Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton (SHS) launched its yearlong anniversary celebration, “125 Years - Educating For A Lifetime.” The school invites the community to explore its long history as a top independent Bay Area primary school by visiting its 125th anniversary website
that launched earlier this month.
The website is the culmination of a two-year-long project by Sacred Heart Preparatory (SHP) librarians and students who assembled a visual timeline of the schools’ growth from thousands of photographs housed in the historic SHS Main Building archive room.
On August 1, 1898, SHS opened its doors to its first 23 students. Since then, the school has expanded to a vibrant, co-educational day school situated on 63 acres, educating a student body of 1,185 students.
Sacred Heart’s Main Building—the first structure built on campus—is considered an architectural jewel of the peninsula; it survived both the 1906 earthquake and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, although both caused damage to the building.
Designed by Irish-immigrant architect Charles Devlin, it echoes the Romanesque features of nearby St. Patrick’s Seminary, which also withstood both earthquakes, as well as many of the area’s churches, convents, hospitals, and schools also built by Devlin.
Over 300 Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (RSCJ) have served on the school’s grounds since 1898. The school’s Catholic identity, mission, and goals mirror the historic priorities of the RSCJ, founded by Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat, who also established the first Sacred Heart schools in post-revolutionary France. Today, the RSCJ has grown its ministry to include over 150 schools in 44 countries worldwide. SHS—the 13th Sacred Heart school to be built in North America—continues an equally-long tradition of ensuring access to education, emphasizing personal faith, preparing students for lives of meaning and purpose, and active service to its community.
“For 125 years, what has remained constant throughout our growth has been the school’s dedication to service,” said Sister Nancy Morris, the former SHS director of schools from 1971 to 1989, who still lives on campus adjacent to the RSCJ retirement center, Oakwood.
To mark its 125th anniversary, SHS will host numerous events celebrating its innovative community leaders. Additionally, the school’s iconic Main Building will undergo a timely restoration project of its two historic parlors.
“We invite the community to join in our many events and celebrate the longevity of Sacred Heart as we recognize the achievements of our students, educators, RSCJ, alumni, and parents,” said SHS Director of Schools Richard Dioli. “We are paving the way for the next 125 years, preparing students to meet tomorrow’s challenges with compassionate hearts.”