Baltimore— Calvert Hall College High School, the first Christian Brothers School in the United States, opened its doors to 100 students at 16 West Saratoga Street in Baltimore 175 years ago. Today, nearly 1,200 students come from more than 105 zip codes to its campus in Towson.
The all-boys, Catholic, Lasallian high school’s 16,000 alumni are prominent in Baltimore and beyond, in fields such as banking, health care, education, financial services, law enforcement, media, sports, philanthropy and more.
Among those alumni are Baltimore-area leaders Karl Perry, a graduate of the Class of 1985 and principal of Edmondson High School; and Shawn Vinson, from the Class of 1989 who serves as the chief spokesperson for the Baltimore County Police Department and the director of the public affairs unit for the agency.
Both agree that the education they received at Calvert Hall prepared them well for the lives they lead.
“The Hall provided me with a world-class education which has prepared me to change the lives of others,” said Perry. “Equally as important are the lifelong brothers who I have made as a result of being a Hallman.”
Courtesy Photo/Karl Perry
The school’s core principles, following the Lasallian tradition established by Christian Brothers’ founder St. John Baptist de La Salle, include educating the whole person by respecting each individual and joining the greater community that professes faith, justice and service. Reflecting the world around it, Calvert Hall welcomes students from diverse geographic, racial, religious, economic and learning backgrounds.
Perry, who came to Calvert Hall from Catonsville, was an active student participant in the school’s Black Awareness Club and played football for Calvert Hall. Vinson, from the Perry Hall/White Marsh area, also was involved in the school’s Black Awareness Club and was a homeroom representative in student government in the ninth grade.
Both note how faculty and staff members care about the students and want to see them become successful men, a commitment that continues today.
“Joe Baker was my geometry teacher. He guided us into becoming caring, supportive and fair men,” Perry explained. “June Brown [typing teacher] was our ‘mother’ at the school. She supported us through all our endeavors and still does to this day.”
Vinson agrees. “Calvert Hall has so many programs and resources that will help you succeed. The staff and teachers of Calvert Hall honestly care about the students. You can tell it’s more than just a job for them.”
Calvert Hall is known for excellence in academics, fine arts and athletics. All three are equally important. Recent honors include two students being named National Merit Semi-Finalists in the fall. The Robotics Team was recognized as the 2019 Maryland State Champions, the fifth time in the last six years. The Marching Band won its fourth consecutive USBands National Championship in November and captured its fifth straight USBands Maryland State title the month before. During the last academic year, The Hall won nine sports championships, including its third straight MIAA A Conference lacrosse title.
“I appreciate the continued growth of economic and social diversity of the student body,” Vinson said. “Also, there is such a focus on technology at Calvert Hall today. Students are getting experiences that many colleges cannot match.”
“As a student, you may not always realize the value of the education, experiences and relationships that is provided to you by Calvert Hall,” Vinson said. “When you graduate, you become a part of a brotherhood that will continue to provide countless opportunities to you throughout your life.”
After graduating from Calvert Hall, Perry earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from West Virginia University and then a master’s degree in education with an emphasis on special education from Coppin State University.”College was easy to me following my years at The Hall. I was truly well prepared.”
“Calvert Hall helped to influence my decision [to pursue education in college] because it reiterated the importance of education in opening up a pathway to change the world,” said Perry, who comes from a long line of educators.
Vinson received a bachelor’s degree in business in addition to a law degree from the University of Baltimore.
“Calvert Hall provided me with the skills to be able to handle the academic demands of college. You must have time management skills to ensure that you attend classes, make appropriate use of your free time, prepare for finals and meet deadlines,” Vinson said. “These are all expectations of you as a student at Calvert Hall.”
Perry and Vinson stay involved as active alumni at Calvert Hall. Both participate in the school’s annual Career Day. Vinson recently joined the school’s board of trustees.
“Calvert Hall provided me with so much support during my formative years that I feel there is an obligation to return what has been given,” Vinson explained. “I hope in some way that I can mentor students so that they can gain the insights and experiences that I have been able to realize.”
Perry remains an active alumnus of Calvert Hall because “Calvert Hall has helped pave a blessed life for my family and myself.”
Calvert Hall celebrates its milestone anniversary with Gala 175 on Saturday, March 21, 2020 at 6 p.m. at SECU Arena in Towson. The black-tie optional evening includes cocktails, dinner, Hall of Fame induction and dancing. Being inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame are John Murtaugh ’61 (posthumously), John Noppinger, Jr. ’64, W. Daniel White ’65, Kenneth Boehl ’72, and Francis Smyth ’78.
For more information, visit calverthall.com/gala.