Colorful banners at the entrance to Bishop Kenny High School reveal to visitors that this is a special year — the 65th anniversary of Jacksonville's largest and longest operating Catholic high school.
A newly dedicated plaque with the image and history of namesake Bishop William J. Kenny introduces visitors to this man of great faith. Bishop Kenny's motto, "By Faith and Virtue," reminds us that service is more than just a graduation requirement — it's a lifelong journey.
In the early 1950s, the Diocese of St. Augustine selected a 55-acre piece of waterfront property to build a high school, in order to accommodate the consolidated populations of three Catholic high schools. Central Catholic High School opened its doors to 300students in September 1952. Later that year, the school was renamed to honor Bishop William J. Kenny, the first American-born Bishop of St. Augustine.
Today, 65 years and three generations of students later, Bishop Kenny High School enjoys a local, regional and even national reputation as a Catholic college-prep school that produces young men and women who live up to the vision of the school: "Guided by the lessons of the Gospel, Bishop Kenny graduates will be persons of integrity, capable of making life-decisions and positive contributions to their faith, family, and global communities."
Faith remains at the center of all that happens at Bishop Kenny High School. Rev. Martin Raj, full-time school chaplain, presides at Mass each morning, welcoming students, parents, teachers and alumni to the Lord's Table before the school day begins. The spiritual center of campus, the Bishop Paul F. Tanner Chapel is also the location for confession, class retreats and quiet reflection or prayer.
Approximately 1,210 students are enrolled at Bishop Kenny. Of those, 20 percent rely on state or institutional financial assistance to meet the cost of tuition. Alumni, parents and other benefactors help support the school's financial aid program through the Annual Fund and individual scholarship funds.
Bishop Kenny High School offers a rigorous college-prep curriculum designed to enable graduates to gain admission to the college or university of their choice. In addition to traditional academic courses, Bishop Kenny students can choose from a wide variety of elective subjects including the area's only private school NJROTC program, several fine arts offerings and much more.
The safe and secure campus features state-of the-art facilities that allow teachers to employ the most current instructional methods and tools to help prepare students for college and beyond. Now in the 5th year of its 1:1 iPad program, students develop the 21st-century skills essential for success in college and the workforce.
"A digital skill set is an absolute necessity in today's world, but we do more than teach digital skills, we teach students the importance of using technology morally and responsibly," said Principal Todd Orlando. "There's a strong emphasis on digital citizenship."
Athletics and extracurricular activities round out the school day for most students. The Bishop Kenny Crusaders have an enduring reputation for being competitive athletes who demonstrate leadership and good sportsmanship. More than 50 percent of Bishop Kenny students will participate on one or more of the 36 varsity, JV and freshman boys' and girls' athletic teams. Nearly all students also participate in one or more of the approximately 40 school-sanctioned academic or service clubs.
• 100% of the Class of 2016 enrolled in college
• 80% entered 4-year, 20% entered 2-year universities and colleges
• The Class of 2016 earned $12.2 million in college scholarships
• The 288-member Class of 2016 earned 368 academic and athletic scholarships
• 41.1% of the Class of 2016 earned a Florida Bright Futures Scholarship
• Bishop Kenny students consistently score well above National and State scores on the SAT and ACT
• 20 AP courses offered
• In 2016, 277 students took 713 AP exams
• In 2016, the senior class performed 17,607 service hours
• The Class of 2016 performed a 4-year total of 65,687 service hours
• Bishop Kenny is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools