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Strake Jesuit College Preparatory
Strake Jesuit College Preparatory

Strake Jesuit College Preparatory (properly referred to as "Strake Jesuit" or "Jesuit" but often informally called "Strake" by students and alumni) is a Jesuit, college-preparatory school for males, grades 9–12, in the Chinatown area and in the Greater Sharpstown district of Houston, Texas.[5] It is located in proximity to Alief.[6]

With over 1000 students, it is the largest Catholic high school in Houston. It boasts such a large collection of art installed around the campus, both inside and out, that the City of Houston has classified the campus as an art museum,[7] for which the school maintains a full-time curator. The school is located within the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. It is one of only two private schools in Texas that are members of the University Interscholastic League (the other being Dallas Jesuit), which allows it to compete athletically against the largest public schools.

History


The school was founded by Father Michael Kenelley, S.J.,[8][9] on June 21, 1960, in what was then the undeveloped, west side of Houston. The school's patron saint is Stanislaus Kostka, a Polish Jesuit who serves as a patron of students; additionally, as a Jesuit institution, Ignatius of Loyola is invoked as an unofficial patron saint.[10]

In 1971 the school asked to declare Chapter 10 bankruptcy as it lost money in the Sharpstown scandal.[11] The school surrendered seven acres of its original property to resolve its financial distress and emerge from bankruptcy protection. The seven-acre tract was repurchased by the school in 2012 for $3.3 million.[12]

During a three-year period until 1993, the number of applications submitted to Strake Jesuit doubled. Fr. Brian Zinnamon, the school President, said during the year that there were two times the number of applicants compared to available spots. At the time, tuition was $4,700 per year, described by Stephanie Asin of the Houston Chronicle as being steep.[6] Father Zinnamon said, "Certainly what is going on in the public schools is a factor. Parents are choosing a safe environment where they know their children are getting Christian values."[6]

In 2017 Niche ranked Strake second among Catholic High schools in Texas, along with the comment: "Challenging academic program supplemented by excellent arts and strong athletics produces well rounded students. The faculty and staff here genuinely care about these students as individuals and their holistic development."[13]

Athletics


The "Fighting Crusaders" were one of many Catholic high schools that originally competed in the now defunct T.C.I.L. (Texas Christian Interscholastic League).[14] The league began in 1935 under the direction of Albert Mitchell (then principal of Central Catholic, San Antonio). Strake Jesuit's last year of competition in the T.C.I.L. concluded when the league came to a close in the 1999–2000 athletic season with the baseball team capturing the final T.C.I.L. State Championship in any sport. After T.C.I.L. merged with TAPPS, both Strake Jesuit and Dallas Jesuit were not permitted to join as TAPPS believed those two schools were too powerful.[14] From the fall of 2000 to the spring of 2003, the Crusaders competed as an independent in all sports.

They were admitted into the University Interscholastic League (U.I.L.), the public school athletic league, partly due to the efforts of Joe Nixon, a member of the Texas House of Representatives.[14] After its admission into the U.I.L., Strake began competing in its listed district of 19-5A in the fall of 2003. The Crusaders have won several district and regional championships along with a state championship, state runners-up, and state semi-finalists within the past eight years in the U.I.L. The "Fighting Crusaders" athletic department provides 13 different programs which include: baseball, basketball, cross-country, football, golf, lacrosse, rugby, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, water polo, and wrestling.

The Houston Press ranked the U.I.L. realignment as the "Best Way to Break In to the Big Time" in 2003.[14]

Despite moving to the U.I.L., Strake Jesuit still maintains its rivalry with Saint Thomas High School (STH). Since 1964 Strake has a record of 24–29–1 against STH.[15]

The Cross Country Team won 22 straight T.C.I.L. State titles starting in 1972.

Notable alumni


Awards and honors


Strake Jesuit was recognized by the Texas ACT Council with the 2009 College Readiness Award for maintaining or increasing the number of students taking the ACT Assessment over the past five years and significantly increasing their level of achievement and college readiness.[19] Also, since the foundation of the Catholic High School Honor Roll in 2004 by the Cardinal Newman Society, this society has bestowed the following honors on Strake Jesuit: ranked among the top 50 Catholic High Schools in the United States in 2004,[20] 2005,[21] 2007,[22] 2008,[23] and 2010;[24][1] recognized for its academics in 2004,[25] 2005,[26] 2006,[27] and 2007;[28] and in 2004,[25] 2005,[26] and 2007[28] recognized for its civic education.[2]

Strake's robotics team joined with St. Agnes to win the regional tournament and move on to the global competition in 2017.[29]

See also


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