Our Story

OUR MISSION

As an institution of the Catholic Church, it is the mission of Bishop England High School to foster  a faith community characterized by the Gospel message of mutual respect and charity. The school endeavors to promote the spiritual, intellectual and physical growth of the individual through the combined efforts of parents/guardians and faculty by establishing the best possible environment for learning: a climate of safety, trust, respect for the individual and an appreciation for the acquisition of learning.

Our History

On September 22, 1915, the hopes of the Charleston Catholic Community for higher parochial education became a reality. Catholic High School opened its doors as a department of the Cathedral School on Queen Street. The Reverend Joseph L. O’Brien organized the new school with the cooperation of the Reverend James J. May. At that time, there were 67 students enrolled in four grade levels: seventh, ninth, tenth, and eleventh. That first faculty consisted of three diocesan priests and three Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy (OLM).

By the spring of 1916 a growing student enrollment made larger quarters imperative. The building used as a convent at 203 Calhoun St. was donated to the Diocese by Mrs. Ryan of New York. The school moved to this location and was officially named Bishop England High School in honor of the first Bishop of the Diocese of Charleston, Bishop John England. The main building housed the senior high school while an annex was converted into a biology lab and a seventh grade classroom. The school offered two courses of study: college preparatory and commercial.

With the Catholic community of Charleston increasing, a drive was initiated to raise $50,000.00 for a new school building to replace the one being used. The drive was a huge success, and ground was broken on July 5, 1921. The school was opened on February 18, 1922. During construction the high school operated in a former Catholic school for boys, the Central School on George Street. By 1940, 25 years after its inception, the school’s enrollment had reached 318 students, and the faculty had nearly doubled.

In 1947, the school’s first Rector, Monsignor Joseph L. O’Brien retired after having served 32 years, and he was followed by former Bishop England student, Rev. Msgr. John L. Manning.

The Catholic community of Charleston sponsored two expansion drives for the high school in the late 1940s; two new buildings were added to the campus. In 1947 the west wing, which housed an auditorium, science laboratory and offices, was built; and in 1948 the east wing, which was the Father O’Brien Gymnasium, was built. Additional land was acquired in 1957, and a two-story annex was constructed, providing eight new classrooms and additional office space.

In June 1959, the Rev. William J. Croghan, B.E. class of 1940, was appointed as the third Rector of Bishop England. By 1960 the faculty had grown to 31 members, and 740 students were enrolled. Additional property was purchased in 1958 and 1959 on Coming and Calhoun Streets and on Pitt Street which would provide classrooms, living quarters for teachers, a maintenance shop, facilities for the school nurse and a school yard. The 1964 school year began with a new Rector, the Rev. Robert J. Kelly, and enrollment grew to nearly 800 students. Because of overcrowding, between 1966 and 1968, freshman classes were conducted in the old St. Patrick’s School on St. Phillip Street.

Bishop England integrated in 1964; in 1968, it merged with Immaculate Conception High School. The student body numbered 850 students with 250 freshmen. The former Immaculate Conception School building on Coming Street became the Bishop England Freshman Building.
Nicholas J. Theos became principal in 1973. He established the BEHS Endowment Fund in 1985, which quickly grew to one million dollars. In 1990, Rev. Msgr. Lawrence B. McInerny became the third B.E. graduate to be named Rector of the school.
In 1976, a former church building at 172 Calhoun Street was purchased from the College of Charleston. Occupancy took place in 1977 and housed the freshmen.

In 1993, four modular units (eight rooms) were added to accommodate increasing enrollment, providing four classrooms, a conference room, and a chapel where Mass was celebrated. Enrollment in 1995 was 805 students, the largest of any private high school in the state. In September 1995, Bishop Thompson officially announced that the school was moving to Daniel Island, and its current property would be sold to the College of Charleston. The Daniel Island Development Company, which was partially owned by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, donated 40 acres of land for the new school. To help offset the cost of the new school, a campus campaign was kicked off in January 1997 with a goal of $2.5 million. Construction began in 1996, and Bishop Thompson blessed the ground at the site of the new Bishop England High School in June 1997. In 1998 Mr. Theos retired after 25 years of service to Bishop England. Mr. David Held who was serving as associate principal in 1997 then became the new principal. With the help of students, faculty, and volunteers, the school was moved to the new campus in the summer of 1998. The first students stepped into the new building that fall. In 2001, Bishop England completed the construction on the Bishop David B. Thompson Performing Arts Center to enhance the fine arts department.

Bishop England is presently the largest, Catholic four-year high school in South Carolina.

Our Philosophy

All individuals have the right to an education that directs that person to attain ultimate happiness with God in heaven. True education should lead individuals to pursue the good of the societies to which they belong and to share responsibilities with those societies.

Young persons must be encouraged to develop their persona so that they may recognize these responsibilities and be instructed in the skills that will enable them to communicate their ideas easily and to work effectively for the common good.

We share with other schools the tasks of bringing forth a more caring society, pursuing cultural enrichment, and helping to form morally, intellectually, and physically sound young people