St. John's College High School

St. John's College High School (SJC, SJCHS, or St. John's)[2] in Washington, D.C., established in 1851, is the second oldest Christian Brothers School in the United States, and the oldest Army JROTC school.[3] 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

Coordinates38°57′44″N 77°3′17″W
MottoReligio, Scientia (Latin)
(Religion, Knowledge)
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
PresidentJeffrey Mancabelli
PrincipalChristopher Themistos
Faculty75; 70% hold a master's degree or higher
Enrollment1,100 (2016)
Campus size30 acres (120,000 m2)
Color(s)Scarlet and gray         
Athletics conferenceWCAC
WebsiteSt. John's College High School


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. Because of space limitations, in 1866 the Brothers moved the school to Carroll Hall at 10th and G Streets NW 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 property at 1225 Vermont Avenue NW from the estate of General Montgomery C. Meigs as the site for a new school building. 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 same 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.[3] At the commencement of June 26, 1888 two Bachelor of Arts, four Bachelor of Science, and three Master of Arts degrees were conferred on graduates.[4]

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.[3] 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.

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. 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. In 1991 the school became a co-educational military optional institution.

In 1977 a man wearing a blue parka with a fur-lined hood and a surgical mask entered the cafeteria and joined the lunch line, then attempted to rob the cashier. The school business director, William McGregor, confronted the suspect and consequently was shot in the face, right leg and arm and below his right ear in the confrontation according to the police. The suspect exited the building and shot a student in the shoulder during his escape.[5]


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 varsity football team defeated their historical rival Gonzaga in the WCAC semi-finals, advancing to the championship game for the first time in over 20 years, which they lost to the Dematha Stags.[6][7]

On November 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.[8] 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.[9][10]


In 2007, the St. John's girls' soccer team was ranked #1 in the nation in early September.[11] After finishing with two losses for the season, they were ranked #5.[12] In 2011 they were ranked #15 in the nation at the end of the season.


St. John's varsity baseball team won the 2018 WCAC baseball championship, the fifth consecutive title for the school, and the sixth title since 2010.[13]

Athletic facilities

The campus features three multi-sport turf surfaces used for field hockey, football, lacrosse, rugby, soccer and softball. Baseball plays at Gibbs Field. Gallagher Gymnasium is the home of the basketball, volleyball and wrestling teams. The school also has four tennis courts used by the tennis program.[14]

Military Program

A military cadet company was established at the school in 1915 after an inspection by the War Department,[15] which detailed Major John Augustus Dapray, retired, to the school on December 30, 1915 as the first professor of military science and tactics.[16] The school later established a Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps program, and was one of 100 original U.S. Army JROTC programs established by the U.S. Congress under the National Defense Act of 1916.

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). Originally mandatory, the program became optional in 1991. By 2005, 50 percent of the students participated in the JROTC program, and current participation is less than one-fifth of the student body.

Notable alumni


  1. MSA-CSS. "MSA-Commission on Secondary Schools". Archived from the original on May 14, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2009.
  2. "Saint John's College High School". Archdiocese of Washington Catholic Schools. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  3. Clare, Elzabeth Slattery (20 November 1986). "St. John's Cadet Tradition Lives". The Washington Post. Washington, D.C.: The Washington Post. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  4. "St. John's College: Music and Oratory at the Annual Exhibition". The Washington Post. 27 June 1888.
  5. Laura A. Kiernan; Alfred E. Lewis (19 November 1977). "Masked Thief Wounds Two at St. John's High". The Washington Post. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  6. Parker, Brandon. "DeMatha tops St. John's to capture first WCAC football championship since 2008". Washington Post. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  7. Coach Joe Patterson enters his fifth season at the helm, St. John's official website; retrieved November 25, 2007.
  8. Northwest Current. URL=
  9. MaxPreps
  10. USA Today High School Sports
  11. NSCAA/Adidas National and Regional Rankings: National 2nd Poll. National Soccer Coaches Association of America (September 18, 2007). Retrieved on November 25, 2007.
  12. NSCAA/Adidas National and Regional Rankings: Final Regular Season Poll. National Soccer Coaches Association of America (September 18, 2007). Retrieved on November 25, 2007.
  13. "Cadets Win Fifth Consecutive WCAC Title". St. John's College High School. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  14. "Atletic Facilities". Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  15. "St. John's Will Have Military Company". The Washington Times. Washington, D.C.: The Washington Times Company. January 3, 1916. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  16. Staff (January 6, 1916). "Army: Retired Officers". Army and Navy Register. Army and Navy Publishing Co. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  17. "Edward J. Walsh, 75, Former Vice President of Nats' Ball Club, Dies". The Evening Star. 26 November 1945.
  18. "Honors for St. John's Students". The Washington Post. 21 June 1894.
  19. "James Spottswood, Actor, Native of Washington, Dies". The Evening Star. October 13, 1940.
  20. "Graduates of St. John's College Rewarded". The Evening Star. 22 September 1901.
  21. Gabbett, Harry E. (May 11, 1962). "Mike Flynn, Editor, Dead". The Washington Post.
  22. "Confer Degrees on Four". The Washington Post. 16 June 1906.
  23. "St. John's Grads Get Diplomas". The Washington Herald. June 17, 1919.
  24. "St. John's Class of 61 Honored". The Evening Star. June 14, 1930.
  25. "The History of NASPL". National Association of State and Provincial Lotteries. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  26. "Schlanser Takes Reins of 7th Army SupComd". The Stars and Stripes, European Edition. Commander-In-Chief, U.S. European Command. 14 October 1967.
  27. "John Henry Diamond". Free Law Project. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  28. "About James Kimsey". Kimsey Foundation. Archived from the original on September 16, 2007. Retrieved October 12, 2007.
  29. "St. John's Theatre Hall of Fame". Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  30. "Distinguished Speaker Series". Scarlet & Grey (Spring 2018). St. John's College HS.
  31. "Clemson Athletics Hall of Fame". Retrieved September 14, 2007.
  32. Graham, Scott; Staff (December 26, 2003). "The man behind the 'armour'". Baltimore Business Journal. Retrieved October 12, 2007.
  33. Marks, Peter (June 25, 2016). "A playwright who's at ease with causing discomfort". Washington Post. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
  35. "Washington Post Spring 2008 All Met - Baseball". The Washington Post.
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