Valley Catholic School, sharing in the mission of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon, fosters a faith-filled community of lifelong learners and compassionate leaders committed to living out Catholic values and following Jesus’ example through prayer, service, and love.
The history of Valley Catholic School dates to 1886 and the founding of the Community of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon, the first women’s religious order to be established in Oregon. Today, Valley Catholic is Oregon’s only Catholic school serving children and young adults from infancy through high school.
Significant dates in our history – 20th century:
- In 1902, at the request of Archbishop William H. Gross, the Sisters opened a school on the north side of Tualatin Valley Highway, west of Beaverton.
- In January 1903, the Sisters opened their new school. A resident school for girls and boys, St. Mary’s Academy was an immediate success. Filled to capacity, the classrooms were so crowded that, two years later, attendance was restricted to girls and the name of the school changed to St. Mary’s Institute.
- By 1905, Archbishop Alexander Christie was concerned about confusion between the Sisters’ school and St. Mary’s Academy in downtown Portland, which had been founded decades earlier by the Sisters of the Holy Names. Archbishop Christie asked the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon to rename their school. It became St. Mary’s Institute.
- On Sunday, May 26, 1929, The Oregonian newspaper reported that the Sisters and St. Mary’s Institute would soon have a new home, built on 35 acres at a cost of $350,000.
- Five months later – in October 1929 – the stock market crashed. The world would soon be plunged into the Great Depression. But the Sisters held firmly to their vision. Groundbreaking took place on March 19, 1930: the Feast of St. Joseph.
- On September 22, 1930, that now historic building became home to the Sisters and their school. In the new building, St. Mary’s Institute had a new name: St. Mary of the Valley. The new Motherhouse was four stories high. It included the central wing with the dome and the west wing, where students studied and lived.
- In the late 1960s, many Catholic high schools were closing. But the Sisters believed strongly in the future of their high school. After applying to Rome for permission to borrow money, the Sisters received approval of their $1 million request. Designed by architects Palmer A. Hewlett, James W. Jamison and Associates of Portland, the building and facilities would ultimately cost more than $1.7 million. Groundbreaking took place on Sunday, May 27, 1968.
- A groundbreaking for the current high school school was held on May 27, 1968. On December 1,1969, classes were held in the new building for the first time.
- In 1984, St. Mary of the Valley School ended its residency program and began admitting boys at the grade school level.
- In 1991, the high school also became coed and changed its name to Valley Catholic School. That same year, Little Flower Development Center (now Valley Catholic Early Learning School) opened its doors.
Significant dates in our history – 21st century:
- In 2006, the campus came together for the opening of the Valley Catholic Athletic Center.
- In 2008, all of the schools were unified as Valley Catholic School, which was Oregon’s first pre-kindergarten through grade 12 Catholic educational system.
- As the Sisters celebrated their 125th anniversary in 2011, the new elementary and middle school was dedicated and students in kindergarten through fifth grade moved out of the classrooms in the west wing of the SSMO Motherhouse.
- Completed in August 2014, the Valley Catholic athletic field project included the installation of a turf field, a grandstand with a press box, and a field house that includes restrooms, concessions, a team room, and storage.
- New lighting and sound systems are among the highlights of the renovation of Kelly Auditorium in 2015. The renovation also included new seats, carpet, and acoustical upgrades.
- Dedicated in fall 2016, the two-story Valley Catholic science building includes five state-of-the-art labs, a greenhouse and additional general use classrooms.
- By 2016, Valley Catholic welcomed approximately 1,000 students each day.