Our Mission Statement
Bishop McDevitt High School, a college preparatory school, ensures a virtue-centered Catholic education by fostering the missions of the living gospel in all students. The academic excellence we promote, the diversity we embrace and the history we cherish combine to create an environment for spiritual, intellectual and social growth that prepares our students for global citizenship.
Get the Bishop McDevitt High School Experience
Bishop McDevitt Catholic High School is a comprehensive, coeducational diocesan secondary school of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia serving grades nine through twelve. The school is located in Wyncote, Cheltenham Township, a beautiful and quiet setting that allows our school community the opportunity to work in a safe environment conducive to higher learning. It serves a diverse mix of students with a rigorous academic program grounded in the teachings and formations of the Catholic faith.
Bishop McDevitt Catholic High School emphasizes life-long learning and critical thinking skills that are supported by the latest technology and implemented by a caring and dedicated staff.
Bishop McDevitt Catholic High School is accredited by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Middle States Association of Colleges and School, and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Current enrollment is 420 students, with a student-teacher ratio of 21 to 1. The faculty consists of dedicated lay and religious men and women, the majority of whom hold advanced degrees in their area of specialization.
Bishop Philip R. McDevitt
Philip Richard McDevitt was born of Irish parents in Philadelphia, on July 12, 1858. The McDevitt family was one of the oldest and best known in Kensington whose names figure prominently in the early history of three Catholic parishes. Philip McDevitt entered St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in the fall of 1877 at the age of nineteen and was ordained on July, 14 1885.
His interest in schools and teaching began when he was an assistant at Nativity B.V.M. Church in the Richmond section of the city. He became one of the first priests in the country to devote his efforts to modern educational problems in a practical way. Archbishop Ryan recognized Father McDevitt’s interest in education and appointed him as Superintendent of Schools, a position he assumed in May of 1899.
Under Father McDevitt’s direction, three girls’ Catholic high school “centers” were opened in Philadelphia. From 1900 he labored tirelessly for a girls’ Catholic High School and his labors came to fruition in 1910 when ground was broken for the school now known as the John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School.
His work as a priest was acknowledged in 1916 when Pope Benedict XV named Monsignor McDevitt as the fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg. During his eighteen years in Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt’s accomplishments were vast and included ten new parishes with resident priests were established, schools were opened in twelve parishes along with eight “centers” for Catholic high schools.
Bishop McDevitt took sick in early November, 1935. On November 11, 1935 he was scheduled to bless one of the first churches he had established in Harrisburg. Instead the presiding bishop began the dedication with the words, “Our Father is dead.” Bishop Philip R. McDevitt was seventy-eight years old. His deep faith, unaffected holiness and attention to detail grew as he advanced in wisdom, age, and grace. His work with education and schools is an outstanding contribution to the Church in America.
A Letter from Our President
Dr. Matthew Powell
It is with great joy that I begin my tenure as President of Bishop McDevitt High School. Indeed, I am most grateful for this opportunity that God has placed before me. I have spent most of my career serving students and the mission of the Church to make real the gospel message, and after a short time away from academia I am most eager to return to working with and for students.
I would be remiss, however, to introduce myself without first publicly (and enthusiastically) thanking Steve Finley for his service to Bishop McDevitt. In these last five years, Steve has positioned our school as one of the most welcoming educational environments in the area for students and their families. Over the last two months, I have heard time and again how the Bishop McDevitt community thinks of itself as a family with an obligation to look after and take care of each other. I am fully committed to preserving that legacy that Steve has left us.
I come to McDevitt by way of our nation’s capital. For the last five years I have been helping to manage non-profits and build community programs focused on improving the lives of those most in need. Prior to that, however, I spent close to twenty years in education serving students in nearly every capacity. I truly cannot wait to hear the hallways abuzz with young men and women searching for their calling.
Over the next few months I will be reaching out to all of you to learn more about what makes Bishop McDevitt so special. It is a priority for me to spend time with as many members of the Bishop McDevitt community as possible to hear your perspectives on where we are and where we are going. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly if you want to arrange a time to meet. Or just keep your eyes and ears open as I promise to schedule a number of forums for all interested parties to share and advise.
Board of Directors
Anne Marie McDonnell Corwell ‘63
Mary Beth Driscoll ‘80
Stephen J. Finley ’69
Dan Greenberg ’88
Joe Halligan ‘69
Eric Kretschman ‘89
Harry May ‘70
Timothy Speiss ’79, Board Chair
Daniel Taylor ’88
Matthew T. Powell, President
Patricia Rooney, Principal
Megan Gerhard, Director of Enrollment
Kelly Keane, Director of Advancement
Kristin Conran, Director of Major Gifts and Business Outreach
Through your Son, Jesus,
Give us Wisdom to know what is right;
Courage to do what is good:
And strength to live our faith.Help us to seek virtue, achieve excellence
And celebrate our diversity.Our Mother, our Guide,
Maria impende juvamen.
Mary, lend us your assistance.
The challenge of a marching world
We meet with accent bold
While cherishing a standard
Ever new, as ever old.We bear our banner gold and white
Our sign of royalty
And glory in our Queen’s delight
Of flow’ring purity.
All hail, All hail to Bishop McDevitt High
We pledge our loyalty to you
May we prove the trust our patron ever lived
With ideals inspired by love.
Hail to you, Our Alma Mater!
Hail to you, Our Alma Mater!
May faith and courage be our guide
God our final goal.
May Mary hover near with help
Our motto is our plea
That we our vantage may sustain
While gaining victory.
At dusk, at dawning may we see
Amid the heavens fair
Our lovely Star of morn and sea
Whose symbol bright we bear.
Bishop McDevitt Catholic High School was dedicated on December 8, 1958 and began its service to students the following day. The school celebrated its first graduating class in June, 1961. Soon after, McDevitt established many wonderful and lasting traditions now cherished by all who walked the halls.
The school added vocational and technical education in 1965; won its first boys Philadelphia Catholic League title in 1966; became coeducational in September of 1970; won its first girls Philadelphia Catholic League title in 1979; welcomed its first lay principal in 1985; opened its first computer lab in 1987; achieved its first Middle States accreditation in 1988; started a Development Office and Alumni Association in 1989; and moved into open enrollment and a restructured president and principal model of administration in 1993. In 2010, we welcomed Our Lady of Confidence to McDevitt, a special education school that is located on the ground floor of our building.
Today, the school’s rich history of success continues. Bishop McDevitt maintains a well-deserved reputation for providing an outstanding academic, faith-based education for young men and women in both the local and global communities.
The student body is loyal, involved, and motivated to succeed. The faculty is dedicated and faithful to the school’s mission of Catholic education and continuous development. Parents and alumni are supportive in their desire to advance the school. Separately, each group plays a role in our school’s success. Collectively, they are the reason why Bishop McDevitt Catholic High School is such a thriving institution.
Bishop McDevitt Alumni Spotlight
Meet some of our alumni and see how McDevitt shaped their future