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Providing a Well-Rounded Education for College Success at Belen Jesuit Preparatory School

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

First established in 1845 in Cuba, Belen Jesuit Preparatory School was forced to relocate to Miami in 1961. Although the school's abrupt start in the United States over 50 years ago was difficult, today the campus sits on 30 flowing acres in close proximity to culturally diverse Miami. The college preparatory school teaches males from grades 6 through 12, emphasizing a rigorous academic program where all graduates go on to attend advanced schooling.

Belen is a private, tuition-based school based on Catholic teachings. Director of Communications Teresa Martinez explains, "[The school] develops leaders in a spiritual, Christ-centered atmosphere distinguished by academic success, extracurricular achievement and service to others." Their motto, "A Man for Others", shows just how important the concept of service is to the school and its graduates.

"The advanced and regular college preparatory curricula provide a solid foundation and are designed to make students think," Martinez tell us. English, Humanities, Mathematics, Modern Language, Physical Education, Science, Social Studies and Theology form the core subjects that each student must study. Studio Art, Drama, Band/Jazz Band, Music, Acting, Speech and Debate and Philosophy are humanities course topics that make for especially well-rounded students.

Martinez says, "Interscholastic athletics are an important part of the total curriculum, and Belen Jesuit encourages every student to participate in some way." The athletics department at Belen has 49 teams in 15 sports and prides itself on sportsmanship. Combined, there have been six different Wolverine teams that won 20 state titles: cross country (8), swimming (7), water polo (2), soccer (1), crew (1), and track & field (1). Even if not an athlete, "The athletic program involves student assistants in training, managing, announcing, timing and scoring," notes Martinez.

The school isn't all about academics and athletics, though, as there are more than 40 clubs and honor societies to join. From biomedical engineering and chess to fishing and music, there is a fun club for everyone to meet with others who share their interests. Want to provide service to others or help raise awareness/funds for worthy causes? Try Battle Up and Athletes for Charity. "Close Up and the Overseas Summer Programs give students the opportunity to travel and learn about history and different cultures," Martinez details.

Students rule at Belen, metaphorically speaking. "Our students are surrounded by many opportunities to address their needs, talents and interests," Martinez states. "We strive to provide the best possible education and formation to foster an environment for our students to become true 'men for others'."

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