Salesian High School

Salesian High School is a coeducational Roman Catholic preparatory high school in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland. The school's patron saint is Saint John Bosco, the Italian founder of the Salesian order. The school's motto is "Loyalty - Excellence". The school shield bears the Latin phrase "Umbram Fugat Veritas", meaning "truth dispels darkness", both are on the school emblem. The school is considered an important Catholic presence in and attempts to provide a stabilizing influence for the widely diverse Contra Costa County.

Mission statement

Salesian High School, a college preparatory Catholic school, which educates young men and women to develop into good citizens for the betterment of society and the glory of God. Salesian combines the experience of church, school, playground and home in a supportive, caring, family environment according to St. John Bosco’s educational philosophy of reason, religion, and loving kindness.


The Emeric Mansion and estate was purchased by the Salesian Society in 1927, with plans for a new development. The school itself was founded by the Salesians of the San Francisco Province in 1929, serving as a boys high school seminary. The original main house became the "Salesian House of Studies" and was also the offices and dormitories for aspiring Salesian seminarians. In 1933, a novitiate was added, but was closed after a few years, when the Salesian community moved all its novitiates to New Jersey. The grounds were further developed and the gymnasium was built in 1940 and in 1950, a multi-story classroom building was constructed.

The Salesian Junior Seminary expanded and moved to a new facility in Watsonville, in 1960, when the Student Union Building was constructed with a cafeteria, media center and library. The campus of the former seminary then became a Catholic high school for boys from both Richmond and San Pablo, California. It continued as such for almost 30 years until girls were admitted and the school became coeducational in 1989. The school is considered an important Catholic presence and it attempts to provide a stabilizing influence for the widely diverse Contra Costa County.

Salesian High School consists of 21 acres (8.5 ha) of spacious green lands holding five buildings. The gym was added to the grounds that still serves the school, housing theatrical performances and speeches as well as athletic events. The classrooms on the first floor of the classroom building have been modified to meet demands of 2000s technology and liturgy.

Goal statement

"Salesian High School intends:

To educate students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds; To encourage students to develop their unique gifts and abilities; To value the innate talents and dignity of all students; To develop self-worth within each individual and respect for one another in a Christian community of faith, love and fellowship; To collaborate with all members of the Salesian family-students, parents, administrators, teachers, staff, alumni/ae and benefactors; To celebrate the school's rich diversity of talent, race, ethnicity, religion and socio-economic background."


The campus is located on 21 acres (85,000 m2) largely in the Richmond, California North & East neighborhood that straddles the city limits of San Pablo, about eighteen miles from San Francisco.


The student body at Salesian High School comes from throughout Contra Costa County. The population of the school is usually between 400 and 450 students. Salesian students reflect the cultural diversity of the community. 99-100% of those who graduate Salesian continue their studies at a college or university, 77% at four-year schools and 23% at two-year schools.

  • Gender: Male 50%, Female 50%
  • Religion: Catholic 62%, Non-Catholic 38%
  • 1.4% American Indian; 12.2% African American; 3.1% Pacific Islander; 26.7% Hispanic; 22% Caucasian; 18.2% Asian; 14.7% mixed heritage;1.7% not stated.

Salesian High School offers its students a comprehensive athletics program consisting of 13 varsity sports. Salesian currently competes in the Bay Shore Athletic League (BSAL) in all sports except for football, where it competes in the Bay Football League (BFL). Salesian, with a CBED enrollment of 522 students, is a division IV member of the North Coast Section (NCS), one of ten sections in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF). Salesian athletics, with its rich history and tradition, is divided into three seasons of sport: Fall, Winter, and Spring.

Fall Sports

  • Football-Salesian won the 2005 and 2010 division IV NCS championships in football. Salesian has finished second in the NCS football playoffs on four separate occasions: 1976, 1978, 2006, and 2008. The rich tradition with Salesian football dates back to the mid-1960s which saw All-American Stan Brown (’67) lead Northern California high schools in rushing (1943 yards) and touchdowns scored (33). Brown played collegiately for the Purdue Boilermakers, and professionally for the Cleveland Browns. Through the years, Salesian has had 31 players earn Division I football scholarships, and 9 Salesian alums have played professional football. Most recently, Parade All-American Jahvid Best (’07) rewrote the Northern California high school record books when he rushed for 3325 yards as a senior (6479 yards in three varsity seasons) and scored 48 touchdowns (91 TD’s in three varsity seasons). Best earned a football scholarship to Cal, where he was a three time first team All-PAC-10 selection, he was a first team All-American, as well as being a first round draft choice by NFL’s Detroit Lions.
  • Cross Country Salesian has had several cross country runners compete in the NCS division IV championships and the CIF State championships.
  • Girls' volleyball- Salesian won the 2009 division IV NCS girls’ volleyball championship, earning the school’s first ever team championship in volleyball. Salesian was led by Malina Terrell (’10) in the 2009 season who earned a volleyball scholarship to the University of San Francisco as an outside hitter.
  • Girls' tennis- The Salesian tennis program recently saw the construction of four brand new tennis courts.

Winter Sports

  • Boys' soccer– The 2005 Salesian boys’ soccer team completed an undefeated regular season, going a perfect 18 – 0. Recently, Anthony Butler (’03) and Jonathan Butler (’05) earned scholarships to St. Mary’s College to play soccer.
  • Girls' soccer – Salesian girls’ soccer has also made several trips to NCS post season play over the past decade. Two outstanding players, Jocelyn Leche (’02) and Andrea Salvador (’04), earned soccer scholarships to the University of Southern California and Fresno State University, respectively.
  • Boys' basketball– Salesian won the 2009 division IV CIF State basketball championship, and finished second in the 2011 CIF State Championship. The 2009 CIF State championship was Salesian’s first ever team championship in any sport at the California State level. Salesian boys’ basketball has won two Northern California Regional division IV championships (2009 and 2011), and it has finished second once (2006). Salesian has won three NCS division IV basketball championships (2006, 2009, and 2011), and it has finished second in the NCS playoffs on four separate occasions: 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2010. Recently, David Jobe (’01), Justin Brown (’08) and Desmond Simmons (’10) have earned Division I basketball scholarships to U.C. Riverside, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and the University of Washington, respectively. Salesian boys’ basketball has had over 312 victories in the past 13 seasons.
  • Girls' basketball – Salesian girls’ basketball has made several trips to NCS post season play, and Imani Dhahabu (’03) earned a Division I scholarship to the University of Miami.

Spring Sports

  • Swimming– Salesian fields a swimming and diving team which competes at Contra Costa College as its home site. Several swimmers have competed in the NCS swimming and diving championships, and Cecilia Macchiavelli (’03) swam for the University of California, Davis.
  • Golf– Salesian plays all of its home golf matches at the Richmond Country Club. Salesian first offered golf in the spring of 2003.
  • Softball– The 2001 Salesian softball team won the division IV NCS softball championship. The 2001 team championship was Salesian High School’s first ever team championship at the North Coast Section level. The 2000 Salesian team finished second in the NCS championships. Over the years, several players have earned Division I softball scholarships, including Stephanie Vasarhely (’99), Vanessa Martinez (’01), and Allison Donnelly (’05).
  • Baseball– The 2007 Salesian baseball team won the division IV NCS baseball championship. The Salesian baseball team finished second in the NCS baseball championships in 2008 and 2009.
  • Boys' volleyball– The 2005 boys’ volleyball team finished second in the NCS championships. Salesian began boys’ volleyball in 2002, and quickly ascended to championship caliber.
  • Track and field– Salesian has had numerous athletes compete in the North Coast Section and CIF State championships in track and field. On the girls’ side, Daveetta Shepherd won NCS individual championships in the 100 and 300 meter hurdles in 1995. And on the boys’ side, Jahvid Best (’07) won consecutive 100 and 200 meter dash NCS crowns in 2006 and 2007. Best completed the 2007 track and field season by winning the CIF California State 100 meter dash championship in a blazing 10.31 seconds, and finished second in the 200 meters with a time of 20.65. In 2007, Best clocked an incredible four 100 meter races below 10.40 seconds. Best owns the fastest 100 meter and 200 meter times in North Coast Section history, a CIF State section that began in 1915!
  • Boys' tennis – The Salesian tennis program recently saw the construction of four brand new tennis courts.

The use of the original mascot Native-American "Chieftain" (a stereotypical Indian with a feather headdress) and name had come under repeated scrutiny since 1995 and had been found to be "racist" and "offensive" by some administrators and members of the public. However no real action was taken until 2006 when the school decided to change the mascot. The school's mascot is now the Salesian Pride, a name derived from the term for a group of lions. The Pride image was designed by Antonia Huang, class of 2007.

  • Antonia Huang's Winning Mascot Design-2007


From the Salesian Family Bulletin: "The Spirit of St. John Bosco pervades the school and brings an awareness of social, cultural, familial, moral and spiritual values to the whole school family: faculty, students and their families. It is mutual and reciprocal. It is a synergy. That is, the end result is greater than the sum of the parts. The leaven is the Catholic Christian Salesian Spirit that has got to be seen to be believed and lived to be understood."

Notable alumni
  • Jahvid Best, Running Back - Detroit Lions

Building Activity

  • Radil Radenkov
    Radil Radenkov updated 3 digital references and updated
    about 6 years ago via
  • Georgi Sokolov
    Georgi Sokolov updated
    about 6 years ago via
  • updated 4 digital references and updated
    about 6 years ago via