Father James Marron, pastor of St. Patrick’s Church, Arroyo Grande, recognized a need for a Catholic school in the community. In order to fulfill this need and make his dream of a Catholic school come true, he looked to the Sisters of Mercy in the hopes that they would take on his mission. In August of 1963, seven Sisters of Mercy traveled from Ennis, Ireland, to Arroyo Grande to make this possible.
In September 1963, St. Patrick Elementary School opened its doors with 234 students, in grades one through six. In June of 1966, St. Patrick celebrated its first graduating class of thirty-three students. To this day the school continues to educate the whole child – mind, body, and spirit. These, along with the values of the Sisters of Mercy, center the school community and bring faith based education to all students.
While the traditions of the Sisters of Mercy remain constant at the school, the facility and curriculum have moved forward with the times. In 1984 a multi-purpose building was built, adding a gymnasium, classrooms, kitchen, and religious offices to the school grounds. In 1994, a modular building was purchased to house the seventh grade homeroom, which allowed for an entire classroom to be dedicated solely to the sciences. The following year, 1995, the convent chapel was expanded and converted into a kindergarten classroom. In 1998 the outdoor facilities were upgraded to include a track, an improved baseball diamond, and basketball courts. A need for increased space for the school’s fine arts program lent to the purchase of another modular classroom in 2003. This building provides much needed space for fine arts classes, as well as other essential office space for our school counselor and bookkeeper.
The curriculum offered at St. Patrick has also moved forward with the times. The school has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, as well as the Western Catholic Education Association. In our most recent WASC accreditation the school received the highest ranking possible. The school curriculum adheres to the California State Standards and our students’ standardized test scores demonstrate the success of our school’s learning environment. Electives in Art, Music, Computer Technology, Physical Education, and Spanish help to offer a well-rounded school program. Our faculty and staff continue to improve their teaching practices with increased use of technology not only in our computer lab, but also within each classroom. We have recently purchased more computers, projectors, and an online grading system, to further demonstrate our dedication to curriculum advancement and improvement.
With the retirement of Sr. Mary Keavey and with the blessings of the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Convent was renovated throughout the 2007-2008 school year to include a preschool, conference rooms, offices and a Chapel for prayer. Bishop Garcia officiated at the groundbreaking on February 15, 2007, blessing both the building and the grounds
St. Patrick School remains committed to faith-based education which provides an enlightened curriculum for all students. The legacy of tradition and excellence established by the Sisters of Mercy remains at the heart of the St. Patrick School community.