History and Traditions
How St. Francis Xavier High School Began
In February of 1997, a small group of parents from St. Anne, St. Jude and Our Lady of the Skies Parishes began the process of opening a new high school, "Catholic in tradition, independent of the Diocese, excellent in academics and competitive in athletics." Larry Watt, executive secretary of the South Carolina Independent Schools Association, who helped the school’s steering committee get organized said, "There is no obstacle these people aren’t going to be able to overcome." In less than seventy-two hours [after the announcement of The Sumter Catholic High School closing] they were further along than some people have been after working for six months" (The Item, February 17, 1997). The administration, faculty, parents, and friends of the school significantly upgraded an old elementary school, built a computer lab, science lab, a 7,000 volume library, and the necessary infrastructure for a very credible program.
St. Francis Xavier High School opened its doors on August 19, 1997 with thirty-two students. and graduated five students in June 1998. The enrollment for 2002 was fifty. Its budget has been balanced since the day of their founding and its financial position is strong.
On December 3rd 2000, the Bishop of Charleston, Robert Baker, recognized St. Francis Xavier High School as an independent Catholic high school within the diocese.
On January 15th 2002, the St. Francis Xavier High School opened its first capital campaign. With the success of the campaign, it purchased the building it occupies at 15 School Street in Sumter and completed significant renovations of the heat and air conditioning system.
It is St. Francis Xavier High School’s goal to attain the highest academic standards seamlessly integrated with Catholic/Christian theology. The college preparatory curriculum encourages critical thinking and "integrates all aspects of human knowledge through subjects taught in light of the Gospel and Catholic Tradition." This is accomplished by providing a curriculum intended to prepare each graduate to successfully pursue a Baccalaureate Degree at a four year college or University. It works to prepare graduates as knowledgeable, Christian leaders to face the challenges of the modern world with a desire and a capacity to love God and to serve Him in society. Each student should have a proper and purposeful "spirit of study," which will lead to a maximum progress of self confidence, self-esteem and growth.