Bishop England voted best private school in area

DANIEL ISLAND — The following information about Bishop England High School was provided by David Held, principal.

History: Bishop England was founded in downtown Charleston in 1915. It was named for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston’s first bishop, John England. The school relocated to Daniel Island in 1997.
Principal: David Held.

Number of students: 830 students with a capacity of 900.

Faculty: The school has 69 full-time and three part-time teachers.

School mission statement: As an institution of the Catholic Church, it is the mission of Bishop England High School to foster a faith community characterized by the Gospel message of mutual respect and charity. The school endeavors to promote the spiritual, intellectual and physical growth of the individual through the combined efforts of parents/guardians and faculty by establishing the best possible environment for learning: a climate of safety, trust, and respect for the individual and an appreciation for the acquisition of learning.

Grades: Ninth through 12th.

Hours: 8:15 a.m. to 2:50 p.m. The school building opens at 6:30 a.m. for early arrivals.

School meals: We do not have a cafeteria, but lunch is catered by Iacofano Deli, with sandwiches, pizza, salads and more.

School colors: Green and white.

Mascot: Battling Bishop.

Sports: All offered by the S.C. High School League. They include volleyball, football, girls’ tennis, swimming, cross-country, sailing, cheerleading and dance in the fall; wrestling, basketball and ice hockey in the winter; baseball, softball, soccer, track, boys’ tennis, golf and lacrosse in the spring.

Let us brag: We have the state’s highest percentage of passing rate on advanced placement exams, and City Paper voted us the best private school in the area.

Foreign language: We offer Spanish and French all four years.

Advanced classes: We have honors classes in every academic discipline.

Academic teams: Student Government, BEHS Ambassadors, drama club, French and Spanish club, Habitat for Humanity, Honor Society, Key club, Library Council, Literary magazine, Retreat team, Model United Nations, Speech and Debate Team and Mu Alpha Theta – Math Honor Society.

Facilities: We have a beautiful campus located on Daniel Island.

Biggest change over the years: In 1997, we moved from the old Bishop England campus on Calhoun Street, which had served our students since the early 1920s, to a sprawling, green oasis on Daniel Island, complete with our own football stadium.

Something unique to our school: When the old school was torn down, a time capsule was discovered in one of the cornerstones. Its contents included a document written by Bishop William T. Russell, rare coins and newspaper clippings from 1921. Most of these items are on display at the current school.

What sets us apart: 99 percent of our students continue on to higher education.

Community projects: The list is very long. We help Habitat for Humanity, Spring Arbor assisted living and inner city schools, to name a few. We had a bake sale to raise proceeds for Angel Touch, and collected groceries at the Advent Mass for the local needy through the Caring Students Ministering Creatively Penny Drive.

Our parish: As the only Catholic high school in Charleston, we draw students from all over the tri-county area.

Wishes for our school: We would like to strengthen our racial, socioeconomic and academic diversity.

How we demonstrate the Catholic faith: We have a strong retreat team, with about 120 students actively participating.

Our top awards or honors are: Sports Illustrated named us one of the top 50 athletic programs in the country. So far this school year, B.E. has won championships in volleyball, girls’ cross-country and girls’ tennis. In the 2006-07 school year, we netted six championships for girls’ track, basketball, girls’ and boys’ soccer, girls’ cross-country and volleyball.

Music/art programs: Three of our Advanced Band students recently auditioned and were chosen for the All-Region Band Weekend in Myrtle Beach. School plays, concerts and other exhibits by the fine arts department are a routine part of school life.

Do you have programs for students with disabilities? Yes, we started the Options program this year and it is an outstanding success.

What percentage of students are Catholic? 71 percent.