Mission & History
The mission of Xavier High School is to educate students to be competent, conscientious, and compassionate leaders whose lives are guided by the Christian call of service.
On a ridge at the eastern end of Weno island, a two-story concrete building stands fortress-like, the only construction in sight. To the west loom the islands of the Chuuk lagoon, their heads in the clouds. When it is quiet you can hear the waves pounding on the reef, ten miles off on the horizon. But it is seldom quiet. Ninety five boys and sixty five girls from all the island nations in the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands, India, Japan study in this historic landmark; they are the students at Xavier High School.
Ninety years ago the land the locals called Winiku on which Xavier High School now stands had been purchased by the German Capuchins from the Pwaraka clan for the Catholic Mission. Until 1938, a wooden church and a priest’s house marked the site. But in that year the Japanese Government chose this location for a bomb-proof radio and communications station and commissioned the Mabuchi Construction Co. to erect the building. (Since that time the people of Chuuk have referred to the site as “Mabuchi”). They built a strong massive structure of reinforced concrete. Heavy steel windows were added protection against attack, and the attack came. In 1944, U.S. Navy planes bombed and strafed the building in what was called Operation Hail Storm. And when the smoke cleared, the building was a virtual ruins.
In 1952, the U.S. Civil Administration recognized the title of the Catholic Mission to the property. In the same year Most Reverend Thomas J. Feeney, S.J., D.D., Vicar Apostolic of the Caroline and Marshall Islands determined to establish a secondary school in the former Japanese radio station. The work of reconstruction began at once and on September 8, 1952, Xavier High School opened its doors to 21 boys from the then Truk District. The following year found students from the Marshalls, Pohnpei, Yap, and Palau enrolled at Xavier. In 1976, Xavier High School accepted the first female students and since that time the enrollment has grown to 151 students.
THE SCHOOL & COMMUNITY
Located in Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Xavier High School serves students from the island nations of the FSM, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau, located in the northern Pacific Ocean. Government of these islands, once incorporated as the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, was administered by the United States from the end of World War II until the 1980s, when the island groups separated to form sovereign nations. These nations maintain strong economic and political ties to the U.S. through their Compacts of Free Association. The young men and women who compose the student body share the ethnic label Pacific Islander, but have richly different cultural and economic backgrounds.
Xavier High School is a Catholic high school enrolling 170 students in grades nine through twelve. The school has been operated by the Jesuits of Micronesia since 1952. The administrative offices, teachers’ offices, faculty and student dining rooms, computer and media rooms, and a gym are housed in a former Japanese communications center dating to pre-WWII. Male students board in a dormitory at the school; female students live with local host families. English, the second language of most students, is the language of instruction at the school. The annual tuition is $1,300, to which most students’ families must add several hundred dollars for air transportation. The Jesuits of Micronesia, the FSM National Government, and other donors subsidize the cost of students’ education: about $3,400 per student, annually.
The academic program is organized on a traditional daily schedule. A maximum load is 3.5 credits per semester with students carrying six 50-minute classes. Students meet six class periods daily on a six-day cycle. All students enroll in a college-preparatory course sequence. No courses are designated as “Honors.” A minimum of 25 credits, including 4 years of English Skills, Mathematics and Religion, is required for graduation.