List of 7 members.

  • Vincent Bradley 

    Social Studies Department Chair
  • Michael Fess 

    Assistant Athletic Director - Teacher
  • John Finn 89

  • Barbara Flynn 

  • Peter Hill 

    Teacher, International Student Coordinator
  • Mark Smith 85

  • Bernard Sullivan 

Social Studies

Given our location in Boston, the History and Social Studies Department at Catholic Memorial School believes students should experience history first-hand. The city is our classroom. Our students walk the Freedom Trail and Lexington Green. They engage in archaeological digs at the former house of Malcolm X, and see great works of art at the Museum of Fine Arts. Students simulate historic debates at the African Meeting House on Beacon Hill, and work with lawmakers to address the real problems of today.

We encourage students to think like a historian. We ask students to think critically, read closely, and write with clarity and purpose using historical evidence. Through in-class simulations and debates, students develop and articulate their own views about historical and current events, push the limits of their intellectual confidence, and work collaboratively with other students to achieve consensus.

We believe a mature understanding of history helps students understand complexity in the world, and reject easy answers. The study of our human story enables young men to experience the qualities of wisdom, wonder, awe, empathy, and to grasp the fragility of civilization. These qualities are essential for students to become thoughtful, conscientious and engaged citizens and men of character, heart and intellect.

Course Offerings

List of 13 items.

  • Emerging Nations

    This year-long course exposes students to valuable, critical thinking skills that help students address issues of international concerns. The course focuses on the BRICK nations: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Korea. Students examine historical and contemporary primary source documents, scholarly videos, maps, images, and editorial cartoons to develop analytical skills. Through further analysis and evaluation of conflicting values and interests, students will create a presentation to persuasively support a stance while injecting some of their own personal views on an issue in each country.
  • History of Boston

    Civics began right here in Boston, known as the "Cradle of Liberty." Boston was instrumental in creating democratic ideals and principles that are reflected in the Constitution of the United States. We will study Boston's rich history of progressive political and social reforms, immigration, industrialization, education, and medical and scientific advancements. We will also learn about our duties and responsibilities as American citizens.
  • Africa and the Middle East

    Students will learn about European imperialism in Africa, the fight against Apartheid, the history of US-Iranian relations, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Themes include the power of collective organization and the value of negotiation in resolving disputes. Students will utilize case studies from Brown University’s Choices Program, and significant readings by Nelson Mandela (Long Walk to Freedom) and Pulitzer-prize winner Lawrence Wright (13 Days in September). Students will write a research paper each semester.
  • Africa and the Middle East (Honors)

    Students will learn in-depth about European imperialism in Africa, the fight against Apartheid, the history of US- Iranian relations, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Themes include the power of collective organization and the value of negotiation in resolving disputes. Students will utilize case studies from Brown University’s Choices Program, and significant readings by Nelson Mandela and Pulitzer-prize winner Lawrence Wright. Students will write a research paper each semester. Honors students will complete significant additional readings and write substantial historical research papers.
  • Western Civilizations (Honors)

    This is a full year survey course dealing with the origins, growth, and modernization of European civilizations from the Greek polis to the modern European nation-state. Thematic units cover early republics, renaissance, reformation, and the growth of national monarchies and states in the 18th and 19th centuries. The use of primary and secondary sources is used throughout and research writing and non-fiction historical works are major components of the course.
  • Advanced Placement European History

    This full-year European history course follows a College Board approved curriculum designed by the instructor and includes European history from the 15th century Renaissance to the late 20th century European Union. Multiple historical themes and thinking skills are implemented and the use of primary and secondary sources used to aid in student success in preparing for the AP European Examination in May.
  • Advanced Placement United States History

    This Advanced Placement course will trace the long struggle to expand freedom and democracy within from 1491 through President Trump’s presidency. Students will examine questions about the American Republic, such as: How do we understand freedom? Who takes part in our democracy? How can the ideals of the Declaration of Independence be expanded to all? What is the proper role of the federal government? Students will expand historical thinking skills through dissecting documents, analyzing conflicting historical interpretations, take part in lectures by nationally known historians and visit world-class institutions like the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate to experience first-hand our nation’s history.
  • United States History

    This is a full year course which covers major themes in American history beginning with European colonization, the struggle for independence, Constitutional era, and growth of the American republic. The course continues with the roots and causes of the American Civil War, Reconstruction, the industrialization and modernization of America, its growing role in world affairs, Depression, global conflicts, and the continued struggle for Civil Rights. Historical non-fiction books are read as supplementary materials for learning in both semesters. Research writing and the use of primary sources is also used at various times of the year.
  • United States History (Honors)

    This year-long History course is a weighted course covering U.S. History from the 1600s to the Mid-1970s. The course requires outside readings and an examination of primary resources and documents. Historical research and projects will be a focus during the year.
  • United States Government

    A full-year course help students familiarize themselves with the basic principles associated with government and then further identify with how those principles of government effect or interact with their daily lives. Topics include foundations and origins of American government, Political Behavior, the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches, and participation in state and local government as well as comparing political and economic systems. The course is open to Juniors and Seniors.
  • Civil War

    Historians have long debated the causes of the Civil War and the roles of key figures, including Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, William Tecumseh Sherman, Ulysses S Grant, and Robert E Lee. In this semester course, students will read historians and understand and assess historical arguments and debates. From those readings and discussions, students will then craft their own research question related to the Civil War. Students will understand and assess primary sources, and write their own original research paper exceeding 15 pages. The course will require a proposal, bibliography with primary and secondary sources, and then succeeding drafts of the paper. As part of the research process, students will visit the special collections of Massachusetts Historical Society and Boston Anatheum several times during the semester.
  • The American War in Vietnam

    This year-long course is intended to explore and understand human behavior. The primary focus will be on the personality, memory, learning, human development and mental illness (Bipolar and Schizophrenia).
  • Economics

    This year-long course is intended to explore and understand the economic forces that influence business and politics in the United States. Inflation, unemployment, international trade, the forces of supply and demand and labor will be examined. The Stock Market and other investments will be investigated and a simulated Stock Market Game will be a focus of the class.

About Us

Catholic Memorial, the Christian Brothers School of Boston, prepares boys for college, manhood and a world full of unknown challenges, ambiguity and complex problems and the importance of relationships.


235 Baker Street
West Roxbury, Massachusetts 02132
Phone: 617-469-8000
Fax: 617-325-0888