School History (continued)


In the early 1960’s, people were moving to a new area of California where orange groves and vegetable fields abounded. The Diocese of Los Angeles, concerned with serving the Catholics in this area, initiated a campaign to build parishes and schools in what is now known as Orange County and the Diocese of Orange.

The original parishioners of St. Barbara Church attended Sunday Mass in the Garden Grove Elks Lodge. With a dream of establishing their parish, these early parishioners built a church and school where once tomato fields stood. They donated their time, talent, and treasure to construct a school that would provide a Catholic education for their children and a church where they would celebrate liturgies and receive sacraments. Little did they know that decades later St. Barbara would serve a thriving metropolitan area of Orange County with a parish of over 4,000 families and a school of over 500 students.

St. Barbara School was opened in 1963 under Msgr. Michael Collins, and originally directed by the religious order of the Poor Clare Missionary Sisters and five lay teachers. The school consisted of one building with eight classrooms. In September 1965, the building originally used as the Church became available to accommodate a second classroom of each level. A parish hall/gym was built in 1967 with an annex added in 1977. In the late 1980’s, improvements were made to the playground along with the addition of a computer lab, faculty lounge and library expansion.


The original faculty included th
e Poor Clare Missionary Sisters. The charism of the order continues to be missionary. Their missionary activities include work world-wide in the areas of education of children and young people, and promotion of missionary work. The Sisters continue to run a near-by preschool which is a feeder to St. Barbara School. St. Barbara School continues this missionary charism through the ministry of Catholic education and the faith-formation of each student. 

Located in a community that historically has been home to recent immigrants, the school assists families in preparing their children for a bright future while celebrating the uniqueness of each ethnicity making up our multicultural community.

During the 1990’s, St. Barbara Parish was blessed with immigration of Catholic Vietnamese in this area. This resulted in a need to address the expansion of religious education programs, and to accommodate the growth of the congregation along with increased student enrollment in the parish school. A 3-year capital campaign in conjunction with the Pastoral Services Appeal led to securing sufficient funds for expansion and improvement of the facilities. The $2.1 million facility improvements included the redesign of the parking lot and school playground/field. A n
ew school building housing two kindergartens, a multimedia center, a fine arts classroom, a teacher workroom, and a physical education/athletics room was completed by the summer of 2002.

Thanks to a generous donation, classroom windows and air conditioning and heating units in Buildings 1 and 2 were installed in summer of 2017. Currently, the original bathrooms are being remodeled thanks to generous donations through the Annual Gala fundraiser. The Boys bathroom remodel in building 2 was completed in summer of 2018.

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