St. Mary Catholic School

Located in the heart of the historic district, St. Mary Catholic School lays claim to a rich and unique past. St. Mary School was established in 1869 and has been educating children for 155 years, making it the oldest Caholic school in North Carolina.
St. Mary School is dedicated to a total education program in grades PreK3 through Eight and our mission is to ensure learning for all students within the framework of Catholic Christian values. The faculty and staff are committed to offering each student advanced learning resources to develop their intellect. SMCS embodies a robust and deeply embedded committment to providing students opportunities to excel in a technological society.
Through a continuous education at St, Mary School, our data supports the fact that graduates leave well-prepared to be independent learners who maintain high academic achievements and moral standards throughout their high school and college years.
Our Science Olympiad team placed 2nd in the regional competition and 17th out of 42 schools in the state competiton. Two of our individual events placed in the top 10 at state. We are small but mighty and our school competed one on one with the top ranked national schools.
According to our school's accreditation by Cognia, "SMCS embodies a robust and deeply embedded commitment to providing students opportunities to excel in a technological society". The digital offerings and technology advances at SMCS surpass those in most other schools. As noted on the school website, they "recognize the importance in technology at the core of today`s education."

Quick Stats (2024)

  • Top Ranked NC School
  • Grades: Prekindergarten-8
  • Enrollment: 167 students
  • Yearly Tuition: $6,575
  • Average class size: 20 students
  • Application Deadline: None / Rolling
  • Source: Verified school update

Top Rankings

St. Mary Catholic School ranks among the top 20% of private schools in North Carolina for:

School Overview

Religious Affiliation
Grades Offered
Grades Prekindergarten-8
ADD/ADHD Support
Learning Difference Programs
Learning Programs Supported
Mild Learning Differences
Year Founded

Student Body

Total Students
167 students
Student Body Type
% Students of Color
State avg.: 23%
Students by Grade
St. Mary Catholic School Student By Grade

Academics and Faculty

Total Classroom Teachers
20 teachers
Student : Teacher Ratio
National avg.: 13:1
% Faculty w/Advanced Degree
Average Class Size
20 students
Number of AP Courses
2 courses
Classroom Dress Code

Tuition and Acceptance Rate

Admission Deadline
None / Rolling
Yearly Tuition Cost
Tuition Notes
7540 Non Catholics 6575 Registered/Active Catholics
% on Financial Aid
Admissions Director
Susan Linn


Total Sports Offered
7 sports


Total ExtracurricularsTotal Extra-curric.
2 extracurriculars
Science Olympiad

Club or Organization:
Chess Club

School Notes

  • We offer a small, inviting family atmosphere.
  • Teachers engage the students, taking time to explain and challenge them, making learning fun.
  • St. Mary School is accredited by Cognia. Students score high on ITBS and EOC's. We offer MATH I and MATH II which give students high school credit.
  • Our historic downtown location houses many venues for enriching field trips within walking distance.
  • St. Mary School Falcon athletic teams - volleyball, basketball, cross country, fencing, baseball, tennis, and soccer, bring us great pride.
  • Hot lunches are available 3 days per week from "My Hot Lunchbox".
  • Hot lunches are cooked in house by Ms. Vicki on Thursdays and Fridays.
  • The faculty and staff strive to help our students grow in a manner consistent with their needs,interests, and abilities, preparing them to live in a changing world as self-directed, caring, responsible citizens. We lead and encourage students to develop their intellect to its full potential.
  • St. Mary School curriculum includes instruction in the precepts of the Catholic faith and practice in the Christian call to service. The development of intuitive thinking skills, knowledge, and reasoning are more important than the mere accumulation of facts and data.
  • St. Mary School philosophy is that every facet of life is important: Spiritual, Physical, Educational, and Emotional.
  • The initial steps for admission to SMS are completion of the Prospective Student form, submission of current and prior year report cards and the current/prior year EOG`s or standardized test results and a copy of your child`s birth certificate. The Principal of St. Mary School will review all records and will make the decision of acceptance. The principal makes final decisions for all admissions. Every effort is made to meet the needs of children of all learning styles and abilities.St. Mary School will not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, national or ethnic origins. Admission priority is given to siblings of students presently enrolled in grades pk3 through 8th and active members of St. Mary Parish and all Catholic parishes including transfers from out-of-town parishes.
Source: Verified school update

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does St. Mary Catholic School cost?
St. Mary Catholic School's tuition is approximately $6,575 for private students.
What sports does St. Mary Catholic School offer?
St. Mary Catholic School offers 7 interscholastic sports: Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Fencing, Soccer, Tennis and Volleyball.
What is St. Mary Catholic School's ranking?
St. Mary Catholic School ranks among the top 20% of private schools in North Carolina for: Highest percentage of faculty with advanced degrees and Oldest founding date.
When is the application deadline for St. Mary Catholic School?
The application deadline for St. Mary Catholic School is rolling (applications are reviewed as they are received year-round).
In what neighborhood is St. Mary Catholic School located?
St. Mary Catholic School is located in the Historic District neighborhood of Wilmington, NC. There are 1 other private schools located in Historic District.

School Reviews

As a parent, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the way St. Mary has not only provided my children with a strong academic foundation but has also nurtured their artistic talents through the exceptional in-school Suzuki program and their STEM minds with an amazing Science Olympiad program. Let me begin by highlighting the outstanding academic preparation that St. Mary has provided to my oldest daughter. The transition from middle school to high school has been seamless; she is in all honors classes and I have been pleasantly surprised to see her sailing through them. The dedicated and caring teachers at St. Mary have equipped her with the knowledge, skills, and values she needs to excel academically, and for that, I am eternally grateful. She walks into high school with confidence, a strong work ethic, and a sense of responsibility that is truly remarkable for her age. But that's not all. St. Mary Catholic School goes above and beyond by fostering a rich and diverse cultural environment. The in-school Suzuki program is a true gem. Our family is immensely proud to have three young violinists who have benefited tremendously from this program. The comprehensive musical education and the dedication of Dr. Spencer have nurtured their talents and passion for the violin. Not that many schools have a college professor teaching their children music. This is so amazing! For all parents who wish to create a deeply musical child, you have to consider St. Mary. My three kids have also enjoyed years on the Science Olympiad team, which has come in first place in the region and in the top 20 in the state. For such a small school, this is truly amazing. It has given them a ton of confidence that will serve them well in the future.I can't say enough amazing things about this school. I almost don't want to write this review because it's like Wilmington's little secret that only the fortunate know about! But honestly, more students should get to learn in an environment like this!
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Quick Stats (2024)

  • Top Ranked NC School
  • Grades: Prekindergarten-8
  • Enrollment: 167 students
  • Yearly Tuition: $6,575
  • Average class size: 20 students
  • Application Deadline: None / Rolling
  • Source: Verified school update

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Did You Know?

The average private school tuition in Wilmington, NC is $10,819 for elementary schools (read more about average private school tuition across the country).
The average acceptance rate in Wilmington, NC is 83% (read more about average acceptance rates across the country).

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