Our Past


Our Past

The Beginning

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In 1960, a new Catholic High School was founded, using borrowed classrooms in St. Augustine and St. James the Less Schools. In the fall of 1961, facilities of the newly constructed Bishop Ready High School were extended to these students under the direction of the Dominican Sisters and Reverend Monsignor James M. Berendt. There are many memories of long bus rides to and from those temporary quarters.


In September of 1962, the students moved into their permanent home on Karl Road, St. Francis DeSales High School. Named after the patron saint of the Diocese of Columbus, the new school had a faculty of ten sisters of St. Francis of Stella Niagara, New York, four priests and eight lay people. The school opened with 523 students registered – 120 juniors, 160 sophomores, and 243 freshmen.  The school was solemnly dedicated in January of 1963 by the Most Reverend Clarence G. Issenmann, Bishop of the Columbus Diocese.

Remarkably, over the years of our school’s existence, we have had only five principals: Reverend Monsignor James M. Berendt, 1960-1971; Reverend John Tague, 1970-1973; Reverend Monsignor Edward McFarland, 1973-1979; Mr. Patrick D. Rossetti, 1979-2004; and Mr. Daniel Garrick, 2004-present.



Our Present

Our Present



We have grown to over 875 students and our faculty has tripled. To accommodate this growth, our campus has experienced several changes through the years. In 1997, we added new theology, science and performing arts classrooms, and by 2002, construction was complete on the visual arts wing, as well as renovation of the construction technology and family consumer science labs. The Alumni Stadium received a complete overhaul in 2005, and now features a turf field, an eight-lane track and first class amenities. WiFi is available across campus for student use on close to 400 computers, and classrooms are equipped with iPads and Apples TV's. With the upgrade and expansion of computer labs in 2008, 2009, and 2012, we have created a state-of-the-art learning environment for our students that sets them on the path for a dynamic future as they move into college and beyond. In the summer of 2014, a renovation of the front entrance took place, making sure "the outside of our building reflects the excellence that is taking place inside the building."

Our academics match our top-notch facilities, as we have twice been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as an Exemplary Blue Ribbon School. Over the last decade more than 98% of graduating seniors have pursued post-secondary studies at colleges and institutions across the nation, and have been awarded over $20,000,000 on average each year in scholarships to help make their dreams a reality.

The St. Francis DeSales curriculum has kept pace with an ever-changing world, and we now offer over 150 courses from our 14 departments. When we initiated our Advanced Placement program fifteen years ago, we offered two courses and 18 students took the tests for possible college credit. Now, we offer 18 AP classes in all major subjects, and at last count, 45% of graduating seniors receive credit in at least one Advancement Placement course.  


Our Future

Our Future

As we continue to build on the solid foundation established at St. Francis DeSales High School over 50 years ago, there are major areas of focus that stand to preserve and enhance the mission of the school and, at the same time, will help make the plan’s future vision a reality.  Looking ahead to 2020, the target areas for concentration and goal achievement are:   

Faith Life, Retreats, and Theology Classroom Support - Ongoing
Above all else, we are a community rooted in the Gospel values and teachings of our Catholic faith.  The promulgation and evangelization of the Catholic faith is the primary mission of our school.  Adequate resources must be directed for the purchase of textbooks, bibles,  audio-visual equipment, technology, requisite resources for retreats and programmatic initiatives (e.g. Digital Service Portfolios).
Academics - Ongoing
SFDHS has an outstanding tradition as a college preparatory school.  Approximately 98% of our students will go on to post-secondary education upon graduating.  Continued focus will be placed on developing students who have the ability to think critically and to develop 21st century skills to successfully navigate a rapidly changing world.

Technology - Achieved
Our campus is equipped with a robust Wi-Fi infrastructure: all classrooms are equipped with computers,  Apple TVs, and SmartBoards. In addition, we launched our  1:1 student iPad program during the 2013-14 school year.  Each of these advancements have allowed us to focus intently on developing digitally responsible citizens.

Enhancing Resources - Ongoing
In order to achieve both our immediate objectives and our long-term goals, it is critical that we continue to grow and diversify our resources. The future of St. Francis DeSales High School must witness an expansion of Annual Giving.  Future initiatives will not be realized simply by raising tuition dollars.  We must be committed to slowing the rate of tuition increases or our families will begin to be priced out of the market. It is with this understanding in mind that we must commit to significant growth in both annual and planned giving.  In order to ensure the long-term financial solvency of our school, the Strategic Planning and Finance Committees have prioritized this aspect of our strategic plan.

Road to 2020 - Achieved Phase I
In January of 2012, the St. Francis DeSales High School Leadership Board took a bold step in response to the school’s SWOT analysis, by launching the Road to 2020. The opening phase of this project has served as the kick-off initiative of the school’s 2020 Vision Strategic Plan.  

New Construction/Renovation/Current Facility Development - For future consideration
The current facilities of St. Francis DeSales High School have served us well since opening in 1962; however, our community has identified the need for renovation and expansion.  The following list of facility enhancements are recognized in the strategic plan: A comprehensive facility audit on existing mechanics, roof, etc; classroom renovation and upgrades; expansion of the existing chapel; a new Media Center/Library; Theater upgrades; instrumental music room upgrades; new voice and choir rooms; a new competition gymnasium that would include a new wrestling room, and expansion of locker rooms; and school-wide Air-conditioning.  Please note the listing of these facility enhancements is not intended to reflect priority.

St. Francis DeSales High School has 875 students enrolled in Grade 9 through Grade 12 as of August 30, 2018.  

All paid staff must have on file both BCI and FBI background checks and must attend “Protecting God’s Children.”  All volunteers must have on file a BCI background check and must attend “Protecting God’s Children” no matter how much or how little contact they have with children or youth, no matter if  volunteering for the school or parish, and no matter what time of the day or night they volunteer.