An Educational Mission Begins
In the early 1960s, the decision was made by Cardinal Lawrence Shehan to build an Archdiocesan Catholic High School on a 72-acre site in Bel Air, Harford County.
The John Carroll School opened to 202 freshmen on September 9, 1964, under the leadership of Principal Reverend Raymond Wanner. In 1971, The John Carroll School, in an agreement with the Archdiocese of Baltimore, became an independent, Catholic school, operated by its own elected Board of Trustees and administrated by a Principal. In 2008, the Board of Trustees voted to change the organizational structure of the school to the President-Principal model, which continues to this day.
From its earliest days, John Carroll reflected a unique partnership of clergy, religious and laity. Today, that partnership remains part of the school’s educational mission. Students are encouraged to see that the true spirit of Christianity is a spirit of justice, charity and compassion, and that they cannot consider themselves Christians without showing care and concern for their neighbors.
Infused by this spirit, The John Carroll School has flourished for more than 50 years. The physical plant has expanded three times: 12 classrooms were added in 1984, a Fine Arts Wing was added in 2000, and an athletic addition was made in 2003. In 2014-2015, air conditioning was added to the auditorium and cafeteria, and two new turf fields with stadium lights made their debut. Drawing on its legacy and traditions but with an eye to the future, The John Carroll School stands well-positioned to serve generations of future Patriots to come.
Who is John Carroll?
John Carroll – Priest and Patriot
Archbishop John Carroll laid the foundation for the Catholic Church in America and established the Catholic educational system in this country. A member of one of the most prominent families of colonial times, John Carroll was born in Upper Marlboro, Maryland but left the Colonies in 1743 to continue his education in Europe where he studied to be a Jesuit priest. In 1773, Father Carroll returned to colonial Maryland as a missionary, and in 1776 answered the call of the Continental Congress to accompany Benjamin Franklin on a diplomatic mission to Canada to secure aid in the fight against England. Later, he was credited with urging the fledgling U.S. legislature to include provisions for religious liberty in the Constitution.
In 1784, the Vatican named John Carroll head of the mission in America, and among his first priorities he founded Georgetown University, America’s oldest Catholic college, in 1789. He was also responsible for establishing St. Mary’s Seminary, America’s first Catholic Seminary, in Baltimore, and laid the cornerstone for the Basilica of the Assumption in Baltimore. He was named America’s first bishop in 1789 and the nation’s first archbishop in 1810.
John Carroll’s patriotic contributions to America in its formative period are the inspiration for calling the school’s athletic teams “Patriots” and where the school newspaper derives its name. John Carroll used “Pacificus” as his nom de plume for a series of articles he published, and now serves as the title of the school yearbook.
The John Carroll School bears his name in honor of his dedication to the Catholic faith, the United States and education in the Catholic tradition. More than 200 years after his death, John Carroll’s beliefs and values continue to influence the Catholic identity of The John Carroll School. His life of service and leadership in a time of unprecedented change is an inspiring model of meaningful action to improve the lives of others and to leave an enduring legacy for the future.