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Bellarmine College Preparatory

Bellarmine College Preparatory
Men for and with Others[1]
Tradition, Wisdom, Justice
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
(For the greater glory of God)
960 West Hedding Street
San Jose, California, 95126
United States
Type Private
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic (Jesuit)
Patron saint(s) Robert Bellarmine
Established 1851
Founder Fr. John Nobili, S.J.
Status Active
CEEB Code 053080
President Chris Meyercord
Principal Kristina Luscher
Faculty 180 lay, 11 Jesuits
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 1,625 (2009–2010)
Average class size 25.5
Student to teacher ratio 12.3:1
Campus size 25 acres (100,000 m2)
Campus type Urban
Color(s) Blue      and      White
Athletics 34 teams in 13 sports
Athletics conference West Catholic Athletic League, Peninsula Athletic League (in lacrosse), and the Skyhawk Conference (in rugby)
Mascot Bellarmine Bell
Team name Bells
Rival Saint Francis High School
Accreditation Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Average SAT scores 1,889 (2014)
Average ACT scores 27.8 (2014)
Publication Bellarmine Political Review (newsmagazine)
Written Echo
(literary/art magazine)
Newspaper The Cardinal
Yearbook The Carillon
Endowment US$57.6 million
Tuition US$18,260 (2014–2015)

Bellarmine College Preparatory is a private, Jesuit, all-male, secondary school located in San Jose, California. Founded in 1851, it and Notre Dame High School are the oldest secondary schools in the state.

Bellarmine is a Catholic school within the Diocese of San Jose[9] and sponsored by the Society of Jesus. It is home to successful athletic and academic teams and has high graduation and college attendance rates.


  • History 1
  • Student body 2
  • Academics 3
  • Athletics 4
  • Spirituality and service 5
  • Co-curricular program 6
    • Speech and Debate 6.1
    • Robotics 6.2
    • Journalism 6.3
    • KBCP Student Operated Radio 6.4
    • Fine arts 6.5
    • Freshman Experience Program 6.6
    • Quiz Bowl 6.7
  • Publications 7
  • Notable alumni 8
  • Miscellaneous 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


Bellarmine has its origin in 1851[10] 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[11] 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 1984–1985 academic year, when the O'Donnell dormitory was converted to classroom and administrative functions. From an enrollment of 200 Bellarmine 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. In addition to the baseball diamond, a new wrestling building has been erected from where the old fitness center stood. It opened in 2014.

Student body

Most of Bellarmine's 1,600 students come from the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties, with some students commuting for hours each day to attend the school in the South Bay. In terms of religious affiliation, 75% of the students are Christian (60% Catholic, 14% Protestant). Approximately one in five students receive partial or full scholarships. Additionally, one in five students have a father or brother who attended Bellarmine.


Graduation requirements require coursework in English, mathematics, social studies, science, foreign language, fine arts, physical education, and theology, with additional courses in computer science available. With its emphasis on college preparation, Bellarmine also provides an honors and Advanced Placement program, preparing students to take more than 24 AP tests, with 87% of test scores qualifying for college credit, as of 2007.[12] In 2007, 95.2% of the graduates chose to attend four-year institutions throughout the United States and abroad, both public and private, including the University of California system, the Big Ten, the Big East, the Ivy League, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), the NESCAC, and the United States military academies.[13]


The Bellarmine Bells field 34 teams in 13 sports over three seasons in the West Catholic Athletic League (WCAL) of the CIF Central Coast Section. Sports include football, basketball, baseball, soccer, volleyball, water polo, swimming, 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. The new rugby team competes during the spring season in the Skyhawk Conference. Athletic facilities on campus include an outdoor swimming pool, a new all-weather track, new soccer field, baseball diamond, new football field, a gymnasium and a weight-lifting room. Since 1981, Bellarmine has won more than 115 Central Coast Section (CCS) Division 1 team titles, more than any other school in the section. Bellarmine's 2002 varsity soccer team was said to be one of the top five high school boy's soccer teams in the past decade after a 25-0-0 season.

Swimming, Cross-Country, soccer, volleyball and water polo are six of Bellarmine's most notable sports. Under the direction of Coach Larry Rogers, the swim team has won every CCS championship since 1985 and the water polo team has won 14 of the last 15 CCS championships. The swim team title streak caught the eye of the San Francisco Chronicle’s Mitch Stevens, who wrote, "That put [Bellarmine Coach Larry] Rogers...and the Bells...above such storied high school programs as Poway of San Diego wrestling, Mission Viejo swimming and yes, even De La Salle football." In June, 2012, the team was recognized by National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (NISCA) as the California state champions. In 2011, the Bellarmine cross-country team placed 13th at the California State Meet and 8th in Division 1. The team has placed high at the state meet for the last five years and has won WCAL every year since 2005. In 2011, the team was ranked as high as 27th in the nation according to ESPN.rise. Bellarmine's volleyball team has won nine of the thirteen CCS volleyball championships awarded since 1997. In 2010, Coach Scott Petersen's volleyball team was ranked #5 in the country by ESPNRise and was honored as having the highest grade point average in the state among boys volleyball teams. Former volleyball coach Patrick Adams has the most victories of a volleyball coach in CCS history with 305. In the same year, the lacrosse team was ranked #1 in the nation as well at one point during the season. Also, the soccer team has won 17 of the past 18 WCAL championships and has been ranked in the top 20 in the nation almost every year with a #13 national rank in 2010.

Spirituality and service

Central to Bellarmine's mission is its Campus Ministry and Christian Service Program. Campus Ministry, in the tradition of Jesuit spirituality, offers the Freshmen Retreat, one day Sophomore Breakaways, and the four day Junior and Senior Kairos, the capstone of the Bellarmine retreat experience. Other retreats also include weekend Mother/Son and Father/Son retreats, the Silent Retreat, and the 4th Day Retreat. Campus Ministry also provides personal counseling, assists in student sponsored monthly liturgies, guides the Student Campus Ministry Team, leads Christian Life Communities, sets up daily Mass and morning prayer, and fosters spirituality among Bellarmine's staff and faculty.

Campus Ministry's partner, The Christian Service Program (CSP) provides each student opportunities to engage directly with groups that are often marginalized including youth, the physically and mentally disabled, and the socio-economically disadvantaged. Students are required to complete 75 hours of service before graduation, including an extensive senior service project. CSP also oversees service learning in the school curriculum, administers service projects for Guaymas, Tijuana, Uruguay, downtown San Jose, rural Salinas, and El Salvador in order to directly experience the lives of the poor. Trips have also been added to Los Angeles, Guatemala, Appalachia, Central Mexico, India and Taiwan.

Co-curricular program

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. Bellarmine also features an intramural athletic program that features touch football, dodgeball, basketball, softball, and rugby.

Speech and Debate

This program is one of the more popular and successful programs at Bellarmine with over 170 participants and it regularly captures both state and national championships via the National Forensic League. In 1994, Bellarmine won the team speech and debate National Championship in Kansas City, MO. In both 2003 and 2004, the Speech and Debate program were back to back California State Champions. In 2005, the team took second in the state and received an honorary award as one of the top two teams in the nation. In 2006, its policy debate team captured the National Championship. Over the last nine years, (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014) Bellarmine's Speech and Debate program has been the California State Champions.[10][11][12][13] Bellarmine also competes against local schools in the Coast Forensic League.[14] In 2009, Bellarmine reached the final round of the prestigious Tournament of Champions cementing its place amongst the top performing nationally competitive policy debate teams in the country.[15]


"Shockwave," Team 254's 2010 Project

Another international championship winning program is the FIRST Robotics Team 254, the Cheesy Poofs. Currently led by Physics teacher Peng Yav, Travis Covington, computer science teacher Brad Lindemann, the team has won the World Chairman's Award (the highest award in FIRST), won the World Championships in 2014 and in 2011, placed second at the world championships twice, won the Silicon Valley Regional for thirteen of the regional's fourteen years (1999–2006 and 2008–2015), and has the most FIRST regional victories in the world. In 2008, Bellarmine began what has become a successful VEX Robotics program, which currently holds the single-season tournament win record. In the 2009–2010 season, Bellarmine's VEX team won 16 regional competitions, 6 of them being international championships. In the 2010–2011 season, Bellarmine's flagship VEX team, Team 254A, won the VEX World Excellence Award (the highest award in VEX). The Robotics Club is one of the largest organizations at Bellarmine with 79 active members in the 2010–2011 school year. Interested students are invited to join the team regardless of previous experience. In 2014, the team won three regionals, as well as the Curie Division, and World Championships.


Bellarmine publishes a student-run newspaper, The Cardinal, a nationally recognized and award winning yearbook, The Carillon, and a newsmagazine, Bellarmine Political Review. The student-operated Writers Guild publishes an annual publication called the Written Echo which contains poetry, short stories and art created by the students and faculty. The Writers Guild also hosts a yearly spoken event known as "Pompous Penguin," in which students from Bellarmine and other schools in the area can present works they have written.

KBCP Student Operated Radio

As of 2008, Bellarmine has had its own radio station, known as KBCP The Bell. It hosts a variety of programs including 30-minute newscasts, sports shows, daily music shows, and political talk radio. It runs on an LPAM transmitter on the 1650 band, broadcasting within a 1-mile radius of the school and on TuneIn Radio at KBCP. It augments school events with live sports broadcasts, where KBCP has peaked at 2500 Listeners during the sports broadcast of the Bellarmine-

Fine arts

In addition to course electives in painting, photography, ceramics, art history, sculpture, drawing and graphic design, Bellarmine also supports various student groups including a cappella and improvisational humor groups. 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 placed extremely highly, and in the Heritage Festival in L.A. California, the Bells won 1st place in symphonic band, 1st and 2nd place in percussion ensemble featuring Percussion 2&3 and Percussion 4(the most advanced) and above all the Bells won the sweepstakes award for having the highest overall score. Student concerts are held often to showcase these groups effort along with that of outside student bands. Over 100 students also participate in the Theater Arts program which produces a fall drama, a winter musical, and spring comedy. Students also get a chance to display their film talents in the Bellarmine Film Festival which occurs between the months of April and May. After making a short debut, the dance program was discontinued after only one year in practice.

Freshman Experience Program

Established during the 2006–2007 school year, Bellarmine's Freshman Experience program is composed of the Big Brother program and the yearly Freshman Retreat. The Freshman Retreat had existed long before it was brought under the "Freshman Experience" name. The Big Brother program is made up of upperclassmen who are selected to act as guides and advisers (hence the name "Big Brother") to the incoming freshman class each year. Though there are many activities in which Big Brothers partake with their freshmen, the Freshman Retreat is the most prominent. Each year (usually in October), a day-long retreat is scheduled solely for freshmen and their big brothers that allows freshmen to be introduced to the retreat experience while learning about Bellarmine's emphasis on "brotherhood." The retreat also focuses on team-building and spiritual growth, in addition to sessions that provide tips to relieve the stress of freshman year. Each year, a select group of Big Brothers is chosen to make up the Freshman Retreat Cadre, which works directly with faculty members to plan and schedule the retreat. In addition, a small group of big brothers are chosen each year to act as Big Brother Commissioners. The commissioners work directly with the director of the Freshman Experience program to plan and schedule various activities throughout the school year.

Quiz Bowl

Bellarmine's Quiz Bowl team has been nationally successful and is coached by admissions counselor Chris Fleitas. In the Fall 2008 Knowledge Master Open competition, the team placed second in California and third in the world.[14] In the Fall 2009 competition for the KMO, the Bellarmine team took second in California and eighth in the world, while their freshman team took first in the world for the junior high competition. In the Spring 2010 KMO competition, the Bellarmine team once again took second place in California and eleventh place globally,[15] while the freshman team repeated as first globally in the junior high competition.[16] The team won the 2008 Northern California NAQT State championship,[17] the 2009 Quiz Kids tournament, and the 2011 Quiz Kids tournament.[18] On December 10, 2010, Bellarmine achieved first place nationally for the first time. They did this with only 17 students on the KMO team, compared to second place Montgomery Blair's squad of 121. In addition, Bellarmine took 4th place at the 2010 NAQT High School National Championship Tournament, improving to 3rd place in 2011. In 2012, Bellarmine took 1st place at the NAQT High School National Championship Tournament. Bellarmine player Sameer Rai won the 2013 National History Bowl team competition playing by himself.[19]


  • 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 student newsmagazine covering news outside campus, produced by students
  • The Cardinal – 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 called "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 alumni


Technology on campus is supported by companies such as IBM, Extreme Networks, Network Appliance and Cisco Systems.

Jack Kerouac would pass by the school everyday when he worked in the trainyards and even referenced the school in a prose piece he wrote entitled "October in the Railroad Earth" as part of the longer book, Lonesome Traveler.

A Caltrain station, College Park, primarily serves Bellarmine students on weekdays. It is the starting point for Jack London's novel The Call of the Wild.

Bellarmine is the fourth oldest Jesuit institution in the United States and the second oldest Jesuit institution west of the Mississippi River (after St. Louis University High, founded 1818). Bellarmine is the oldest high school in California. [16]


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  2. ^ "School administration". About Us. Bellarmine College Preparatory. Archived from the original on 1 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-30. 
  3. ^ "Welcome". Admissions. Bellarmine College Preparatory. Archived from the original on 2 November 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  4. ^ "Achievements". Academics. Bellarmine College Preparatory. Archived from the original on 25 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-30. 
  5. ^ Martinez, Jennifer (2007-11-30). "Donations to same-sex schools show gender gap". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 2007-11-30. 
  6. ^ "Program". Athletics. Bellarmine College Preparatory. Archived from the original on 24 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-30. 
  7. ^ "Conference Affiliation". Athletics. Bellarmine College Preparatory. Archived from the original on 10 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-30. 
  8. ^ WASC-ACS. "WASC-Accrediting Commission for Schools". Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
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  10. ^
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  12. ^ "achievements". 
  13. ^ "College_Statistics_Class_2007" (PDF). 
  14. ^ Fall 2008 KMO Results
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ 2008 Quiz Bowl Results
  18. ^
  19. ^ "News Archives". Retrieved January 11, 2015. 
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Connections (PDF). Winter 2007. pp. 26–29 http://webs.bcp.orgs/connections/winter_2007/pdf/connections_winter_2007.pdf.PDF. 
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  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
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  32. ^
  33. ^ “Securities and Exchange Commission Form S-1, Amendment No. 7, November 19, 2001, (page 49) [17]
  34. ^ ”How Jill Milan Got Hollywood in its Clutches,” Racked SF, February 10, 2015 [18]
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  36. ^ Philippine Daily Inquirer – Google News Archive Search
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  38. ^ "Kevin McMahon profile".  
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  41. ^ John A. Sobrato
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External links

  • Bellarmine College Preparatory website
  • California Province Society of Jesus
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