Strake Jesuit College Preparatory
Father Michel F. Kennelly of the Jesuit Fathers of New Orleans Province founded Strake Jesuit in 1960 on land donated by the Strake family in what is now the Greater Sharpstown area. The school’s first class of freshmen matriculated in 1961. Although it remains at its original location, the school has grown tremendously since that time, especially in the 1970's and in the 2000’s. In the most recent decade, Jesuit undertook the Greater Glory Capital Campaign to vastly expand its facilities. Today, Strake educates approximately 1000 young men per year in the Jesuit tradition.
Strake Jesuit is an institution sponsored by the Society of Jesus, a Catholic order of Priests and Brothers founded in 1540 by St. Ignatius of Loyola. Strake Jesuit is one of 50 Jesuit high schools in the United States. Deeply rooted in the Roman Catholic tradition of teaching virtue and excellence, the Society of Jesus—following the example of its founder and influenced by the graces of the Spiritual Exercises—began its ministry to lay students in 1548, at the request of the citizens of Messina, Italy, where the Jesuits opened their first school. This Catholic and Jesuit tradition is at the heart of the school and influences the curriculum in every aspect, from daily rituals to the very teaching methodologies used in the classroom.
Students are not required to be Catholic, but they must take a course in theology every year and participate in the school’s religious services. Strake Jesuit’s religious education curriculum works to complement spiritual formation by developing the knowledge, attitudes, and behavior of Christian faith, values, and service among its students. At the very core of these formation programs is the Ignatian exercise of cura personalis (a Latin term which roughly translates to “care of the whole person”).
Location and Facilities
Strake Jesuit’s 44-acre campus is located in the Greater Sharpstown area of southwest Houston. It is fairly equidistant between the Sam Houston Tollway, Westpark Tollway, and Highway 59. Its campus is adjacent to St. Agnes Academy off Bellaire Boulevard. The school’s location vis-a-vis St. Agnes allows the two schools to share some course offerings.
The campus is often described as college-like in that it is comprised of many non-connected structures built over the years. The School’s Greater Glory Capital Campaign was responsible for many new structures completed by 2009, including the three-story Clay Activity Center, the Lahart Chapel of St. Ignatius, the Moran Dining Hall, and expansive athletic facilities. Jesuit’s new athletic complex includes a 3,000-seat competition gym; a separate gym housing three basketball courts; the Capt. Andrew Houghton Weight Room; a heated, 8-lane competition pool; and four lighted tennis courts. The baseball field opened in 2003, and the 5,000-seat multi-purpose stadium with FieldTurf opened in 2004. Other recent additions include renovations to Moody Library and a new Retreat and Leadership Center. Most recently, a new STEM building with state-of-the-art facilities opened in 2014.
Strake Jesuit advises that applicants should be a) academically prepared to handle the school’s curriculum, b) willing to study consistently and diligently outside of class, and c) receptive to the school’s Catholic heritage and traditions. Strake’s application requires recommendations from a math teacher, an English teacher, and a principal or counselor. The school also requires that applicants sit for the HSPT, usually administered at the school in January. Shadow visits are not required, but they are available throughout the year for applicants who want to get a closer look at student life.
Academic Tracks and Curriculum
Strake Jesuit offers a college preparatory curriculum. It also offers Accelerated and Advanced Placement courses. Strake Jesuit offers 10 accelerated and 12 AP courses. Freshmen are not allowed to take accelerated or AP classes, and all students are limited to three accelerated or AP classes at any given time. The school offers some non-traditional courses in social studies such as business law, business and personal finance, and African American Studies. Likewise, the school’s Theology Department offers fifteen classes. All students must take a theology course each year. Some classes are offered by St. Agnes, Strake’s adjacent sister school.
Strake also offers several Dual Enrollment classes in partnership with Houston Community College.
Strake requires students to accumulate 27.5 credits to graduate; one credit is equivalent to one year of study. The requirements are as follows: English (4), mathematics (4), science (4), social studies (4), foreign language (3), computer science (1), theology (4), PE/health (2), communication & fine arts (1), and community service (.5). In order to meet the community service requirement, seniors must log 100 hours of service.
Strake offers assistance for students with special needs through its Learning Resource Center. The center accommodates students with ADHD, dyslexia, and dysgraphia, as well as other learning differences and special needs. Accommodations available in the classroom include extended time for testing, less distracting environments for testing, preferential seating arrangements, and computer aids for note-taking. In consultation with parents, Strake counselors will also arm students with organizational plans and classroom strategies to help them manage their learning differences.
Three years of foreign language instruction are required for graduation. Students can choose to study Chinese, French, Latin, or Spanish. Spanish and Latin are offered up to the AP level, and French is offered up to an Honors fourth year—the school combines levels 4 and 5 into one class. Chinese is currently offered through the third year and features dual enrollment with St. Agnes students.
Strake Jesuit combines communication classes and fine arts into the same department. Students are required to take at least one class from this department to graduate. There are more than thirty classes from which to choose, including several courses in TV broadcasting and production. Several classes feature dual enrollment with St. Agnes.
The school has two computer laboratories with more than sixty computers. At least one credit of computer science is required to graduate. Students can choose from five classes, including AP Computer Science. Internet access is available via the school’s dedicated, super high-speed T-1 line. All students have their own password-protected user accounts and allocated hard drive space. As of 2013, Strake distributes iPads to all students. To participate in this program, students must purchase the case for the iPad, certain required apps for school, and digital textbooks for their classes, and they must sign the school’s Acceptable Use Policy. The school’s replacement policy is fairly generous in that it does not require parents to cover the full cost of a lost or damaged device until after the third incident. Additionally, all classrooms now have Apple TVs allowing teachers to mirror the work they do on their iPads directly onto SmartBoards.
Students have a choice of more than fifty clubs. The extracurricular offerings on campus are extensive, including diversity organizations like the Black and Hispanic Student Unions and athletic organizations like Intramural Sports. The Student Council is composed of eleven elected representatives from each grade and four officers from the senior class.
All students must take 1.5 credit hours (three semesters) of physical education and .5 credit hours (one semester) of health. The school offers “athletic PE” classes whereby students involved in an athletic program can further hone their skills in that sport and satisfy the PE requirement; however, the approval of the sport’s head coach is required to participate.
The school fields teams in thirteen sports: baseball, basketball, cross-country, football, golf, lacrosse, rugby, soccer, swimming, tennis, track, water polo, and wrestling. Students can participate in a sport at the freshman, junior varsity, or varsity level. Strake Jesuit is a member school in UIL, which allows its athletic programs to compete against the largest public schools in Texas.
Strake holds two Parent-Teacher Nights each semester. The school also hosts a Dads’ Club, a Mothers’ Club, and Parent Groups designed to give parents the opportunity to discuss their students' performance directly with teachers and the guidance counselor.
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8900 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77036