A Brief History
The story of St. Matthew’s Parish begins on May 2, 1949, as the preschool opens its doors to twenty-four children on Swarthmore Avenue before moving to The Garland Ranch, a beautiful piece of land hidden up a little street called Bienveneda. Situated just one mile from the Pacific Ocean, this 28-acre site has been the location of the Parish of St. Matthew and the school ever since. Oak trees and meadows, sycamores and canyon hillsides, with fittingly designed buildings for church and school, all add to the beauty of the property. Soon after the elementary grades were added in the 1950s, the day school had more than 200 students in attendance. Already, applications for enrollment far exceeded capacity. During the years since, the school has grown and flourished, adding Grades 7 and 8 in 1978.
Today there are 350 boys and girls enrolled in preschool through eighth grade. The facility houses twenty-eight classrooms including an art studio, two music and performing arts classrooms, two science labs, and more than 200 computers networked for student use. In addition to the seven classroom buildings, there is an administration building, a 13,000 volume library housed in the 20,000 square foot student center, a sports and performing arts center complete with gym, stage and lighting and sound for student productions, a swimming pool, a large playing field, six separate playgrounds, and the church which serves as the chapel. While retaining its pastoral character, virtually all facilities were newly built or significantly remodeled during the last decade, creating state-of-the-art classrooms that are both welcoming and conducive to learning.
Throughout the school’s seven decades of existence, parishioners, students, and faculty have been struck by the beauty of the surroundings, where deer still wander the spacious campus, students are actively engaged in learning, dedicated and caring teachers create innovative lessons each day, as well as the pervasive warmth of the St. Matthew’s community. Perhaps these words from the School Prayer best sum up the St. Matthew’s spirit: Teach us to be people of courage, hope and joy in all that we do. Help us to live together in kindness, respecting all things which are all part of you.