School History

Presentation High School opened its doors to its first class of young women in 1962. Since then, our Pres girls have carried the torch of the Sisters of the Presentation and its foundress, Nano Nagle.

Sisters of the Presentation

Nano Nagle

In the 1700's, Nano Nagle risked imprisonment and disgrace by fighting the oppression of Catholic children in Ireland.

The daughter of wealthy parents, Nagle secretly rented rooms in the city of Cork to educate Catholic children, which at the time was illegal. Soon, she ran seven schools--five for girls and two for boys.

At night, she traveled the narrow streets using a lantern to light her way. As a result, she became known as the "Lady of the Lantern."

Religious Order

In 1775, Nagle joined several other women in founding a new society, the Sisters of Charitable Instruction of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Dedicated to the service of the poor, the community was elevated to a religious order by Pope Pius VI in 1800 and renamed the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Bay Area Ministry

In 1854, five Sisters of the Presentation sailed into the bay of San Francisco on the aptly named steamer, Golden Gate.

That year, the sisters established a foundation in San Francisco and opened their first school on Green Street.

The sisters would go on to establish several high schools for young women in the Bay Area, including:
  • Presentation High School, San Francisco
  • Presentation High School, Berkeley
  • Presentation High School, San Jose

To learn more about the Sisters of the Presentation, San Francisco, click here.

Presentation High School

Beginnings

Built on a cherry orchard in San Jose's Willow Glen neighborhood, Presentation High School opened its doors to its first class of young women in 1962. After beginning the school year next door in the St. Christopher School gym, 73 ninth-graders and three faculty members moved into Presentation's new building. Tuition during that first school year was $185 per girl.

Leadership

The history at Presentation High School comes not from the buildings on campus, but from the people who walk its halls. For more than 50 years, Presentation has empowered generations of smart leaders, creative thinkers and global citizens.

Five women have led Presentation High School since its doors opened in 1962, bringing vision, talent and determination to the position.

Sister Fidelmina, Presentation's first principal (from 1962-1970), established the motto "Not Words, But Deeds" as well as several of the school's most enduring traditions, including May Day, Spirit Week, Class Day and Junior Ring.

Marian Stuckey, principal from 1970-1977 and 1984-1993, graduated from Presentation High School in San Francisco and, in 1966, began teaching at Presentation in San Jose. Stuckey revolutionized the curriculum with a "unit" approach to teaching and oversaw the transition to technology in education.

Sister Judy Romero, principal from 1977-1981, introduced social justice as a key component to the mission at Presentation High School. Under her influence, the Presentation curriculum focused on understanding the plight of the poor and taking action to alleviate it.

Sister Rebecca Robertson, principal from 1981-1984, launched the school's first capital campaign, supervising the fundraising and construction of the gymnasium. She also assembled and mobilized Presentation's first development board.

Mary Miller '72, our current principal, assumed leadership of the school in 1993. Since then, she has been a visionary dreamer and doer, overseeing several capital campaigns including the CLC, theater and several athletic complexes on campus. A graduate of Presentation, Miller founded the Community Involvement program on campus and continues to teach English.







Graduates

Since the first class of young women graduated from Presentation in 1966, more than 6,000 students have followed in their footsteps.

These graduates are the real history of Presentation High School. They are women who took advantage of a unique opportunity to develop their minds and skills, explored their interests and talents, opened their hearts to those less fortunate than themselves, nurtured their faith, and discovered their self-confidence and individuality.

Providing an environment where this can happen is the proud legacy of the Sisters of the Presentation.

The Presentation Legacy

School Timeline

Feb. 18, 1962
  • Groundbreaking for main school building
Oct. 1, 1962
  • Classes begin at Presentation's new building
Fall, 1962
Fall, 1963
Spring, 1965
Oct. 9, 1965
1966
  • Alma Mater is written
  • First Fashion Show
  • Panther becomes the school mascot
Fall, 1970
1982
  • Presentation opens its first computer lab
Fall, 1985
Feb. 1, 1990
  • School's first confirmation is held
April, 1995
  • Presentation offers email
  • Presentation's first website is launched
Aug. 27, 1995

Fall, 2000

April 11, 2002
  • Valenzuela Theater and Building 100 classroom complex are completed
Nov. 10, 2004
Aug. 21, 2005
May 2, 2006
Oct. 2, 2007
  • First Swim-to-Remember is held
Nov. 3, 2011
  • Varsity Volleyball wins the Division II CIF State Championship
Aug. 20, 2012
  • 50th Anniversary celebration kicks off
Spring, 2015
  • Stephens Family Building 200 is dedicated

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