On August 21, the Saint Christopher community gathered to celebrate the 60th anniversary of its school. The evening festivities included a free barbecue, live entertainment, and games for the children. More than 1,400 parishioners and former students attended the celebration.
In 1854, Archbishop Alemany of San Francisco invited the Sisters of the Presentation to California. They established schools in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Los Angeles. In 1925, they came to Saint Patrick’s Parish in San Jose to open Saint Patrick Catholic School. In 1955, they responded to the invitation of Monsignor John Healy to staff Saint Christopher Catholic School.
The school opened with three classes and 131 students. The first principal was Sister Mary Grace. To make sure she had enough to keep her busy, she was also the 3rd grade teacher! Each year another grade was added until 8th grade was reached in 1960. Class size was often 50 students; however, responding to the needs of the parish, grades began doubling in size. By 1970, the school had double classes in all 1st-8th grades. In 1990, the first Kindergarten classes began. Today the school boasts 631 students and almost 4,000 graduates.
Saint Christopher School has been led over the years by nine principals. After Sister Mary Grace, Sister Dolores McDonald took over in 1967, followed by co-principals Sister Eileen Diggins and Sister Pauline Viliocco in 1976, and Sister Roberta Green in 1986. The first lay principal, Arlene Ernst, began in 1989, followed by Cathy Parent in 2001, Anne Ivie in 2006 and finally the current principal, Corrine Buich in 2014.
The principals and staff have been lovingly supported over the years by Monsignor John Healy, Monsignor Norman Allen, Monsignor James Walsh, Monsignor Wilfredo Manrique, and the current pastor, Father Christopher Bennett.
The 60th anniversary celebration was blessed with the attendance of seven Sisters of the Presentation: Sister Patricia Anne Cloherty, former principal Sister Eileen Diggins, Sister Michele O’Connell, Sister Ana Therese Lynch, current staff member Sister Rosemary McKean, Sister Catherine Mary King and current vice principal Sister Kieran O’Connor.
It is the hard work and unending devotion of the Sisters of the Presentation that has made Saint Christopher what it is today – an extension of the mission of Nano Nagle herself, which was to provide quality Catholic education and create lifelong learners. Finally, as we celebrate the past, we also look forward to the future and all that lies ahead for this community and anticipate the possibilities.