John Bapst, an independent, college-preparatory school, cultivates academic excellence and personal growth, encourages exploration of opportunities, and fosters connections in an inclusive and global community.
Integrity – Achievement – Respect
With a focus on strong academic preparation for college, John Bapst serves a wide range of students, preparing them not only as students but as citizens of an increasingly globalizing world. Every student who comes to John Bapst is ready to study, work hard, and participate in the life of the school. Courtesy, kindness, fairness, acceptance, and honesty govern personal conduct as we construct a community of good learners and good people. John Bapst embraces the concept of ethical literacy as the cornerstone of its approach to good decision making and good conduct. Students become fluent in the language of ethics as a means of building character and community.
In terms of governance, John Bapst is an independent school. Like many of the nation’s best private schools, it serves a public mission, and many of the school’s 500 students exercise school choice in their communities to take advantage of the school’s top programs in academics, athletics, and the arts.
2011 was a landmark year for John Bapst with the opening of a boarding program and the welcoming of students from China, the UK, South Korea, and Vietnam to on-campus residence hall life. Since 2007, the school has served students from all over the world, including Japan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Indonesia, Egypt, Ghana, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Albania, and Spain. Students from Maine are also part of boarding life, adding a native English language presence to dormitory life.
The origins of John Bapst trace back to the early 1920s, when Bangor pastors from St. John’s and St. Mary’s parishes proposed a larger Catholic high school to meet an expanding need. On September 10, 1928, John Bapst High School, named for a nineteenth-century Swiss Jesuit priest and missionary, opened as a parochial high school for boys and girls. In 1929, the first class of 29 girls graduated. During the next four decades, boys and girls attended classes separately – an arrangement that ended in the 1960’s. During its early years the school achieved a strong reputation both in academics and athletics.
1980 to Present
Through alumni support and the efforts of faculty, administration, and four incorporators – Earle Hannigan, William Lindsay, John MacKay, and school principal Joe Sekera – the school withstood a decision to close, announced in June 1980. In the fall of that year, the landmark building at 100 Broadway reopened as John Bapst Memorial High School, now a non-religious, private, coeducational, college-preparatory secondary school. Since 1980, the school has grown steadily, retaining and enhancing its college-preparatory mission.
John Bapst’s most important growth has been in what it offers its students: outstanding academic, arts, athletic, and extracurricular programs. The school offers 16 sports and in recent years has brought home state championship trophies in football, boys’ and girls’ cross-country, girls’ indoor track, girls’ and boys’ basketball, cheering, girls’ spring track, and baseball. Also on display stand many more trophies and plaques brought home by the Math Team, Cyber Defense Team, Robotics Team, Model United Nations, Chess Team, and Junior Classical League.
John Bapst is a great school for art, music, and drama, too. The Jazz Band finished first in the state in 2011, and the Concert Band boasts more than 100 members. In 1991, the band gained national recognition for its welcome home to the first troops returning from the Gulf War. Years later, after midnight on the eve of the 1996 national presidential election, John Bapst’s band played in Bangor for President Clinton, who subsequently invited them to perform at his inauguration in January 1997. Today, over a third of the student body participates in instrumental or choral music, and two art shows each year are devoted to the visual arts. The spring musical involves more than twenty percent of the student body. Other extra-curricular offerings focus on opportunities for service: Student Environmental Action Committee, Student Senate, Key Club, National Honor Society, and yearbook.
Enjoying one of the strongest Advanced Placement programs in the state, John Bapst students took more than 467 AP exams in 2022. An average of seven students a year go on to earn finalist, semifinalist, or commended scholar status for performance in the National Merit Scholarship competition. The school’s graduates can be found throughout the University of Maine system and at many of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the US and Canada, including MIT, Harvard, Yale, Penn, Johns Hopkins, Wellesley, Boston University, Worcester Polytech, Bowdoin, Colby, Notre Dame, McGill, Dalhousie, UC-San Diego, and Georgia Tech, to name just a few.
John Bapst Archives on Maine Memory Network
In July 2010 a total of 42 images reflecting the history of the school were added to the Maine Memory Network along with two exhibits with images and text. Enjoy the work of school historian Evangeline Hussey at www.mainememory.net (key words: John Bapst) or through the following links: www.mainememory.net/sitebuilder/site/1390/page/2041/display?use_mmn=