VILLANOVA PREPARATORY SCHOOL
Villanova Prep is a highly-rated, popular, private co-educational boarding middle and high school in the Augustinian tradition in Ojai, California. The school welcomes pupils from the ages of 11 into the Wildcat family with a sizeable number choosing to reside on campus. Villanova’s student body includes Catholic and non-Catholic students, primarily from California and neighbouring states, together with a thriving international population and students from across North America. The school has a proud tradition-bound community and seeks to foster a sense of adventure, taking full advantage of its beautiful campus in the Southern California mountains and nearby National Forests.
Villanova Prep is the only co-educational Augustinian boarding school in the United States and one of a select group of schools and universities that maintain the Augustinian tradition that is built around the core principles of “unitas“, “veritas“, and “caritas” (unity, truth, and charity). The Order of Saint Augustine was founded in 1244 but traces its discipline back to The Rule of Saint Augustine which is estimated to have been written in the year 400 making it the oldest monastic ruling of the Roman Catholic church. Followers of Saint Augustine of Hippo followed an eremitic life dedicated to sacrifice and servitude in the practice of good Christian lives. Monastic life in the Augustinian tradition requires degrees of abstinence and detachment to the extent that it is beneficial to the spiritual and physical health of its followers and the communities that they support. With a focus on sharing and community development being key aspects of its adherents’ approach to service. The Augustinians have a particularly revered reputation for the quality of their teaching and educational approach and various Augustinian professors have achieved renown in Europe’s ancient universities throughout history.
Missionary work has been a key component of the growth and development of the Augustinian legacy with the venerable St. Thomas of Villanova, a noted reformist and celebrated orator, overseeing the first missions for the order to Mexico and the New World. His efforts would shape the future of the Augustinians in North America and his legacy is celebrated by schools and universities established in that tradition today.
Villanova Preparatory School was founded in 1924 by the Augustinians at the behest of Archbishop John Cantwell at the inception of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The school was named for St. Thomas of Villanova who is also the school’s patron saint. The school is better known as Villanova Prep or, occasionally, VPS.
Its foundation follows in the footsteps of other august schools in the Augustinian tradition, including Villanova University and Malvern Prep both founded in Pennsylvania in 1842, St. Rita of Cascia High School established in Chicago in 1905, Providence Catholic High School of New Lenox, Illinois that opened in 1918 and St. Augustine High School founded in 1922 in San Diego. These schools (and a number more) all cooperate under the banner of the Augustinian Secondary Education Association and subscribe to the Augustinian Values Institute.
Villanova Preparatory School began life as a boys-only boarding school but welcomed its first cohort of female students in the late 1960s. This move was prompted by the closure of St Catherine’s School for Girls, a sometime sister school to Villanova Prep, that was based in nearby Ventura. The school’s administration assessed how a move to a co-educational school would better address the needs of the local community and also ensure the development of young men and young women for the world ahead. In 1971 the school’s first female pupils graduated. The 60s and 70s marked a period of significant change and growth for the school, much of it under the direction and watchful eye of Fr. John Glynn, OSA, who was headmaster between 1960 -1965 and again from 1974 – 1979. He was a seminal figure at the school and a key influence in the lives of many Wildcats who were under his tutorship until he stopped teaching in the early 2000s. He was known for his genuine care and interest in every single one of his pupils (which he called his “duckos”) and continued to write them each a Christmas card long after they had left the school. He is honoured with a number of awards and scholarships granted in his name and the girls’ dormitory hall is named in his memory.
The school has continued to grow and develop, undergoing modernisation whilst remaining true to the Augustinian teachings that underpin the school’s educational ethos and pedagogy. The school welcomed its first Lay President in 2014 and has recently announced plans to expand to include a middle school for grades 6 – 8.
Villanova Preparatory School has a very well-regarded college-preparatory programme that has seen its pupils admitted to a number of nationally-rated universities and colleges including Loyola Marymount, Stanford, and UC Berkeley amongst others with a substantial number entering the University of California system. The school offers students the chance to undertake the International Baccalaureate or high school diploma with Advanced Placement courses. The school maintains a strong pedigree in STEM subjects and encourages pupils to participate in a number of STEM-related initiatives at the club and society levels.
In addition to an academically rigorous education curriculum, Villanova Prep also gives students the opportunity to participate in a number of highly-ranked varsity sports programmes and the full suite of fine arts and performing arts options one would expect of an elite fee-paying preparatory school. The school’s sports teams compete in the CIF Southern Section’s Tri-County Athletic Association against other top-tier private schools in the region including, Thacher, Cate, Dunn, and the school’s rival Laguna Blanca. Villanova teams have won a number of championships for the school and many of its alumni have achieved accolades at college and major league level in life after graduation.
Villanova Prep is a school rich with traditions and these are threaded through the fabric of student life on campus. Particularly popular is the annual Wildcat Day in which the student body is divided into tribes (somewhat akin to the House system common to private schools in the United Kingdom) who compete against one another in a variety of contests, notably on Wildcat Day. The Tribes are named for legendary warrior tribes from across the world. Other traditions include Freshman Welcome Week; Beach Day (the student body decamps to the beach); the Nova Bowl in which students compete in a battle of wits; International Day; and Senior Farewell Week. The school also hosts other traditional high school events, including dances, pep rallies, homecomings, and proms.
THE TRIBES OF VILLANOVA PREPARATORY SCHOOL
Named for the Apache group of Native American tribes that once dominated the Southwestern region of the United States.
The Comanche Nation is the overarching trib group that represents the Native American tribes of the Southern Plains.
The Cossacks are a tribe of Slavic people of the Eastern Orthodox faith who hail from the southern region of Ukraine and neighbouring territories.
The Huns were a tribe of people from, predominantly, the Caucus region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia who were feared raiders.
The Samurai were an ancient noble warrior class of Japan.
Saracens were the warring and raiding parties of the various North African and Arabian tribes.
The Vikings are the legendary seafaring raiders and conquerors that sailed out from modern-day Scandinavia.
A Germanic tribe that lived in the Balkans during the age of the Roman Empire and who were antagonists to Roman rule.
Commonly known as Tutsi, this tribe filled the ranks of the warrior and officer caste in the African Great Lakes region, particularly in Burundi and Rwanda.
The Zulu people are an amalgamation of tribal clans from Southern Africa.
The school has a proud tradition of faith-based service and campus ministry with Augustinian teachings underpinning much of the school’s ethos and approach. Nonetheless, the school prides itself on fostering a diverse community and welcomes admissions from people of all faiths and none.
THE UNIQUE SLANG, JARGON, AND TERMINOLOGY OF VILLANOVA PREPARATORY SCHOOL
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Campus and Facilities
Villanova Prep is situated in the foothills of the mountains surrounding the Ojai Valley in Ventura County. Its campus (located approximately 80 miles from Los Angeles and 83 miles from Los Angeles International Airport) boasts some 130 acres of landscaped and manicured grounds, forest, and mountainscape, offering access to nature and envious outdoor education, athletics, and leisure programmes and activities.
Admission to the school is competitive and highly selective with candidates having to score highly on high school placement tests and furnishing suitable academic records and undertaking an interview before a place is offered. Villanova Preparatory School is one of the best Catholic boarding schools and college-preparatory high schools in California and is considered to be a nationally-competitive high school.
Villanova Prep’s Wildcats (sometimes referred to as Villanovans) are invited to join the alumni association upon graduation and to remain in contact with the school and with their classmates. The school and elected alumni representatives work together to organise a number of reunion events and Mixers with the Annual BBQ being the main event on their calendar. The school works with alumni to host careers fairs and discussions to inspire and support current Wildcats and help to guide and mentor them in their future career choices.
VILLANOVA PREPARATORY SCHOOL ALUMNI
The alumni of Villanova Preparatory School are still considered to be Wildcats and are occasionally known by the term Villanovan or Old Villanovan. The alumni association remains an active and engaged community with regular social events and annual reunions being key fixtures.
Accreditations and Affiliations
Villanova Prep is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC); the Western Catholic Educational Association (WCEA); and the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA). The school is a member of the A Better Chance (ABC) network; The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS); the Augustinian Secondary Educational Association (ASEA); the Catholic Boarding Schools Association (CBSA); the Gateway to Prep consortium; the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and is an International Baccalaureate World School.
VILLANOVA PREPARATORY SCHOOL
NOVA / VILLANOVA PREP / VPS / WILDCATS
MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL
BOARDING & DAY
11 – 18
6 – 12
OPTIONAL HIGH SCHOOL PLACEMENT TEST (ENHANCES CANDIDACY AND IS ESSENTIAL IF APPLYING FOR METRIT-BASED SCHOLARSHIP OR FINANCIAL AID), REVIEW OF TRANSCRIPTS AND INTERVIEW. PREFERENCE FOR PERSONS OF ROMAN CATHOLIC FAITH
SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS
IN LINE WITH STATE AND NATIONAL STANDARDS
AMERICAN HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA WITH HONORS
WESTERN ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES
LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION
FAITH / ETHOS
ROMAN CATHOLIC (AUGUSTINIAN)
PEDAGOGY / PHILOSOPHY
MOUNTAIN / RURAL / SUBURBAN
TRIBES: APACHE | COMANCHE | COSSACK | HUN | SAMURAI | SARACEN | VIKING | VISIGOTH | WATUSI | ZULU
JUNIOR STATESMEN OF AMERICA
VARIOUS ACADEMIC SOCIETIES AND SOCIAL CLUBS
ASSOCIATION FOOTBALL (SOCCER)
ATHLETICS (TRACK & FIELD)
ORDER OF ST. AUGUSTINE
PATRON / VISITOR
HEAD OF SCHOOL
BRIAN GRISIN (HEADMASTER)
AVERAGE CLASS SIZE
USD $24,900 – $66,500 PER ANNUM. ADDITIONAL FEES AND CHARGES APPLY
SCHOLARSHIPS, BURSARIES & FINANCIAL AID
FINANCIAL AID AVAILABLE ON MEANS-TESTED BASIS
A NUMBER OF FAITH-BASED, LEADERSHIP AND SPORTING SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE
CALIFORNIA POLYTECHNIC STATE UNIVERSITY
LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY
UC SANTA CRUZ
UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND
SCHOOL SHIRT / POLO SHIRT (WHITE / LIGHT GREY WITH LOGO), SHORTS, CAPRI PANTS, CHINOS OR SKIRTS IN NEUTRAL COLORS. SCHOOL TIE ON SPECIFIED FORMAL OCCASIONS.
UNIFORM AVAILABLE HERE.
BOAT CLUB COLOURS
ACCREDITATIONS, ASSOCIATIONS AND AFFILIATIONS
ATHLETIC CONFERENCES & SPORTS LEAGUES
LAGUNA BLANCA HIGH SCHOOL
SISTER SCHOOLS & PARTNER SCHOOLS
UNITAS, VERITAS, CARITAS (UNITY, TRUTH, LOVE)
‘WHEN THE TWILIGHT SHADOWS GATHER’ (ALMA MATER)
VILLANOVA PREP ALUMNI ASSOCIATION (VILLANOVANS)
CELEBRATED ALUMNI & FACULTY
JOHN FULLER; JOHN GAVIN; STEVE HOVLEY; WILLIAM P. CLARK, JR
12096 NORTH VENTURA AVENUE
VILLANOVA PREP / VPS
12096 NORTH VENTURA AVENUE, OJAI, CALIFORNIA 93023, UNITED STATES
MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL