Since its doors opened on September 10, 1918, St. James School has lived out the parish’s motto “to continue the praise of God”. Although the school currently serves students from Torrance and Redondo Beach, the 1892 parish originally extended from Santa Monica to Long Beach.
In 1918, ground was broken by Bishop Cantwell for St. James Catholic School, Redondo Beach. Three Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet arrived at the invitation of the bishop to teach seventy children who came from as far as Hawthorne and Lomita. At that time, St. John Chrysostom in Inglewood was the nearest Catholic school.
In 1954, four classrooms were added; by 1958 a third building was necessary, increasing the school’s size to twelve classrooms. As the South Bay continued to grow, the eight-classroom St. James Annex was erected on parish grounds in Torrance in 1963. By 1967, the enrollment of St. James reached its peak of one thousand sixty and was the largest school in the archdiocese. The physical plant had grown from four classrooms to twenty-four. Students originally attended the school site which was geographically closer to them until 1971, when the Annex classrooms in Torrance were designated for Kindergarten through Grade 5, while the Redondo campus served students in Grades 6, 7, and 8. In 1990 the Torrance site was reconfigured to accommodate Grades K-8, a computer lab, and an Extended Care Program, allowing the gradual conversion of the Redondo classrooms into a preschool and parish center. The most recent school improvements completed in 2001 include a new faculty room, expanded junior high classrooms, and modernized office space. The facility is regularly evaluated by the pastor and principal, with input received from staff and parents, so that the best use may be made of available resources in providing for maintenance and improvements. Through the years, St. James Catholic School has clearly and effectively sought to respond to changing parish and educational needs by adding, downsizing, relocating , and updating facilities as appropriate.
During the 2017-2018 school year, we will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of SJS.