St. Helen’s School
Saint Helen’s School was opened in September of 1953 as a mission school with grades one through five. The school was administered and staffed by the Holy Cross Sisters the first year. The School Sisters of Notre Dame took over the school the following year. Grades kindergarten and six were added. On December 8, 1955, the mission received parish status.
On October 4, 1956, the temporary school building was replaced with the first wing containing four classrooms and an administration building. The old building became the cafeteria with the addition of kitchen facilities. The eighth grade was added that year. A new convent was built in 1959. In 1961, a second wing and library were added. The kindergarten building was added in 1982, and their playground was completed in 1995. The computer lab was established in 1986.
By remodeling the school and principal’s offices, as well as the faculty lounge/work area, a new science lab was established in 1993. The offices were moved to the east end of the site. The school now has a new entry access near the kindergarten and school office.
In 1993, after 39 years, the last of the School Sisters of Notre Dame served as a teacher on a staff consisting primarily of lay persons. For the next three school years there were two Sisters of the Franciscan Hospitallers of the Immaculate Conception congregation, one of whom served as principal. At present, St. Helen’s School is staffed by an experienced and dedicated faculty of lay people.
In 1994, new grass was planted between the classroom wings and the area was landscaped. The former convent was converted into a new parish center with offices and meeting rooms. The chapel has been restored as a place of prayer.
Saint Helen’s Parish celebrated its 40th anniversary in December 1995, with the school families and children serving an integral part of the festivities.
In the summer of 2000, construction was begun on a new building which now houses the Jr. K (Preschool), new computer lab, and faculty room. Construction and landscaping were completed in the spring of 2001, and the new rooms were operational after Easter vacation. This beautiful addition to the Saint Helen’s campus was named the Spencer-Conway Building in honor of Frank G. Spencer, father of Richard Spencer, and Michael J. Conway, father of Michael Conway and Ann Toyloy. The Most Reverend John T. Steinbock, Bishop of the Diocese of Fresno, blessed the Spencer-Conway Building during a special ceremony May 25, 2001.
Saint Helen’s School celebrated its 50th Jubilee Year in 2003, having opened its doors September 10, 1953. In the fall of 2004, construction on the new Parish/School hall was completed. Students of the 2004-2005 school year were able to enjoy lunches in the beautiful new building and the first all-school musical production, “The Nifty Fifties”, was performed on our new stage for an enthusiastic, sold out crowd.
On May 18, 2007, a mass and dedication ceremony was performed by Reverend John T. Steinbock, Bishop of the Diocese of Fresno, to celebrate the opening of our new library. This new state of the art building features a fireplace with reading area for the students and teachers, skylights to let the sunlight in, and a computer system to catalog all of our books.