About MSSE » School History

School History

In 1914 at the beginning of World War I, Father Patrick McGrath, as an act of deep faith, hope, and love, remodeled the old Mary Star of the Sea Church on 9th Street in San Pedro.  With his vision and just a few cast off desks from the basement of St. Vibiana’s Cathedral, Mary Star of the Sea Elementary came into being.
Sister Gertrude Barrett, I.H.M., the first principal, and five other members of the Immaculate Heart Order: Sisters Angel Price, Emmanuel Morcotti, Eidelia O’Connor, Anthony Walsh and Francis Bugudanch, staffed the first school. The enrollment at that time was two hundred students in six grades. Two years later in June 1916, the school had its first graduating class of four students.

In 1923, Father Anthony Jacob erected a new Mary Star of the Sea Elementary at the corner of 8th Street and Meyler, the location of our present auditorium. There were eight classrooms and a cafeteria downstairs, four classrooms and an auditorium upstairs. The total cost of construction was $80,000.

In 1946 the school was modernized with a new intercom system and a second-floor kitchen was added. A portion of the auditorium was set aside for school plays, etc. Eventually, the school yard received proper playground equipment. On February 12, 1950, groundbreaking ceremony was held for a new elementary school and junior high school consisting of fourteen classrooms. The old school building became the present-day auditorium.  

The construction of the present-day parish church began in the mid 1950’s. On Christmas of 1957 the first Mass was celebrated. By 1964 the church was completed with all the present day statutes, stained glass windows, relics of the saints, and it was debt-free.

In 2014 Mary Star of the Elementary School celebrated its 100th year anniversary. Archbishop Jose Gomez celebrated a solemn Mass to honor this momentous occasion. In attendance were many students of the present and the past, who were very honored to be present for this joyous occasion.

The current administration team - which includes the pastor, rector, and principal - is committed to continue the Mary Star of the Sea Elementary School’s tradition of excellence.