|June 26, 2017 • VOL. 55, NO. 12 • Oakland, CA|
| Treasuring Catholic schools' legacy of excellence
St. Jerome School
'Our little gem of a school on the hill'
In 1941 Msgr. James Rohan established St. Jerome Parish in El Cerrito. Under his leadership, the parish quickly grew and through its prosperity, the parish approved property for the founding of St. Jerome School.
The school opened its doors in September 1955 with the first students filling grades one through four with a total enrollment of 160. A new grade was added each year until September 1959, when the school enrolled grades one through eight.
There were 369 students in 1960.
In 1982, a kindergarten was added. In 1985, Red Balloon, an extended day care program was established to meet the increasing needs of working parents of the school's community.
At the school's 60th reunion, more than 300 people — 160 alumni — gathered for dinner and conversation, and much poring over the books of class photos preserved by Jim Almeida, Class of 1972.
Almeida, the middle child of the five Almeida children who graduated from St. Jerome School, said about 300 people came to a farewell party on the El Cerrito campus earlier this month. Photos of that event show the alumni looking through books of photos and enjoying each other's company.
That's reflective of how St. Jerome School operated, Almeida said.
"When we went to school, 90 percent lived within a mile and a half," he said. Not only were they neighbors, but they knew each other's parents as well.
After being away from the area for a time, Almeida moved back to the parish and became involved in CYO. Another generation of his family has ties there, too: His sister's daughter graduated from St. Jerome School last year.
The school distinguished itself with academic excellent in a Christ-centered environment. Students provided service to each other and to the community. The school was proud that its graduates attended such universities as UC-Berkeley, UC-Davis, UCLA, Cal Poly, Cornell and Stanford.
The school's last Facebook post shows the student body and the teachers on the altar of St. Jerome Church. The post reads: "Sweet St. Jerome Catholic School endings ... thank you to everyone past and present who has supported our little gem of a school on the hill."
— Michele Jurich
back to top
|Copyright © 2017 The Catholic Voice, All Rights Reserved. Site design by Sarah Kalmon-Bauer.|