Benedictine is an outstanding place for a young man to grow. Plain and simple, they build boys into men. No other school in the Richmond area offers strong academics (with a focus on science/engineering), winning athletic programs, military tradition, and moral direction at this great of a value. Benedictine is a private college preparatory school, just like Saint Christopher's and Collegiate. The end goal of sending our son to a private school, at least in our opinion, is to let him build character and get into a great university. Benedictine sends kids to Ivy League schools, Duke, Navy, West Point, Stanford, Georgia Tech, UVa, VT, and Notre Dame routinely and is the nation's top feeder school for VMI. So why pay twice as much to send him to another private school where he won't get the unique military discipline/tradition angle and he'll most likely end up losing to his friends who end up at Benedictine in sports? We didn't, we sent our boy to Benedictine, and he'll graduate this year as a well rounded young man heading to a top 25 university. It's been a great choice!
As a parent, I could not be happier with Benedictine. My son has enjoyed it so much and I love that he has 200+ close friends. The "brotherhood" among the Cadets is like nothing you will find at any other school and that has helped build a very strong group of alumni. The teachers are kind and helpful, far beyond anything we saw at much more expensive private schools. Send your boy there, you won't regret it.
Benedictine is a unique place that has truly been amazing for our son. He is able to excel in academics and athletics with the support of the faculty, administration, and his fellow Cadets. This is not a "hardcore" military school for problem kids like Fork Union or Hargrave, so if you're looking to straighten out issues with your son this is not the place for you. The military program is much more like an extracurricular activity that helps build leadership skills than it is a program to "break" students of bad behavior. To this same point, it is not a "rich-kid" elitist school either. The student body is one of the most socioeconomically and racially diverse of any of the "Big Three" private schools/school groups (STC/St.Cat, Collegiate, and BCP/St.Gert). There is no pressure like at the other Big Three schools to donate or else risk your son not receiving equal treatment to the sons of major donors or "13 year students" (our son went there for lower school). The students are down to earth and so are the parents, even the "FFV" and CCV types, which has been a very welcome change for our family. The camaraderie among the Cadets is second to none and you can see that in the alumni classes as well. Meet anyone around town who attended Benedictine and I guarantee they will gush about the school and how much they loved it. Your son will be a part of an amazing alumni network that will put him in good opportunities for life without becoming a spoiled "elitist".
The athletics (esp. Basketball, football, wrestling, and baseball) have always been top-notch but now the academics have come around to be top-end as well. Over the past five years the students have been matriculating to major universities (Ivy League, Duke, Vanderbilt, UVA, VT, Notre Dame, etc.), which was not always the case. They now are sending graduates on to the same schools every year as the other Big Three schools, and for almost half the tuition cost. A lot of this is due to the new campus, we believe. The facilities are second to none which has attracted great young teachers (while still keeping some great educators who have been teaching there 10, 20, or 30+ years) and allows for more exciting learning in STEM. The religion program does not hinder education or free-thinking and it has always helped our son grow in his non-Catholic Christian faith. We are very happy with our choice. Go Cadets!
We have been extremely disappointed in our son's experience at BCP. The discipline we were hoping he would experience at a Catholic military school is nonexistant. Beyond the wearing of a uniform, there is no military aspect to this school. My other son participated in JROTC at a local public high school and the standards in that program were ten fold what BCP holds their cadets to. We visited the school on numerous occasions before enrolling him and all of the talk of disciple and the high standards was clearly lip service. Demerits given out for tardiness, uniform infractions and even behavior are never served. Our son has received 12 demerits thus far for minor issues and was dismissed from serving every single one. We had spoken with him at length about how he would need to be more accountable at BCP, take pride in his school and his work etc and the lack of discipline has just enforced his view that these things don't matter, that no one cares what you do. "this isn't a real millitary school Mom, they don't care".
Our son has never been a disciple problem and still isn't but we felt like he needed to learn that accountability is key to suceess. All his experience at BCP has done is reinforce his belief that we don't know how it is in the world today.
I would also like to add that we have many family members that are alumni at BCP and it is NOT the school it once was. That is for certain. We had also heard from two friends whose son's had attended BCP for one year with terrible experiences. We chose to discount those reviews because we do believe that every child is different and because of family member's experience's in the past (although distant past) We were so wrong to do that. When college educated parents with good kids give you the feedback, you should probably listen. That's our takeaway and I hope it will be yours. If you are looking for a military school with great academics and athletics, I suggest you choose Fork Union. My husband is an alumni so we have experience there and BCP is night and day from Fork Union.
Some of these reviews are whiny and quite frankly some seem bogus. Is Benedictine for every young man? No. We don't doubt that some families have had negative experiences because there is no perfect institution, teacher, administrator, student or parent for that matter. Of course there is room for improvement and from what we have experienced, we have never gotten the impression that anyone in the administration is dismissing that reality. We do live in an egocentric society so it's easy to see how some parents would feel slighted if they did not receive enough attention or if their son were not the star athlete, scholar or Cadet.
We read some of these reviews before we enrolled our son at BCP and we would encourage you to take a tour, contact current Cadets, or set up an appointment to meet with an administrator to gain more insight. If you are not Catholic (which we are not), you may possibly be offended by some elements of the Christian faith. Additionally, if you don't support a more strict environment for teen boys ---this may not be a good fit for your family.
One reviewer said that, "The camaraderie among the students is the only good thing about this school." Quite frankly, that was one of the major reasons why we sent our son to BCP so that he COULD form life-long friendships. That will prove to be much more fulfilling and vital than any grade or athletic achievement.
Life is tough and boys need to learn to cope with challenging environments and with unpleasant circumstances that life brings to all of us. We view this experience as a huge blessing on many different levels and most importantly, our son wants to be there. After finishing his Freshman year, he is confident with his decision to attend Benedictine College Preparatory.
The camaraderie among the students is the only good thing about this school. The academics are eroding under the current poor leadership. Athletics will be next; there is no gym at the "new" facility. Rumor has it that the JROTC program is on the chopping block.
I have nothing but great things to say about this school. The school has totally allowed my child to excel in academics, leadership and sports. This school holds the boys and faculty accountable for their actions and I think a lot of the negativity is from people who do not agree with this philosophy. I can honestly say that my child is ready to be an asset to society because of what he learned at this school.
Benedictine is not the same school it once was. The current headmaster and the present "board" are not qualified to be in the positions in which they are in. The board has parents with kids at competing schools; no current parents sit on the board and many of the board members do not even show up at ANY events throughout the school year. The headmaster has NO Advanced education degree and a VERY Limited background in education...not even close to enough to warrant running a once-prestigious school as Benedictine. He does't engage alumni and thinks fundraising is unnecessary. Headmaster lives in a million dollar home, all the while pleading poverty for the school. Benedictine has NO gym and has no plans for one...you kind of have to fundraise for that. Communication is NONEXISTENT -- doesn't engage current parents and no alumni events. The board and the administration are all YES MEN. Academics are extremely limited which most of the teachers not having any teaching certifications or qualifications. Headmaster (who replaced a man who was qualified to run the school) gets rid of teachers from prior administrations, who actually are more qualified than he is to run the school.
Honestly all of these parents writing responses can't give you a full inside review of what our school is ACTUALLY like. I'm tired of these bad reviews that give us a bad name. My teachers are some of the most committing I've ever had (and k-8 I went to public school), they're willing to stay with you after school and they'll work with you as much as they can to help you keep your grades up and fully understand a topic. Also, even though many people and students aren't very fond of our current headmaster, he disciplines us and helps us become better me all the while working to get more donations to build things such as a new gym to continue to famous Benedictine legacy. Our sports are superior to almost every other school and the orientation brings you much closer to your fellow classmates. I can be 100% honest when saying that in 2 years Benedictine has made me much more stronger mentally as have I progressed tremendously in my Christian faith. Benedictine isn't easy to survive, but it's worth it in the end. I love my highschool.
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....