Elizabeth Seton High School:
A History of Academic Excellence and Service

In February of 1959, Sister Gertrude Matthews was assigned by the Daughters of Charity to supervise the construction of Elizabeth Seton High School, which was presently being undertaken by The Fuller Construction Company. Several years prior to this, Cardinal O'Boyle, then Archbishop of Washington, D.C., had begged the Daughters of Charity to build, own, and operate the school on a site that the Archdiocese had secured in Bladensburg, Maryland.

Following in the footsteps of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and her mission to educate young women, Elizabeth Seton High School, opened its doors in 1959 with 138 freshmen and a faculty of six Daughters of Charity. Because of the school’s close ties with Elizabeth Ann Seton and her advocacy for quality education, particularly for women, Elizabeth Seton High School embodied an expanding course of study that continues to advance and improve, and focuses on the educational needs of girls. As an all-girls school, Seton provided and environment where female students could express themselves freely, develop higher cognitive skills, increase self-confidence and broaden their interests.

From its inception, Elizabeth Seton offered college preparatory, business, and home economics courses. Seton’s college preparatory program has always been sound. As students in the college preparatory track pursued more advanced academic courses, students desiring to enter business fields chose courses like Typing, Stenography and Office Practice. Graduates of the business program were so well prepared that government agencies would come to Seton to recruit them.

We've come a long way

As the role of women in society evolved in the latter part of the 20th century, so did Elizabeth Seton’s curriculum. The decision was made to focus on college preparatory courses only. Following this decision, business courses were replaced with technology courses. Home economics courses were no longer offered. This decision also impacted the academic courses offered to a college bound student body. Since 1993, the number of Advanced Placement and honors level courses has grown steadily. Currently Seton offers 13 AP and 24 Honors level courses.

Seton’s curriculum has evolved to include Pre-Career Programs that offer students exposure to career fields, both inside and outside the classroom. There is a STEM program in Engineering and Design that encourages young women in this male-dominated field. The Agnes M. Brown Law Academy offers the only high school pre-law program in the Archdiocese of Washington. Elizabeth Seton is the only college preparatory high school in the State of Maryland that is officially accredited by the Maryland State Board of Pharmacy for its Pharmacy Technician Program. Each of these academic tracks offer professional mentorship and internship programs.

Building Strong Minds and bodies

Elizabeth Seton High School’s strengths do not end in the classroom. Seton’s athletic facilities and prowess have grown over the years. From basic "gym" classes in bloomers and tunics and field sports of early days, Seton has evolved to offer a wider range of fitness activities and Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) sports.

The original construction included a building that encompassed the Convent, Chapel, classrooms and offices, cafeteria, library, and a gymnasium/multi-purpose room. By the turn of the century, Seton had outgrown its original space, and it was time to add more. Then President, Sister Virginia Ann Brooks, began looking toward funding and building the new expansion. In September 2007, the new Sports and Fine Arts building, named in her honor as the Sister Virginia Ann Brooks Center, was dedicated. The new addition included a state-of-the art gymnasium, locker rooms, workout room, offices, equipment rooms, and classrooms. It also housed the Performing Arts Program with a dance studio, and acoustically balanced vocal and instrumental studios.

More growth occurred in the fall of 2015 when the natural grass field and old track were updated. A new turf field and resurfaced track were added to enable safer play under all weather conditions. Elizabeth Seton is home to the only high school field hockey and crew teams in Prince George's County and is the 10-time consecutive WCAC Championship Track team.

Our Creative side

In Elizabeth Seton’s early years, the music program was limited to clubs that met after school. These clubs included Glee Club, Gospel and Liturgical Choirs, Band, and even a Pep Band. Since music has been incorporated into the curriculum, the program has expanded to include seven award-winning vocal and instrumental groups: Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Beginning Brass, Orchestra, Concert Choir, Seton Chorale and Chorus. In addition, Seton now offers a variety of dance classes, an award-winning dance team, classes in dramatic arts, and a theatre club.

Visual arts offer students an opportunity for some right brain activity. Classes have evolved over the years to include drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, and advanced art studio and honors portfolio. For the technically creative, graphic design classes, publication design (yearbook and magazine), and broadcast journalism are available.

Service, with a smile

Service to those in need is an important part of the Seton culture. Our girls bring their smiling faces and open hearts to the very old, the very young, the poor and the hungry. For nearly 60 years, the students and staff at Elizabeth Seton High school have learned the importance of service and shared what they have with others. By giving to others, we truly perform God's work in the world. Whether it is donating money, clothing, food, school supplies, or just time or a kind word, Seton girls understand that service allows them to grow spiritually closer to others and to God.

"Lord, help me to make time today to serve you in those who are most in need of encouragement or assistance." --St. Vincent de Paul

Going Forward

More than 8,000 young women are proud to be alumnae of Elizabeth Seton High School. The roots established at Elizabeth Seton give our students strength and confidence to become active and contributing members of their communities. As we continue to provide the best college-prepartory and career-ready education in an ever-expanding world, we strive to uphold Elizabeth Ann Seton’s commitment to education and service. We look to our students, graduates, and all of their accomplishments and are constantly thankful and humbled.

Elizabeth Seton High School confidently and professionally faces the challenge of continuing to provide an excellent Catholic education in the 21st Century, guided by our motto “Light to Know. Grace to Do.”