Woodside Priory School

Woodside Priory School

The Woodside Priory School, commonly known as the Priory, is an independent, coeducational, Roman Catholic, college preparatory, day and boarding school in the Benedictine tradition located in Portola Valley, California in the United States. It is located in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco. Its current head of school is Tim Molak. Al Zappelli is the director of admissions. Brian Schlaak is the Dean of Academics, Scott Parker is the Dean of Students, and Kathy Hume is the Dean of the Middle School.


The Priory was founded in 1957 by a group of seven Hungarian Benedictine Monks from Saint Martin's Archabbey in Pannonhalma, Hungary. The early history of the Priory's founding has been outlined in the book, "Beginnings" written by Father Egon Javor, OSB. In 1974, the monks affiliated with Saint Anselm College and Abbey in Manchester, New Hampshire. The school began on an 18 acre ranch and over the years has expanded significantly to the point where the campus now encompasses some 50 acres. Originally the school was comprised entirely of all-male boarders, but over the years the ratio of boarders to day students changed to the point where today the boarding school accounts for a smaller percentage of the high school student body. In the early 1990s, the school began admitting females to the day program, with the first coed senior class graduating in 1995. The Priory's boarding program was expanded to include girls in 2003.

In 2005, the Priory announced plans for a major construction project on campus, in order to commemorate the school's 50th anniversary. The plans include a new library, performing arts center, and a new student center. Construction on the new Performing Arts Center began in the summer of 2006. The new Performing Arts Center was dedicated on Founders Day, November 11, 2007.

The school has had connections to numerous local celebrities in the Bay Area over the years, including singer Bing Crosby, recent Priory graduate and Grammy nominated jazz pianist, Taylor Eigsti, and former professional football player Steve Young.

Academics, Athletics, and the Arts

Currently the enrollment of the Priory is 350 students spanning grades 6-12. The major population of the student body is from the Bay Area; however, international students hail from 16 countries as far as South Korea, China, Taiwan, India, Hungary, Germany, Lithuania, Austria, and Australia.

The Priory fields competitive teams in track and field, basketball, soccer, volleyball, cross country, swimming, golf, baseball, water polo and tennis. In 2000, the girls' volleyball won the state championship for Division V, and finished second the following year. The school competes in Central Coast Section (CCS) post-season competition.

The Priory has supported a number of club and groups over the years, including the Associated Student Body, of which senior Chipper Montalvo is currently president. The school's newspaper, originally begun in 1960, is still published today as the "Last Minute Press".

In the area of Performing Arts, the Priory has an active drama and theater group, an orchestra and choir.

Recent News

The 2008-2009 school year marks the Priory's 51st year as a school. A variety of events were held to celebrate the golden jubilee highlighted by the Blessing of the new Performing Arts Center. On Founders Day the plaza in front of the PAC was dedicated in honor of Father Egon Javor, OSB, the founder and the first Benedictine Prior for Woodside Priory.

ee also

*San Mateo County high schools

External links

* [ Woodside Priory School home page]
* [ Western Boarding Schools Association]
* [ The Association of Boarding Schools]

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