After 13 years at the helm, Fr. Prietto stepped down as principal of SI in June 1994 and received the President’s Award at the commencement ceremony. The citation praised him for being “first and foremost, a priest and minister.”
Fr. Prietto could look back with pride on how far SI rose in the ranks regarding Advanced Placement testing. In the 1970s and early 1980s, SI did not emphasize those exams. In 1980, for example, only 139 students took an AP exam and, of those, 54 percent passed. When he came into office, Fr. Prietto asked counselor Andy Dworak to serve as AP Coordinator and to place a new emphasis on the program. By 1994, SI’s numbers had risen dramatically, with students taking 567 tests and achieving an 88 percent pass rate. Those numbers put SI in the top 50 high schools in the country regarding the number of AP exams offered. In 1999, boys and girls at SI passed 813 tests, ranking SI 19th in the nation in terms of number of tests given and 16th for the number of tests passed. “What made this ranking even more extraordinary is the fact that SI competes with 25,000 schools in the country, some of which have student bodies as large as 4,000,” said AP Coordinator Andy Dworak. To this day, the school can point to the AP program as an objective measure of its academic success, and parents can breathe a sigh of relief as students earn college credit while in high school and save thousands of dollars on college tuition.