BC High adds grades 7 and 8

BOSTON — Boston College High School will add a 7th and 8th grade to its 143-year old high school program beginning in September of 2007, the school announced Jan. 11. The announcement comes following a vote Jan. 10 by the Board of Trustees, acting on the recommendation of BC High President William J. Kemeza.

“There is a growing demand for a seventh and eighth grade educational experience that reflects the academically rigorous curriculum and challenging athletic and co-curricular activities available to students at BC High and characteristic of Jesuit education,” said President Kemeza. “Changing social norms call for an earlier focus on character formation, and we believe that BC High’s 143-year model of education for leadership and service is well-suited to respond to these needs.”

The curriculum in grades seven and eight will closely model the school’s rigorous, college preparatory academic program in grades nine through 12, with developmentally appropriate subjects to introduce students to the discipline of study and class work, and to prepare them for the demands of secondary school.

“We are fortunate that this decision comes at a time of great institutional strength and unprecedented alumni support,” said Board of Trustees Chairman John B. Dunn. “We have an exceptional academic product, and in response to overwhelming demand, we believe that it is everyone’s best interest to extend that product to seventh and eight grade students.”

Market research conducted by the school in 2004 concluded that there was intense demand among prospective families.

To prepare for the 2007 opening, BC High has embarked on a major capital renovations project to provide new classroom space for the added grades in the school’s former science building—a space separate yet accessible to all campus facilities.

The $13 million approved Jan. 10 by the Board of Trustees will also pay for state-of-the-art renovations to McElroy and Cushing Halls, as well as a new theater arts building, a new synthetic turf for Viola Stadium and the athletic practice fields and campus-wide landscaping projects. The high school’s science classrooms and laboratories were relocated in February of 2005 to a new 63,000 sq/ft building that was the cornerstone of a $22 million building campaign completed last year.

BC High admissions officers expect that the applicant pool for grades seven and eight will be highly competitive, and they will seek to enroll a student body with strong academic potential that reflects the diversity of the Church and community, consistent with admission to grade nine.

Grades seven and eight are expected to enroll 100 students each. When it is fully established, the school will maintain its total enrollment of 1,300 students.

Boston College High School is a Jesuit Catholic college-preparatory school for young men founded in 1863. The school enrolls approximately 1,300 students from some 100 communities in eastern Massachusetts.