It was 61 years ago this fall when three nuns, Bernice Fay and 225 children became the first teachers and students of Our Lady of Lourdes School.
On Sept. 13, 1949, Sisters Mary Carla, Mary Baptist, Mary Gilberta and “Miss Fay” began teaching first through sixth grade. They squeezed into four classrooms and an assembly room at the corner of Tujunga Canyon and Apperson Street. Sister Mary Gilberta was also the school’s first principal.
Two more classrooms were built by the second year as enrollment increased by 100. A seventh grade class was added along with one new teacher. Another 50 students came on board by the third year and children continued coming, creating a need for two classes per grade. In 1960, eight more classrooms were built across the street, creating space for growth. Tujunga definitely had a new school in the neighborhood.
The year 1986 was the opening of kindergarten and in 2003 the school formed its departmentalized junior high on the northwest campus. Junior high now has a science lab, literary center and is building a new high tech media center. The elementary campus hosts a computer lab, a 10,000 volume library, a music room and an after school enrichment program.
In recent years, playgrounds have been modified, gardens have been started and more student after school activities were added to the curriculum such as a speech and debate team. OLL continues to grow and develop in order to fulfill community needs; they have just completed construction of a much-needed preschool for the younger children in the community calling it Our Lady of Lourdes Rose Cottage Preschool.
As Our Lady of Lourdes Church celebrates its ninetieth anniversary and O.L.L. School celebrates its sixty-first year, the staff is proud to continue turning out children with high values and extremely high test scores.
“Generations of alumni prove their faith in the school as they continue sending their children and grandchildren here knowing they will receive the best of a faith-filled education,” says Cathy Ercek, OLL office manager. “Children at O.L.L. make friends for life.”
For information on attending O.L.L., contact principal Kathleen Jones for an application and tour of O.L.L.’s Rose Cottage preschool, elementary and junior high by calling all (818) 353-1106 for more information.