Bishop Kenny High School

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Our History

The 2018-2019 school year marks Bishop Kenny High School's 67th year of service to the young people of Northeast Florida.  Since its founding in 1952, Bishop Kenny has earned a proud reputation not only for academic excellence and a winning athletic program, but also for the many ways that Bishop Kenny students reach out in service to the community. We are proud of our history and traditions but more importantly, we celebrate our commitment to the Gospel values that are the cornerstone of all that happens on our campus each day.

 

Our Vision Statement reads:

Guided by the lessons of the Gospel, Bishop Kenny graduates will be persons of integrity, capable of making life-decisions and positive contributions to their faith, family and global communities.

 

History
Bishop Kenny High School is located on 55 acres of property that was once the site of Fort San Nicholas, a Spanish fortress (1740-1817). The property also served as a shipyard during World War I. After coming into the hands of the Diocese of St. Augustine, it was determined that it would be the ideal site for a Catholic High School designed to serve approximately 400 students from Jacksonville and surrounding areas. In 1952, Archbishop Joseph P. Hurley, with the help of the Catholic Community in Jacksonville, initiated the consolidation of three Catholic high schools to form one diocesan high school. 

The doors to Jacksonville’s Central Catholic High School opened on September 3, 1952. The school was renamed and dedicated later in that same school year in honor of Bishop William J. Kenny, the first American-born bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine. The original school, which consisted of an administration building, a classroom wing, and locker room facilities, located adjacent to the present gymnasium, was built at a cost of $782,500.  Today Bishop Kenny High School's facilities are built to easily accommodate our current population of 1210 students.  

Sisters of Saint Joseph 
Any history of Bishop Kenny High School would be incomplete without recognizing the significant contributions made to the school by the Sisters of Saint Joseph. Seventy-five Sisters of Saint Joseph served as teachers and administrators at Bishop Kenny between 1952 and 2013. Five of Bishop Kenny’s eleven principals were Sisters of St. Joseph. In 2013, a statue of St. Joseph was dedicated to the Sisters who have served our school. At the dedication ceremony BK President Rev. Michael Houle addressed Sr. Jane Stoecker, SSJ, General Superior of the congregation and other assembled guests:

 

Sister Jane, to you and the many Sisters of your community who have served here for six decades, since this school’s founding, we are grateful to you and give thanks to God not only for the Sisters’ dedication and service, but also for the mark each one has left on the school and its students and its mission – but even more importantly, how your community has set God’s own seal upon this school, its mission, and its future – a seal that will guide it forevermore. I believe strongly that those people and places where God has sent his religious, whether for a short while or a long time, that those people and places have been extraordinarily blessed. Those people and places have had in their midst, sent from God, religious who because of their vows and the example of their consecrated lives have taught them the most important of life’s lessons – how to lead this life with hearts, eyes, and minds firmly set on the life of the world to come.

                        

Bishop Kenny High School Today
Today there are nearly 16,000 graduates of Bishop Kenny High School. Our alumni live in virtually every state in the union and in countries all over the world. A large majority of graduates remain in Jacksonville and many choose BK for their children’s high school education. This year alone we have nearly 200 legacy students coming from second or even third generation BK families.  


After the school day ends, our students are still in action. The boys’ and girls’ Crusader athletic teams are always competitive and it is not unusual for them to bring home any number of district, regional, or even state championships each year. The Campus Ministry program is a lively and important part of campus life helping encourage and coordinate a Christian Service Program that results in an estimated 50,000 hours of community service annually. Our students reach out to every corner of the community and make a difference in the lives of the people who live there.   
                                
Bishop Kenny High School has been accredited without interruption by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools since its founding. Each year 99% 
of Bishop Kenny graduates go on to college armed with millions of dollars in scholarships and, in surveys, our alumni rate their preparation for college as excellent.  

Campus Growth
Since 1952 the Bishop Kenny facilities have grown to accommodate a steadily increasing student population, an expanded curriculum, and an award-winning athletic program. The following is an overview of many of the improvements and additions that have been made to the BK campus over the past 65 years.

 

 

1952

Central Catholic High School Opens in September

1953

Central Catholic renamed BKHS

1953

A library addition and cafetorium are completed

   

1960

Girls’ school is completed (First two wings)

1962

Gymnasium completed (later re-named John Baldwin Athletic Center)

1964

Third wing of the girls’ school completed

   

1973

William Johnston Football Stadium opens

1978

Tennis Courts added to athletic facilities

   

1986

BK library renamed Demetree Library after significant renovations are completed

1986

Baseball field added to athletic facilities

1988

Softball field added to athletic facilities

   

1992

Fine Arts (300) Building is added to campus

1992

BK Gymnasium renamed John Baldwin Athletic Center

1992

St. Joseph Shrine added to 200 building courtyard

1994

All original lockers replaced with full length red lockers

1995

Shrine to Blessed Virgin Mary added to 400 building walkway

1996

Buildings 400 and 500 are added to campus

1996

Shrine to Sacred Heart of Jesus added on lawn behind Demetree Library

1997

Bishop Paul F. Tanner Chapel is added to campus

1997

200 building office addition complete

1998

St. Francis Shrine added outside of Paul F. Tanner Chapel

1999

Four classrooms added to 100 Building

1999

Elevator added to100 Building

1999

Shrine to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton added to 100 Building courtyard

   

2001

Campus Ministry Center added to campus

2002

John Baldwin Athletic Center air-conditioning project completed

2002

Statue of St. Catherine Drexel - A gift from Diocese of St. Augustine on the occasion of BK’s 50th Anniversary

2003

Kitchen renovation and expansion project complete

2003

Original boys’ locker room air-conditioning project complete

2003

Roger Strickland Field House completed

2006

Building 600 completed

2006

Statue of the Good Shepherd added to 600 building courtyard

2007

All windows in original classroom buildings are replaced

2008

Pedestrian plaza completed (all underground utilities upgraded)

2008

State-of-the-art expanded weight room replaces existing weight room

2009

BK football field renamed J. Joseph Parete Field

2009

Statue of St. Paul dedicated in honor of Bishop Victor Galeone, located at main entrance to school

2010

Statue of St. Sebastian dedicated at athletic complex

   

2011

Carla Harris Performing Arts Center and 3rd of three cafeteria expansions complete

2011

Statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary dedicated in honor of the 41-year career of Maria Perez Randle

2011

Class of 2011 erects permanent Cross at William Johnston Stadium as gift to the school

2013

Dedication of Statue of St. Joseph to the Sisters of St. Joseph

2014

Demetree Learning Commons replaces Demetree Media Center

2014

Football Stadium Renovations including new press box, restroom, concession and gathering facilities open

2014

Student Art Gallery Opens

2014

Main Office Lobby redesigned and renovated

2014

Statue of St. Augustine dedicated in honor of Bishop Felipe Estévez to commemorate the 450th anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine

2016

200 building Administrative Office renovation

2017

Renovations made to restrooms in 100 and 200 buildings and extensive renovation of the John Baldwin Athletic Center