About 500 students, alumnae, parents, staff and guests gathered on the grounds of Ramona Convent Secondary School in AlhambraOct. 4 to celebrate the school’s 125th anniversary.
Archbishop José Gomez presided at Mass, followed by a blessing ceremony for a recent addition to the all-girls’ campus: a statue of Blessed Marie Rose Durocher — who founded the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary — created by Holy Names Sister Paula Mary Turnbull.
At the reception, old photographs, videos and historical displays from past graduating classes were featured. Among the honored guests in attendance was Carmen Sandoval, Ramona’s oldest living alumna, who graduated with the class of 1939.
In 1889, eight Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary traveled from Oakland to Southern California to establish the school, initially as both a day and boarding school, which it remained until the early 1980s. There were seven students on the first day of school, and the first graduating class in 1891 consisted of two students.
Today Ramona has a student body of 250, and is the oldest Catholic all-girls’ school in the archdiocese still operating in its original location. Since its foundation, more than 7,300 young women have graduated from Ramona, and 414 Sisters of the Holy Names — and nearly an equal number of lay men and women — have ministered at Ramona as administrators, teachers and support staff.
“While the San Gabriel Valley has changed, our mission of empowering young women through education has not changed,” said Holy Names Sister Kathleen Callaway, Ramona president. “We are grateful for all that has been, but this anniversary is a reminder of our mission to continue providing a quality Catholic education to the young women entrusted to our care.”