present campus of St. Mary's High School was opened
on September 6, 1956. St. Mary's High School dates
back to 1876, having been located at several places
in the city of Stockton, and having served the
community well. A larger school which could provide
for the growing student population had long been
recognized as a pressing need.
the opening year of the present St. Mary's, which is
located on a 25 acre lot, the campus included the
administration building, four wings of classrooms, a
cafeteria, and ample playing fields.
administrative staff of the school included Father
Xavier Harris, O.F.M., principal, and Sister M.
Colette, O.P., vice-principal, four Franciscan
priests, ten Dominican Sisters and seven lay
teachers. The student enrollment was 496.
academic and commercial curriculum was supplemented
with classes in art, music appreciation and glee
club, in order to provide a cultural and liberal
arts education for the students.
Auxiliary Bishop Hugh A. Donohue of San Francisco
presided at the formal dedication of the new St.
Mary's on May 19, 1957.
the Fall of 1957, the enrollment of the school had
increased to 530 students.
Plans were made during this year for the erection of
the Field House, Bonaventure Hall, and for the
equipping of the football field with nightlights.
These two projects were completed for the opening of
event of greatest importance for St. Mary's in its
fourth year was the graduation of 171 seniors on
June 15, 1960.
Since the enrollment had risen to 705, permission
was granted in May, 1960 to continue with the
expansion of the school plant. The following
buildings were contemplated: a gym/ auditorium, a
student chapel, a Friary and a Convent. Under the
supervision of Father Everette Chandler, O.F.M.,
these additions were completed and dedicated on May
7, 1961, by Auxiliary Bishop Merlin J. Guilfoyle of
Father Chandler was succeeded by Father Emery Tang
who served as principal until 1964. The Diocese of
Stockton was established in February, 1962, and in
the spring of that year, St. Mary's, after months of
preparation, was granted an accreditation of 5 years
from a Visiting Team of the Western Association of
Schools and Colleges. Father Tang was succeeded in
turn by Father Neil Scott in 1964 and Father
Barnabus Hughes in 1966. At the conclusion of the
school year 1967, the Franciscan priests withdrew
from St. Mary's High School because of a shortage of
teaching personnel. Monsignor James DeGroot, the
treasurer and assistant superintendent of schools,
was appointed principal.
the Fall of 1970, the Oblates of St. Francis de
Sales were invited by Bishop Merlin J. Guilfoyle to
administer St. Mary's High School. Father Thomas P.
O'Neill, O.S.F.S., became principal; Sister Gene
McNally, O.P. was appointed vice principal. The
staff included six Oblate priests, one Oblate
brother, one Franciscan priest, one Diocesan priest,
nine Dominican sisters and twentyone lay men and
women. The student enrollment for the year was 700.
February, 1972, St. Mary's was visited by a team
from WASC and given an accreditation of full
approval for five years. During March, 1977, St.
Mary's was again visited by a team of evaluators
from WASC, and as a result of this visitation, St.
Mary's was granted full accreditation for the next
five years. In the school year 1977-78, Sister
Emilie Schenone, O.P., replaced Sister Gene as
vice-principal, and Father John Fallon, O.S.F.S.,
replaced Father O'Neill as principal.
During the 1970's the enrollment at St. Mary's
steadily increased until it reached capacity of
1,050 in 1980. A Computer Center was established and
located in what had been the Library Reading Room.
In March of 1983, St. Mary's was once again visited
by WASC and received a full term of accreditation
for six years. In order to serve the Stockton
community with quality Catholic education and to
insure a viable future, St. Mary's undertook a
two-year study of all of its programs and publics.
This study was conducted under the direction of
McManis Associates of Washington, D.C., a management
consultant firm. The study showed that St. Mary's is
a strong, visible and viable institution.
July 1986, the school administration was
restructured and Mrs. Mary Devincenzi was appointed
Academic Dean and Father John Foley appointed
Curriculum Coordinator. Following the successful
completion of a WASC visit in 1989 and the granting
of a full term of six years by the accrediting
agency, St. Mary's undertook a major restructuring.
The President-Principal model of governance was
adopted with Father John Fallon serving as
President, Mr. Peter Morelli serving as Principal
and Mrs. Karen Gherardi became Academic Dean. In
order to provide for the ongoing improvement of
instruction and the development of curriculum, a
Curriculum Coordinator was appointed. In 1995, 2001
and 2007, six-year terms of accreditation were
granted by WASC. The current term will expire on
June 30, 2013. The action was taken after a careful
study of the Visiting Committee Report, which noted
many laudable aspects of the school, citing the
quality of instruction being offered.
the summer of 2004, site construction improvement
began in preparation for the Academic Services
Building. New water lines, fire sprinkler lines,
wiring, permits, and a new parking area were
installed. In the summer of 2005, St. Mary's
undertook the most significant growth in the
school's history since the opening of the campus.
The process of building the Lagorio Family Academic
Building, a 23,000 square foot building containing a
library, counseling services, administrative and
business offices, faculty areas and classrooms. The
necessity for our school to improve its academic
buildings and other structures is paramount for the
future of our high school. This building was
completed and became operational for the 2006-07
March of 2007 the school began construction on a
swimming pool complex. The Cortopassi Aquatics
Center was dedicated in September, 2007. In the
fall of 2011 a new re-modeled tennis complex was
completed. In 2012, the St. Mary's chapel, Mary,
Queen of Angels, was completely remodeled and was
re-dedicated on March, 18, 2012. Finally in 2013 The
Bonaventure, Football dressing rooms and weight
rooms were demolished to make room for a new field
2012, St. Mary's under the direction of Kathy Smith,
Dean of Students and a parent committee established
a program for the community entitled Empowering
2013, St. Mary’s, through its alumni, students and
faculty also established a program for the young men
of the school and community entitled Strengthening
the Bond/Creating Gentle Men
Mary's High School has a long and distinguished
history of preparing its students for the college
experience. The colleges to which St. Mary's
students have been admitted and the scholarships
awarded give testimony to the oustanding preparation
received here. In recognition of these facts,
beginning with the academic year 2010/11, St. Mary's
has been known as St. Mary's High School, a College
Preparatory High School.