SAN FRANCISCO -- While urban Catholic schools across the country are closing or consolidating, a new state-of-the art elementary school opened yesterday (May 2) in San Francisco’s Chinatown.
One hundred students of St. Mary’s School and Chinese Catholic Center, led by their famed St. Mary’s Drum and Bell Corps, marched from their parish church to their new school, located next to the Hilton Hotel and adjacent to a 15-story low-income housing tower also built by the parish.
San Francisco’s Auxiliary Bishop Robert McElroy was there to meet them and bless the nine classrooms, which will have student and teacher computers and are wired for other high-tech capabilities.
The school has been at a temporary site since 1994 when the original 80-year-old buildings were determined to need high-cost renovations for earthquake safety. Instead of retrofitting the old buildings, the community, under the leadership of Paulist Father Daniel McCotter, raised funds for a new six-level school that includes a rooftop playground and a community center.