St. Michael's Preparatory School (Silverado, California)

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St. Michael's Preparatory School
Shield of St. Michael's Prep
19292 El Toro Road
Silverado, (Orange County), California 92676
United States
Coordinates 33°40′53″N 117°37′2″W / 33.68139°N 117.61722°W / 33.68139; -117.61722Coordinates: 33°40′53″N 117°37′2″W / 33.68139°N 117.61722°W / 33.68139; -117.61722
Type Private, Boarding school, College-prep
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Established 1961

Fr. Ladislas Parker, O.Praem. (19 Dec 1915 - 3 Jan 2010);[1]

Fr. Hubert Szanto, O.Praem. (1925 - 2010)[2]
Oversight Norbertine Fathers from St. Michael's Abbey
CEEB code 052273
Headmaster Fr. Victor Szczurek, O.Praem.
Teaching staff 17[3]
Grades 9-12
Gender Boys
Enrollment 64 (max)
Average class size 12[3]
Student to teacher ratio 5:1[3]
Color(s) Blue and Gold         
Slogan "Looking ahead from the vantage point of tradition"
Athletics Cross Country, Football, Soccer, Baseball
Athletics conference CIF Southern Section
Express League
Team name Pioneers
Accreditation Western Association of Schools and Colleges,[4] Western Catholic Educational Association (WCEA).[5]
Yearbook Vantage
Tuition $16,280[3]
Affiliation National Catholic Educational Association[6]
Dress Code White Shirt, Gray Pants, Navy Coat, Blue/Gold Tie, Black Shoes[3]

Saint Michael's Preparatory School is a private, Roman Catholic, college preparatory boys' boarding school in Silverado, California. It is located in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange. It is owned and operated by the Norbertine Fathers of St. Michael's Abbey, who established it in 1961 as St. Michael's Junior Seminary and Novitiate.[7]


St. Michael’s is run by the Norbertine Order. An abbey school, it adjoins a community of 60 priests, many of whom teach at the school.[8] Religious education is compulsory for all students, as is daily attendance at morning mass before breakfast and night prayer after supper. Studies in Latin are also mandatory, except for the students who take Spanish.


St. Michael's Prep offers a classical sequence of courses at College Prep, Honors, and Advanced Placement levels. It is the only boarding school to rank among the top fifty Catholic High Schools in the nation.[3] Mr. Lieggi carries the science educational department at the school. 100% of its graduates go on to institutions of higher learning.[9] This is considered a highly selective high school.[10]


St. Michael's educates young men in fidelity to the Catholic intellectual tradition. It is exclusively a boarding school, with students and teachers living and working together in five-day & seven-day boarding programs. St. Michael's offers significant opportunities for wholesome growth through clear standards.[11] Good behavior is enforced among the students through the "conduct grade" which directly impacts student GPA, and a system of prefects called "roomleaders".

Most students participate in one or more sports. These include Cross Country and Football in the fall, Soccer in the winter, and Baseball in the spring. Underclassmen who do not participate in a sport must take the physical education class. The school mascot is the Pioneer.

Each year during Christmas vacation, the Junior class travels to Rome for two weeks under the supervision of several teachers and parent chaperones.[12]


St. Michael's Abbey was founded in 1961 by seven priests[13] from the Norbertine Abbey of St. Michael in Csorna, Hungary,[14] whose roots go back to the 12th century.[15] The Norbertine priests in the 1940s were well-established teachers in the national educational system of Hungary that encompassed religious and secular schools alike. All private schools, however, were nationalized by 1948. Two groups of priests from the Norbertine Abbey of Csorna fled their native land on separate July nights in 1950. Shortly thereafter, their religious community was suppressed.[13][16] On the night of July 11, 1950, word came to the Abbey in Csorna that the police would arrive the next day to arrest the confreres and suppress the community. Seven priests left that night in two groups to hike across country to the Austrian border.

The Hungarian refugees emigrated to America. Arriving in New York in 1952, they were welcomed by the Abbey of St. Norbert in De Pere, Wisconsin, with whom they worked for several years, saving money to begin their own monastery.[17] At the invitation of Cardinal McIntyre, archbishop of Los Angeles, they first moved to Santa Ana, California in 1957 and taught at Mater Dei High School,[13] establishing a monastic community the next year.[15] The founding abbot was the Rt. Rev. Ladislaus Parker, O.Praem.[15] The exiles saw the move to Orange County, California as their chance to establish a new foundation.

In December 1958 Cardinal McIntyre gave his consent to the Fathers establishing their own foundation. Their desire was fueled by the desire to perpetuate the religious and educational heritage of their native Csorna. Under the leadership of Fr. Ladislas Parker, the Fathers invested their savings to purchase property. Fr. Hubert Szanto joined Fr. Parker to open St. Michael’s Junior Seminary and Novitiate in September 1961. St. Michael's opened this Junior Seminary in 1962, which would evolve into the present day Preparatory School.[17] Rapid changes in American society and in the Roman Catholic Church prompted Fr. Parker to petition Cardinal McIntyre to allow the school to introduce a parallel college preparatory program for lay students. This petition uniquely changed St. Michael’s.

When the 1970s began, St. Michael’s was flourishing more as a high school than as a seminary. As the number of those interested in the priesthood at the high school level continued to dwindle, the parallel programs gradually merged into one.

Back in the United States, educational programs similar to St. Michael’s were closing. Thus, by 1995, St. Michael’s Prep became the only institution where Catholic, secondary education was available in the entire Western United States for those seeking to study in an all-male, residential environment.[7]


  1. ^ Obituary, 7 Jan 2010.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d e f Private School Review, Retrieved 2009-11-10.
  4. ^ WASC-ACS. "WASC-Accrediting Commission for Schools". Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  5. ^ Private Secondary Schools 2008. Peterson's. 2007. p. 546. ISBN 0-7689-2399-9. 
  6. ^ NCEA,[not specific enough to verify] Retrieved 2009-11-10.
  7. ^ a b SMPS. "The History of St. Michael's". Archived from the original on 2007-03-21. Retrieved 2007-05-11. 
  8. ^ Faith & Family, The Magazine of Catholic Living, August 2001; page 49, 7 Jan 2010.
  9. ^ Orange County Catholic, September 2001; page 14, 7 Jan 2010.
  10. ^ Catholic High School Honor Roll, 7 Jan 2010.
  11. ^ Catholic Boarding School Assoc., 7 Jan 2010.
  12. ^ Italo-Americano Weekly, February 14, 2008; page 16, 7 Jan 2010.
  13. ^ a b c LA Times, Retrieved 2009-11-11.
  14. ^ LA Times, Retrieved 2009-11-11.
  15. ^ a b c OC Register, Retrieved 2009-11-11.
  16. ^ LA Times, Retrieved 2009-11-11.
  17. ^ a b EWTN, 17 Nov. 2009.

External links

  • St. Michael's Prep Website
  • St. Michael's Abbey Website
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