JROTC Program CSM McConnell
JROTC website JROTC website



The second oldest Christian Brothers school in the United States,[citation needed] St. John's College was established for young men by Brother John of Mary, F.S.C., and two other Christian Brothers in St. Matthew's parish, 15th and G Streets NW. The three men had been members of the faculty of Calvert Hall College, Baltimore, since its founding in 1845.

A JROTC program, which is now optional, was established in 1915 under the guidance of the United States Army and Major J. Dupray. In addition to regular classroom instruction, cadets participate in regional and national competitions as members of Raiders (called the Rangers until 1994), the drill team (called the "McGovern Rifles"; see notable alumni below), rifle team (marksmanship club), and color guard. The regiment participates in many events each year, such as the annual Cherry Blossom Parade and Presidential inaugurations (including the 2005 Inauguration of George W. Bush). As of 2005, 50 percent of the students participate in the JROTC program.

Because of space limitations, the Brothers moved the school to Carroll Hall at 10th and G Streets NW in 1866 at the invitation of Father Walter. In 1868, the Brothers returned to St. Matthew's parish at the request of Father Charles White, who had built a new school named St. Matthew's Institute at the corner of 16th and L Streets NW.

In 1878, the Brothers purchased the 1225 Vermont Avenue NW site of St. John's from the estate of General Montgomery C. Meigs. In August of that year, the construction of the building was begun. At first it was known as St. John's Collegiate Institute, and finally, in 1887, it assumed the title of St. John's College. That year, the college was incorporated under the District of Columbia statutes with the power to confer the academic degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts. At the commencement of June 24, 1892, the bachelor's degree was conferred on six young men.[citation needed]

As the undergraduate departments of The Catholic University of America and Georgetown University expanded, it was decided in 1921 by the Board of Trustees of St. John's to discontinue the college department and devote the school facilities to secondary education alone. In the meantime, St. John's did pioneer work in commercial education by opening a school of commerce and finance at 13th and Massachusetts Avenue NW. Three years after the college department was discontinued, the annex building, housing the gym, swimming pool, and freshman classes, was built.[citation needed]

St. John's grew for the next thirty years, until it became apparent that the Vermont Avenue facilities were no longer adequate. With further expansion in mind, the Brothers purchased the present campus bounded by Rock Creek Park. This property, together with the mansion located there, provided sufficient space for the freshman classes and athletic events.[citation needed]

As the Vermont Avenue buildings became less useful, the Brothers decided to build a new school on the Military Road Campus. The new St. John's opened to more than one thousand students in September 1959.[citation needed]

In 1991 St. John's became a co-educational military optional institution.[citation needed]


St. John's teams play in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.


The 2008 St. John's vs. Gonzaga College High School football game was recognized as one of the top 25 rivalries in the nation by inclusion in the Great American Rivalry Series. In 2013 the football team beat their rival Gonzaga and made it to the WCAC championship game[clarification needed] for the first time in over 20 years, where they lost to the Dematha Stags.[2][3] On Nov. 18, 2017, St. John’s varsity football team defeated Gonzaga 30-7 to win the 2017 WCAC championship. They finished the season having gone undefeated in the WCAC for the first time since 1976 and having won the school’s first football conference championship since 1989.[4] The 2017 team is also the only St. John's football team to ever defeat both DeMatha (first win since 1994) and Gonzaga twice in the same season. In 2017 the St. John's varsity football team finished their season ranked 17th and 19th in the country, after starting the pre-season ranked No. 21.[5][6][better source needed]


In 2007, the St. John's girls' soccer team was ranked #1 in the nation in early September.[7] After finishing with two losses for the season, they were ranked #5.[8] In 2011 they were ranked #15 in the nation at the end of the season.[citation needed]


A new field with multipurpose for football was installed in the summer of 2009.[citation needed]


St. John's is home to one of the nation's first 100 US Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program. A mandatory military program was established in 1915 under the guidance of the U.S. Army and Major J. Dupray, The program is now optional, with less than 1/5 of the student body enrolled. The St. John's JROTC is one of the 100 original programs established by the U.S. Congress in 1915. Since its inception, the program's mission has been to motivate students to become better citizens, with the goals of developing leadership, citizenship, self-confidence and discipline.

Students are enrolled in one credited class per year while participating in the JROTC program. In addition to regular classroom instruction, students may also participate in challenging and fun activities throughout the year. Cadets participate in regional and nation competitions as members of the Raiders Team, Drill Team, Rifle Team, and Color Guard. Furthermore, cadets may join the Regimental Band, and a limited number of cadets may attend an adventure-oriented summer camp. One of the highlights of the year is the annual Regimental Ball. Each year the JROTC Regiment marches on the football field prior to the annual football game between St. John's and Gonzaga. In May the regiment undergoes its annual federal inspections (AFI). The St. John's JROTC Regiment is an Honor Unit with Distinction, the highest unit award possible for any JROTC unit. The JROTC motto is "To motivate young people to become better citizens."

Notable alumniEdit

External linksEdit


  1. ^ MSA-CSS. "MSA-Commission on Secondary Schools". Retrieved July 31, 2009. 
  2. ^ Parker, Brandon. "DeMatha tops St. John's to capture first WCAC football championship since 2008". Washington Post. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  3. ^ Coach Joe Patterson enters his fifth season at the helm. From the St. John's website. Retrieved on November 25, 2007.
  4. ^ Northwest Current. URL=
  5. ^ MaxPreps
  6. ^ USA Today High School Sports
  7. ^ NSCAA/Adidas National and Regional Rankings: National 2nd Poll. National Soccer Coaches Association of America (September 18, 2007). Retrieved on November 25, 2007.
  8. ^ NSCAA/Adidas National and Regional Rankings: Final Regular Season Poll. National Soccer Coaches Association of America (September 18, 2007). Retrieved on November 25, 2007.
  9. ^ "Washington Post Spring 2008 All Met - Baseball". The Washington Post. 
  10. ^ "About James Kimsey". Kimsey Foundation. Retrieved October 12, 2007. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ Graham, Scott; Staff (December 26, 2003). "The man behind the 'armour'". Baltimore Business Journal. Retrieved October 12, 2007.