St. Thomas High School

By: R. E. Lamb, C.S.B.

Type: General Entry

Published: October 1, 1995

Updated: June 30, 2017

St. Thomas High School is a college preparatory school for boys, both regional and interparochial, which has operated in Houston under the direction of the Basilian Fathers since its founding in 1900. At the outset it was officially named St. Thomas College and was so designated at the entrance of the building it occupied at Hadley and Austin streets from 1906 to 1940. In the early years a program of commercial subjects was offered along with the standard college entrance curriculum, but in 1940 the commercial program was discontinued. The college preparation curriculum includes English, mathematics, history, theology, physics, chemistry, biology, oceanography, geology, computer science, and foreign languages. Ninety-five percent of the graduates attend college. By 1985 the total graduates since the founding numbered around 7,000. From this number have come two bishops and over 100 priests. Other alumni have included a United States congressman, a director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a Medal of Honor recipient, and a Pulitzer Prize winner, plus a number of college and university professors. In addition to the founding principal, Fr. Nicholas Roche, other school leaders included the historian of the Texas missions and labor relations arbitrator, Fr. T. P. O'Rourke, and World War II chaplain Leland Higgins. A memorandum of December 11, 1928, tells of the agreement of the Basilian Fathers and the Diocese of Galveston to transfer the school to Memorial Drive in the western section of Houston. The present location is a sixteen-acre campus with seven buildings: a classroom building, a Basilian faculty residence, an auditorium, a 10,000-volume library and learning resources center, which is wired to every classroom, a cafeteria, and a gymnasium. At the entrance to the property, the Texas Historical Commission has placed a marker honoring the school for seventy-five years of education service to Houston and Texas. The school is financed mainly by student tuition. Assisting the school are donors of scholarships and an advisory board of local friends with business expertise. The school's governing board was chartered in 1969 as the St. Thomas Foundation, whose concern is future planning and expansion. In 1973 they were successful with the first financial drive in the school's history. By 1994 the enrollment at St. Thomas was 575; forty-seven teachers included laymen and laywomen. The students come from all parts of a much-expanded city and from distant suburbs as well. School publications include a newspaper, the Eagle, and the annual yearbook, the Aquin, which has been published since 1945. Two student service organizations, the Key Club and Stalco, work with retarded children in an institution nearby. In 1994 the principal was Father Michael Cerretto.

St. Thomas High School Archives, Houston. WPA Writers Program, Houston (Houston: Anson Jones, 1942).


  • Education
  • Religion
  • Catholic

Time Periods:

  • Progressive Era
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • Great Depression
  • Texas Post World War II


  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

R. E. Lamb, C.S.B., “St. Thomas High School,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 21, 2022,

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October 1, 1995
June 30, 2017

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