De Smet Jesuit High School

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De Smet Jesuit High School is a Jesuit Catholic, college preparatory high school for young men located in Creve Coeur in west St. Louis County. Its student body numbers almost 1,250 making De Smet the largest private high school in the state.


Classes began on September 5, 1967 under the leadership of Fr. John Choppesky, S.J., and Fr. Gregory Jacobsmeyer, S.J., and the school was dedicated on February 25, 1968. With each new year, De Smet added another class to the student body. On June 2, 1971, the school held its First Annual Commencement.

Pierre-Jean De Smet, S.J.

In the history of the Westward Expansion of the United States, one of the pivotal figures was Pierre-Jean De Smet, S.J. He was born in Dendermonde, Belgium, in January, 1801, and entered the Jesuit novitiate in Maryland in 1821. He arrived in St. Louis with twelve other Jesuits in 1823 to open a school for Indians near Florissant. At the invitation of Bishop Rosati, he was among the Jesuits who took over the direction of the small college founded in 1818 by Bishop DuBourg. This school would be chartered by the State of Missouri in 1832 as Saint Louis University.

In 1838, Fr. De Smet made the first of many overland journeys to establish missions among the Indians. The first mission was at Council Bluffs, Iowa, among the Potawatomi tribe. In 1842, Fr. De Smet became the first Jesuit missionary to travel to the Indian Tribes of the Pacific Northwest.

Fr. De Smet was able to win the confidence of both the Indians and the white settlers. The Indians called him “Blackrobe” and held him in high regard. In 1868, Fr. De Smet visited the camp of Sitting Bull in the Big Horn Valley of Montana, although this chief had vowed to kill any white man to show himself there. Sitting Bull welcomed him and agreed to a conference which eventually ended hostilities. De Smet was called upon regularly to arbitrate treaty conditions during the latter years of the 19th century.

Fr. De Smet traveled more than a quarter of a million miles over the Western Plains and across the Atlantic to Europe in the service of the American Indian Tribes. He died on Ascension Thursday, 1873, at the age of 72.

Mission Statement

De Smet Jesuit High School is a Catholic, college preparatory community whose members work together to build a challenging, academic environment set in the context of the life and spirit of Jesus Christ. While members are constantly encouraged to develop strong personal values and convictions, they achieve success by realizing their leadership potentials through positively impacting the lives of those around them. They also learn and live the values of St. Ignatius by being intellectually competent, open to growth, religious, loving, and committed to doing justice in generous service to the people of God.

Profile of the De Smet Graduate

Open to Growth: has accepted responsibility for personal growth – intellectual, spiritual, emotional, physical, and social. He has learned to accept himself and is open and flexible in his dealings with others.

Intellectually Competent: exhibits mastery of a four-year college preparatory curriculum, intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, and the ability to apply knowledge and skills to new situations.

Religious: shows a basic knowledge of scripture, doctrines, and practices of the Catholic Church while examining personal religious beliefs. The graduate explores and develops faith through further study, participation in the faith community, and exposure to the spirituality of St. Ignatius, retreats, and prayer.

Loving: has begun to establish his own identity and move beyond mere self-interest by forming deeper relationships with others, valuing personal friendships, and embracing his relationships to the greater community.

Committed to Justice: is aware of the needs of the local and global communities and is beginning to use his time and talents to work toward the further development of a just society. The graduate is preparing to take his place in the community as a concerned, compassionate, and responsible “man for others.”

Developing as a Leader: is aware of his responsibility to be a leader in the Ignatian tradition of service and collaboration. He has had opportunities to exercise leadership in academic, co-curricular activities, and pastoral activities.

99% of De Smet graduates go on to college. In the graduating class of 2005, graduates were awarded scholarships, exclusive of financial aid and grants, with a total value of over $ 14.4 million. The average scholarship recipient received scholarships valued at $81,356.

Entrance Requirements

De Smet admits all academically qualified students, regardless of race or national origin who evidence the ability and willingness to pursue a college-preparatory course of studies and who evidence during their attendance continued growth in accepting the school’s principles.

Students who wish to enter freshman year may apply through their grade school principal or by contacting De Smet directly before December 4th. Applicants are ranked for admission according to grade school performance and standardized tests.

A student wishing to transfer to De Smet from another high school or from a public junior high school should obtain an application from the office and submit it with an official copy of his academic transcript. In general, the student should have achieved at least at the “B” level.

De Smet is a college-preparatory school: by his entrance, the student indicates a commitment to a level of studies which will prepare him for college and a willingness to pursue his studies with the necessary seriousness.


Tuition is $9,100.00 for the 2006-2007 school year.


De Smet has a faculty of 86, including 5 Jesuits. 75% have a Masters degree or higher. De Smet’s staff includes 6 counselors who provide services to students and their parents in the following areas: academic advising, college placement, personal/social counseling, study skills development, drug/alcohol abuse prevention, career counseling, and group/individual testing.

The student teacher ratio is 15 to 1, with an average class size of 23.


De Smet has established a tradition of athletic excellence. Beginning with a Mid-States Hockey championship in 1972, the Spartans have amassed an incredible 40 state championships in 12 different sports. Basketball (5) 1973,1978,1979,1982 and 1999; Golf (2) 1983 and 1985; Cross Country (1) 1983; Tennis (2) 1986 and 1987; Soccer( 4) 1991,1993,1995 and 1997; Lacrosse (7)1996,1997,1998,1999,2001,2002 and 2003; Volleyball (2) 1996 and 2002; Rugby (1)2001 *Club Team*; Baseball (1) 2000; Swimming & Diving (1); Football (1) 2005, Hockey (12) 1972,1976,1978,1980,1985,1986,1989,1990,1997,1998,1999 and 2001; Racquetball (1) 2006.

De Smet is a proud charter member of the Metro Catholic Conference, which includes St. Louis University High School, Christian Brothers College High School, St. John Vianney High School, and Chaminade College Preparatory School. The Spartan athletic program has won the MCC All-Sports Trophy 8 times since its inception in 1992, including 6 of the last 7 years.

De Smet also provides unparalleled opportunities to participate, offering 18 different sports and 45 different teams. Last year, over 750 students participated in at least one sport at De Smet.

De Smet has had most of it's success in the area of hockey. They have dominated the sport like no other team averaging a state title once every three years since the beginning of the high school league in 1972. In one stretch during the 80's, De Smet appeared in 8 out of 9 state championships, winning 4 of the 8. Also in the 90's, the hockey team won 4 championships in a row, a feat that has yet to be duplicated. The hockey program has produced a long list of great players, too many to note.

De Smet has also enjoyed particular success and statewide repute in soccer and basketball. The basketball team has won the Missouri state championship five times: in 1973, 1978, 1979, 1982, and most recently in 1999. Only Vashon High School in St. Louis has won more basketball titles in Missouri than De Smet, and an intense rivalry has existed between the two schools since the 1970's. De Smet defeated Vashon in the state final in 1999, but lost to Vashon in the championship game in 2000, in the sectional game in 2001, and the final again in 2002.

The soccer program captured four state titles in seven years during the 1990s, winning championships in alternating years: 1991, 1993, 1995, and 1997. This period is known among De Smet students and alumni as "The Decade of Dominance."

De Smet captured its first and only state title in baseball in 2000, anchored by current Kansas City Royals pitcher Bob Keppel. Keppel was also the point guard on the basketball team that won the state title in 1999.

Prior to the 2004 season, the only major sport in which De Smet had failed to achieve any significant notoriety was football. The 2004 squad, with the leadership of Coach Patrick Mahoney, the passing acumen of junior quarterback Tommy Corwin, and the blazing speed of junior halfback Munir Prince, compiled a remarkable 10-0 regular season campaign before falling to eventual state champion Columbia Hickman in the state quarterfinal when a furious second-half comeback attempt fell short. In 2005, however, with the star performers still in place, De Smet captured its first state title after upsetting the heavily favored cross-state rival Rockhurst Hawklets in the semifinals and soundly defeating Hazelwood Central at the Edward Jones Dome on November 25.

Notable Alumni

External Links