Mission & HISTORY

Mission Statement

Teaching goodness, discipline and knowledge is the tradition of the Basilian Fathers and the sacred mission of St. Thomas, a Catholic college preparatory high school.

Vision Statement

A man of St. Thomas is a faith-filled, life-long learner who thinks critically, communicates effectively, and prepares thoroughly to excel in college and in life. He actively serves his community, integrates Christian morality into all aspects of his life, and measures his success by the standards set forth in the Gospels.


St. Thomas High School actively passes on Christ’s message, upholds human dignity, and fosters a just society. We expect our young men to serve God, one another, and their greater community.

St. Thomas High School seeks a student body that is a socio-economically and ethnically diverse community. We strive to instill appreciation and respect for the unique qualities of each student.

St. Thomas High School’s faculty consists of dedicated leaders whose vocation is to embody the Catholic Christian values we teach. We aim to demonstrate expertise, integrity, and enthusiasm in our various fields of study.

St. Thomas High School provides a strong academic curriculum that prepares students for advanced achievement in college and their chosen professions. We stress a well-rounded education that fosters a knowledge of and appreciation for the fine arts.

St. Thomas High School meets the challenges of the modern world with an extensive technological program. We guide students to an ethical use of these dynamic tools in a mobile learning environment.

St. Thomas High School cultivates a positive learning atmosphere conducive to the development of the whole person. We offer numerous opportunities for extra-curricular activities that build community and develop personal interests.

St. Thomas High School maintains a competitive athletic program designed to strengthen the body and to develop the mind and character of our young men. We promote a healthy attitude that stresses sportsmanship, team work, and Christ-like behavior.

Our History: A New Century. A New School in Houston.

It was 1900 when 44 young boys gathered to create the first classes at St. Thomas College, in an unused building of the old Franciscan Monastery in downtown Houston. Their faculty in that school-in-a-warehouse on the banks of Buffalo Bayou was three priests of the Congregation of St. Basil, led by the school’s founder and first principal, the Rev. Nicholas Roche, C.S.B. For the Basilian Fathers it was a further outreach of an ideal that had begun in 1822 with the founding of the order in Annonay, France. For Houston, it was the advent of a tradition of fine secondary education firmly grounded in the Catholic faith, and consecrated to the promulgation of Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge.

From that temporary accommodation in 1900, the Basilians moved soon and briefly into another location on Main Street (later the site of the old Kirby Theater), and in 1903 took possession of a fine new facility on Austin Street at Hadley, where the school stayed and flourished until 1940.

The student population for the first quarter of the century was small compared to the almost 725 enrolled today. The Fathers not only taught all the classes but worked in the parishes where they were all closely acquainted with the families of the students.
Tuition was twelve dollars a month (for those whose families could pay) and many of the students earned their way through school working after hours for their tuition. While the tuition today is much higher, the tradition of the tuition assistance still continues.


has been a way of life at St. Thomas, where sports share importantly with the academics. The result has been the creation of a strong tradition of earnest competition and an esprit de corps that has come down undiluted to the present.
The school quickly created an enduring tradition of championship teams in baseball and football, beginning in those years and continuing to the present. St. Thomas now boasts of 13 interscholastic Varsity sports teams with the most recent addition of rugby and lacrosse.

As the years passed and Houston continued to grow and to expand, so too did St. Thomas High School. By the 1930’s it had become apparent the school would need larger grounds and quarters in coming years to stay abreast of its commitments.
In 1929, the Rev. T.P. O'Rourke, C.S.B., then principal, led the efforts to acquire a new site- an almost rustic location at the western outskirts of Houston - on the banks of Buffalo Bayou at the corner of Memorial and Shepherd Drives.

With the generous assistance of many Houstonians, the new school buildings were erected, under the guidance of the Rev. Leland A. Higgins, then principal. In 1940, the new school facilities welcomed the first classes.


Today, St. Thomas sits almost squarely at the city’s center, where it provides secondary learning for boys from every quadrant of Houston- a microcosm of the city’s growing diversity.

Over a time span that began when William McKinley sat in the White House and our own main street was still pretty much a long mud puddle, the body of knowledge available to the Basilian Fathers to convey to today’s students has been squared many times over by the recent "information explosion".

Despite the proliferation of information to be taught, the Basilian Fathers have found only redoubled reason to keep and to cleave to the motto so basic to their mission: "Teach me Goodness, Discipline, and Knowledge".

The Fine Arts Center, Learning Center, the latest in computer technology and Science laboratory facilities, the advanced teaching aids, the course curricula, as well as the Basilian and lay faculty themselves, contribute to the quality education that makes St. Thomas an outstanding college prep institution.

Underlying all, however, there endures the Basilian conviction that the spiritual quality of Goodness and the vital sense of Discipline must be prerequisites to the acquisition of Knowledge, which otherwise will fail its full purpose. That, above all, has not changed.
The Basilian Fathers are a teaching community, founded on and dedicated to that ideal, in 1822. Since Father Roche opened his first classes here, 25 Basilians, six of them native Texans, Fathers O'Rourke, Dillon, Magee, Allnoch, Scott, and Cooper have led the school as principal. Today, Fr. Patrick Fulton, C.S.B. continues to carry forward the same tradition as principal, while Fr. Ronald Schwenzer, C.S.B. serves as the school’s first president.


a large, loyal and distinguished body of alumni. From among the alumni and other members of the St. Thomas community, St. Thomas has drawn together a cadre of outstanding leaders who serve the school on the Board of Directors and on the St. Thomas High School Foundation.

The Board of Directors is the primary resource of the School with respect to governance, operations and financial matters of the School. The Foundation Board affords the School a pool of advice and expertise in the area of investments.  Both of these boards also include some Basilians. 

Over a span of more than 100 years, the Priests of the Congregation of St. Basil have led and operated St. Thomas High School traditionally from their own resources and tuition.

The Basilians have given this task the manpower of their Community, the best thought and work of the Congregation and the resources, often times meager that were available in the way of funds, lands and buildings for this educational enterprise. With a few exceptions, tuition and the generosity of alumni and other supporters have provided the wherewithal to keep St. Thomas vital and in the vanguard of Christian-based secondary education for boys.

There have been hard decisions along the way. Many years ago, the Basilians and their advisory board carefully considered the possible advantages of moving the institution from its present location to a new site in the Houston suburbs. Arguments in favor of relocation were overridden by the determination to preserve St. Thomas High School’s invaluable characteristic- its central accessibility to boys from all sections of our city.


represents 122 different zip code areas of the greater Houston area. The most distant students travel 50 miles each way while only 8 live within walking distance of the school. All other students carpool with other students and parents or use public transportation. This diversity of residential living further emphasizes the ethnic mix of the students: 23% Hispanic, 5% African-American, 5% Asian, 3% multi-racial, and 64% Caucasian; 20% of the students are non Catholic. Thus, St. Thomas reflects an ethnic, economic and religious diversity which embraces all of Houston and makes for a very unique educational opportunity.

The quality of education provided at St. Thomas is reflected not only in its college prep curriculum with 99% of its graduates attending 4 year universities and 1% attending 2 year post secondary institutions but also in a solid Catholic environment which emphasizes self discipline and personal responsibility.

Our Principals

1. 1900 - 1906 Nicholas E. Roche, C.S.B.
2. 1906 - 1907 Thomas F. Gignac, C.S.B.
3. 1907 - 1910 Francis J. Powell, C.S.B.
4. 1910 - 1914 John E. Pageau, C.S.B.
5. 1914 - 1916 Vincent I. Donnelly, C.S.B.
6. 1916 - 1919 John C. Plomer, C.S.B.
7. 1919 - 1922 Daniel L. Dillon, C.S.B.
8. 1922 - 1927 Thomas McGuire, C.S.B.
9. 1927 - 1931 Thomas P. O'Rourke, C.S.B.
10. 1931 - 1937 John O'Loane, C.S.B.
11. 1937 - 1943 A. Leland Higgins, C.S.B.
12. 1943 - 1945 James V. Burke, C.S.B.
13. 1945 - 1948 James W. Embser, C.S.B.
14. 1948 - 1955 Ernest P. Magee, C.S.B.
15. 1955 - 1960 William J. Duggan, C.S.B.
16. 1960 - 1965 Carl M. Allnoch, C.S.B.
17. 1965 - 1968 Walter W. Scott, C.S.B.
18. 1968 - 1976 Donald T. Cooper, C.S.B.
19. 1976 - 1981 James J. Gaunt, C.S.B.
20. 1981 - 1987 Charles A. Christopher, C.S.B.
21. 1987 - 1994 Albert R. Gaelens, C.S.B.
22. 1994 - 1997 Michael P. Cerretto, C.S.B.
23. 1997 - 1998 Co-Principals:
Christine Westman and
J. Michael McConnell
24. 1998 - 2006 Ronald G. Schwenzer, C.S.B.
25. 2006 - 2010 John B. Huber, C.S.B.
26. 2010 - Present Patrick Fulton, C.S.B.

On Campus


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