Verbum Dei High School

Verbum Dei High School

Infobox Secondary school
name = Verbum Dei High School

motto = (#1) "Ad majorem Dei gloriam"
(For the greater glory of God)
(#2) "Working" in the Jesuit Tradition
(#3) The School That Works for the 21st Century!
type = Private secondary (Parochial)
grades = 9–12
established = 1962
city = Los Angeles (Watts)
state = California
country = USA
enrollment = approximately 350
mascot = Eagle
school colors = Noble Gold & Blue
president = Rev. William Muller, S.J.
principal = Dr. Daniel O'Connell, Ed.D.
newsletter = "Eagles Eye"
website = []

Verbum Dei High School, colloquially referred to as "the Verb", is an all-male Catholic high school combining college-preparatory academic courses and immersion in corporate work environments. It is operated by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles with the sponsorship of the [ California Province] of the Society of Jesus. Students can graduate in four years with a high school diploma.

Verbum Dei offers a variety of sports and extracurricular activities. The sports program includes football, basketball, cross country, track and field, soccer, baseball, golf, and volleyball. Extracurricular activities include Christian community service, cultural awareness, campus ministry groups, an honor society, and musical bands. Although the school is based on Catholic values, it is entirely interdenominational. Students of any faith or religious persuasion may attend.

The school is located in the Watts residential district of the city of Los Angeles, California, a few blocks north of Interstate 105 (I-105) and a few miles east of Interstate 110 (I-110).


Verbum Dei was founded in 1962 by the Society of the Divine Word with the permission and recommendation of Cardinal James McIntyre to serve the educational needs of the black community of South Los Angeles. The school was named after one of Jesus' epithets, "Verbum Dei" ("the Word of God"). Bishop Joseph Francis, S.V.D. led the founding team and served as the school's first principal. The Society maintained a presence at the school until December 2006, when long-time Verbum Dei faculty/staff member [ Br. Richard "Rich" Morrill, S.V.D.] departed due to terminal illness; it remains to be seen if the Society will provide another of its members to Verbum Dei.

At some point, the school expanded its mission in order to also serve the educational needs of the "Latino" community of South Los Angeles.

Verbum Dei's performance began to decline in the 1980s -- probably due to the urban decay of South Los Angeles that began in the 1970s -- and suffered further during the neighborhood gang wars of the 1990s, experiencing declining enrollment and instability within the administration. However, it received significant financial help in the mid-1990s and improvements were made in various buildings on campus as well as the creation of new ones.

In 2000, Cardinal Roger Mahony asked the California Province of the Society of Jesus to assist in the administration of the school, asserting that the school had to improve significantly by 2006 to avoid permanent shutdown. Verbum Dei became recognized as a Jesuit school at that point. Leading the Jesuit team was Reverend Bill Wood, S.J.. The school became a member of the Cristo Rey Network and adopted its current scholastic model (see "Corporate Work Study Program" below) in 2002. The school has joint accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Western Catholic Education Association (WCEA). Verbum Dei also has accreditation by the California Province (CalProv) of the Society of Jesus.

The Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary have been providing a nun to the Verbum Dei staff for several years at least.

Corporate Work Study Program

As a member of the Cristo Rey Network, Verbum Dei assigns students to jobs that are "donated" by local white-collar companies and non-profit entities in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. This experience is intended to acclimate students to corporate culture, build their character and provide motive for seeking higher education and productive careers. The money earned by the students defrays the cost of the students' education.

Notable alumni

* Raymond Lewis, 1968-1973Fact|date=May 2008
* James Givehand, 1968-1971Fact|date=May 2008
*Donny Daniels, 1972: Basketball coach. [cite web | url= | title=Player Bio: Donniy Daniels :: Men's Basketball | accessdate=2008-05-08]
* [ Dana Glover] , 1976: [] Filmmaker
*Clifford Sanchez] , 1976 or 1977 []
*Ken Austin, 1977 []

* Leonel Marquetti, 1978-1981 (1978 alumnus of McDonald's [ All-American High School Basketball Team] )
*Kenneth Fields, 1980-1983 (1980 alumnus of McDonald's [ All-American High School Basketball Team] , former member of the Los Angeles Clippers
* [ Danny Bakewell, Jr.] , 1983 (son of Danny Bakewell, current owner of the Los Angeles Sentinel and a national co-convener of the Millions More Movement)
*Hardy Nickerson, 1983
* [ DeAnthony Langston] , 1984
*Andre Miller, 1994 [] []
* [ Shamsud-Din Abdul-Shaheed] , 1995
* [ Phil Blackmon] , 1997
* Salim Dawson, 1998
*Kenechi Udeze, 1999-2000 [] []
* [ Louis Leonard] , 2001
* [ Richard Chaney] , 2002 []
* [ Michael Pagan] , 2004
* [ Ryan Oliver] , 2004
*Amir Johnson, 2005 [] [] []

Notable staff


* [ Rev. Michael Hutchins, S.V.D.]
* Rev. Fisher Robinson, S.V.D.
* [ Donny Daniels]
* [ Rev. Scott Santarosa, S.J.] (see page 16 of linked PDF)
* [ DeAnthony Langston]
* [ Br. Jeffrey Allen, S.J.] []
* [ John Saito]

ee also

*List of Roman Catholic high schools in Los Angeles County, California


External links

* [ - Verbum Dei High School football roster]
* [ Verbum Dei High School 1983 Class of 1983 Web Site]
* [ Los Angeles Business Journal article about Verbum Dei's Corporate Work Study Program]
* [ Local School Directory - Verbum Dei High School]
* [ Art Schobey Interactive - - Verbum Dei High School]
* [ Charity Checks - video clip about Verbum Dei High School's participation in its Charitable Literacy program] (from KCAL-TV)
* [ "National Jesuit Review" newsletter, October 2001]
** page 4 article: "What's love got to do with it? Love is everything"
** page 12 column: Province Briefs - California

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