St. Francis de Sales High School (Toledo, Ohio)

St. Francis de Sales High School (Toledo, Ohio)

Infobox Secondary school
name = St. Francis de Sales High School
president = Rev. Ronald Olszewski, O.S.F.S.
vice President =
principal = Mr. Eric Smola

type = Private, all-male, college-preparatory
affiliations = Catholic, O.S.F.S.
grades = 9–12
city = Toledo
state = Ohio
country = United States of America
motto = Suaviter et Fortiter
enrollment = 670
established = September 14, 1955
website = []
colors = Red, Blue, and White
mascot = Knight
yearbook = Accolade
newspaper = Lance
chaplain = Rev. John Lehner, O.S.F.S.
address = 2323 West Bancroft Street
dean = Christopher Steingass, Academic Dean
faculty = 56
accreditation = Ohio Catholic School Accrediting Association
picture =

St. Francis de Sales High School or SFS is a private, all-male, college-preparatory high school in Toledo, Ohio. It is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Toledo. The school was recently named as one of the top 20 Catholic high schools in the nation for academics by Catholic High School Honor Roll for the second time. [cite web|url=| |accessdate=2007-03-26] [cite web|url=| |accessdate=2007-03-26]

About the school

St. Francis de Sales High School is an independent, chartered college preparatory school operated by the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, a religious congregation of the Catholic Church. In Ohio, a college preparatory charter is given to those schools that meet specified academic requirements and offerings, as well as sending 100% of their graduates to degree granting institutions. The school is fully accredited by the Ohio Catholic School Accrediting Association (OCSAA).The School opened on September 14, 1955 as the greater Toledo area’s first college-preparatory high school. The school's athletic teams have won 25 official and unofficial state championships in; football, basketball, tennis, wrestling, swimming and diving, and water polo, as well as numerous State Runners-Up, Regional Titles, District Titles and City League Titles. The AquaKnight swim team's 42-year district title streak is the longest winning streak in any high school sport in the nation. Named after Saint Francis de Sales, the gentleman saint, the community has been described as a family-like group and has a very active alumni base both in the city of Toledo and throughout the country. The school awards a great deal of aid in order to offer an opportunity to students, regardless of socioeconomic background. The mascot is the Knight, and its students are known as “Knights.”


The campus of St. Francis is located on twenty-five acres. The campus includes an eight-lane swimming pool, (plans for a new pool a few years ago gave way to a new Football field/ track, even though the swimming team has more consistent successes), an eight-lane track, baseball field (with new press box), football fields and a soccer field. Across the street, there is Ottawa Park, which has tennis courts, a golf course, winter ice skating rink and running trails. In 2005, the school introduced a $14 million dollar renovation/addition. In the renovation/addition, St. Francis built a new chapel, arts wing, fitness/weight room and new locker rooms. The school is located in a historic area of Toledo, on Bancroft Street, just one-half mile from the University of Toledo. The location for the school was previously owned by rival St. John's Jesuit, who was established in 1898, well before St. Francis. St. John's Jesuit had to be closed down during the Great Depression after many successful years. However, St. John's purchased property near Gesu school, a Jesuit grade school directly next to St. Francis to create a large Jesuit schooling community. The plans fell through and a group of Oblates opened St. Francis de Sales High School on the property. The original mascot of this new oblate school was the titan in memory of St. John's. When St. John's opened its new doors in 1965 on Airport Highway in Toledo as a college-prep high school, the school took back its mascot and St. Francis de Sales took on the knight as their mascot. The schools now have the most-followed high school rivalry in the greater Toledo area.

chool body

There are 670 students. There are 56 faculty members, which results with a student-teacher ratio of 13:1. Six teachers have their Ph.D., and 28 have their master’s degree. St. Francis draws students from all around Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan. Most of the students attended Catholic grade schools, although 30% come from public schools.

Admission and tuition

Freshmen are accepted on the basis of a placement examination with regard to the recommendation of their grade school. Transfer students are accepted on an individual basis after consideration of their high school transcripts.

Tuition and fees for 2007-2008 is $7,800. Scholarships awarded include: Academic Scholarships for superior performance on the entrance examination; Merit Scholarships based on academic performance and need; St. Francis Scholarships awarded through parish schools; and Brisson Work Scholarships based on need.


St. Francis offers various levels of retreat programs for its students. All freshmen and sophomores participate in daylong retreats which are carefully structured and planned for their age-level interests and concerns. Juniors and seniors are required to participate in at least one approved retreat experience during the 11th or 12th grade year. In addition, students are required to take eight semesters of Theology, and at least 30 service hours are required for graduation.

Recently, St. Francis invested in a new chapel facing the front of the school, where throughout the school year, all students are encouraged to participate in mass. These include opening school, Thanksgiving, and holy day liturgies; days of recollection; reconciliation services; etc.


There are eight academic departments: Theology, English, Foreign Language, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Applied and Fine Arts, and Health & Physical Education. Every student at St. Francis is required to take a core program of 4 years of English, religion and math; 3.5 years of science (including 2 basic lab sciences from biology, chemistry, physics); 2.5 years of physical education and health; 3 years of social studies; 2 years of a foreign language (3 years highly recommended); 1 year of basic art; and 0.5 year of computer science.

In addition to academic requirements, all students are encouraged to participate in service projects. Formal projects, approved by the Christian Service Department, are a requirement for the sophomore, junior, and senior classes.


In athletics, the Knights are a member of the Toledo City League. Particularly, Knight tennis, football, baseball, and water polo stand out in the athletic venue. The school colors are blue and red. Their biggest rivalries include fellow all boys school St. John's Jesuit and Co-Ed Central Catholic. St. Francis also has football rivalries with Whitmer and Start. The AquaKnights have rivalries with St. Johns Jesuit and Sylvania Northview. The swim team has a particularly strong history; winning 42 straight Northwest Ohio District Championships beginning in 1966 spanning until their defeat by rival St. John's in February 2008, a national record. [ [ [ Toledo Blade] Knights make splash with 42nd straight, The Toledo Blade, Zach Silka, Saturday, February 17, 2007]

Ohio High School Athletic Association State Championships

The St. Francis Knights hold more state titles than any other Catholic school in the Diocese of Toledo, and any other high school in the greater Toledo area.
* Football - 1984, 2001cite web|url=|title=Yappi Sports Football|accessdate=2007-02-12|author=Yappi] (Division 2)
* Wrestling - 1964,1970cite web|url=|title=Yappi Sports Wrestling|accessdate=2007-02-12|author=Yappi]
* Basketball – 1983cite web|url=|title=Yappi Sports Basketball AAA|accessdate=2007-02-12|author=Yappi]
* Swimming – 1967,1968,1996,1998cite web|url=|title=Ohio High School Athletic Association Web site|accessdate=2006-12-31|author=OHSAA]

Other State Championships

* Water Polo - 1973, 1974, 1975, 1982, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001cite web|url=|title=Ohio High School Swim Coaches' Association-Boys Water Polo State Champions|accessdate=2007-03-08|author=OHSSCA]
* Tennis - 2001, 2002cite web|url=|title=Ohio Tennis Coaches' Association Web site|accessdate=2007-03-08|author=OTCA]

The Irish Knight

The Irish Knight is awarded to the winner of the Central Catholic High School and St. Francis de Sales High School football game. The winning school receives and hosts the Irish Knight in their school, along with bragging rights.

CCHS currently holds the Irish Knight, however, SFS leads 27-20-1 in Irish Knight games. There has only been one overtime game, which occurred in 2003.cite web|url=|title=The Irish Knight|accessdate=2007-03-20|]

All-Sports Trophy

Since 1974, when the All-Sports Trophy was introduced, the Knights of St. Francis de Sales High School have held or shared the trophy ten times. They held the trophy in 1975, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1992, 1994, 2001, and 2005, and they shared with St. John's Jesuit in 2000 and 2002. cite web|url=|title=All-Sports Trophy|accessdate=2007-03-07|]

Notable alumni

* Gerry Bamman - Starred with Macauley Culkin as Uncle Frank in the delightful Christmas movie, Home Alone.
* Keith Dressel - First Toledo Police officer killed in the line of duty in over three decades. Worked on the vice squad. Class of 1989.
* Dr. Kevin Granata - Noted Virginia Tech professor in biomedics field; killed in Virginia Tech massacre in April 2007
* Joe Iorio - First walk-on player for Joe Paterno at Penn State, also played for the New York Giants National Football League team.
* Chet Jastremski - Knight alumnus who smashed two world records in the breaststroke while swimming at Indiana University. He was featured on the cover of "Sports Illustrated" in February 1962.
* Joey Sommerville - Internationally known jazz musician, class of 1978.
*Michael S. Witherell - particle physicist, president of Fermilab
*Zach McClellan- pitcher for the Colorado Rockies


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