It was 1937, the year of the Hindenburg disaster and disappearance of Amelia Earhart, and the world was grinding toward its second World War.
That was the year a small Catholic church in Glendale started a high school with 21 female freshmen. On Saturday, Holy Family High School, still at 400 E. Lomita Ave., celebrated its 75th anniversary as longtime members of the church community reflected on just how much technology has changed private education.
One of those 21 freshmen was Margaret Masterson Mayfield, now 89, who attended Holy Family when it took over a small Knights of Columbus hall.
That small building no longer is filled with student desks and chalkboards. It now houses high-performance gym equipment and is home to student-body operations.
Decades after leaving Holy Family, Mayfield, who went on to become a chemist, said she was nostalgic about returning to her alma mater.
“I think they do a good job,” she said.
Plenty has changed since Mayfield graduated in 1941. Years later, the school added a new building, which serves as the main campus.
The all-girls’ school now has 189 students, six sports teams, a Science and Health Career Academy, 13 Advanced Placement classes and a Performing Arts Consortium, school officials said.
“It’s come a long way,” school Principal Nancy O’Sullivan said, adding that staff is committed to student achievement, with a 100% college acceptance rate.
Technology at the school has also greatly advanced, as each student now has her own iPad — making it the first high school in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to offer that feature.
Student Angelica Rodriguez, 16, said using the iPad eliminates the task of carrying heavy book bags and makes note-taking easy.
The school is trying to go paperless.
“We feel very proud of it,” she said.
While things have changed at the school, school staff has remained committed to maintaining its traditions, said Sister Suzanne Stopper, who graduated from Holy Family in 1944 and has taught English there for 42 years.
“The school has held on to many traditions in pursuit of its basic values,” she said.