St. Bernard's School

St. Bernard's School, founded in 1904 by John Card Jenkins,[1] is an elite, private, all-male elementary school in the Carnegie Hill neighborhood of Manhattan's Upper East Side. The school shield depicts an eagle (representing the United States of America), a lion (representing Great Britain), a book (symbol of education), and a cross (representing a tradition of Christianity).

St. Bernard's School
As seen from 98th street (2019)
St. Bernard's School
St. Bernard's School
St. Bernard's School
St. Bernard's School
4 E. 98th Street

Coordinates40°47′19.6″N 73°57′15.17″W
TypeIndependent, secular, all-male all-boys
MottoPerge sed caute
(Proceed, but with caution)
FounderJohn Card Jenkins
HeadmasterStuart H. Johnson, III
Enrollment372 Boys
Color(s)red, white, and blue
AthleticsSoccer, Baseball, Basketball, Track, Cross Country, Fencing, Lacrosse
MascotSt. Bernard (dog)
NicknameSt. B's
YearbookThe Keg

Although the school's name is spelled (though not pronounced) the same way as that of the breed of dog, which is also its mascot, it was in fact named for the rue St-Bernard in Brussels, Belgium, where a relative of one of St. Bernard's founders had also founded a school.


The school was founded in 1904 by John Card Jenkins and Francis Tabor. Both graduates of Cambridge University, they had met after knocking heads on a soccer pitch. Originally on the upper floors of a small Midtown building, the school relocated to its current location on 98th street in 1915. The original 1915 building by Delano and Aldrich still stands, although it has undergone significant expansion and renovation, most recently in 1997.

The current headmaster of the school is Stuart H. Johnson III (born August 14, 1954). A graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and Yale University, he previously taught at St. Bernard's, and at Groton School, before becoming headmaster in 1985. Other notable faculty members have included David King-Wood,who directed the Shakespeare play for many years and is the namesake of an auditorium in the school and Gordon Bradley, who coached the school's soccer team.


The school has three divisions: the Junior (or Lower) School consists of grades K through 3, the Middle School grades 4 through 6, and the Upper School grades 7 through 9. Mondays through Thursdays, boys in the Junior School, must wear St. Bernard's polo shirts (polo shirts with the school shield emblazoned upon the chest) in either red, white, or blue, khakis, and a blazer. Boys in the Middle and Upper Schools must wear a polo or oxford shirt, accompanied by khakis and blazers as well. On Fridays, all boys wear jackets and ties (with the exception of the Kindergartners).

St. Bernard's alumni, known as Old Boys, earn admission to a wide range of secondary schools in the United States and the United Kingdom, both day and boarding. The schools attended with greatest frequency include Andover, Collegiate, Deerfield, Exeter, Groton, Horace Mann, Lawrenceville, St. Paul's, Stuyvesant, and Trinity.[1]

Notable alumni

  • The film Prince of the City referenced the school as the alma mater of one of the prosecutors charged with investigating police corruption. The film's cop protagonist remarks, "St. Bernard's. That's in the 2-3, that's, uh, little blond boys in blazers, right?"
  • In Season 2, Episode 13 ("The Whole Truth") of Lie To Me, Victor Musso, best friend and business partner of the deceased victim, takes to the stand to say, "We've been best friends since we were ten at St. Bernard's."
  • In 1936, James Merrill played the First Herald ("a small part...but an important one") in St. Bernard's production of Richard II. Merrill recalled the experience in his 1985 poem "The School Play".[2]


  1. - the school's website
  2. Merrill, James. Collected Poems. New York: Knopf, 2001, p. 422. Originally published in Late Settings, New York: Atheneum, 1985. Merrill's 1986 reading of "The School Play" is available for MP3 download.
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