Mission & History
Archbishop Williams High School is an independent, Catholic, college preparatory, grades 7-12 school. We endeavor to educate young men and women spiritually, intellectually, ethically, and physically. Driven by the love of Christ, in the tradition of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, we integrate learning with faith. We strive to graduate socially aware, morally responsible citizens prepared to succeed and to serve their local and global communities.
Archbishop Williams High School bears the name of a great spiritual leader: the Most Reverend John Joseph Williams (1822–1907), fourth Bishop and first Archbishop of Boston. John Williams was born in the North End of Boston on April 27, 1822 and attended the parochial school attached to the old Cathedral of the Holy Cross. At the age of 11, he entered the seminary. He was ordained by the Bishop of Paris on May 17, 1845. On his return to Boston, Father Williams carried on his apostolic work at the Chapel of the Holy Cross, the Cathedral, and the Church of Saint James. He was raised to the rank of Bishop in 1857 and assumed the rule of the Boston diocese. In 1885, the pallium of an Archbishop was conferred on the Most Reverend John Joseph Williams, and Boston was raised to the status of an Archdiocese. (Pope Leo XIII invited Archbishop Williams into the Cardinalate, but Archbishop Williams declined concerned that the elevated status would put him out of touch with the Boston Catholic community. Pope Leo XIII responded by commenting, “Williams must be a very good man since no man has ever asked me not to make him a Cardinal.” Archbishop Williams served the people of the Boston Archdiocese for 41 years. He achieved an outstanding record in the development of the Catholic parochial school system. Therefore, on November 25, 1945, when then- Archbishop Cushing laid the cornerstone and blessed the new Archdiocesan high school in Braintree, it was only fitting that he acknowledged the work of his predecessor by naming the School in his honor. He called upon the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth to direct and staff the School.
The School officially opened on September 12, 1949. Under the guidance of the Sisters of Charity, the School immediately flourished. Their Order’s motto, “The love of Christ impels us,” from 2 Corinthians 5:14–21, became the School’s guiding force. The School adopted the motto using an alternate translation: “The love of Christ drives us on,” which has remained its maxim ever since. Over the years, the Sisters of Charity, as well as countless dedicated lay people, have enthusiastically committed their lives to Cardinal Cushing’s vision of providing an affordable Catholic education to young men and women. In February 2004, the School was re-named Archbishop Williams High School Inc. (hereinafter AWHS or the School) to reflect its new independent governance status, overseen by a Corporate Board and an independent Board of Trustees. The officers and members of the AWHS Board of Trustees are appointed by the members of the Corporation which is headed by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston. The School reached another exciting milestone in September, 2014 when it opened its Grades 7 & 8 Program.
Since its inception, AWHS has focused on developing the whole person by integrating academic, spiritual, moral, physical, and aesthetic learning opportunities. Today’s AWHS family comprises a talented and diverse community of Faculty, Staff, Students, Alumni, Parents, and friends. For over 65 years, members of this tight-knit community have labored in the spirit of Archbishop Williams and the tradition of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth to build a school that graduates faith-filled, socially aware, and morally responsible young people.
AWHS offers a rigorous six-year academic program with a well-balanced curriculum at the College Preparatory, Accelerated, Honors, and Advanced Placement levels. With each new academic year, AWHS continues to give the young men and women who walk through its doors the prospect and ability to pursue not only higher educational opportunities but also their dreams.
Outside of the classroom, the School has an exemplary athletic tradition. For years AWHS has been synonymous with athletic excellence, and AWHS athletes have earned numerous achievements on the playing fields and courts. Equally important, the School’s athletes have a well-earned reputation for unyielding team effort, camaraderie, and good sportsmanship. AWHS fans have had much to cheer about over the years as their athletic teams have brought home state and league championships and been state finalists in numerous sports.
AWHS looks forward to a bright future. The School remains strong both academically and financially; and extensive recent renovations, coupled with plans for more improvements to accommodate expanding programs, have been well received. Our past is a rich heritage of academic, spiritual, and athletic excellence; and our future is just as promising.