St. Bedes School

St. Albans School (Washington, D.C.)

St. Albans School is an independent college preparatory school for boys, in Washington, D.C. The School's motto is "Pro Ecclesia et Pro Patria," which translates as "For Church and Country," and its mascot is the bulldog. It is named after St. Alban, traditionally regarded as the first British martyr. The name is commonly abbreviated "STA." It enrolls approximately 570 boys between grades 4 and 12 and is affiliated with the National Cathedral School for Girls (NCS) and the co-ed Beauvoir School, for PK-3 students, all located on the grounds of the Washington National Cathedral on Mount St. Alban in Washington.

St. Albans School has the reputation of being one of the most rigorous and prestigious schools in the country. Graduates include Former Vice President Al Gore, Senator Evan Bayh, Journalists David Ignatius and Ian Urbina, and Fox News host Brit Hume.

The school was founded in 1909 by Harriet Lane Johnston, niece of President James Buchanan, as a school for boy choristers at the Washington National Cathedral, a program that the school continues today.

Seventy-one percent of the faculty at the school have advanced degrees. The school also maintains one writer-in-residence, who teaches English classes while developing his or her work. The school’s seventh headmaster is Vance Wilson.

School philosophy

St. Albans School is chartered by the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation (PECF) and is run in the Episcopal Church traditions, but welcomes students of all faiths. The school is dedicated to fostering the spiritual, intellectual, and physical development of its students.

St. Albans School Honor Code

St. Albans has an honor code that students are expected to follow.
"Recognizing that honesty is of primary importance in an educational institution, St. Albans requires its students to observe an Honor Code in all aspects of School life. Lying, cheating, and stealing are violations of the Code; violators make themselves liable to expulsion. Any student who has violated the Code is expected to report his offense to a member of the Student Council or of the faculty. Any student who has knowledge of a violation should speak to the offender and ask him to report himself as soon as possible. If the offender fails to do so, the student is urged to report him to a member of the Student Council, the Dean of Students, or a member of the faculty."


St. Albans competes in the Interstate Athletic Conference (IAC), a league of independent schools in the Washington, D.C. area. Other members of the league are Georgetown Preparatory School, Bullis School, Episcopal High School, Landon School, and St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School. The School fields Varsity teams in fourteen sports: cross country, football, soccer, aquatics, basketball, indoor soccer, ice hockey, wrestling, track and field, lacrosse, baseball, tennis, golf, and crew.


  • Outside the main entrance of the school sits a bush that is supposedly a cutting from the Glastonbury Thorn. The tree has been replaced several times with younger cuttings from the original stock, even as recently as 2003.
  • The school prayer was taken aboard the Apollo 11 space mission, in 1969, and read by St. Albans alumnus and astronaut Michael Collins '48.

Extracurriculars and clubs

St. Albans has one official student newspaper, The Saint Albans News. Founded in 1930, it is one of the oldest, continuously published student newspapers in the country. The Independent is an unofficial newspaper founded by St. Albans and NCS students in response to alleged censorship by the School administration of the official newspaper. Students publish several books annually: a yearbook called the "Albanian," a collection of Chapel Talks called "Grace," and a collection of student literature called "Gyre."

St. Albans has a coordinate performing arts program with NCS that puts on eight productions each year, including dance, drama, and musical performances. In recent years, the schools have won several National Capital Area Cappies for individuals, staging, and technical accomplishments.

The school also sponsors many political clubs, and academic teams such as "It's Academic", Fed Challenge, JETS, and a math team. Fundraising groups have been common in recent years, and most dances held at the school donate their profits to charity.

The Upper School has a student council that primarily serves on the disciplinary councils and organizes social events. Each Form has three prefects, one of whom is the class president. There is also a Head Prefect, always a Sixth Form student.

The St. Albans Skip Grant program seeks out to accept and support students from a diversity of socioeconomic and ethnic groups. This program, previously called the "RISK Program," was begun by former St. Albans teacher Brooks Johnson and is now named after the program's second director, former teacher, coach and athletic director, Oliver "Skip" Grant. Currently, the Skip Grant program is led by Malcolm C. Lester, English teacher and head Lacrosse coach at St. Albans.

Notable alumni

The School of Public Service

St. Albans established its School of Public Service (SPS), in 2002. SPS is a residential leadership, politics, and service program that takes place for a four-week period each summer, beginning in late June. Fewer than 35 rising high school seniors are selected to participate in SPS, located at St. Albans School. SPS admits both male and female students who have already shown a great deal of interest in public service, as well as an ability to positively influence others. While in the program, students gain experiences designed to heighten not only an interest in public service but also their probability of entering into and succeeding in a career in civic leadership. Students study at the highest level of scholarship, using Harvard and other case studies that are more commonly used at the graduate level. No credit is given to SPS students; rather they are motivated by their interest in public service.

In addition to using the case study method--used for graduate study in law, business, and public policy--SPS students continue the dynamic learning experience outside the classroom through policy simulations, speakers, and visits and meetings with public servants from State Department Foreign Service Officers to serving Army and Marine officers. In the past two years, SPS students have (in simulations!) run congressional campaigns, negotiated their way through a dangerous crisis with North Korea, taken steps to contain a flu pandemic sweeping the nation, and argued and decided Supreme Court cases on First Amendment and national security issues. In the "real" world, the SPS students have, among other things, visited the White House to talk with the President's Chief of Staff, had lunch with the Governor of Maryland, hosted a formal dinner for Ambassadors from around the world, attended screenings of "Meet the Press" and talked with Tim Russert, met with members of the U.S. Supreme Court, and chatted about fiscal policy with the Chairman of the Federal Reserve. For more information about this unique program, click on School of Public Service

Expansion and renewal

In 2004, the school announced plans to construct Marriott Hall, rebuild the athletic fields, renovate the entire Upper School, and construct a new academic building to join the existing buildings together with its Marriott Hall project. The school hired the firm SOM; with lead architect Roger Duffy to design a replacement. It features a building extension, covering a service road, and an underground performing arts center.

Construction is expected to be largely done for the 2009-2010 Centennial Year of Celebration.


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