Welcome to Mater Dei Catholic High School


Our School

Mater Dei Catholic High School is a Diocesan Catholic co-educational High School located on a safe and beautiful 48-acre campus in Chula Vista, South Bay San Diego. Committed to creating well-rounded, faith-filled leaders, Mater Dei provides an exceptional Catholic education experience enriched with opportunities for athletics, the arts and spiritual development.

In 2019, our esteemed Academy of Science placed 140 students in summer internships in STEAM fields (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) with prominent research institutions throughout San Diego. Our most recent graduating class was accepted into the nation’s top universities. Our Aquinas Center and Language Academy provides services to students with learning differences and English language learners. Our students explore their interests in a dynamic academic environment while growing within a supportive, nurturing community.

Our History

Founded by Bishop Charles F. Buddy, our school opened in 1960 as Marian High School, the first coeducational Catholic high school in the Diocese of San Diego. It was built on twenty acres of land just outside of Imperial Beach—generously donated by notable Catholic philanthropists, Emma and Robert Egger. The first school building opened with just three classrooms and expanded over the next 46 years. In 1985, Marian High changed its name to Marian Catholic High School, to more clearly identify it as a Catholic institution.

In 2007, thanks to a generous donation from the ALSAM Foundation, the campus moved to a new 50-acre state-of-the-art facility in Chula Vista. The school was renamed Mater Dei Catholic High School by the San Diego Diocese, but our “Crusader” mascot, spirit, and tradition, remain an integral part of our school. On the new campus, Marian Chapel was built in honor of our history and prior name.

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 guiding each of our students to gain acceptance to a four-year university after graduation. We continually strive to make our campus a place for the community, with many sports, arts and cultural events that are open to the public.

The school is internationally recognized and deeply committed to diversity. We actively strive for a student body that includes a variety of races and ethnicities in the belief that classroom dialogues are more dynamic and more informed when students have the opportunity to interact and learn with others of different backgrounds.

Developing Minds & Building Character

Mater Dei is a comprehensive educational institution providing an outstanding education to all students with an emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. We balance face-to-face teaching with the use of state-of-the-art technological tools, community partnerships, and many opportunities for out-of-the-classroom education.

We have services to help English language learners and students with diagnosed special needs. Our motto that Mater Dei is “A Place for Everyone” means we give personalized attention to each student, as we strive to help them succeed, and we do everything we can to support that philosophy.

With modern facilities dedicated to athletics, arts, theater, and spiritual development, Mater Dei has a commitment to creating well-rounded individuals, as well as excellent students. From Ceramics to Guitar, Financial Literacy to Campus Ministry, and over 20 competitive athletic teams, our students have a variety of ways to grow emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

In addition, with the goal of humanizing education, we have a strong focus on service and social justice. The Catholic Church has a long history of social justice in our communities, and in our world, and we expect our students to continue this tradition by becoming advocates for people in need, and by working to protect human dignity. We require our students to perform twenty-five service hours each year they attend Mater Dei Catholic; a requirement for graduation.

Academy of Science 

Our Academy of Science was founded to provide an exemplary science learning experience in two ways.

  • First, the Academy engages students in practical and theoretical science through collaborations and partnerships with the scientific community.
  • Second, the Academy challenges students with a rigorous academic program that encourages all students to achieve at the highest levels of excellence in preparation for college and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Crusader Alma Mater

Under the banner of blue and gold, the Mater Dei Catholic Crusaders reach for academic excellence and strive at all times to be honest, trustworthy, spirited and loyal – to be everything symbolized by the ideal Crusader. The Crusaders strive to ensure success in every field as a Catholic School community, proud of individual heritage and school traditions.

Alma Mater

This is the school we love the best,
Mater Dei, our Mater Dei!

None can surpass her in the West,
Mater Dei, our Mater Dei!

She is our Alma Mater Grand,
To us the noblest in the land,

And true to her we’ll ever stand,
Mater Dei, our Mater Dei!