Graduates of Demarest's Academy of Holy Angels High School march during the annual June ceremony.
Graduates of Demarest's Academy of Holy Angels High School march during the annual June ceremony.
Posted: Monday April 4, 2011
Insider's Guide to Catholic High Schools
By Richard Mardekian and Erin Patricia Griffiths

Catholic Schools in Bergen County are attended by students from all over northern New Jersey and even over the border in New York and the institutions, whether boys, girls or co-educational, represent some of the best academic learning environments around. The schools are also known for their powerful athletic programs, which have produced professional athletes in a variety of sports.
According to the Archdiocese of Newark, Catholic schools stress the value of self-discipline and commitment. Faculty and staff are role models who share their faith, their talents and their time with the students they teach.

Catholic school students have been shown to score significantly above the national averages on standardized testing. According to the Archdiocese, research shows that because of a greater emphasis on homework and study, Catholic school students develop more effective writing skills.

A Catholic school education is an investment that many graduates feel pays off for a lifetime.


Bergen Catholic High School
1040 Oradell Ave., Oradell, NJ 07649

Here come the Crusaders! Bergen Catholic is a private, college-preparatory high school for boys in grades 9 to 12 in Oradell. According to its website, its student body numbers 850 boys from 72 different towns. Enrollment is based on a high school entrance examination, academic record and grammar school principal’s recommendation.

According to the school, Bergen Catholic is a Catholic community which prepares young men to become leaders by deepening religious faith, developing academic excellence and strengthening social consciousness and responsibility in accordance with the essential elements of an Edmund Rice Christian Brother Education.

The Congregation of Christian Brothers serves at Bergen Catholic High School. There are 350 communities of Christian Brothers working in 13 different provinces throughout the world working in different ministries. The Congregation of Christian Brothers was founded in Ireland in 1802, with the work of education started by Edmund Rice and his associates in the latter part of the 18th century.
Bergen Catholic offers senior year electives that include college credit courses from Seton Hall University. These credits are also transferable to many colleges and universities and include English, Spanish, Italian, biology, chemistry and history.

According to the figures from the school’s brochure, 98 percent of the Class of 2009 is attending college. For the last school year, 57 percent of the senior class received scholarships for a total of $16.2 million dollars.

The school has more than 40 clubs, 15 varsity sports and an intramurals program. The school’s colors are red and gold and the Crusaders have a rich tradition in a variety of sports. Many great athletes have passed through the halls of Bergen Catholic including baseball player Mark DeRosa of the San Francisco Giants and NFL Rookie of the Year Brian Cushing of the Houston Texans in football.

Don Bosco Preparatory High School
492 N. Franklin Turnpike, Ramsey, NJ 07446

Don Bosco Preparatory High School in Ramsey was founded in 1915. It is a private, Catholic college preparatory high school for boys grades 9 through 12. According to its website it is “dedicated to empowering young men.”

The school provides rigorous academics at the Advanced Placement, honors and college prep levels, and also encourages participation in extracurricular activities, clubs and athletics.

Don Bosco is run by the Salesians of St. John Bosco, a religious order of priests and brothers. The school is located in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark. It is accredited by The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and is a member of The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, The National Catholic Education Association, The National Association of Secondary School Principals, The National Honor Society, The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association and The Northern New Jersey Interscholastic League.

Each student at Don Bosco is encouraged to grow in faith and love, to mature in character and responsibility and to develop his intellectual, physical and artistic talents in order to become effective citizens in the church and in the world, according to the school’s mission statement.

Since 1915, Don Bosco Prep has graduated more than 10,000 students including Ryan Grant, running back for the Green Bay Packers.

The school’s sports teams are known as the Ironmen with the colors of maroon and white. The school’s sports program has been very successful over the years including 12 state football championships (1968, 1970, 1973, 1983, 1984, 1990, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009).

Saint Joseph Regional High School
40 Chestnut Ridge Road, Montvale, NJ 07645

Saint Joseph Regional High School in Montvale, under the auspices of the Archdiocese of Newark, is a college preparatory school for boys founded in the Xaverian tradition of Catholic education. The school sits on a 33-acre campus.

Campus enhancements through the Capital Campaign of the early 2000s included new all-weather field turf, new field house and weight room, renovated theater with sound and lighting systems and new science and computer labs. The Adopt-a-Classroom program of 2008-09 provided new lockers, white boards, Promethean ActivBoards and digital projectors in every classroom.

According to the Saint Joseph Regional website, “the school strives to develop the fullness of the student’s God-given potential, intellectually, spiritually, morally, physically and emotionally, in a nurturing Christian environment. In realizing its mission, the school counts as its graduates students who can think critically, act responsibly, lead ethically, serve generously and emulate humbly the example of its patron, St. Joseph.”

According to the school’s philosophy, Saint Joseph Regional High School provides a safe, structured environment where students are both encouraged and challenged to grow intellectually through the efforts of a concerned, dedicated and experienced faculty. The school develops in each student the capacity for critical thinking and the confidence and skills necessary to communicate effectively in speech and writing.

Saint Joseph Regional High School has a 100 percent college acceptance rate and students have earned millions of dollars in scholarships each year. The curriculum consists of four academic programs: College Preparatory, Accelerated, High Honors and Advanced Placement. Students can earn credits through a partnership with Saint Peter’s College. The Class of 2010 received $9.5 in scholarship opportunities, up $87,000 per graduating seniors.

The Green Knights, with school colors of green and gold, offer a number of varsity sports in the fall, winter and spring. The school’s baseball program has been extremely dominant with 12 league titles. Former New York Yankees catcher and current broadcaster for the team John “Flash” Flaherty is an alumnus of the school.

The school has a prestigious theater program known for putting on some of the best productions in the area. The shows have garnered numerous nominations and awards including four consecutive Paper Mill Playhouse Education Impact Awards, a New Jersey State record.


Academy of the Holy Angels
315 Hillside Ave., Demarest, NJ 07627

Founded in 1879, the Academy of Holy Angels, AHA, is a private all girls Catholic high school run in the tradition of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. AHA is the oldest private school in Bergen County and was first founded in Fort Lee, where it remained until 1965 when it was moved to Demarest. The school educates young women in ninth through 12th grades, but originally was a boarding school for girls in kindergarten through 12th grade.

AHA has approximately 540 students enrolled in the school, with graduates attending college institutions in 31 different states. The student-teacher ratio is 10 to 1. The school is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and is recognized as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.

The 25-acre campus features two chapels, a Campus Ministry Retreat Center a library and media center and art studios. The building also features a world language lab, communications and publishing center, technology center, science center and a computerized fitness center. For the athletic programs, the campus offers an outdoor sports complex.

AHA was also selected as a National Service-learning Leader School by the Corporation for National Service. AHA stands as one of 32 high schools across the nation that has been recognized and such, and is one of five high schools in the state to receive this honor. It was the only Catholic high school in the state to be named a state and national winner and one of two across the nation.
In terms of fine arts, AHA offers a variety of courses and clubs including orchestra, theater productions and photography. The school has more than 50 activities and clubs.

AHA offers 12 varsity athletic sports over the course of the fall, winter and spring seasons and has achieved conference, county and state titles. It also has a dance team and cheerleading team. The school’s colors are blue and gold.

AHA participates in the Northern New Jersey Interscholastic League and is supervised by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. The school has a dedicated coaching staff for each of its programs, with basketball coach Susan Liddy having been recognized for a milestone 600th win in the fall of 2008.

Technology is a large part of the academic experience at AHA. Beginning in 2007, all students were required to purchase a laptop for use in the school curriculum. Students and teachers use technology in the classroom and at home to enhance lessons and homework assignments. The school uses a website program for students to turn their papers and assignments into which analyzes the documents to ensure that they are not plagiarized.

According to the school’s website, AHA’s philosophy includes the following: “Rooted in the conviction of the School Sisters of Notre Dame that ‘the world can be changed through the transformation of persons,’ education at the Academy empowers each young woman to reach the fullness of her potential spiritually, morally, intellectually, socially, and physically, so that she, in turn, may share her gifts with others. The vision of a new global community based on gospel values permeates life at the Academy, impelling each young woman to embrace generous leadership.”

Immaculate Conception High School
258 S. Main St., Lodi, New Jersey 07644

Immaculate Conception High School in Lodi is a secondary school for girls in grades nine through 12. Sponsored by the Felician Sisters, this college-preparatory school offers a Catholic education to its students.

Applicants are evaluated through a personal interview and upon review of past academic achievement. Applicants are directed to apply through the school’s admissions office.

The school offers many sports, clubs and activities to its students. The more than 25 activities, clubs and extra-curricular programs include those such as the dance club, literary magazine pre-law club and student council.

Many varsity sports programs are offered to interested students at Immaculate Conception, and include basketball, cheerleading, cross country, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field and volleyball. The school also offers junior varsity sports such as basketball, soccer, softball and volleyball. The school’s colors are blue and gold.

Immaculate Conception’s athletic program competes in the Carpenter Division of the Bergen-Passaic Scholastic League and is governed by the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association.

Smaller than the other all-girls schools in Bergen County, Immaculate Conception has approximately 185 students enrolled in its four grades and offers a strong education for each student.

The school also offers its students a chance to participate in a program called Project Forward, in which students attend college classes at Felician College, earning college credits as well as experience college level courses. The school reports that nearly every one of its graduates attends college.

According to the school’s website, Immaculate Conception provides “a challenging college-preparatory education in a Christian environment.”

Immaculate Heart Academy
500 Van Emburgh Ave., Township of Washington, NJ 07676
Phone 201-445-6800

Immaculate Heart Academy, IHA, is a regional all girls Catholic high school located in the Township of Washington. The school’s more than 800 students travel from Bergen, Passaic, Essex, Rockland counties and beyond to attend.

Student acceptance into IHA is dependent upon the Newark Archdiocesan Entrance Examination, or an equivalent exam, performance record from grades six through eight and an essay written by the interested student, which is a required part of the application process.

Founded in 1960, IHA is a secondary school in the Archdiocese of Newark, and is considered a leader in athletics, academics and technology for young women.

Beginning in 2006, a full wireless laptop program was implemented in all four grade levels. Technology is integrated in every classroom, many of which are outfitted with electronic whiteboards.

There have been two separate phases of expansion and renovation at the campus on Van Emburgh Avenue. A second wing, featuring brand new air conditioned classrooms, state of the art science laboratories and a multi-purpose room, was constructed in the 1990s. In 2006, students were treated to new improvements in the school’s library, which was renovated into the Information Commons, complete with the traditional library as well as small meeting rooms, a school archive section, a conference room, and workspaces for students to use while on their laptops. The meeting rooms are used for studying, club meetings and tutoring, among other uses by staff and faculty.

A new chapel, Sisters’ Chapel, was dedicated in January 2009 and its old location on the second floor across from the library was renovated into a state-of-the-art media center, including a television/broadcasting studio along with an editing suite with advanced technology.

Known for a strong athletic program, IHA’s Blue Eagle Athletics offers 13 varsity athletic sports over the course of the fall, winter and spring seasons and has been recognized for league, county, state sectional and state championship wins. Many of the sports feature junior varsity and freshman levels as well. In addition to the varsity athletic programs, IHA offers a cheerleading team and features an ice skating club. The schools colors are blue and white and its mascot is the Blue Eagle.

The athletic department is a member of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Program, North Jersey Tri-County Conference and the Bergen County Women Coaches Association. The athletic facilities offer turf fields and stunning tennis courts and an indoor gymnasium.

IHA also offers a rigorous college preparatory education and has nine Advanced Placement courses for students to take advantage of.

The Fine Arts Department offers both visual and performing arts courses and clubs. Students can try their hand at anything from pottery to knitting to playing handbells with the variety of courses and clubs offered within the arts. Drama is another area of specialty for IHA. The school presents an annual November musical that draws large crowds of local fans to attend.

New with the development of the media center, IHA offers several courses in communications, such as journalism, broadcast journalism and even advanced editing.
A Blue Ribbon School of Excellence and accredited by the Commission on Secondary Schools of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, with strong parent-family involvement, IHA provides students with a strong sense of community and encourages volunteerism and involvement in all areas of education inside and out of the classroom.


Paramus Catholic High School
425 Paramus Road, Paramus, NJ 07652-1510

Paramus Catholic High School is a co-educational college preparatory high school of the Archdiocese of Newark with 1,555 students. It is the largest private school in New Jersey with a 14 to 1 student to faculty ratio.

It is located on 27 acres surrounded on three sides by woods and a pond. It has a 1,500-seat football stadium, four tennis courts, newly resurfaced track and softball, baseball, soccer and practice fields.

The school has seen $16,000,000 of capital improvements in recent years and has 70 air-cooled classrooms with networked computers and large-screen, networked televisions with DVD and VCR capability, with projectors and interactive white boards.
According to the school’s website, there is a student to computer ratio of 3 to 1. The school has a newly refurbished 900-seat gymnasium, seven team locker rooms and 2,200 square foot weight training/conditioning facility featuring state-of-the-art equipment.
Paramus Catholic’s mission is to prompt the spiritual, academic and social enrichment of each student. It is committed to remaining responsive to the individual needs of each student, while keeping class size relatively small.

According to its website, the school will maintain an environment which invites students to feel comfortable and at home while also structured and safe. The facilities remain open to all students long after each school day for formal extra curricular activities and opportunities for informal socialization among all students. Since 1965, it has graduate about 10,000 students. The Class of 2009 received approximately $20,000,000 in scholarships and grants to colleges and universities.

The school offers many different courses in technology, religion, business, English, fine and performing arts, health and physical education, math, science, social studies and international languages such as Spanish, French and Italian.

Paramus Catholic has a rich athletic history in a variety of sports and has the school colors of black, white and gold. The school has a top notch cheerleading squad and dance team and both have won numerous titles. The have also been powerful over the years in girls and boys basketball, wrestling, ice hockey, girls swimming and boys basketball with USA woman’s basketball coach Anne Donovan among the notable graduates.

Queen of Peace High School
191 Rutherford Place, North Arlington, NJ 07031

Queen of Peace High School, located in North Arlington, is a co-educational institution for secondary education and employs both lay and religious faculty to teach its approximately 550 students in a Roman Catholic environment.

The school has been recognized as a Blue Ribbon institution not once, but twice. Students travel from more than 50 towns stretching across Berge, Hudson, Essex, Passaic and Union counties to attend the school.

With more than 30 classrooms, state-of-the-art science laboratories, a library center, counseling center, chapel and campus ministry room and art center, the school boasts a long tradition of helping students succeed through a strong Catholic based education and is part of the Archdiocese of Newark.

The school also offers an extensive athletic program with a field and weight-training facility, full-size gymnasium with locker rooms and a physical therapy room for its athletes. Queen of Peace is part of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association and competes in the Bergen County Scholastic League. The school mascot is the Golden Griffin and its colors are green and gold.

Technology is also available for students, with four fully equipped computer labs offering programming, business applications, computer graphics and foreign language courses in a modern way.

Classrooms are also wired for wireless Internet access as well as cable TV and close circuit TV.

Students interested in attending Queen of Peace High School will be considered based upon results of the Archdiocesan Cooperative Admissions Examination, sixth through eighth grade transcripts and standardized test scores.


64 Chestnut Street, Rutherford, NJ 07070

Founded in 1929 by the Dominican Sisters of Caldwell, Saint Mary High School is a co-educational school for students in grades nine through 12. While it serves primary as a college preparatory school, Saint Mary’s also offers business courses to enrolled students.

A small school, Saint Mary’s has an enrollment of approximately 340 students with a student/teacher ratio of 10 to 1 and an average class size of 16 students. The small classes allow for interactive and individualized learning experiences for each of the students in a Catholic education environment.

The school offers six honors courses and four Advanced Placement courses. In addition to providing an excellent academic foundation for its students, Saint Mary’s also offers 20 extracurricular activities and programs.

Saint Mary’s is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools and is a member of the National Catholic Education Association Bergen County Personnel and Guidance Association.

Students come from more than 43 New Jersey towns to attend Saint Mary’s, hailing from Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Passaic counties. Saint Mary’s offers 14 varsity sports and operates under the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association jurisdiction with the National Division. The school’s colors are blue and white.