St. Francis High School was founded in 1940 with a class of twelve young women on the top floor of St. Francis elementary school on K Street. The current campus opened in 1965 and underwent a major expansion in 2003-2004. Now, with an enrollment of over 1,000 and alumnae numbering over 8,000, St. Francis High School continues its legacy of spirit-filled community and educational excellence; of athletic merit and artistic accomplishment; of peace and goodness (Pax et Bonum).
At St. Francis, young women integrate their faith, knowledge, and experience of community to become effective Christian witnesses in our global society. This special mission makes St. Francis much more than an outstanding college preparatory school in the Sacramento region. St. Francis graduates understand that they can make a difference in today’s world – and make it!
In the fall of 1940, St. Francis Elementary School at 2500 K Street extended its educational program to include its first ninth grade class. Twelve young women thus became the first class to attend St. Francis High School. After spending two years at St. Francis, the class was transferred to St. Joseph’s School, a three-story structure then located at 8th and I Streets. The young women who began their freshman year in 1941 became the first graduating class of St. Francis High School in the spring of 1945.
In 2004, the first phase of campus renovation and expansion was completed, resulting in several new campus facilities. The Fine and Performing Arts Complex includes space for visual art, music, dance, and drama classes and a 500-seat theater. The Library Resource Center serves as the information hub of the campus, offering an integrated approach to research, study, and technology experience.
Let the Sun Shine! On February 24, 2012 St. Francis High School completed the installation of a 309.3 KW Photovoltaic (PV) System and began generating solar power. The 1,316 panels on the rooftops of seven campus buildings are projected to produce 30.6% of the school’s current electricity requirements and save the school $1 million over the next 25 years. The installation, the second largest school installation in SMUD’s service territory, was funded through a US Treasury Grant, SMUD rebates, and reductions in electric utility bills.
The SFHS solar project will generate the 426,595 KWH of electricity annually. A comparable amount of electricity generated by a coal fired plant would dispel 294 metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, equivalent to 32,978 gallons of gasoline or to the energy use of 42 homes for one year.
The solar installation brings the new direction of the Catholic Church to the Sacramento community, sets an example for others to follow, and demonstrates the importance of living in cooperation with nature. The Catholic Church takes a strong stance on the issues of environmental awareness and conservation. Beginning in the 1960s, the Church adopted a firm stance in favor of addressing and resolving the environmental issues of the day. Under Pope Benedict XVI, the Church has risen to the forefront on issues such as renewable energy and carbon emissions.
A Letter From Kate Ely ‘12
Kate submitted the following letter to the Sacramento Diocesan Finance Council in September 2011 as part of the presentation seeking the council’s approval for the St. Francis photovoltaic project.
To forget how to dig the earth and tend the soil is to forget ourselves – Mohandas K. Gandhi
I recall the meeting two years ago where the possibility of creating a garden on the St. Francis campus was first discussed. Director of Finance Sharon Tobar, Plant Manager Larry Carson, School Board member and local farmer Craig McNamara and I began to strategize a garden that could be wholly integrated into the school’s curriculum, culture, and food program. Here students could learn the essentials of organic gardening.