News Alert
UPDATED: Bomb Threat at UMass Boston Cleared

Discuss: St. Theresa's vs. Holy Name

Both local Catholic schools provide good educations, but what are the differences between the two? Classroom sizes, cafeterias, athletics, teachers and more.


For many parents, the overarching theme for their child's elementary school education is: how will their child get into the Boston Latin School? Let's not make any bones about it. 

We all know the preference is to get your son or daughter into one of the public West Roxbury neighborhood schools: , , or .

If the Boston Public Schools school assignment lottery lands your progeny outside of West Roxbury then many parents elect to send their child to either one, of two local Catholic schools: or . 

Both schools are celebrated for their Catholic school educations, but what is the difference between the two? Are there differences? Both schools send oodles of students to Boston Latin School, Boston Latin Academy and other prestigious schools around the area.

Sure we could ask the principals, but let's hear from parents, students, alums, educators - and Holy Name and St. Theresa's officials - please feel free to comment below the article.

Historically, parents sent their children to the school of their parish, which was often based upon geography. The closest parish is where you attended. 

Now, just as always, many parents prefer their children receive a Catholic school education.  

How are the teachers at each school? What about the principals? 

Is one school known more for its athletics? Its music department?

Are there smaller classroom sizes at one school, better field trips, a focus on science, or any characteristic that makes a school desirable? 

Years ago, Holy Name was said to be better because it had a bigger gym and dances. St. Theresa's had a cafeteria. How are the gyms, dances and food options today?

More importantly, between Holy Name and St. Theresa's schools, is there one that prepares your son or daughter better for their next level of education?

Please leave your comments below and let's have a discussion about the two schools, both of which are highly valued in our community.

Kate April 27, 2012 at 12:39 PM
I don't think you should assume that "the preference" is to send your child to one of the local public schools. Many, maybe most parents choose Holy Name or St. Theresa's as their first choice - they are not backup schools.
denise Petrella April 27, 2012 at 01:25 PM
I agree with Kate. We chose a catholic education because it is what we want for our 3 kids during their early school years. It is right for our family and goes along with our priorities and values. The schools have also provided our children with a solid academic foundation from which we hope they will grow. Our oldest was just accepted to BLS. I think we are fortunate to have 2 strong well respected Catholic schools in our neighborhood- both provide excellent academics, extra curricular activities, a chance for parental involvement in a Catholic environement. The schools are friendly with each other- when Holy Name closed its 7th and 8th grade- St T's welcomed the students who chose to go there. I do not think it should be a competition as to which one excels in anything- it depends on the needs of your family and most importantly, your child.
Bridget Connolly April 27, 2012 at 02:21 PM
I can only attest to how great St. Theresa's is because that is the school my daughter Fiona is in. We love it. I agree with the others that it wasnt a second choice because she didnt get into a public school. Honestly its the opposite. Catholic education is very important to us. The teachers at St. Theresas are AMAZING (I am looking at you Mrs. McNeil)! You just feel an amazing sense of community and caring amongst everyone there. The lunches I think are well rounded and thought out. We love it there.
David Ertischek (Editor) April 27, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Thank you Denise and Kate, I included in the article, "Now, just like always, many parents prefer their children receive a Catholic school education." You are right, sending your child to one of these schools is the first choice preference for many parents. Thank you for your comments and keep them coming.
Brian April 27, 2012 at 03:48 PM
My family enjoys the sense of community in West Roxbury. I don't think it is relevant what school your child attends. It seems to be a West Roxbury pride thing overall. It is evident in the goings on: Gormley's Mayoral event, Shamrock Shootout, Parkway Baseball and Hockey, regular Church Traffic on Center St, the atmosphere in one of the Pub's and the fact that you can't get a seat at Church on Christmas. It is just a community that hasn't forgotten tradition. All schools public or private are part of it.
Michelle April 27, 2012 at 05:18 PM
My only experience is with Holy Name. That being said, I think the families are great and the experience good. However as far as academics and nutrition there could/should definitely be improvements! The lunch offerings are nothing that I would offer to my children on a regular basis. Takeout from a pizza place may be a kids idea of a good meal however any parent concerned with nutrition would be forced to disagree! As far as academics, there are many great teachers. The curriculum needs to be updated, which, to their credit, they did begin this year. However, finally implementing a "reading" program does not alone bring them up to par. There needs to be some modern education practices/theories brought in and applied to all classrooms/ teachers. In my experience, there are teachers willing & eager to "get up to speed" but many who continue to teach as if it is the 1900's(and not the lat part of the century)! Overall HNPS has many good things to offer and would only benefit from adopting modern teaching techniques and nutritional standards!
peggy April 28, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Peggy I have enjoyed reading most of the polls which The Patch has conducted lately...best burger, family restaurant etc. However, I strongly feel that it is inappropriate to conduct a competition of a sort of the two Catholic elementary schools in the area.
David Ertischek (Editor) April 28, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Peggy - this is not a competition. This is an open discussion about the differences of the two schools. I have seen firsthand the excellence of both schools. But they are two different schools, with a lot of similarities. So what are the differences of the two in a positive way? When people discuss choosing schools they talk about how certain schools are known more for their music programs, or athletics programs, or arts programs. For example, if you really wanted your daughter to not go to a co-ed school, you would send her to a all-girls school. What are the differences of the Holy Name and St. Theresa's schools? Are they exactly the same? I don't know. I thought it'd be good for parents to discuss it, maybe there are parents new to the area wanting to know the difference between the two. Not a competition at all. Sorry if it came off that way. They are both great schools with great teachers.
Elizabeth Katsaras April 29, 2012 at 03:49 PM
I think it’s difficult to compare 2 schools when parents have intimate knowledge of one. Loyalty to Catholic education may also limit public criticism. It is likely that both schools have similar strengths. Both my children attended Holy Name and one aspect of the education at that I love is the teaching of respect and manners; students are very polite, from opening a door for an adult to helping each other. My only first-hand knowledge of both is my experience 16 years ago when I applied to both for my son to enter 1st grade. HNPS but not St. Theresa’s accepted him, presumably because we were not Catholic (then, 96% of St. Theresa’s students were Catholic). I appreciated HNPS’s willingness to accept a student from another Christian faith! Mr. Arciero, the principal at the time was amazing and he developed a close relationship with my son. Holy Name has many dedicated teachers (no doubt that St. Theresa’s does as well) but like most schools some perhaps need to retire. I also agree with other comments made regarding the school lunch although in all fairness there have been recent improvements. Finally, with respect to acceptance into Boston exam schools, 15 HNPS students were accepted into Boston Latin School; 3 were also accepted into Roxbury Latin. Students were also accepted to BLA. In part this is due to their prep at HNPS and in equal measure to the students’ hard work, and parental commitment;parents also enrolled their children in ISEE prep courses.
Annmarie Harrington April 30, 2012 at 02:43 PM
I enjoyed the best burger and mayor of West Roxbury but this is getting to be too much. You start off by saying in paragraph 2 that "We all know the preference is to get our son or daughter into neighborhood schools..." No we don't all "know" this to be true. Most people at Holy Name never even applied to the lottery. Holy Name was their first choice. Yes you do mention that some folks prefer a catholic education but that does not come until at least paragraph 11. You could have left the paragraphs out regarding the public schools.
A proud Holy Name parent May 01, 2012 at 05:13 PM
I have 3 children that attended Holy Name + they all received an outstanding education and foundation that prepared them to get into the private schools of their choice (one to Roxbury Latin!) due to the strong curriculim, dedicated faculty and progressive administration! Holy Name has the highest success rate in students accepted to Private Schools, Boston Latin and the other exam schools! Thank you Holy Name for all that you have done to prepare my children for life!
Elizabeth Norton August 30, 2013 at 07:10 PM
Both schools are trying to boost themselves up on paper & sell it to people. They're Not Private schools; they're Parish schools. Private Schools do not have a Parish such as Mt. St. Joseph or more appropriate Mt. Alvernia k-8. Parish Schools are great, but don't represent yourself as something you're not.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something