St. Thomas Aquinas High School is a private, Roman Catholic, college-preparatory high school in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States. The school was founded in 1936 as part of St. Anthony School and moved to its current location in southwest Fort Lauderdale in 1952. It is sponsored by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami and accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The school currently enrolls 2,109 students on its 25-acre (100,000 m2) campus and is the largest Catholic high school in the country by enrollment.
The Raiders athletic teams have won over 100 state championships and have achieved a national profile. Graduates of St. Thomas Aquinas include numerous professional athletes, ten Olympians, prominent state politicians, and award-winning authors and actors.
St. Anthony High School was founded by the Dominican Sisters of Adrian, Michigan in 1936. The school grew to a student body of 42 in four years, boasting nine graduates who comprised the Class of 1940.
The school was renamed Central Catholic High School and moved to its present location in 1952. The original Central Catholic campus consisted of the main office wing, library, 15 classrooms, patio, cafeteria, kitchen, coaches’ office, and locker room facilities. The school erected a statue of Mary in 1957 that still graces the campus today.
In September 1961, due to the opening of Cardinal Gibbons High School, a second Catholic school in Fort Lauderdale, the school chose St. Thomas Aquinas as its patron and official name.
On May 29, 1996, President Bill Clinton presented St. Thomas Aquinas High School with the Department of Education Blue Ribbon Award for excellence in education. This was the second time St. Thomas Aquinas received recognition by the U.S. Department of Education. During the 1984-1985 school year, the school was first recognized as a "School of Excellence".
St. Thomas Aquinas High School has been named to the Catholic High School Honor Roll five times (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2010). It is the only Catholic high school in the Archdiocese of Miami to have been listed as one of the Top 50 Catholic high schools in the United States for five years.
St. Thomas Aquinas accepts students from 105 feeder schools, 46 Catholic parishes, and three counties. An entrance exam is required for all incoming Freshmen. Prospective students must submit their first semester 8th grade report card and two letters of recommendation from their current school. Prospective transfer students must submit an application along with a copy of their current high school transcript and two academic letters of recommendation from current school officials.
Faculty and curriculum
The St. Thomas Aquinas faculty consists of three religious and 127 laypersons, with 74 teachers holding advanced degrees. The ratio of students to teaching faculty stands at 17 to 1. The faculty averages 20 years of teaching experience and 12 years of experience at the school.The school offers 195 different courses in 9 subjects: English, Mathematics, Physical Education, Science, Social Studies, Foreign Language, Fine Arts, Computer/Graphic Arts, and Theology. Students are grouped by ability with course offerings at Advance Placement, Honors and College-Preparatory levels.
In 2005, St. Thomas Aquinas was recognized by Sports Illustrated as the third best high school athletic program in the nation. The criteria emphasized all-around excellence during the last 10 years and included state championships won and the number of college athletes produced.
In 2011, St. Thomas Aquinas was named the nation's top athletic program by Maxpreps.The Raiders have won 110 FHSAA state championships and have graduated such student athletes as Chris Evert, Michael Irvin and Sanya Richards-Ross. The school has been awarded the Broward County all-sports trophy by the Sun-Sentinel for 35 consecutive years. The athletic department has also won the FHSAA Dodge Sunshine Cup every year since the awards inception in 1995.
Margaux Avedisian, comedian and bitcoin entrepreneur
Michael Connelly, author of The Lincoln Lawyer and former President of Mystery Writers of America
Steven Conrad, screenwriter and producer of The Weather Man, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and The Pursuit of Happyness
Billy Crudup, actor and Tony Award winner
Katie Edwards, former member of Florida House of Representatives
Parris Glendening, former Governor of Maryland
Charles Liteky, former Army chaplain and Medal of Honor recipient
Courtney Marsh, filmmaker of Academy Award-nominated documentary Chau, Beyond the Lines
Gerard John Schaefer, police officer and serial killer
C. Dale Young, poet and recipient of 2012 Guggenheim Fellowship
William J. Zloch, U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of Florida