Excelsior Scholars

What is the Excelsior Scholars Program (ESP)?

The Excelsior Scholars Program is an advanced academic opportunity offered to select archbishop Edward A. McCarthy High School students who have performed at an exceptional level.  The goals of ESP are to enhance students’ educational experiences and to prepare them for further study or careers after graduation, as well as to develop bright, motivated students. We believe that students who participate in ESP should continually challenge their intellectual limits, and work creatively and earnestly to reach their highest potential as scholars and leaders.

How does one qualify for the Excelsior Scholars Program?

  • Invitation to ESP is based upon student performance.
  • Incoming 9th graders must perform in the top 10% on the Archdiocese of Miami high school entrance examination (HSPT)
  • They must have exceptional middle school grades
  • They must have 90% or above in Iowa (or other standardized) tests in Math and English
  • They must receive a favorable recommendation from their previous school

What benefits will ESP provide?

  • Access to rigorous academic courses including Advancement Placement, Dual Enrollment and Honors courses
  • PSAT and SAT preparation classes
  • School sponsored visits to top universities
  • Special student recognition
  • Students who complete the program may qualify for a minimum of 30 college credits through St. Thomas University and the University of Florida.

Suggested Program of Study

9th Grade

  • Honors Algebra I, Honors Geometry, Honors Algebra II
  • Honors English I
  • Honors Biology
  • AP World History (DE), AP Human Geography
  • Spanish I, Spanish for Heritage students I, Spanish Speakers I, French I, Italian I
  • Faith and Revelation (½ credit), Morality (½ credit)
  • Practical Art (1/2 credit), P.E. (1/2 credit)

10th Grade

  • Honors Geometry, Honors Algebra II, Honors Pre-Calculus/Analytic Geometry (DE)
  • Honors English II
  • Honors Chemistry
  • AP World History (DE)
  • Spanish II, Spanish for Heritage students II, Spanish Speakers II, French II, Italian II
  • Hebrew Scripture and Christian Scripture

11th Grade

  • Honors Algebra II, Honors Pre-Calculus/Analytic Geometry (DE), AP Calculus I (DE)
  • AP English Language & Composition (DE), Honors English III (DE)
  • AP Chemistry, AP Biology, Honors Physics, Honors Anatomy & Physiology
  • AP American History (DE), Honors American History
  • Social Justice
  • Elective choice of one credit: AP Spanish Language (DE), Honors Spanish III (DE), Spanish for Heritage students III, Honors French III, AP or Honors Fine Art (DE) and/or Business and Technology

12th Grade

  • Honors Pre-Calculus/Analytic Geometry (DE), AP Calculus I (DE), AP Calculus II (DE)
  • AP English Literature (DE), AP Language (DE), Honors English IV (DE)
  • AP U.S. Gov’t and Politics (½ credit) (DE), AP Macro Economics (½ credit) (DE), Honors Gov’t (½ credit) (DE), Honors Economics
  • Honors Philosophy (DE), Honors World Religion (DE), Honors Pneumatology (DE), Honors Church History (DE) 2 – ½ credits
  • Sacred Scripture, History  of the Catholic Church Honors, Christian Vocations, World Religions
  • Elective choice of two Credits: AP Science Class or Honors Science Class, AP Spanish Language (DE), AP Spanish Literature (DE), AP French Language, AP or Honors Fine Art and/or Business and Technology


Students can take credit exams or summer school in order to advance.