A Look Back At The History Of Santa Barbara Catholic School

A Look Back At The History Of Santa Barbara Catholic School


Santa Barbara Catholic School opened its doors in September 1950 under the leadership of Reverend Father Fulgence Petrie, O.F.M., CAP, pastor of Santa Barbara Parish. The school was supervised and administered by the Sisters of Mercy with Sister Mary Redempta, RSM as the first principal. With an initial enrollment of 150 in grades K-4, the school was temporarily housed in the convent, Santa Barbara Church, and in the nearby Girl Scout building while awaiting construction of a new three-room school building which was completed in 1951.

With generous financial support from Yigo Parish, construction on a permanent main school building was begun in 1958. Progress was interrupted, however, by the destructive Typhoon Karen in 1962. The school sustained major damages to the main school building. However, repairs were made with the assistance of the nearby military bases.

In 1967, a two-storey building housing 15 classrooms and a library was completed. Then in 1969, the older three-room building was converted into a cafeteria and restrooms facility. During that period, enrollment soared to 987 students. Four lay teachers were added to the staff to supplement the services of the Sisters of Mercy. Double sessions were held to accommodate the large number of students, with half attending in the morning and half in the afternoon. Again, there was a need to expand the building. Four classrooms and a bathroom were added to the second floor in 1972, giving the school a total of 20 classrooms and completing the main building.

Santa Barbara Catholic School entered into a vigorous program for improvement and development of its academic programs and facilities when Sister Bernadette Marie Leon Guerrero took over the leadership of the school in 1981 until 1997. To her credit, much of the school’s present physical improvements and curriculum development were initiated and accomplished. She led the school through three accreditations beginning in 1983, then 1989 and 1995.

During the 1983-1988 period, the Msgr. Camacho Building and the Sisters’ convent, were built. The former church was converted into the school’s gymnasium. The cafeteria was renovated and furnished appropriately to deliver services to the students. And, finally, all classrooms were air-conditioned. In August 1993, another building housing three classrooms, Guidance Office, Teacher Resource Center, Computer Room, Faculty Lounge, and a kitchenette was completed. The McAuley Center, housing the Administration Office was built in 1995.

In school year 1997-1998, Sister Jeanette Marie Pangelinan took over as the new principal of Santa Barbara Catholic School. Under her leadership, the school integrated the Internet and World Wide Web into its curriculum, thus, pioneering this kind of technology among the schools on the island. In December 1997, typhoon Paka wrought extensive damage to the school’s gymnasium. The following year, work on the complete renovation of the facility begun and was completed and dedicated in November 1999. September 2000, marked the week-long celebration of the school’s Golden Jubilee. In school year 2001-2002, Santa Barbara School officially changed its name to Santa Barbara Catholic School, to reflect and emphasize its Catholic identity in the community.

Since school year 1982-1983, the school been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). All of them were full term six year accreditations, the highest accreditation the association gives. In school year 2012-13, as mandated by the Archdiocese of Agana, the school underwent and received double accreditation from the Western Catholic Educational Association (WCEA) and Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) for another full six-year term.

After three years of planning, and in response to the increase in enrollment, construction of Our Lady of Mercy Hall housing 5 additional classrooms was started in school year 2006-2007. The building was dedicated and blessed on September 24, 2007, on the feast of Our Lady of Mercy.

School year 2008-2009 marked another important milestone in the school’s history as it opened its Pre-Kindergarten program for four-year old.

Throughout the years, Santa Barbara Catholic School’s special character as a family school has remained unchanged with the clergy, the Sisters of Mercy, the teachers and the parents consistently demonstrating their support to the school. It remains a multi-cultural community of parents and teachers whose common bond is total commitment to educating children for a life of faith, leadership, scholarship and service.

A Look Back At The History Of Santa Barbara Catholic School

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