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Devon Preparatory School


Devon Preparatory School

Devon Preparatory School
363 North Valley Forge Road
Devon, Pennsylvania, Chester County, 19333-1299
United States
Type Private
Motto A Foundation for Success
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic;
Established 1956
Faculty 34
Grades 6-12
Gender Boys
Enrollment 285
212 (Upper School)
73 (Middle School) (2009)
Average class size 15
Student to teacher ratio 10:1
Campus Suburban
Campus size 20 acres (81,000 m2)
Color(s) Blue and Gold         
Slogan Roll Tide!
Athletics conference Bicentennial Athletic League
Team name Tide
Accreditation Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools[1]
Average SAT scores 1278 out of 1600
Publication Devon Prep Tidlings
Newspaper 'The Devon Dialogue'
Yearbook 'The Calasanctian'
Tuition $20,800 (Upper School)
$18,800 (Middle School)
Headmaster Rev. James Shea, Sch.P. '66
Chaplain Rev. Francisco Aisa, Sch.P.
Head of Upper School Larry Iezzi
Middle School Director Barry Brazunas
Athletics Director Mark Aquilante

Devon Preparatory School is a private, Catholic college preparatory school in Devon, Pennsylvania, founded in 1956 by the Piarist fathers. It is an all-boys school, divided into a middle school (grades 6–8) and an upper school (grades 9–12), both located on the same campus of 20 acres (81,000 m2). The school operates independently with the blessings of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

The mansion, the centerpiece of the estate, was built in 1913 by Philadelphia publisher Dr. Charles M. Lea. The task of transforming the mansion into a school began in March 1956. It was renamed Calasanctius Hall after St. Joseph Calasanctius, founder of the Piarist Order. Devon Preparatory School opened its doors on September 8 with 49 freshmen, including several boarders. Philadelphia Archbishop John Francis O’Hara dedicated the school on December 8, 1956. In the years that followed the other buildings became functional parts of the campus. First, the stable became the chapel; next the carriage house became the chemistry lab, and finally the workers’ cottage became the student activities center.

The school graduated its first class on June 4, 1960. The following September groundbreaking ceremonies were held for the new school and gymnasium. Construction was finished the following year and Archbishop John Krol dedicated the new buildings on October 21, 1961. Today that building houses mostly upper school classes. St. Anthony Hall was opened in 2004. It includes a state of the art computer center, library media center, a science lab and six classrooms.

As of 2013, Devon Prep has the largest enrollment of its history, a faculty of Piarist Fathers and both male and female lay faculty, a staff of more than 20 persons, and an alumni base of over 2000 living throughout the United States and in 16 countries worldwide.


Devon Preparatory Upper School students must take a minimum of 4 years of English, 4 years of Mathematics, 4 years of Science, 3 years of Social Science (History), 3 years of a Foreign Language, 2 years of Latin, 4 years of Religion, and 4 years of Physical Education. Every freshman, sophomore, and junior takes the PSAT in October.

Devon Prep offers 17 Advanced Placement courses. Advanced Placement courses include: AP Statistics, AP European History, AP Human Geography, AP Biology, AP English Language and Composition, AP U.S. History, AP Computer Science, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Physics B, AP Physics C, AP English Literature, AP U.S. Government and Politics, AP Chemistry, AP French, AP German, AP Spanish, AP Environmental Science. All students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses are required to take the Advanced Placement examinations. AP courses are available upon request.

Campus history

The site where the Devon Preparatory School stands has a history that dates back to at least 1913 when prominent Philadelphia publisher,[2] art collector,[3] and socialite.[4] Dr. Charles Matthew Lea built his mansion that was later to become Calasanctus Hall. Lea, son of historian Henry Charles Lea, inherited his fortune from the Lea & Febiger publishing firm, the oldest publishing company in the United States (1785–1990).[2] The firm's best known title was the American edition of Gray's Anatomy, which they began publishing in 1859. The original 20-acre (81,000 m2) tract on the east side of Valley Forge Road was expanded in 1920, with the purchase of an additional 83 acres (340,000 m2). This consolidated property was known as Westthorpe Farm.

The main entrance to Westthorpe Farm was at the intersection of Conestoga Road, Valley Forge Road and Hunters Lane where large stone pillars still stand. A number of stone pillars, that originally formed a southern fence line, remains partially in place along West Conestoga and Upper Gulph Roads. The current entrance to Devon Preparatory School, on Valley Forge Road, was the servants' entrance to the mansion. An outbuilding from Westthorpe Farm still stands northeast of the intersection of Upper Gulph and Hunters Lane.

The Westthorpe mansion,[5] a twenty-five room masterpiece designed by Brockie & Hastings,[6] was the home of Charles M. Lea until he died in 1927. His widow, Charlotte Augusta Lea, remained at the mansion until her death in 1945.

The property was then sold to Alexander Shand, a developer, who built one of the first post-World War II developments of homes known as the Shand Tract, on Steeplechase Road and Hunters Lane. Shand sold the mansion to Dr. Joseph Lerner, who had hoped to make it a psychiatric hospital. Because of neighborhood opposition to his project, Lerner sold the property to the Piarist Fathers in 1955.

Calasanctius Hall-The "old building" or "mansion" is now home to the Middle School, with six classrooms on the second floor. Calasanctius Hall also houses the Art Center and the school's Admissions Office. A large first floor hall has hosted presentations, school plays, and receptions. The Piarist Fathers live on the third floor.

Upper School Classroom Building – Built in 1961, the main building includes nine classrooms, a Biology Lab, and a Physics Lab. It also includes Devon's Bookstore, Health Center, and various administration offices.

Gymnasium – A full-sized basketball court hosts home games for the Middle School CYO team and the Upper School JV and Varsity teams. Weekdays after school feature intramural games. A large stage makes the gym an all-purpose auditorium for student assemblies, theatrical performances, guest speakers, and dances. A major addition to the Athletic Facility was completed in 1999, adding additional locker room space, Coach's Room, and weight-training equipment.

Chemistry Building – Once the carriage house, this building has been converted into a Chemistry Lab on the first floor and a Music Center on the second floor.

St. Mary's Chapel – Formerly a stable, this is now the School Chapel seating over one hundred. Devon uses the chapel for Mass and smaller gatherings.

Activities House – Originally the servants quarters, this building is now used as a meeting place for several student activities, including the school yearbook, The Calasanctian.

Edwin D. Keller Memorial Field – Improved in 1990, the athletic fields are capable of hosting two simultaneous soccer games, or a baseball game. During the spring break of 2007, the school added dugouts for the baseball field and redid the pitchers mound and the home plate area.

St. Anthony's Hall – This building features six classrooms, a Computer/Technology Center, a Library and Science Lab. It was dedicated by Cardinal Rigali on Oct. 2, 2004.


All of Devon Prep's athletic teams compete in the Bicentennial Athletic League (12 teams).

  • Fall: Cross Country, Soccer (varsity, junior varsity and freshmen), and Golf (varsity and junior varsity)
  • Winter: Basketball (varsity, junior varsity and freshmen), and Indoor Track
  • Spring: Baseball (varsity and junior varsity), Lacrosse, Track and Field, and Tennis.

Devon Prep also has an Ultimate Frisbee team that went to states in 2008.

Clubs and Activities

Devon Prep has over 25 different clubs and activities. Some of them include: Mock Trial, Model United Nations, Science Olympiad, Diplomacy Club, Film Club, German-American Exchange Program, Devon Dialogue (newspaper), Calasanctian (yearbook), Ballroom Dance, Art Club, Debate Club, Campus Ministry, Chess Club, Ping-Pong Club, Computer Club, and Frisbee Club.

Student Council

The Devon Prep Student Council (DPSC) plays an integral part of student life at Devon Prep. DPSC mediates between the administration, faculty, Parents Association, alumni, and the student body, and also administers and finances most of the students' activities. Everything from mixers, tailgates, basketball games, Battle of the Bands, prom, and other various activities is organized and managed by the Student Council. The revenues of all of these activities and events provide much of the necessary funds for the impressive operating budget of over $100,000. Members of the student council are elected by fellow students.

Honor Societies

Devon Prep students can be inducted into several honor societies. The honor societies present at Devon Prep are the Quill and Scroll Society, the National Honor Society, the National Junior Honor Society, the Spanish National Honor Society, (President- Jacob R. Boehmer '10) (La Orden de Santiago), and the German National Honor Society (Delta Epsilon Phi)

Academic Challenge Team

Devon takes part in both the Varsity and JV divisions of the CCIU Academic Challenge Competition, in which students from different schools in the area compete in a quiz game to test their general knowledge.

In 2009, the Devon Prep Academic Challenge Team won the Chester County Championship and took 4th place in the state tournament in Harrisburg. Devon Prep is the first and only private school to win the Chester County Academic Challenge Competition. [1]

Christian Action Program (CAP)

The Christian Action Program is a student-run organization dedicated to improving the surrounding community through ongoing acts of service. One of the most active programs at Devon, C.A.P consists of students from grades six to twelve. The club serves several purposes; while attending to the spiritual and physical needs of those in the area, it also offers Devon students an opportunity to take roles of responsibility and use their skills to accomplish meaningful work.

Music and Theater

Led by Dr. Valentin Radu, the Devon Prep Music Society is open to all Devon members and consists of several performing groups. Students receive academic credit for their musical work.

  • Jazz Band – With approximately 30 members each year, this group is responsible for bringing big band, swing, and jazz charts to the Devon stage, as the musicians learn style, technique, and theory.
  • Choral Tide and Rip Tide – Members of these two choral groups sing all genres of music and perform both inside and outside of Devon.
  • Fall Drama – The Fall Drama is annually performed in early November by students from Devon Prep and its surrounding sister schools.
  • Spring Musical – The Spring Musical, usually a Broadway musical, is performed in early spring by students from Devon Prep and its surrounding sister schools. Recent productions include Hot Mikado, Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, and The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Summer Enrichment Program

In the summer, Devon Prep hosts a Summer Enrichment Program. Throughout the two sessions students participate in sports and dramatic arts camps as well as various courses designed to motivate, educate and fascinate each participant. They attend classes in algebra readiness, digital photography, painting and sculpting, video production, study skills, web building, history explorations and more. The sports camps include baseball, soccer, track, golf and basketball.

Notable alumni

Devon Preparatory School has produced many alumni that have distinguished themselves in the sciences, academia, politics, arts and media. These include:

  • Robert Ambrogi ’67 - Vice President of School Management at International School Services, former Director of the American International School of Johannesburg and former Superintendent of the International School of Islamabad, Pakistan and former Director at American International School of Lisbon
  • Dr. Anthony Coletta ’71 - Executive Vice President/Chief Medical Officer at Holy Redeemer Health System, former General Surgeon/Partner at Surgical Specialists, Inc. Dr. Coletta was a pioneer in the development of laparoscopic surgery. He performed the first laparoscopic appendectomy in the Philadelphia region in May, 1990 and the first laparoscopic colon resection in September of that same year.
  • Mark Malseed ’93 - co-author of The Google Story and a named collaborator, with author Bob Woodward, on the #1 New York Times non-fiction bestsellers Plan of Attack and Bush at War.

See also


  1. ^ MSA-CSS. "MSA-Commission on Secondary Schools". Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  2. ^ a b "Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society History Quarterly Digital Archives [2] April 1999 Volume 37 Number 2, Pages 63–70"
  3. ^ Pearson, Elizabeth T."The Charles M. Lea Collection""The Philadelphia Museum of Art" 1928
  4. ^ "Summer Social Register 1920 Philadelphia"
  5. ^ "Henry Charles Lea Papers: Memorabilia and Family Papers Boxes 187 and 188" "The University of Pennsylvania Rare Book and Manuscript Library"
  6. ^ "Perspective of County House, Devon, Penna"

External links

  • Devon Preparatory School website
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