Skip to content

A History of
Salesian High School Distinction

Don Bosco Prep began as a college preparatory boarding school in 1915. Initially known as Don Bosco Institute, the first students were Polish boys, taught by Polish Salesian priests. The private school in Bergen County was founded on Saint John Bosco’s educational methodology, employing reason, religion, and loving kindness.

Through the years, the campus has matured and grown. Modern teaching methods and technology have been integrated, but the core values and principles of a holistic Salesian education remain fundamentally based on Don Bosco’s first dream.

The Salesian Dream is Our Guide

Born into poverty in an age of social and political upheaval, a man named John Melchior Bosco lost his father before he was two. Anti-church sentiment prevailed, and young adolescents were often rowdy and irreverent.

At the age of nine, he had the first of many dreams which led him to his life’s purpose. Through this dream, the future priest and eventual 19th century saint came to believe these “rascals,” as he would come to call them, could and should be good and holy.

After being ordained, he regularly gathered orphaned and abandoned boys to teach them in the Catechism and encourage them to engage in fellowship. Eventually, he opened his first oratory, where the boys found food and lodging, studied or acquired a trade, and learned the unconditional love of God.

The man we now know as Saint Don Bosco was the first to realize that society needed to care about these boys. He prophesied that by creating an environment in which these youth wanted to do well, they would realize their inherent goodness and self-worth. He advocated a preventive rather than repressive education system.

A priest, educator, writer, and saint, Don Bosco’s dream guides us in all we do to this day.

John Melchior Bosco





Four Don Bosco Students smiling at camera

Salesian Purpose and Goals

With the goal of providing education, vocational training, and spiritual guidance to young boys, Saint John Bosco founded the Salesian Society in 1859. Officially known as the Society of St. Francis de Sales, the society sought out students who were at risk due to poverty and social upheaval. The Salesian educational model gained popularity and spread to countries around the world. Today, there are Salesian institutions in 133 countries, providing education and support to millions of young people.

Community Service

All students are required to perform a minimum of 100 hours of community service during their four years at Don Bosco.

Some examples of service that our boys participate in on-campus include:

  • Thanksgiving Food Drive, Holiday Toy Drive, Coat Drive, Hygiene Supply Drive
  • Summer Service Retreats: Gospel Roads and B.E.S.T. Program (Brothers Eagerly Serving Together)
  • Feed the Poor and Homeless: Jersey City and New York City
  • Big Brothers/Freshman Mentoring Program
  • Class-specific service opportunities
  • Pro-life club and January march in Washington, DC
  • Mission trips

To get involved in community service projects, contact the Office of Youth Ministry.

A group of Don Bosco Students helping other students move in.

The Church of Don Bosco with all students partaking in prayer

Faith: The Cornerstone of Salesian Spirituality

Faith is the very essence of our spiritual journey. Faith in God, in oneself, and in the inherent goodness of every individual. Faith is the foundation upon which we build relationships, ultimately fostering a sense of purpose and love. Faith is a transformative force that empowers both the Salesians and those we serve, creating a future of optimism and compassion.

Spirituality: Paths to Enlightenment

Adoration: Monthly Eucharistic Adoration with confession

Confessions: Every morning before school, Theology class three times throughout the year, during monthly adoration, or whenever it is asked for

Mass ministers: Sacristan, Eucharist ministers, altar servers and acolytes, lectors, ushers, musicians

Masses: Catechetical masses, Mass of the Holy Spirit, All Saints’ Day Mass, Mass of the Immaculate Conception, Christmas, Feast of St. John Bosco, Ash Wednesday, St. Patrick’s Day Mass, The Mary Help of Christians Mass, Baccalaureate Mass

Prayer services: Thanksgiving prayer service, Advent prayer service, Easter prayer service, Stations of the Cross, School Wide Rosary

Mission trips: Domestic and international locations

Retreats: Salesian leadership retreats, class retreats, faculty retreats, mother-son retreat

A group of Don Bosco Altar Boys