HISTORY OF THE SCHOOL
Holy Family Elementary School, the official name, has always been referred to as Holy Family Grade School, the name we continue to use. Holy Family Girls’ High School College Preparatory is across the street on Lomita Avenue.
The school is a vital part of Holy Family Parish which consists of 6,500 registered families. Father James Bevacqua, who arrived in 2008, succeeded Father Joseph Shea. Father Shea had replaced Monsignor Arthur J. Lirette, who retired after 21 years of service and passed away in 2007. Each of the former pastors has been a staunch supporter of Catholic Education and of the school, and Father Jim is continuing this tradition.
Holy Family Elementary School, opened in 1925 under the direction of the Sister of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. There was a B.V.M. sister as principal from 1925 until 1990 when the first lay principal, Mrs. Marian Heintz, was appointed, and who retired after her twentieth year as a principal in 2010. She was succeeded by Miss Fidela B. Suelto on August 1st, 2010.
A second structure was built in 1963 to fill the need of increased enrollment. About ten years later the school once again became one classroom per grade as it presently is, with the addition of the Kindergarten which was opened in 1987. In 1993, a Pre-K was opened and continued for three years. After evaluation, the facilities were not optimum for this age group and that Room 14 would be better suited for the Kindergarten which had been in the older building. In 1975, a kitchen was added for the benefit of the school and parish organizations that used the auditorium. In 1988, the gift of the Writing to Read Program enhanced the Grade School’s primary curriculum and introduced all the elementary children to computer technology. Presently, the school’s network serves an estimate of 20 iMacs, 115 iPads, 44 computers (PCs) with Internet access, of which 24 PCs and 20 iMacs are in the computer lab. Each teacher has a computer, an iPad, and a color printer in the classroom for his or her use. In the Summer of 2013, an electrical upgrade was done and HVAC, Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning units in both buildings were installed.
The school year 2000-2001 marked the school’s 75th anniversary year. School opened with a brief but wonderful ceremony which included several civil representatives who presented the Grade School with proclamations, Bishop Wilkerson who blessed our school, Sister Mary Elizabeth, B.V.M. who was the Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Mrs. Patricia Livingston and Sister Monica also from the Department of Catholic Schools, and many parents. On February 3, 2001, we had a special 75th anniversary Mass with Bishop Gerald Wilkerson as the main celebrant. In attendance were forty B.V.M. Sisters and ten priests. Some of the Grade School alumni include Bishop Joseph Sartoris, Bishop Donald Montrose, Bishop Pierre DuMaine, Father Paul Hruby and Fr. Michael Evans. As a part of the 75th anniversary celebration, the school’s spring concert was held at the Alex Theater, a historical landmark in Glendale.
The school is located one block east of Brand Avenue and one block south of Colorado Boulevard in Glendale, a city of two hundred and ten thousand people. This area is referred to as South Glendale. In the 1970’s many single family homes in the area were demolished to make way for the apartment dwellings that now exist. The area surrounding Holy Family Grade School is a mixed residential and commercial neighborhood of small shops, single family homes, and apartment buildings. The Glendale Galleria and Glendale Financial Center provide additional economic resources for the area. In April, 2008, adjacent to the Glendale Galleria, the new development, “The Americana,” was completed. It includes upscale shopping, a park, condos, theaters, and much more.
Many of the traditions which were begun years ago continue to endure: Weekly School Masses, May Crowning, Catholic Schools’ Week, and Annual Passion Play. Spiritual development, academic and sports competitions, physical education, the arts, and service to the community help each student reach the Schoolwide Learning Expectations to the best of his or her ability.
Almost four thousand students have graduated from Holy Family Grade School with an outstanding Catholic education during the past eighty-seven years. This is accomplished due to the dedicated faculty and staff and the ongoing support of the parents of Holy Family Grade School. Holy Family Grade School continues to serve a faith-based, quality education in Glendale, California where aspiration begins early, and thrives.