St. Joseph by the Sea High School

St. Joseph by the Sea High School

Infobox Secondary school
name = St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School
motto = Ipsius Est Mare (The Sea is His)
established = 1963
city = Staten Island
state = New York
country = United States
type = Private, Roman Catholic High School
principal = Monsignor Joseph Ansaldi
assistant principal = Father Michael Reilly
dean = Rudolph Tafuri and Catherine Nebel
alumni president = Mr. Roy Mackey
enrollment = 1,500
grades = 9-12
address = 5150 Hylan Blvd. 10312
district = Huguenot
accreditation = Middle States accredited
mascot = Viking
colors = Blue, Gray & White
yearbook = SAGA
newspaper = The Viking Press
website =

St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School (also known as SJS, SJBS, or just Sea) is a co-educational Catholic school in the Huguenot neighborhood of Staten Island, New York. Though technically an independent school, it functions for all intents and purposes as a school of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York; though it has its own board of trustees, the school's administration is staffed by archdiocesan priests, and paychecks and other financial matters are managed by the archdiocese. The school serves approximately 1,400 young men and women in 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grades.


All students take a college preparatory course, with an advanced "honors" track for more advanced students. All students receive a Regents diploma "with advanced designation" (that is, students are expected to pass with at least 10 percent the New York State exams in English, Math A, Living Environment, Global Studies and U.S. History necessary for a Regents-endorsed diploma, plus Math B, Chemistry, and Italian or Spanish required for the "advanced" endorsement; students also take a third science Regents exam in Earth Science or Physics, placing them even above the advanced designation). It is a member of the CHSAA.

Students in honors take three years of Latin culminating in the Latin Regents and earn six credits in Latin From St. John's University. Students can earn up to 60 college credits from both SUNY Albany, St. John's University, and Iona College in their junior and senior years.

Select seniors are able to participate in an internship program with NewsMax Media, for which they can earn three college credits with St. John's University.

In addition to the above courses and several other requirements, students are required to take four years of Catholic Studies (Introduction to the Creed and Sacraments; Sacred Scipture; Church History; Moral Theology) is closed and pass a Catholic Competency Examination.

The school is staffed almost entirely by lay teachers, but as of 2005 there were three priests on the administrative staff (principal, academic dean, and school chaplain), all of whom also taught courses (in German, Media Studies, Religion and Latin) with a fourth priest teaching religion, three Sisters of Charity, two Sisters of St. Francis, a sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary congregation, and Greg Forsyth.


Entrance is by examination — the cooperative Test for Admission to Catholic High Schools (TACHS) used by most Catholic schools in the archdiocese. The student body is roughly evenly split between young men and young women, and is drawn almost entirely from Staten Island, particularly from the South and East Shores. As of 2008, tuition was approximately $5,580 a year, the lowest in the area. Though the students are all Catholics, a majority of entering freshmen now come from public rather than parochial elementary schools.


The physical plant has undergone significant renovations and improvements in the past decade, including a new auditorium, fitness center, music wing, computer labs, television studio, new science labs, field turf football field, and resurfaced track and tennis courts. The school has recently upgraded its baseball and softball fields with field turf.

The land upon which the school sits was once one of the estates of Charles M. Schwab, the steel magnate and benefactor of Catholic institutions. A large tract that originally included a broad beach area on Raritan Bay in what was then a very rural section of Staten Island, it sat near a number of Catholic facilities, including Camp St. Edward (a summer camp for African American children served by the Handmaids of Mary) and the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin at Mt. Loretto (a vast orphanage and farm for boys and girls started by Fr. John C. Drumgoole in post-Civil War New York).

Schwab's property passed into the hands of the Sisters of Charity of New York early in the 20th Century, and was used as a summer "villa" for children from the New York Foundling Hospital and St. Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan, both of which were run by the sisters. It was also the site of a summer school for the sisters themselves: as almost all of the Sisters of Charity at that time were either teachers or nurses in various schools and hospitals throughout the archdiocese, young sisters were sent to St. Joseph by the Sea to complete their degrees during the summer months under the auspices of the College of Mount Saint Vincent, an institution of higher learning originally located in Manhattan, then moved to The Bronx, and also run by the sisters.

In 1963, as Staten Islanders braced for a population boom that came with the building of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to Brooklyn, the Sisters of Charity transformed the land into a girls' high school. Financial problems almost forced the school to close in the mid-1970s, but under the direction of Cardinal Terence Cooke, then archbishop of New York, and his designee as the first priest to serve as principal, Msgr. Thomas Gaffney, the school sold off a part of the beachfront area, expanded its facilities and went co-educational, doubling in size and eventually achieving financial solvency in the process. Msgr. Thomas Gaffney eventually became the pastor of St. Charles Church in Oakwood. Msgr. Joseph Ansaldi became principal. Msgr. Ansaldi is a weekend associate at St. Charles.

In the last decade of the 20th Century the school campus underwent massive renovations. A new auditorium was dedicated to the late former principal Msgr. Thomas Gaffney in 1999. Renovations continued into the 21st Century with new tennis courts and a fitness center added in 2001. In 2003 ground was broken for a new track and field-turf football field (one of the first in the state). In October 2005 renovations of the baseball and softball fields began. By the beginning of the 2006 school year the renovations were completed. On October 27th, 2007, Bishop Dennis Sullivan dedicated "Viking Park" the 11 acre athletic complex at the high school. At the entrance to the park stands an original 1918 anchor and a statue of a Viking dedicated to St Ansgar both donated by Michael Coppotelli '01 former Director of Institutional Advancement at the School.

There is an active alumni association and the administration is reaching out for alumni to become more involved in the school community.

External links

* [ St. Joseph by the Sea High School] homepage

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