Welcome to Mater Dei Catholic High School

Our Rich 60-Year History

Our Crusaders possess a generous heart and are committed to a spirit of service.

A bigger transformation began in 1995 when Estelle Kassebaum, affectionately known as Dr. K, joined as the new principal. With a vision to re-energize and restore the school, she forged a plan for Marian Catholic High School to move to a new, bigger, and more beautiful campus in East Chula Vista.

In 2007, the school was renamed Mater Dei Catholic High School, signifying the elevation of “Marian” to becoming the “Mother of God.” Despite the name change, the Crusader mascot, spirit, and tradition remain an integral part of this private Catholic school.

Our students embody a love of God and neighbor.

Our story began 60 years ago when Marian High School was founded by Bishop Charles F. Buddy as the first co-ed Catholic high school in San Diego. Marian High School was located in Imperial Beach on a small campus donated by Emma and Robert Egger. Their generosity sparked a culture of giving at Marian that has inspired students to love, know, and serve God both on and off campus. In 1992, Marian High School changed its name to Marian Catholic High School.

We encourage and serve as a model to others by sharing the mission of Jesus in our world.

In 2007, Mater Dei Catholic High School opened its doors on a 48-acre campus. In 2015, Mater Dei Juan Diego Academy began with four grades (TK-2) and became the first Catholic dual-language immersion program in San Diego. In 2021, Mater Dei Catholic became the largest TK-12th grade Catholic school and second largest private school in San Diego

An Outstanding Catholic,
Private School Experience

Mater Dei is a place where students discover their purpose.

Mater Dei provides an outstanding education to all students with an emphasis on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics). We incorporate the use of state-of-the-art technological tools, community partnerships, and many opportunities for real-world experiences into our curriculum.

We help students articulate ideas clearly, creatively, and logically.

We have services to help English language learners and students with diagnosed special needs. Our motto that Mater Dei is “The Place to Be” means we give personalized attention to support every student’s needs.

We provide opportunities for students to engage in a variety of leadership and supportive roles.

With modern facilities dedicated to athletics, arts, theater, and spiritual development, Mater Dei has a commitment to creating well-rounded individuals. From Ceramics to Stagecraft, Financial Literacy to Campus Ministry, and over 27 competitive athletic teams, our students have a variety of opportunities to grow emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

Our Crusaders possess a generous heart and are committed to a spirit of service.

In addition, we have a strong focus on service and social justice. We expect our students to become advocates for people in need, and work to protect human dignity. Our students perform at least 25 service hours each year that they attend Mater Dei Catholic as a requirement for graduation.

Academic Excellence

Our students are determined to pursue higher education.

Mater Dei Catholic High School’s college preparatory academic program is designed to advance every student’s learning, whether they need a little extra support, or want to get ahead by taking dual enrollment and AP courses.

Mater Dei is a place where students discover their purpose.

Our esteemed Academy of Science offers a work-based learning program for those interested in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math). We also offer the only dual enrollment science lab classes in the South Bay. In 2019, we placed over 140 students in internships across San Diego at leading research institutions such as USD, UCSD and SDSU. Each year, students present college-level scientific posters from their research and internships at STEAM Night. These posters are also used in the college application process.

We help students apply their learning to real-world issues.

We are proud to provide a variety of support programs and strive to meet all of our students’ needs. The Aquinas Center for Learning supports students with documented learning differences, and the Language Academy was developed to provide assistance with English Language Development.

We provide opportunities for students to engage in a variety of leadership and supportive roles.

Mater Dei Catholic High School (MDCHS) is fully accredited by both the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA). We have a firm commitment to guide each of our students throughout their time at Mater Dei towards acceptance to a four-year university. We encourage participation in sports, clubs, and the arts, as well as leadership roles both on and off campus.

Students respect and value individuals from diverse backgrounds and abilities.

In 2007, the school is internationally recognized and dedicated to promoting diversity. We actively strive for a student body that includes people from all over the world in the belief that classroom dialogues are more dynamic and more informed when students can interact with and learn from others of different backgrounds.

Crusader Alma Mater

Dedicated to Catholic values of dignity, humility, and compassion, our Crusaders stand for integrity, social awareness, and good judgement.

Under the banner of blue and gold, the Mater Dei Catholic Crusaders reach for academic excellence and always strive to be honest, trustworthy, spirited, and loyal. Crusaders seek truth

and fight to protect the common good for all. Our Crusaders are dedicated to living the mission of Christ with pride for our individual heritage and school traditions.