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History


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An All-Boys Catholic School

Thomas-F.-Hendricken

Thomas F. Hendricken, Bishop of Providence, 1880

Born of the vision of the late Most Reverend Russell J. McVinney, Bishop of Providence, Bishop Hendricken High School opened its doors to some 350 students in September 1959. Named for the Most Reverend Bishop Thomas F. Hendricken, the very first Bishop of Providence, the school was originally staffed by the Brothers of the Holy Cross and run in their traditions as a private, Catholic high school.

Two short years later, with enrollment increasing at parochial schools across Rhode Island, the original 22-classroom building had reached its limit of nearly 800 students. Through the 1960s, Bishop Hendricken flourished, garnering recognition across the Ocean State for academic and athletic achievements.

A Campaign to Keep Bishop Hendricken Open

In 1970, the Brothers of the Holy Cross announced plans to leave Bishop Hendricken. The decision saddened the entire school community, enrollment plummeted, and it appeared likely that our doors would close. In response, loyal teachers, parents, students, and alumni came together to spearhead a campaign to save the school.

Enter the Christian Brothers

Through the intercession of Bishop McVinney, the Congregation of Christian Brothers agreed to staff the school. The Diocese of Providence made the necessary funds available, and in September of 1971, with Br. Thomas Feerick as Principal and Br. James Liguori as Assistant Principal, the school opened as usual: now as a diocesan, Catholic secondary school with the Congregation of Christian Brothers at the helm. The Christian Brothers immediately began  recruitment efforts to bolster a dwindling enrollment.

Working Toward the Future

Bishop Russell J. McVinney (1898-1971)

Bishop Russell J. McVinney (1898-1971) raised crucial funds and Bishop Hendricken High School was once again on the move, stronger than ever. To handle a burgeoning school population, in 1975 Bishop Hendricken High School took over the former Our Lady of Providence Seminary High School at Warwick Neck, which became the senior campus. In May 1993, Bishop Hendricken was named a “Blue Ribbon School of Excellence” by the U.S. Department of Education. At the same time, plans were announced to build a $2 million senior wing, allowing seniors to return to the main campus.

In the spirit of the Vatican Council II calling for shared responsibility and participatory decision making, the Bishop Hendricken High School Corporation established a Board of Directors in 1990. In 1995, the Board of Directors commissioned the development of the school’s first strategic plan, “Hendricken 2020”. This plan outlined an ambitious program to position the school for strength and evolution, including establishing an endowment fund, and initiatives for physical and technological growth.

In 1997, the school launched its first significant fundraising campaign to address these needs: “Lighting the Way – An Investment in the Future.” The campaign had a $1 million goal to take Bishop Hendricken well into the 21st century. The Schiblers and the Hagertys, together with the Most Reverend Robert E. Mulvee, Bishop of Providence, and the Board of Directors, led an effort that immensely enhanced the school, and the lives of our students.

Building Our Home

In 1997 and early 1998, the school was blessed with the following additions that were made possible from the “Lighting the Way” campaign: a 16,000 square foot Pepin Gymnasium; a 5,000 square foot outdoor street hockey/basketball area; a redesigned west gate on Oakland Beach Avenue; a 6,000 square foot west wing of classrooms (including a 29-Pentium computer laboratory which has internet access for the students); and a website to keep the community up-to-date with school news, developments, and information.

In 2005, construction began on an Arts & Technology wing that includes 11 new classrooms, a science lab, a math lab, music practice rooms, band room, choral room, the Ni-Ro-Pe Digital Media Studio, and the magnificent 350-seat Dr. Daniel S. Harrop Theater.

Keeping the Charism Alive

In August 2010, the Christian Brothers announced that they would no longer be able to staff Bishop Hendricken due to declining vocations. While the school community was saddened by the news, it was heartened by the strong foundation of excellence that the brothers left. To this day, the Essential Elements of a Christian Brother education continue to be the guiding lights of our school, our community, and our mission. Our school community is tremendously grateful for the work of all 68 Christian Brothers who staffed our school for over 40 years.

Amid the departure of the Christian Brothers, Bishop Hendricken High School named John A. Jackson ’71 its first lay president in September 2010. Under his tenure, Jackson guided the transition of the school, upholding the values of Blessed Edmund Rice and the Christian Brothers, and reaffirming its Catholic identity. To this end, the school continued to thrive and grow academically, athletically, artistically, and in service.

In June 2018, the Most Reverend Thomas J. Tobin, Bishop of Providence, appointed Mark R. DeCiccio ’03 as Bishop Hendricken’s newest principal. Named 2018 Rhode Island First Year Principal, DeCiccio is known as a highly collaborative educator who focuses on creating a positive and safe school culture through supportive relationships and dedicated leadership.

In December 2018, Reverend Robert L. Marciano ’75, KHS was appointed Bishop Hendricken’s newest president by the Most Rev. Thomas J. Tobin. A 1975 graduate, pastor of neighboring St. Kevin Church and School, and administrator of neighboring St. Benedict Parish, Fr. Marciano has over 30 years of experience in various pastoral settings including parish administration, parochial school administration, military and public service chaplaincies, community boards and civic involvement.

What’s Next?

Thanks to the influence and generosity of the Bishop Hendricken community—current students and parents, alumni, friends, faculty, staff, administration, businesses, and foundations – our school continues to provide the very best in Catholic education to young men in an effort to develop them into global citizens of character, faith, and intellect.

Will you be part of the next chapter of our history?

Live, Jesus, in our hearts. Forever!