Saint Thomas Academy

Saint Thomas Academy

Infobox high school

image_caption = Saint Thomas Academy
imagesize = 227px
name= Saint Thomas Academy
motto = "Ex Umbris in Veritatem" (Out of Darkness into Truth)
established = September 8, 1885
type = Private
endowment = |
staff =
faculty = 60
Head teacher =
schoolmaster = 1
headmaster = Thomas B. Mich, Ph.D.
asst. headmaster = Michael Byrne
dean of students = Michael Sjoberg
enrollment = 670
students =
city = Mendota Heights
state = Minnesota
country = USA
free_label =
free =
colors = Royal Blue and White
mascot =
affiliations = Catholic
information = 651-454-4570
website =
footnotes =

Saint Thomas Academy (abbr. St. Thomas Academy or STA), originally known as Saint Thomas Aquinas Seminary, and formerly known as Saint Thomas Military Academy is the only all male, Roman Catholic, college-preparatory, military high school in Minnesota. It is located in Mendota Heights near Saint Paul. The Academy has a middle school, grades 7 and 8, and a high school, grades 9-12. The high school students are required be in Army JROTC. Its sister school, Convent of the Visitation (or Visitation), is located down the street and many classes and after school activities involve both schools. It is located within the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.


Saint Thomas Academy, founded by Archbishop John Ireland, can trace its beginnings to September 8, 1885, when 66 students gathered in a renovated building on the old Finn Farm located on the shores of Lake Mennith (present intersection of Cleveland and Summit Avenues) in the western area of Saint Paul near the Mississippi River.

Originally called Saint Thomas Aquinas Seminary, there were two departments: The theological department prepared young men for the Roman Catholic priesthood, and the collegiate department prepared young men for university study and living a devout life. By 1890, a military program was formed under the name of the Saint Thomas Seminary Military Battalion. This early institution was the progenitor of four institutions: St. Thomas College, the St. Paul Seminary, Nazareth Hall Preparatory Seminary, and Saint Thomas Military Academy.

With the establishment of the St. Paul Seminary in 1894, St. Thomas College was incorporated, a part of which was the preparatory or Academic Department encompassing the first four years of a six-year institution; thus, the Academy was the parent organization. The fifth and sixth years were the Collegiate Department. Saint Thomas became a military school in 1905 and the program was under the direct supervision of the U.S. Army. In the school year 1908-1909, Saint Thomas was selected as an Honor School by the U.S. Army for the first time, an award which the Academy has garnered almost every year since. The ROTC program began in 1916.

The Academic Department of earlier years became Saint Thomas Military Academy in 1922 when a definitive distinction was made between the Academy and the College.

In September of 1965, 560 cadets moved to a new campus in Mendota Heights. With the move, the name of the school was changed to Saint Thomas Academy. At this time a new corporation and Board of Trustees was formed, completely separating the Academy from the University of St. Thomas. A four-year, Catholic, college preparatory, JROTC, all-male high school, with day students and boarders was the basic format at the Academy until the early 1970s.

In 1971 a Middle School was created, composed of seventh and eighth grade level boys, centered on the concept of small class sizes and individualized instruction.

The boarding program was discontinued in 1974 because of a decrease in the number of young men choosing a boarding school. One residence building is presently being rented to Marriage Encounter; the second houses our Development/Alumni Department, as well as the Saint Thomas Academy Auction Offices; the third building, the Roach House, is used by local and visiting clergy.

The Academy currently occupies a 72 acre tract of land from Rogers Lake to south of Mendota Heights Road with four adjoining buildings (Academic, Cafeteria, Athletics, and Middle School).

Athletic facilities include the Bill Culbertson Track, the Gerry Brown Stadium for football and soccer, a hockey arena, a baseball diamond, an air-supported dome, two practice fields, a gymnasium, and an indoor swimming pool. Athletics have always played an important part of the co-curricular activities of the institution. From its early days, the Academy has participated in intramural and interscholastic competition. Many conference, regional, district and state championships have been won over the years.

Today, Saint Thomas Academy continues in the tradition of being a Catholic, all- male, college preparatory, military school offering leadership development through the JROTC program. College and personal counseling is an integral part of the education of its young men. Many activities, including 13 sports teams and more than 30 non-athletic co-curriculars, are part of a cadet's education. In addition to the athletic teams, students also participate activities such as drama, chess team, Citation staff, speech team, Crack Drill Squad, Kaydet staff, photo staff, Cadence staff, rifle team, quiz bowl, band, orienteering, orchestra, debate team, math team, and mock trial.

Since its inception, the heart of the educational program has been the Catholic faith. Young men are given courses in the various aspects of the Catholic religion. The priest and lay faculty offer the students Christian principles through their teaching and by example. The Academy numbers among its alumni priests, bishops, and brothers.

A distinguishing feature of Saint Thomas Academy is its ability to meet the individual educational and spiritual needs of its students. The average class size is 18 students. They are taught by highly-motivated teachers who work together to meet individual needs. Academics, co-curricular activities, spiritual awareness, and leadership training all play an important role in each student's development.


*Every day after second period, students attend formation where they stand in their brigade. Many important traditions are exercised during formation.
**A senior reads the morning prayer and the headmaster or cadet colonel leads the Pledge of Allegiance.
**One or two students gives a Senior Speech during formation. It can be on any topic the Senior chooses. It is a requirement for graduation for a student to give a Senior Speech.
**The Crack Drill Squad performs once every year during formation, usually near the end of the year.
**Every year, a member of the senior class is selected as the "cadet colonel" for the year, a terrific and commendable achievement for that student. The headmaster, following a short ceremony, bestows the highest rank in the brigade, as well as the prized Fleming Saber, bearing the name of the Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, WWII Pacific Theater Veteran and STA graduate Richard E. Fleming, upon the Cadet Colonel.

Sports and activities

Saint Thomas Academy is a member of the Classic Suburban Conference. They participate in all 14 Minnesota State High School League sports as well as Orienteering. Saint Thomas Academy also has various co-curricular activities such as Band, Chess Team, Debate Team, VISTA Theater Company, Math Team, Quiz Bowl (2004 Quiz Bowl National Champions), Knowledge Bowl, Experimental Vehicle Team (2005 Dell Winston Solar Cup Champions and 2006 Solar Bike Race Champions), Mock Trial, The Rifle Team and The Crack Drill Squad. More than 90% of students participate in co-curricular athletics or activities. [ [ Student Participation in Activities] ]


*Saint Thomas' rival in athletics is Cretin-Derham Hall, a private Catholic high school in Saint Paul.
*Saint Thomas also has rivalry with Henry Sibley High School, Mendota Heights' public high school.
*Saint Thomas has a distinguished and competitive Quiz Bowl and Knowledge Bowl program, which has won national and state championships in several leagues.
*The Swim Team of Saint Thomas has won the Class A State Championship in 9 of the last 10 years (as of 2008).
*In every annual Brigade Formal Inspection (B.F.I.) since 1983, Saint Thomas has earned the coveted “Honor Unit with Distinction” from the United States Army.
*Saint Thomas is a Catholic, College Prep, All-Male, Military High School

Notable alumni

Saint Thomas has been attended by several persons of note in its history, including:

*Thomas F. Gallagher, Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court (1943–1967) [ [ Minnesota State Law Library Biographies of Justices and Judges of the Minnesota Appellate Courts] ]
*General Alfred Gruenther '19, former Supreme Allied Commander – Europe in the 1950s
*Judge Fallon Kelly, Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court (1970–1980) [ [ Minnesota State Law Library Biographies of Justices and Judges of the Minnesota Appellate Courts] ]
*Marine Captain Richard E. Fleming '35, WWII Medal of Honor winner
*Marine Lieutenant General Edwin Miller '41
*James Garberg '41, received Distinguished Service Cross and the Purple Heart for his actions on the Island of Attu in 1943
*Lieutenant General Joseph K. Bratton '44
*Jim Lange, game show host
*Chris Cox '70, Chairman of the SEC; former United States House Representative (R-CA) and Committee Chairman
*Vince Flynn '84, author
*Ali Selim '79, Director of the award winning movie Sweetland
*Tom Malchow '95, Captain of U.S. Swim Team at the 2004 Summer Olympic, gold medal winner (2000)
*Dan Fitzgerald '03, Forward for the Marquette University basketball team [ [ Marquette Player Page] ]
*Mike Ciresi '64, lawyer from the Twin Cities with great success in mass tort litigation. He has been a candidate for several offices in Minnesota
*Peter Matlon '63, former Economic Director, Rockefeller Foundation
*Michael Wright '56, former CEO and Chair of the Board of Directors of Supervalu
*Jack Regan '39, former CEO and Chairman of Marsh & McLellan
*Patrick Lippert '76, Founding Executive Director of Rock The Vote
*James O'Shaughnessy'78, CEO O'Shaughnessy Asset Management (OSAM)
*John Hubbell '45, author
*John Horan '51, NBA Basketball Player
*Ben Tracy '96, CBS Evening News Reporter
* Matt Schnobrich '97, 2008 Summer Olympics crew rower


External links

* [ Saint Thomas Academy's Official Website]

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