Father Ryan High School

Father Ryan High School

Father Ryan High School is a private, Roman Catholic high school in Nashville, Tennessee. It is located in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Nashville and named for Father Abram J. Ryan.Infobox Secondary school
name = Father Ryan High School

motto =
type = Private High School
affiliation = Roman Catholic
president = Jim McIntyre
principal = Paul Davis
address = 700 Norwood Drive
city = Nashville
state = Tennessee
country = USA
enrollment = 870
faculty = 101
class size =
Student/ teacher ratio =
free_label_1 =
free_1 =
colors = Purple & White
nickname =
mascot = Irish
grades = 9-12
established = 1925
yearbook = Irish Pride
newspaper = The Moina
website = [http://www.fatherryan.org Father Ryan High School]

Background and History

Father Ryan High School traces its roots to the Nashville Catholic High School for Boys which opened in September 1925 at 2015 West End Avenue. Within three years, the school was outgrowing its West End facility. Bishop Alphonse Smith launched a building campaign in March 1928 which raised $300,000 in ten days for a new school at 2300 Elliston Place.

The new school was named for Father Abram J. Ryan, priest and chaplain of the South known for his compassion to the injured and for his literary contribution in poetry. The facility was dedicated September 1929. This campus was expanded twice.

In September 1954, four months after the landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Brown v. Board of Education case striking down school segregation, a small group of black students enrolled in two of Nashville’s four Catholic high schools making Father Ryan and Cathedral high schools the first to integrate in Tennessee. After the announcement of the integration of the schools, Msgr. Hitchcock said, the faculty at Father Ryan received several threats and several windows were broken and cars vandalized at the school. Only four or five white families pulled their sons out of Father Ryan that year, Msgr. Hitchcock noted, and two returned the following year.

Father Francis Shea, Father Ryan’s principal, made a point not to talk to the press about how many blacks enrolled in the 1954-55 school year, arguing that the school didn’t have black students and white students, just Father Ryan students. But a check of the school’s annual for that year shows the school’s total enrollment of 293 included 15 blacks.

On January 4, 1965, Pearl High School's Tigers, long an athletic power among state and southern black schools, launched a new era for athletics when they met Father Ryan at Municipal Auditorium. It is believed to be the first integrated athletic contest in the city's history.

Father Ryan High School became coeducational in 1970 when it merged with the all-female Cathedral High School. At the time, there were a number of people who were unhappy about the change. The majority of the students did not have a problem with it, but some of the alumni believed Father Ryan was a boys school and should stay that way. This view has changed though as time has passed. Everyone has seen how much the females have enhanced the school, and the oppostion has gone away. Today females are involved in almost all activities at Ryan, and teachers and alumni say they could not imagine what Ryan would be like if it was still an all boys school.

The school relocated in the summer of 1991 from its downtown location at 2300 Elliston Place to a brand new campus at 700 Norwood Drive in south Nashville. The new campus and buildings were designed by H2L2 Architects/Planners in Philadelphia, PA.

Through three locations and over 75 years, Father Ryan High School has enjoyed a rich heritage of excellence in academics and a long and consistent history of outstanding sports teams. Most importantly, it has a long tradition of nurturing and guiding the spiritual growth of its young adults.


Father Ryan High School's first campus was at 2300 Elliston Place, which was dedicated in 1929. Father Ryan remained here for 62 years and expanded twice, but eventually it outgrew these facilities and during the summer of 1991 relocated to its present home on Norwood Drive in the Oak Hill area of Nashville.

This 40 acre site includes an academic building containing computer labs, science labs, and many classrooms. There is also an administrative cloister building featuring art and drama rooms, band room, dining hall, and the St. James Chapel. The field house features three full size basketball courts, wrestling room, workout areas, locker rooms, and coaching offices. The spacious site also has softball, baseball, soccer, football fields and a track.

The recent addition of a freestanding Library and Center for the Arts reflects the school's commitment to remain on the cutting edge of educational advancement. Tennessean editor emeritus John Seigenthaler, a 1945 alumnus, spoke of the 40 acre campus, “In moving from one part of town to another, in expanding the campus to what looks like a junior college, Father Ryan was ahead of the curve. And now again, with these dramatic changes, Father Ryan is making its students better prepared than ever to live, work, and thrive in a changing world.”

There are several reminders of Father Ryan's first campus scattered throughout the campus on Norwood Drive. The doors to the new library, parts of the grotto, parts of the statue of Jesus and Ryan students, and objects in the main office are all from the original campus on Elliston Place. These things serve as a constant reminder of Father Ryan's rich history.


Father Ryan High School is a college-preparatory secondary school with varied programs and courses designed to meet the individual needs and interests of our student population. Core courses in English, mathematics, science, social studies, and foreign languages are supplemented by a variety of electives. Father Ryan offers its students courses at four levels (College Preparatory, Advanced, Honors, and Advanced Placement) to ensure their successful transition to higher education and maintains a level of enrollment that provides optimum opportunities for academic and co-curricular success.

Student selection for Advanced, Honors and Advanced Placement courses is based upon successful completion of prerequisite courses, teacher recommendations and standardized test scores. Seventeen AdvancedPlacement courses are offered.

Beginning with the school year 2006-2007, Father Ryan replaced its traditional six to seven period day with block scheduling. Block scheduling allows students to earn a maximum of eight credits per year by extending class time to include four classes each day. This extended time allows students to become involved in the learning process by promoting independent, critical thinking as opposed to the mere acquisition of knowledge.

The minimum number of credits required for graduation is 25. The credits must be earned in the following distribution: 4 credits Theology (one for each year enrolled at Father Ryan), 4 credits English, 4 credits Mathematics, 2 credits Social Studies (one must be U.S. History), 3 credits Science (recommended one Physical and one Biological), 2 credits Foreign Language (the same Foreign Language), 1 credit Physical Education, 1 credit Fine Arts , ½ credit Health , ½ credit Technology, and enough elective credits to meet total requirements.

tatements of Belief

Father Ryan seeks to be a superior Catholic high school, providing excellence in religious and moral formation, academics, athletics, and the arts while remaining accessible to those seeking an education in the Catholic Tradition.

With the motto of "A Tradition of Faith, Knowledge, Service", Father Ryan High School believes that as a school community, we should:

*Appreciate the worth and value of every student.
*Empower students to live the Gospel daily in ways that develop capacity for moral and noble thinking and a responsibility for social justice and mercy.
*Provide students with the opportunity to express their faith through worship, prayer and service, as an essential part of the Catholic school experience.
*Partner with parents and parishes to minister to the needs of students.
*Meet each student's learning needs, and motivate students to the pursuit of academic excellence.
*Provide academic, physical, and spiritual challenges for each student and fully prepare them for further educational opportunities.
*Support and encourage each student through academic counseling.
*Strive to be a community representative of the demographics of the Catholic Diocese of Nashville.
*Create an environment of personal development that encompasses the whole person, spiritually, intellectually, physically, and emotionally.
*Provide opportunities in all arenas for leadership and service that will enable students and faculty to reach their fullest potential.
*Provide a comprehensive program of extra-curricular activities in art, clubs, music, sports, and service.

tudent Life

Student activities at Father Ryan are as many and varied as our student population. Opportunities in student government, honor societies, subject area and interest clubs, student publications, theater, speech and debate, choral music and band are available on the Ryan campus. In addition, numerous community service programs contribute to the development of good moral character, responsible citizenship and sound leadership in Father Ryan students.

Father Ryan's variety of student groups include: Environmental Awareness Club, Retreat Team, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Irish Service Corps, Respect Life Club, Multi-Cultural Student Union, Schools for Schools (Invisible Children), S.O.U.L for Safe Haven, Student Council, French Club, Creative Writing Club, Spanish Club, Forensics, Future Teachers of America, Junior Classical League(Latin Club), Science Olympiad, The Science Academy, the Gadfly creative arts magazine, Irish Pride yearbook staff, The Moina newspaper staff, Chess Club, Climbing Club, Photography Club, Skateboarding Club, Competition Dance Team, Performance dance team, Father Ryan Singers, Music Ministry, Purple Masque Players, Mock Trial, Model United Nations, Youth Legislature and more.

Honor Societies at Father Ryan include: Father Black Honor Society, National Honor Society, Cum Laude Society, French Honor Society, Latin Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society.

Band and Instrumental Music Programs

Father Ryan's music programs have enjoyed much success in recent years due to the hard work and dedication of the staff, students, and parents. Students are consistently successful in solo and ensemble, mid-state, and all-state performances; and the marching band and winter drumline regularly win or place in state, regional, national, and world championships.

*Concert Band is offered for those students with at least one year of experience on a band instrument. This group rehearses during the school day.
*Jazz Band is offered during the winter months of the school year. This group rehearses after school and performs at the annual Jazz Night as well as at various jazz festivals.
*Private Instrumental Instruction is offered both during the regular school day and after school and is available for all band instruments.
*Brass Ensemble is offered in the winter. Students rehearse after school and perform at various competitions.
*Winter Drumline is offered in the winter with students rehearsing after school and performing at various competitions and the national and world level. The drumline is known worldwide and currently competes in the Scholastic World class.
*Marching Band is the largest of the bands at Father Ryan. They perform for all home football games and travel to various locations for band competitions. The group meets after school in the fall of the year.
*Color Guard performs with the marching band, and utilises flags, rifles, and sabres to enhance the visual aspects of the band. They practice after school in the fall.

Father Ryan participates in the following organizations: Bands of America, Winter Guard International, Southeastern Color Guard Circuit, Middle Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association, the National Association for Music Education, and the Percussion Arts Society.


Father Ryan is a member of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association and Division II Class AA E/M Region

The Father Ryan athletic program includes a variety of competitive sports activities including football, basketball, soccer, baseball, track, cross country, volleyball, golf, swimming & diving, tennis, softball, wrestling, lacrosse, ice hockey, bowling, and competitive cheerleading. Father Ryan takes pride not only in the success of various teams but also in the number of enthusiastic participants.

Accreditations and Affiliations

Accredited By: Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS) and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Father Ryan was the first school in the Southeast region receive dual accreditation from these two organizations.Membership In:
*SACAC (Southern Association for College Admission Counseling)
*NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling)
*SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools)
*NASSP (National Association of Secondary School Principals)
*TAIS (Tennessee Association of Independent Schools)
*SAIS (Southern Association of Independent Schools)
*NCEA (National Catholic Education Association)
*ISNA (Independent Schools of the Nashville Area)
*The College Board
*Cum Laude Society
*National Honor Society


*President - Mr. James McIntyre
*Principal - Mr. Paul Davis
*Dean of Students - Ms. Carolyn Evans
*Dean of Spirituality and Student Life - Mr. Tim Forbes
*Academic Dean - Sara Hayes
*Chaplain - Fr. Nicholas Allen
*Director of College Counseling - Ms. Sarah H. Wilkinson
*Director of Admissions - Mrs. Kate Goetzinger
*Academic Counselor - Mr. John Spore
*Athletic Director - Mr. Pat Lawson
*Director of Counseling Services - Ms. Maggie Stockton
*Registrar - Mrs. Nancy Langdon

Department Heads

* Mathematics, Mrs. Janet Tate
* English, Mr. Randall Lancaster
* Technology, Ms. Suzanne Spore
* Theology, Mr. Sam Brown
* Social Sciences, Ms. Cynthia A. Williams
* Physical Education, Mr. Bruce Lussier
* Fine Arts, Mr. Jeffrey Schletzer
* Science, Mr. Steve Harden
* Foreign Language, Ms. Lee Ann Lockman

Notable alumni

* Bishop David R. Choby, current Bishop of Nashville
* John Lawrence Seigenthaler, American journalist
* Lou Graham, 1975 U.S. Open Champion (golf)
* John Seigenthaler, Jr., Former MSNBC Anchor
* Monroe J. Carell, Jr.,Co-founder of Central Parking Corp, philanthropist

Miscellaneous Facts

* The on-campus chapel, where daily mass is held, faces East toward the rising sun and is located at the geographical center of the campus. The four pillars inside represent the four biblical gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The twelve stations of the cross surrounding the sanctuary were donated by the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Nashville. The three banners hanging from the ceiling represent the Holy Trinity and change colors to represent the current liturgical season.
* The doors leading into the foyer of the Neuhoff Library are the former front doors of the old Father Ryan High School located on Elliston Place.



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