Bishop McNamara High School Is A Hidden Gem That Sheds A Bright Light Over The County By Providing High Academic And Leadership Results
By Natasha Pollard // @natasha84865123
Part One of A Three-Part Series // Part Two: Grasping The Ivy league, click here
There are few things quite as good as home grown success.
There are certainly statistics to support that, including the $20 million in scholarships that Bishop McNamara High School students received this year. But much of its success lies among its current students and its history of strong graduates.
“The things that I’m most proud of are that 85% of Bishop McNamara’s students come from Prince George's County,” McNamara’s President/CEO Dr. Marco Clark says, “and a large majority of those students, when they graduate college, continuing their young adult lives, are returning here to this region.”
Overall, Bishop McNamara students hail from nine different counties throughout the DMV.
“There is a lot of pride in the school. A lot of pride in the identity of being associated with Bishop McNamara, so we have just been really, very blessed,” Dr. Clark continued.
According to administrators and parents, the secret to what makes Bishop McNamara unique includes its extraordinary people--especially the teachers.
“As a graduate, I can tell you I’m a better person today because of the teachers that I had even some 35 years ago. It’s just the faculty and staff that are extraordinary,” Clark says.
“The teachers approach everything with what I like to call a ‘mentorship mentality.’ They really want to approach students in every way to empower their education. We want to empower our students.”
Clark aims to empower students to become leaders. “That is our vision. That our graduates will be “Empowered leaders, inspired by the Gospel, transforming the world.”
“A goal of ours is to create a generation of people who are able to go out and make a difference. They leave our school with a confidence, with the skill and abilities, and with the courage to be change makers,” Dr. Clark said, a College of the Holy Cross graduate.
Along with key supporters, the community and its leaders help the school to flourish.
The Greatness Was Always There
There is a unique history to Bishop McNamara, the school named for Auxiliary Bishop and Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., John M. McNamara. Bishop McNamara was originally founded in 1964, as an all-boys school, existing that way until 1992, when it merged with the all-girls, La Reine, becoming a co-ed high school.
La Reine, French for ‘the queen,’ joined what continued to be a promising future as Bishop McNamara, for by the mid-nineties, many of the newspapers in Prince George's County, such as The Prince George's Journal and Gazette, referred to Bishop McNamara as the ‘best kept secret in Prince George's County.’ That was a bit of a mantra then that is still referenced today.
Even as County Executive Angela Alsobrooks often talks about Prince George’s County as the Crown Jewel of the DMV, Bishop McNamara’s success continues to be a part of this royal mantra that comprises Prince George’s County.
“Bishop McNamara’s growth these last 20-plus years has been pretty extraordinary [when viewing] our school today by contrast to 1992,” said Dr. Clark.
Indeed, when Bishop McNamara went co-ed, it had 200 students. Today, the school serves over 850 students. Each year, more than seven to eight hundred students apply for admissions in the ninth grade class. With 100% of their students graduating, 99% of the students matriculate to some of the top colleges and universities in the country.
“This past year, we had 215 seniors graduate and they received over $20 million in scholarships, many to top colleges including Notre Dame, United States Air Force Academy, University of Maryland, University of Virginia, and Morehouse College,” Dr. Clark noted.