History of St. George School
St. George School has operated continuously since it opened in 1920.
It has an interesting past that is filled with success and change.
The idea of a Catholic school was presented to the current pastor, Fr. Becker, in 1917, only twelve years after the founding of the parish. Some 14 women of the new parish met in June of 1917 and formed the very first, St. George Ladies Guild. The ladies decided to have the first capital campaign and raise funds to build a Catholic School. In two years those ladies secured pledges from prominent families in the surrounding area and help various fund-raisers to reach the goal of $4,000.
The money was used to build the first school on the south side of "D" street, next to our parish's first church on the corner of Palm and "D" streets. On the 16th of May, with the blessing of Bishop John J. Cantwell, Bishop of Monterey and Los Angeles, and under the direction of the newly appointed pastor, Fr. James Martin, St. George School was dedicated and ready to open that following September.
The new pastor contracted with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange to staff the school. The first principal, Sister Isabelle and three of her Sisters came and taught 66 students in the first classes. The first 8th grade class of five students graduated in 1921.
The Sisters of St. Joseph remained at St. George School for its first 50 years. Classes were held in that first four-room schoolhouse for 27 years until 1947 when Bishop Buddy of San Diego broke ground on the new school on the north side of "D" street and Fern. Within four years, four additional classrooms and a basement with a kitchen were added to the facility and the enrollment of St. George School reached nearly 400.
In 1953 there were 40 students in the 8th grade graduating class and in 1962 there were 48 students in the 8th grade graduating class. By the mid-1980s the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange left our school permanently and the school began to go through a period of difficult years. There have been other nuns from other orders who have shared in the rich history of our school, the last Sister was Sister Feliz, the 31st principal of St. George School, she recently passed and is remembered for saving the school from closing its doors. The transition from religious to lay, faculty, continued to evolve into the present day, with the current complete lay staff.
In 2002 the Lucas Building which hosted seven new classrooms, a kitchen, and a gym was dedicated by Bishop Barnes of San Bernardino. This project and expansion of the school grounds were in part led by Father Art and the 32nd principal of St. George School, Mr. Peter Horton. In 2003 the school enrollment had dropped to 140 students. It was at this point the school mascot changed from Dragons to Knights. Over the next few years the Knights mascot, current ARMOR Student Learning Expectations, the School Prayer, School Alma Mater, and School Pledge were adopted. The school motto was established, Catholic Students Today, Catholic Leaders Tomorrow which has also been translated to Spanish, Estudiantes Catolicos Hoy, Lideres Catolicos Manana as our Hispanic population continues to grow.
March 13, 2020, will forever be engraved in our memories. It was on that Friday all schools closed due to the COVID19 virus. Our world was turned upside down. Teachers were asked to teach remotely, students and parents were asked to stay home. This created challenges that no one could have even imagined. School enrollment in all Catholic schools suffered as our school enrollment declined from 280 to 230 students. We are proud to say that our enrollment is strong as we have recovered with 287 enrolled in the 2022 school year. Through the challenges, our community stayed together and believed in our programs. Teachers changed the way education was taught and students adapted.
In spite of all the transitions, St. George School proudly boasts of several thousand graduates, taught by hundreds of teachers and administered by 33 principals, and is still going strong.
Thanks to the generosity of many parishioners, donors, sponsors, and former graduates and families; our school continues to thrive and grow. We look forward to a bright future in which St. George School provides families in the Ontario area with a high-quality Catholic educational experience.