Current pupils at Our Lady of Guadalupe School form a cross in the parish church.
Our Lady of Guadalupe School celebrates
its 50th anniversary
Our Lady of Guadalupe School, which began life 50 years ago in Fremont as St. Leonard School, is inviting all alumni, friends and family to an anniversary celebration on Sept. 6.
From the beginning, the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose have administered the school according to the Dominican charism, and have served as either principals or teachers for the majority of its history. Eleven of the school's 13 principals have been Dominican Sisters. Sister Janice Therese Wellington, OP, who led the school from 1989 to 1994, returned as principal for a second time this school year.
In the past five decades, thousands of students have attended and graduated from St. Leonard/Our Lady of Guadalupe School. While the name of the school has changed, the diverse, family-oriented environment has remained a constant.
The kindergarten, second- and fifth-grade teachers are graduates who have returned to their alma mater to teach. In addition, seven of the nine classroom teachers have taught at Our Lady of Guadalupe School for 10 years or more. The long and impressive tenure of the past and current faculty is a clear indication of the strong community that defines this Catholic academic institution. Only five secretaries have worked at the school during its 50 years, including Sue Galloway, Regina Bigley, Lorrie Keltie and Karen Murray, the current secretary.
St. Leonard Parish opened its church in 1959 and four years later, Rev. Martin E. Walsh oversaw the building of St. Leonard School. In 1964, Principal Sister Irene Marie Herbert, OP, opened the school with three grades and an enrollment of 150 students. Each year another grade was added until, in 1969, the school included grades 1 through 8. The kindergarten was opened in a portable building on the school grounds in 1987. In 1993, the school acquired a second portable dedicated for extended care, small group teaching and a counselor's office. A third portable consisting of the school library, a computer lab and music room opened in 1999.
Since its inception, St. Leonard/Our Lady of Guadalupe School has embraced teaching practices grounded in Dominican principles, high academic standards, and a curriculum that addresses varied learning levels. Under Principal Linda Parini's leadership, the school made a concentrated effort to enhance the students' learning experience even more through new resources and programs. She made it a priority to welcome students who needed additional assistance. As a result, the Learning Support/Resource Program has become a recognized program in the Fremont community.
The school has a well-deserved reputation of encouraging students to reach their full potential and with strong leadership and diverse learning programs, students continue to do just that. They also celebrate their Catholic identity visibly and enthusiastically. Students have the opportunity to participate in faith experiences such as Faith Families, liturgies and service projects.
The school's extracurricular activities include theater and performing arts, music, band, chess club, math and reading clubs, student council, safety patrol, and CYO sports.
With a current enrollment of 228 students and a staff of 34, Our Lady of Guadalupe is a small school with a huge heart. It radiates an overwhelming sense of community created by dedicated faculty and staff, committed parents and inspirational students that is even more impressive than its 50 years.
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