More than a century of tradition.

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History and Traditions

Curtis Wolsey Cate, a graduate of Roxbury Latin School and Harvard University, crossed the country in 1910 to start a boarding school that combined the academic excellence of the best East Coast prep schools with the can-do, adventurous spirit of the West.

The School opened by enrolling twelve boys in grades 7 to 12. Over time, Cate became a coeducational high school and grew to its current enrollment of 300 young men and women from 25 states and 16 countries. Today’s campus with its science and computer labs, art and music studios, extensive athletic facilities, and wireless internet is a far cry from the School’s early days without electricity, heat, or hot water. Cate turned 100 years old, but beneath the physical changes, it is still very much the same place in vision and spirit.

Throughout its curriculum and residential life, Cate remains true to Mr. Cate’s ideal of a supportive community with outstanding faculty where, in his words, students know “something of the pleasure of work and the joy of accomplishment.” It is a place where character building, as one faculty member puts it, “happens organically,” through hard work, service to others, and time spent outdoors.

The academic program is at once rigorous and varied, and Cate graduates consistently enroll in the country’s top colleges and universities. After graduation, Cate alumni stay deeply connected to one another, and to the School.


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The bonds that form through the common experience of scholarship, commitment, companionship, and service are deep and lifelong.