Three priests from the Congregation of St. Basil founded the school, then named St. Thomas College, in 1900 in an unused building of the Franciscan Monastery in downtown Houston. That first location in a warehouse was temporary as the school quickly moved to a location on Main Street in 1903. It moved to its current location in 1940. Today, St. Thomas educates more than 700 young men every year.
St. Thomas was founded by, and remains an institution of, the Basilian Fathers. The Basilian Fathers are a Catholic religious congregation originating in France during the French Revolution. The Basilians became active in Texas beginning in the 1930’s. The University of St. Thomas is also a Basilian institution. Approximately 20% of St. Thomas students are non-Catholic, but all students must participate in the school’s religious activities.
The school’s campus is centrally located within the 610 loop at the intersection of Shepherd and Memorial. Buffalo Bayou is directly to its south. The DePelchin Children’s Center is across Shepherd on the west side, and the High School for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice (HSLECJ) is on the north side. An increasingly gentrified community of young professionals lives to the east in apartments, town homes, and older single-family homes.
The school’s athletic facilities include two tennis courts, a multipurpose soccer/ football/ track stadium, baseball diamond, and multipurpose field. The campus also boasts a large, outdoor amphitheater.
After the announcement that HSLECJ would be moving to a new campus, St. Thomas made a successful bid to purchase the adjoining property, which is to be vacated in 2017. The former HSLECJ campus will provide St. Thomas with more classroom space, including additional facilities for science laboratory instruction and the dramatic arts. It will also represent a significant increase in the school’s athletic practice facilities.
St. Thomas seeks to admit a socio-economically diverse group of students of average to well above average academic achievement. The school uses the following criteria when evaluating applicants: compatibility with the school, the applicant’s desire to attend the school, HSPT scores, junior high school record, recommendations, the quality of the application essay, and involvement in school activities. All applicants are personally interviewed upon the receipt of their completed applications. The school does accept non-Catholic students, but everyone is required to take theology classes, attend class retreats, and participate in religious services with the St. Thomas community.
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St. Thomas offers three tracks—On-Track, Honors, and Advanced Placement. Honors classes are offered from freshman year onward. Approximately 60% of students participate in at least one Honors or AP class.
In keeping with the school’s religious mission, all students are required to take theology each year.
Twenty-eight credits are required for graduation; each credit is equivalent to one year or two semesters. The requirements are as follows: theology (4), mathematics (4), social studies (4), English (4), science (4), foreign language (2), technology (1), health/PE (2), speech (.5), fine Arts (.5), and electives (2).
No information concerning St. Thomas High School’s accommodations for students with special needs is available at this time.
Students are required to take two years of a language in order to meet graduation requirements. The school offers instruction in French, Latin, and Spanish up to level four. AP Spanish is also offered. The school also hosts clubs for all three languages.
St. Thomas requires one semester of fine arts coursework. Students can choose from approximately 20 classes across visual arts, music, and theatre. Choices include photography, orchestra, jazz band, and theatre. Students may host their own theatrical productions in the school’s new Moran Fine Arts Center or join forces with the sister schools of Duchesne, Incarnate Word Academy, and St. Agnes to co-produce shows.
Students are required to take two semesters of technology courses. Sophomores are required to take a course in computer applications where they learn about Microsoft Office and other applications. Juniors can choose between MS Office (intermediate/advanced), Visual Basic, and Java. Web design and advanced Java programming are offered as electives.
Additionally, St. Thomas has initiated a One to One Initiative that will provide each student with an Asus Transformer Android-based tablet with keyboard to use in the school’s Mobile Learning Environment. The cost of this tablet is included in tuition.
Clubs and organizations at St. Thomas include campus ministry, foreign language, art, music, speech and debate, student government, and student publications. The students publish an annual yearbook, an annual literary magazine, and a biweekly or monthly newspaper.
The school publishes a list and descriptions of some clubs on its website. Approximately 95% of the student body participates in at least one extracurricular activity.
Students are required to complete four semesters of health/ physical education classes to graduate. All students are encouraged to try out for any of the school’s interscholastic or intramural athletic teams. The school fields freshman, junior varsity, and varsity level teams in thirteen sports: baseball, basketball, cross-country, football, golf, lacrosse, roller hockey, rugby, soccer, swimming, track, tennis, and wrestling. St. Thomas is a member of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools.
Mothers of boys in the school are automatically members of the Mothers’ Club, which oversees all special events at the school. Parents may also join the Booster Club to support athletics.