Brophy College Preparatory
is a private, Jesuit, Catholic, college preparatory in central Phoenix, Arizona. Its student population is entirely male. Its chapel is a distinct landmark in the area, on Central Avenue just south of Camelback.

Brophy as an institution; History
Brophy is a large (5A classification in Arizona) high school of about 1,200 students. It was founded in 1928 by Mrs. William Henry Brophy in accordance with the Society of Jesus as a Jesuit Catholic all boys school. The first complex of the school, Regis Hall, the Chapel and the Jesuit Residence, were completed for the opening of college courses as well as a first year high school, on our 19 acre campus on September 11, 1928.
Although the school met with enthusiastic state-wide reception, one year later, the world-wide Depression set in. For seven years the school struggled financially to exist and finally closed in 1935. In the spring of 1952, the school reopened, and Brophy College Preparatory accepted students into the first year of high school for the fall semester. In 1959 Loyola Hall was added, in 1967 one of the state's largest gymnasiums was built, and in 1986 the Steele Library was added.

Brophy as an institution; Scholastic
As a private school, its application process is more demanding than other schools. While I have sometimes wondered how certain people got into the school, on the whole it was filled with intelligent guys. If nothing else, people that are complete slackers are dismissed for poor grades. The curriculum is varied, with an emphasis on writing and religious studies that is simply absent in public schools.
The religious classes were for the most part informational as opposed to preachy, which is impressive. The school is run by Jesuits who are essentially the real-world teacher representatives of the Church. This means that they are generally some of the smartest, best-educated, and therefore most understanding and tolerant, of priests. I knew several people there who were Hindu, Muslim, or completely atheistic (many of the latter).
The arts are well represented, also, with a quite active theater program (at least, when I graduated in '98), that's fairly liberal in its permissions. We did Pippin, which had some very amusing and well-placed obscenities and adult situations. Technical theater (the people in black behind a play) was by far the most enjoyable experience I had in high school. We drank a lot of caffeine (to the point where I actually began to have heart palpitations), we played tricks on the dumb extras that thought they were important, and were very nice to the principal actors. Our teacher was more out of control than even we were, and we had more fun than any scholastic institution should permit. It is through this program I became familiar with Denny's late-night menu.
I am not completely familiar with the math program because I'm not particularly good at it, but I got as far as Calculus and there were classes that got as far as Calc III and IV for the ridiculously gifted, MIT-bound types.

Student Life
BCP has a rotating schedule of six classes, at five classes per day. On friday, there are only four classes. Classes are Monday through Thursday 8:15 A.M. - 2:20 P.M. and Friday 8:15 A.M. - 12:30 P.M.
Brophy enforces a dress code for its students:
  • Hair must be kept neat and clean and above the collar.
  • Any hairstyle that is considered excessive by the Dean will not be tolerated.
  • All shirts must have a stand-up collar and be tucked in throughout the school day.
  • Neat and clean Bermuda or walking shorts may be worn throughout the year.
  • Long, baggy, beyond-the-knee shorts will not be allowed.
  • No denim (jeans) pants or denim shorts of any color may be worn -- no bib overalls or oversized baggy pants. Pants must be hemmed.
  • No hats of any type may be worn inside the buildings.
On the whole the dress code is annoying, but a no-jeans policy still leaves plenty of room for personal taste. One guy I knew always wore leather, primarily because he rode a Harley Davidson to school every day at 7AM, which would freeze him solid if he wore Dockers. Of course, he was a rebel in more than that way and the Administration did eventually get annoyed enough to kick him out.
Food is generally brought by the student or provided by the Corral. I don't know if the food at the Corral has improved since I left the school, but I doubt it. Its consumables were basically four things: sandwiches, pizza, soda, or cookies. Usually, the sandwiches were frightening to overcome the revulsion of the pizza. But you got used to it. Many people bring lunches.
No transportation is not provided at all, though car pooling is very common and the public buses have several routes (the Red line, Blue line, and Central buses) that go right by the front gate.
The campus is fairly large, about a tenth of a square kilometer, with many classrooms. The campus has had some major construction done to it recently, after my departure, adding the Information Commons communication center to the basement of the very large gym (depriving me of great memories of Technical Theater which worked under there), Eller Fine Arts center, and I've been told new buildings out where the current, lush lawn resides. You could take it as progress or just more buildings, new students won't know the difference either way. Going off-campus is not allowed unless you're going to class at...
Xavier College Preparatory, the sister school a short walk from Brophy. This is an all-girls Catholic (not Jesuit) institution that shares some classes, cheerleaders, prom dates, and other things (seedy stories, particularly) with Brophy. Generally, if you took French, you'd learn it at Xavier. If you took Latin (yes, they teach Latin at Brophy, something that I personally think is pretty cool) you would have some Xavierites in your class, lending greatly to its appeal. Graduates Almost all of which - 98 or 99% - go on to college after graduation. Roughly 2/3rds go to in-state colleges, the University of Arizona, Arizona State, or, less often, Northern Arizona University, though graduates attend over 100 other universities at any given time.

Good things about Brophy (from my perspective)
The two most obvious influences on a student's life at BCP are the all-male student body and the Jesuit style. Both are, on the whole and in my opinion great things. Normally, if I tell someone I went to an all-guys school I get various sentiments of sympathy but really I think it helped me a great deal. High school guys are not very good at concentrating on school when they have sex, self-esteem, social complications, and all other teen things on their mind. It's very hard to concentrate sometimes on calculus. This problem is made six billion times worse when there's a really cute girl sitting next to you every day in class. For this reason I really rather enjoyed going to class without girls, though I probably wouldn't have admitted it then. Also, there were a few classes I took that were mixed with students from Xavier, in my case, a pair of Engineering classes (Mechanical and Electrical) and an art class.
The Jesuit education is excellent by any standard. BCP was not an exception, as far as I have been able to glean from my constant questions about public high school from those who went through it. There were, of course, teachers I didn't like or classes I loathed, but I remember a lot about them and even the worst of teachers I had respect for. Also, I know that with one exception there weren't any teachers I knew of that didn't really connect with at least some of the students. Finally, since it is a private institution, Brophy teachers do not have to concern themselves as much with profanity, religion, and other taboo subjects in the classroom. This lends to a much more informal atmosphere, and paradoxially, a more respectful one in which all ideas (particularly contradictory ones) were usually respected.

Bad things about Brophy (from my perspective)
The Corral, being the only source of food on campus, is a horrible place to eat and anyone considering attending is urged to bring your lunch.
I was a bit of an outsider in high school; I didn't have many friends except very close friends. Brophy is generally populated by cliques, like any high school, but its high admissions prices mean that there are a lot of proto-fraternity types that were given BMW's or Mustangs or some similar extravagance on their 16th birthdays. A lot of the students at BCP are uptight rich white boy snobs whose parents still treat them like small children, and will continue to provide for them as if they were six until they turn twenty-six. Those of you in college or who have been through college know what this type of person is like. Brophy is in many ways a breeding ground for such people. These people aren't necessarily evil, and actually are often quite smart, but have been spoiled to the point where their view of reality is sometimes tainted greenish. The other type of people to come out of BCP are like me - generally we like Monty Python, Everything2, we don't like snobs, and know far, far too much about too many things.

We're quirky enough to type up writeups on Everything2.

Final thoughts
I'm glad I went to Brophy. From everything I've learned about public high schools, it sounds to me like I didn't miss very much that I would have wanted to be a part of, particularly living in the Phoenix area, which is consistently rated poorly by American standards. The transition to the University of Arizona, which is populated primarily by impossibly beautiful women, was hard on me since I was used to all-guy classes, but I learned and retained a great deal of knowledge in and out of the classroom. And that's the point.


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