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Welcome to
St. Catherine's Academy

Founded in 1889, St. Catherine’s Academy is a Catholic school with a military tradition for boys in transitional kindergarten - 8th grade. Our mission is to provide students with a foundation for lifelong success through a formation program, which is rooted in the Dominican charism and emphasizes faith, leadership, academics, and service. Experienced faculty and small class sizes ensure each student receives the individual attention he needs to be successful. Our school-wide spiritual programs and military tradition form young men of faith, honor, and integrity. In addition to our day program, our boarding and international programs bring students together from around the country and world to learn from each other and develop lasting friendships.

President's Message

Our faculty, administration and military personnel instruct our boys in the values of giving and receiving respect and courtesy, and how to develop personal leadership skills. It has always been our mission to focus on each of our students, offering them a spiritual and academic foundation that will enhance their lives and assist them as they make their contributions to the world community.
For more than 133 years we have educated and mentored young men honoring diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Learning Expectations

  • A young man who embraces prayer as he lives a life of faith

  • A young man who lives community based on leadership virtues  by the military tradition

  • A young man who commits to study, to learn and grow in wisdom

  • A young man who is willing to serve others through his ministry



Founded in 1889 by the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose, St. Catherine’s Academy is Orange County’s first Catholic school. Beginning as a coeducational school and boarding academy for girls, SCA was also an orphanage before adopting its current format as a Catholic school with a military tradition for boys in transitional kindergarten - 8th grade.


St. Catherine’s Academy opens its doors with 19 day students and 11 resident students. The school was originally intended to be a day school for local children and a boarding academy for girls.


Always seeking to serve the needs of the community, St. Catherine’s Academy becomes an orphanage for boys. By 1903, St. Catherine’s Orphanage reaches capacity, housing 200 orphans.


Mother Pia concludes that she must sell St. Catherine’s Academy for financial reasons. On their way to sign the papers, Mother Pia and a fellow Sister are followed by a swarm of bees, a symbol of good luck. Mother Pia turns the carriage around and decides not to sell.


Enrollment shifts from orphans to day and boarding students when the Bureau of Catholic Charities introduces a new policy of placing orphans with families in private homes. The Sisters engage retired military officers as teachers for the older boys.


St. Catherine’s officially becomes St. Catherine’s Military Academy with Captain Daniel Healy as its first commandant.


Lt. (later Major) Charles Schmitt begins his 40-year tenure as commandant.


St. Catherine’s Academy begins accepting international students from Mexico who wish to learn English and experience life in America. Today, the ELL program continues that tradition and includes students from around the world.


St. Catherine’s Academy celebrates 100th anniversary.


The St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel is dedicated. The chapel contains awe-inspiring artwork by famed religious artist John Henry de Rosen, including a 90-foot mural called “The Descent of Truth.”


Colonel Barry Bizzell takes over as commandant.


Major Larry Zaborowksi takes over as commandant, a position he would hold for 30 years.


St. Catherine’s Military Academy changes its name to St. Catherine’s Academy. Maintaining its format as a Catholic school with a military tradition, SCA educates young men of exceptional faith and character, prepared to be the leaders of tomorrow.


St. Catherine’s Academy celebrates 125th anniversary.

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