Benedictine used to be a first-class institution in the pre-grapes: headmaster days. Headmaster has no advanced degree and doesn't require teachers to have any type of licensure and futher doesn't encourage it at all. A few good teachers carried over from prior regimes, but the school has a very anti-women stance. The board is comprised of "self appointed" do-nothings who aren't really involved at all. Headmaster lives in the gated community next to the school in a home the school purchased, all the while, playing the poverty card. The administration is extremely dismissive of parents and kicks out kids with little or no reasoning, while keeping a current student who has two children (hmm..Catholic?!) The school sadly needs a complete change and that will have to begin at the Top, starting with the Board and then the headmaster. My son will not be returning to Benedictine for his last two years.
The board and current headmaster are the reason my son (current alumni with a middle school-aged kid) will not be attending my alma mater. They feel the need to plead poverty while purchasing a million dollar home for the headmaster to reside in. Very dismissive of alumni and current parents who provide constructive criticism. Board members have children at competing schools....
Teachers are not required to be licensed by the state, and many are not. Extremely conservative catholicism. Inconsistent discipline. Aloof and non-communicative administration. Lots of turnover among administration and faculty. Financial problems and legal issues...Lots of "drama." Constant pleas for parental volunteers and money.
Tried to get my child in this school, they wouldnt give him a chance. My kid plays basketball, football and baseball. The high school that he was leaving didnt give him a chance so when they found out he was leaving they bad mouth him to benedictine. He never fail he would've went into Benedictine with 19 credits, My son is a senior, I wanted to reclass him because hes only sixteen, thinking this school would help him. Never got in trouble.
I must disagree with the negative comment below. This school was an answer to our prayers. Our son struggled academically throughout elementary and middle school. He has done nothing but thrive at Benedictine. His self confidence has improved tremendously and his academic sucess cannot be measured. Sure he has had his bad days but all kids do. Most teachers are very responsive and helpful. My son has been spiritually, academically and athletically.
The school is poorly run. They have an orientation that demeans newcomers; the teachers are not committed to your child, all behaviors that contribute to poor self esteem. The teachers are quick to place children on academic probation and does not offer any help or program that gets them from their to success, thereby contributing and creating in your child poor self esteem and negative psychological development. Their "so called" military program is fake at best, does not hold the students accountable for anything which is also damaging to the child. The only thing the school is consistent and strong in is their catholism program (that we were not interested in), collecting and fund raising. They have no real process or methods for developing any integrity, character, or academic skills in a child who comes there in need. If you meet a minority child who has gone through their program, they cannot confidently look you in the face, give you a firm handshake, or engage in a conversation because they lack confidence to do so.
If the school gives you financial aid; because you have limited funds; and no money for a tutor; and your child is not sharpest knife in the drawer, BE WARE! Is not in compliance with the NCLB law and is unable to bridge the gap from failure to success. He will struggle and become unmotivated. Will receive no extra help from the teachers if he really doesn't really need go to school because knows everything, by all means enroll him. Otherwise, save yourself money and frustration by looking a public magnet program that offers an advance placement (AP), credit recovery, up to date math, science, and technology curriculum, and you have the added benefit of extra money for a tutor. The military aspect is window dressing at its best. He will be demeaned as a freshmen and treated with disdain. The school's claims to "build men of conscience" in reality build "men no conscience," thereby contributing to poor self-esteem, lack of confidence, hopelessness and juvenile delinquency. Finally, if you are not catholic and don't want catholism emphasized, He will learn it or fail. The school is a wolf dressed in sheep's clothing. BEWARE!!!
Academically the school is strong in many areas, but is very hit-or-miss in areas such as math and science. Technology education is virtually non-existent. There is a great interest in "recruiting" strong athletes under the guise of giving lower socio-economic students a chance at a better education. While i am happy that the student body is diverse racially and socio-econonically, I feel that the interest in having a strong sports program is too great. When my son was looking at high schools i was apprehensive about a catholic military school, but i was assured that theology and leadership were at the core of these two aspects of the school. Unfortunately I have found that with the current administration this is not the case. My son has been taught that catholicism is the superior religion and that their conservative dogma is what he should believe. This goes against most of the beliefs of our family. Also, the military program does not teach the leadership characteristics that we value as a family. It teaches the military leadership ideals of do as you're told, then if you are willing to suck up to the cadre you will reach the highest level of leadership within the corps.
Once upon a time I would have heartily recommended this school, but it's most recent incarnation has been a sad letdown. The school claims to have excellent academics, but that is not the reality. Course offerings are meager at best, and the methods and resources are woefully outdated. Their "classical" model is more suited to a medieval monastery than the modern world. For example, the choices for foreign languages are Latin and Spanish - nothing more. The technology department offers one elective, website design, which is there to provide time for their one technology person to update the school website. At the moment (Fall 2011), they don't even have an on-site senior guidance counselor or a full-time nurse (the nurse they have splits her time providing administrative help to their advancement office). Not a lot for $15K a year. Many of the faculty are very dedicated and qualified, but they've been stretched and abused by the new administration. The new headmaster is oblivious and aloof to the student body and seems more interested in hobnobbing with wealthy would-be patrons and boosting his own marketability. It can change, but it will mean a change at the top.
Benedictine is a top-notch school unlike any other in the Richmond area. It is full of rich tradition and offers valuable and excellent academics and athletics. The character and camaraderie that thrives in the school as a result of the military aspect and the religious influence is a unique experience that develops young men of discipline. My son loves it and is proud to go there.The current headmaster, Jesse Grapes, is the finest of examples for the students, and his vision for the future of the school is one that is easy to rally behind. We have been pleased with our experience.
Benedictine provides young men an excellent opportunity to grow on mulitple levels. When I attended, it was a smaller school than today, but I really feel that the atmosphere nutrures the growth of a younf man in a way no other school in Richmond can offer. I would not trade my education from Benedictine for anything else i have accomplished in my life.
Benedictine High School is a great choice for any young man who wants to seek the mantle of leadership and truly grow prepared for college. The Catholic and JROTC mix truly creates wonderfully rounded young men.
BHS lives its mission - to prepare young men for college and for life-long learning as they integrate strong academics, Catholic values and JROTC leadership training. Benedictine welcomes young men from all races and creeds. My son excelled at BHS, graducated from UVA and then received his Masters at North Carolina...wonderful friends and family atmosphere. check it out for your son.
Benedictine is a wonderful school. It teaches boys discipline, respect, and excellent academics.
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