Saint Sebastian's School

Saint Sebastian's School is an independent, all-boys Catholic secondary school located in Needham, Massachusetts on 26 acres (110,000 m2). The school instructs young men in grades seven through twelve. Founded in 1941 by William Cardinal O'Connell, Archbishop of Boston, the school is named after Saint Sebastian, the Christian martyr who survived an attempted execution by arrows. It is the only Catholic school in the Independent School League. Approximately 350 students are enrolled, with 25% receiving financial aid. Since 1990, the School headmaster is Mr. William L. Burke III.

Saint Sebastian's School
1191 Greendale Avenue

, ,

United States
Coordinates42°16′10″N 71°12′25″W
MottoSemen est sanguis Christianorum.
("The blood of Christians (i.e., Christian Martyrs) is the seed [of Faith]".)
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
FounderWilliam Cardinal O'Connell
HeadmasterWilliam L. Burke III
ChaplainFather John Arens
Enrollment375 (2015)
Average class size11
Campus size26 acres (110,000 m2)
Color(s)Red and Black         
Athletics conferenceIndependent School League
Team nameArrows
RivalBelmont Hill
AccreditationNew England Association of Schools and Colleges[1]
PublicationThe Quiver (literary magazine)
NewspaperThe Walrus
The Dart
YearbookThe Arrow
Assistant HeadmasterMichael Nerbonne
Dean of StudentsBrendan Sullivan
Director of AdmissionsGregory Wishart


The School features an academic program focusing on the liberal arts and offers Spanish and Classics courses. Writing is emphasized with numerous courses in the English curriculum, with Freshmen (9th grade) students taking a special class to hone their skills. Public speaking is also a focus of the academic program, with each student required to deliver an annual speech during his class's weekly chapel meetings.

The student to teacher ratio at St. Sebastian's is 7:1. The average class size is 10. The school offers 20 classes at the Advanced Placement level. Students are assigned a faculty advisor, and at the end of every quarter, awards for honors students are presented before the school.


St. Sebastian's has a competitive athletic program, with 11 varsity sports, and 35 teams in total. Its school colors are red and black, and teams are known as the Arrows. Over the years the Arrows have had an intense rivalry with the Belmont Hill School. St. Sebastian's School is a member of the prestigious Independent School League.

The school has one of the top ice hockey programs in the United States, dating to its founding in 1941. The school regularly produces picks in the NHL Entry Draft. In June 2003, the school was tied for the most picks from a single high school, ever, at four.[2][3] St. Sebastian's now has five first round picks after Noah Hanifin was chosen fifth overall in 2015. The team is coached by Sean McCann, a former Harvard assistant coach and captain, and also a Hobey Baker finalist.

The campus rink, the Henry T. Lane Rink, is named in honor of Henry Lane who served the school for over 40 years, first as the Varsity Hockey coach and later the Athletic Director. Lane was also a graduate of St. Sebastian's in the class of 1949.

St. Sebastian's has had great success in recent years with lacrosse, winning ISL Championships in 2012, 2017 and 2019. The School's sailing team was also ranked seventh in the country in 2001. Additionally, the St. Sebastian's varsity golf team achieved back to back undefeated seasons in addition to back to back ISL Championship Victories in 2009 and 2010.

Furthermore, in its 2012 season, St. Sebastian's football team recorded an undefeated record of 9-0, capturing the ISL championship, as well as the NEPSAC championship, becoming the first team in the school's history to have an undefeated season while also winning a bowl game. They won another bowl game in 2015 defeating New Hampton School by a score of 82-50. They won another ISL Championship in 2018.

Also in 2017, the varsity baseball team won its first ISL Championship in ten years and managed to successfully defend its title a year later in 2018. The golf team recently capped off another championship season, for a record-breaking four ISL Championships in a row from 2016 to 2019.

The varsity lacrosse team also won the ISL Championship in 2017. After being ranked as high as #8 in the national rankings, the team was invited to the first annual Geico High School Lacrosse Nationals hosted by Catholic University and broadcast on ESPN. The Arrows took down St. Anne's-Belfield School with a final score of 21-8 and then lost 10-12 to The Hill Academy (Ontario, Canada). They were invited back to the tournament the following two seasons, losing both times in the first round to The Hill Academy and Salisbury School respectively.

After falling just short of another ISL Championship in 2018, the Arrows completed the program's first perfect season in 2019, winning yet another ISL Championship.

Extracurricular activities

St. Sebastian's has 6 student publications and 33 different clubs and activities. The school newspaper, The Walrus, is published monthly. The school's debate team competes among private secondary schools in New England. Other student groups manage The Arrow, the school yearbook, as well as The Quiver, a creative literary magazine, and The St. Sebastian's Journal, a collection of student-written scholarly essays. Other students run the school's closed-circuit television network, perform community service (The Arrow Club and Labels Are For Jars), perform in dramatic productions, compete in such activities as chess, robotics, support students of color (MPA), and advocate against destructive decisions such as drug and alcohol abuse (SADD).

The Guild of St. Irene

The Guild is the school's association for the mothers of students, rather like the PTA. Founded in 1949, the Guild works for the enhancement of St. Sebastian’s School through social events, fund-raising, and volunteer activities. It is named after St. Irene, who befriended and healed St. Sebastian.


  • Red & Black Day: A field day in which the student body is split into two teams (Red and Black). During the day these teams compete in competitive events like tug-o-war, flag football, wiffleball, frisbee golf, and Jenga. This day promotes school spirit and unity through healthy competition.
  • Painting The Hills: On the day before St. Sebastian's homecoming, the students paint the numbers and nicknames of the varsity football and soccer players on the hills that overlook the respective fields.
  • Unity Day: The Friday after the first quarter ends, students participate in "fishbowl" activities, talk in groups consisting of students in different grades, and listen to some alumni. This day promotes the act of coming together, and becoming more united, especially with students of different races, social backgrounds, interests, and religions.
  • Black History Month Assembly: Each year during Black History Month the students of MPA organize an assembly to appreciate the most celebrated heroes among African Americans.

Notable alumni

Politics and government service




  1. NEASC-CIS. "NEASC-Commission on Independent Schools". Archived from the original on 2008-06-24. Retrieved 2009-07-28.
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-03-13. Retrieved 2005-07-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-05-15. Retrieved 2005-07-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)


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