the early 1960’s, people were moving to a new area of California where
orange groves and vegetable fields abounded. The Diocese of Los Angeles,
concerned about serving the Catholics in this area, initiated a
campaign to build parishes and schools in what is now known as Orange
original parishioners of St. Barbara Church attended Sunday Mass in the
Garden Grove Elks Lodge. With a dream of establishing their parish,
these early parishioners built a church and school where once tomato
fields stood. They donated their time, talent, and treasure to construct
a school that would provide a Catholic education for their children and
a church where they would celebrate liturgies and receive sacraments.
Little did they know that decades later St. Barbara would serve a
thriving metropolitan area of Orange County with a parish of over 4,000
families and a school of over 500 students.
Barbara School was opened in 1963 under Msgr. Michael Collins, and originally directed by the religious order of the Poor
Clare Missionary Sisters and five lay teachers. The school consisted of
one building with eight classrooms. In September 1965 the building
originally used as the Church became available to accommodate a second
classroom of each level. A parish hall/gym was built in 1967 with an
annex added in 1977. In the late 1980’s improvements were made to the
playground along with the addition of a computer lab, faculty lounge and
the 1990’s, St. Barbara Parish was blessed with an influx of Catholic
Vietnamese in this area. Because of this influx, there was a need
to address the expansion of religious education programs, and accomodate
the growth of the congregation along with increased student enrollment
in the parish school. A 3-year capital campaign in conjunction with the
Pastoral Services Appeal led to securing sufficient funds for expansion
and improvement of the facilities. The $2.1 million facility
improvements included the parking lot and school playground/field. A new
school building housing two kindergartens, a multimedia center, a fine
arts classroom, a teacher workroom, and a physical education/athletics
room was completed by the summer of 2002.
St. Barbara School has a dedicated staff of a principal, twenty-one
lay teachers, three teacher’s aides, and five office staff. The combined
efforts of the faculty and staff, clergy, parent volunteers, and
parishioners have enabled St. Barbara School to be a model of
educational excellence in the Diocese of Orange.
Barbara School gratefully acknowledges the generosity of those who made
our school a reality. The founding parishioners built a Catholic
community which has evolved into the St. Barbara Parish family. Today,
this same spirit of community continues at St. Barbara School.