Challenge yourself in San Francisco

Archbishop Riordan High School’s location in San Francisco is just the tip of iceberg. In the school’s Catholic Marianist tradition of adaptation and change, young men receive a quality education and graduate ready to take on future challenges.

The preparation starts in the classroom. Nineteen advanced placement and honors courses are offered, and students have the option to take some unique classes, including Auto Shop where they learn the ins and outs of fixing and rebuilding cars, and a barbecue course where learning how to cook and grill is on the menu. The school also recently launched an Engineering Program which prepares students for a college-level engineering major, and includes courses such as Advanced Computer Science. Music classes are also part of the everyday curriculum, and many students join the Marching Band which has performed in places such as Italy, Disneyland, and Washington, DC.

After school, student development and well being are the top priorities. The school has established a one-of-a-kind Residential Life Program, which was created to fit the needs of a Riordan boarding student. While 45 students live on campus, Riordan is a school of 700 boys – a real American high school experience! The successful boarding student is involved and engaged in school activities and has an adventurous spirit that takes advantage of all the opportunities offered by the Boarding Program and the City of San Francisco! Boarding students are assessed on a weekly basis in aspects of school and cultural integration as well as their ability to be stewards of their community. A dedicated Boarding Program staff with a 5:1 ratio makes all of the difference. The adults who mentor and lead students while they are living on campus are invested in their success.

For both fun and enrichment, students are involved in a range of clubs and activities. They can participate in sports, including soccer, basketball, and rugby, the FRC Robotics team, or theater groups to name just a few. Moreover, on the weekends, they are encouraged to explore all that San Francisco has to offer. This includes skiing, biking, and hiking trips, San Francisco Giants, 49er’s and Golden State Warriors games, local 5K races, and other activities. Learning doesn’t just have to be a daytime activity!

Current student Leo L. believes that Riordan is one of the best places to attend a boarding school because of its family spirit and academic diversity. “It’s very convenient to live here. I attend meetings, do activities, meet with teachers and do my homework all on campus,” he said. “All of my resources are right here.”

Riordan’s location in the San Francisco Bay Area has even more advantages. Students have the opportunity to visit some of the world’s most interesting companies that are just minutes from Riordan’s campus, such as Facebook, Apple, Google, Zynga, Autodesk, and Twitter. Here they can meet and network with leaders in the fields of technology, business and other areas.

A goal of a Riordan education is to prepare students for the next phase of their education. The school has an experienced college counseling staff that meets with students early in their high school years to set goals and talk about their college options. Stanford, UC Berkeley and the University of San Francisco are very close to Riordan, and students can visit these colleges!

In today’s world, leadership skills are in high demand. The school also recently implemented a House System with a student parliament, and created numerous positions where the students are making critical decisions for the school community as well as mentoring and guiding new students. Being an all-boys school, Riordan’s young men must assume positions of leadership where they are able to find their voices and learn to lead their fellow brothers – truly being educated in the Family Spirit!

Everyone is treated equally at Riordan, and that is what makes it so special to parliament member and boarding student Jerry L. “I feel honored to be a part of the House System,” said Jerry. “We are playing an important role in student government and the dorm. As the Junior Divisional Captain, I represent the dorm and the international students. I think it’s important to connect the international students and the school. We don’t want the student body and the boarding students to be isolated. One of the most important things I do is communicate what activities are going on in school to boarding students right away.”

Caring for fellow students, and the world around them, is a core value at Riordan. “At Riordan I learned to become a responsible person,” said Steven Z., a 2014 graduate now completing his final year at Berkeley where he is a member of the Cal Band. “I had to be responsible for my health, grades, and friendships. By taking leadership roles in various activities, I learned to be responsible for my group. On a greater scale, I need to be responsible for our world, to serve the community, to tackle poverty, and to make this earth a better place.”


So, if you are searching for a boarding school booming with diversity and genuine care for its community, then Riordan is the answer. This San Francisco Catholic high school in the Marianist tradition connects compassion with mutual respect to create a quality education for all. That is why Riordan students are in a league of their own.

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