About Us

In 1944, Monsignor Martin Cody Keating founded Bellarmine-Jefferson High School. The first graduation class was the class of 1948. The cornerstone of the first wing was laid in 1945. The original building was parallel to Fifth Avenue.

Msgr. Keating named the school after both St. Robert Bellarmine and Thomas Jefferson. He named the high school after both of these important men because of his intense interest in both men and in the ideals that he felt that both Bellarmine and Jefferson held in common.

Many years of American history are built into the architectural design of Bellarmine-Jefferson High School. The front entrance, foyer and tower, exact replicas of the same found in Philadelphia's Independence Hall, were added in 1950. The bricks used on the exterior walls conform in size and color to those used in the original structure of Independence Hall. Inside the front door, the rotunda duplicates the foyer, stairway and balcony of Independence Hall. Rising high into the sky is a clock tower that can be seen for many blocks. The side of the clock facing east is permanently set at 8:00 PM to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The side of the clock facing west is permanently set for 4:00 PM, the hour that the Constitution of the United States was signed on September 17, 1787.

In 1954, Monsignor Keating supervised the construction of the auditorium, modeled after the library of the University of Virginia, which was designed by Thomas Jefferson. Details on one inside wall of St. Eleanor Hall repeat the floor plan of Independence Hall. There is a ceiling high alcove similar to the spot where Thomas Jefferson sat to sign the Declaration of Independence. The thirteen steps, leading to the auditorium entrance, represent the thirteen original colonies. In March 1980, the auditorium was dedicated as St. Eleanor Hall.

Three years later the Martin Cody Keating Gym was erected in memory of Bellarmine's founder. Two classrooms, adjoining the gym, were constructed in 1985.

From its beginning until 1975, the school was administered by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and remained a Parish High School until 1980. In 1980, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles assumed the jurisdiction of Bellarmine-Jefferson as an archdiocesan high school.

The Western Catholic Educational Association (WCEA) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accredit Bellarmine-Jefferson High School.
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