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170th Anniversary Celebration

Our 170 year journey is one of faith and transformation from the humble beginnings of the pioneering Daughters of Charity who established our first Catholic school in San Francisco in 1852, to their partnership with the Christian Brothers educating young men here since 1874. This fall, we will celebrate our past, our present and our future.

Join us on Saturday, September 10th
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In celebration of St. Vincent, Cathedral, Sacred Heart, and Sacred Heart Cathedral, our theme, DECADES, honors our graduates and families of yesterday and today, while reminding us that our history is rooted in the history of San Francisco. We will explore our 170 years of Lasallian Vincentian education in the heart of the City with a time capsule containing events beginning in the 1940s to the present in every email message we send to the community this summer.
Discover our story below.

40s students
Photo: Mr. Tyler's students take a field trip to the Bank of America building.

As the 1940s began, a world that struggled through the Great Depression quickly turned into a world at war. The 1940s saw Marvel’s introduction of its newest character, Captain America, timed appropriately with the start of US involvement in World War II. Thousands of Pacific Theater soldiers returned to the States with brightly colored, tropical-themed, short-sleeve shirts that exuded a carefree and casual image. The Aloha shirt became an icon of every-day wear and outfitted a new era of American life. GI benefits helped spark a housing boom and a baby boom, as a young, educated, middle class set their eyes on fulfilling their American Dreams. Big Band music served as a soundtrack for the decade, with musicians like Dinah Shore and Frank Sinatra leading the game. Tupperware was available in department stores, and the price of a loaf of bread was 10 cents.

The end of the ’30s saw great change for Saint Vincent High and Commercial School. The high school had grown so much that it was necessary to move it to a separate building — a four-story Edwardian building, the former Saint Francis Technical School at Geary and Gough streets. Girls wore a uniform consisting of a navy blue jumper, beige blouse with puff sleeves and a Peter Pan collar, black tie, and nylon stockings. World War II necessitated a uniform change when the beige French fabric was no longer available and nylons were rationed. As a result, a green blazer was added to the uniform, and the girls were thrilled to be able to wear Bobby Socks. The new school offered three major programs of study: college preparatory (accredited by the University of California), academic-commercial, and a general course (vocational in orientation). The school continued its one-year post-graduate commercial, secretarial course until 1945 which included shorthand, typewriting, bookkeeping, business English, filing, salesmanship, and general business training.

40s St Vincent students
Photo: St. Vincent's girls don their new kelly green uniforms.

40s students relax
Photo: Students relaxing at the corner of Eddy and Gough streets.
Coming out of the Great Depression, Sacred Heart students had trouble raising money to attend Senior Formal. With the economy on an upswing at the start of the decade, the school was able to hire Benny Goodman, the “King of Swing,” and his band for the Senior Formal Dinner Dance at the Mark Hopkins in 1940. Throughout World War II, the government called upon students to support numerous war loans and defense stamps. The Brothers found it heartbreaking to keep records of the school’s war casualties, and honored them with a commemorative plaque in the main hall. The Class of 1945 would pay tribute to their classmates with a new tradition. In conjunction with Saint Ignatius, they agreed to award an annual trophy to the winner of the majority of major sporting competitions between the two schools. The trophy was named in honor of Jerry Mahoney and William Bruce, who represented all of the graduates of both schools who died during the Second World War. In 1944, Sacred Heart dropped the word “college” from its name and became Sacred Heart High School.

Check out this link to a curated mix-tape on Spotify and dance to the songs of the 1940s

Junior Prom
Photo: Junior Prom at the House of Lawton, 1955.

The 1950s gave rise to the expectation of universal high school education, and even a college degree. By the end of the decade, color television became a reality, Alaska and Hawai’i became the nation’s 49th and 50th states, and a 42-year old seamstress by the name of Rosa Parks helped spark the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement by refusing to give up her seat on the bus. A $17 million park of eight themed areas, with thrilling rides and exhibits opened, and was regularly filled with parents and children eager to visit “the happiest place on earth.” Rock ‘n’ roll blared on the radio. Sock hops kept teens out late. Diners and drive-ins catered to young people. A Memphis disc jockey introduced a new musician by the name of Elvis Presley to the airwaves, and James Dean’s T-shirt-and-jeans-wearing rebel became an icon.

In 1955, Saint Vincent had an enrollment of approximately 325 students with ten Daughters of Charity and eight lay teachers. The Daughters dropped "commercial" from the name of the school and became Sant Vincent High School to emphasize the college-preparatory curriculum. On prom night, every girl was required to visit the Sisters at school for an inspection of both dates and dresses. The Vincenta Yearbook made its first appearance in 1956, and with forest green uniforms, every day was Saint Patrick’s Day in the miniature Emerald Isle at Geary and Gough. The Junior Red Cross held a canned food drive, and St. Mary’s reverberated with the “Aves” of the Living Rosary. Due to illness, Sister Dolores, the newly arrived principal, had to resign. Sister Loretta, assistant of the community, flew from St. Louis to take care of SVHS until Sister Rosalie arrived. The student body welcomed a new Superior.

Saint Vincent
Photo: Students in front of Saint Vincent High School, 1958.

mitty 2
Photo: Archbishop Mitty formally dedicating the new Sacred Heart High School.
At Sacred Heart High School, the 1950s were ushered in with celebration. Archbishop Mitty proclaimed on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee, “Since that day in January 1874, when the first Brothers opened the doors of the College at Eddy and Larkin Streets, Sacred Heart has contributed tremendously to the growth of the Church in the Archdiocese of San Francisco.” In 1951, the Archdiocese ordered construction of a new residence for the Brothers, a new gymnasium and cafeteria and renovated the classroom building. On Saturday, October 10, 1953, His Excellency Archbishop Mitty formally dedicated the new Sacred Heart High School and once again placed it under the protection of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Check out this link to a curated mix-tape on Spotify and dance to the songs of the 1950s

Sacred Heart HS 1960 8 copy 2
Photo: Sacred Heart High School, 1960.

John F. Kennedy became the nation’s 35th president in 1961, inspiring a nationwide era of optimism. His assassination, along the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., deeply impacted the entire country. The Civil Rights movements represented great advances for people of color, and inspired by Kennedy's inaugural speech, James H. Meredith became the first black student to attend the University of Mississippi. A then-unknown band from the UK who called themselves The Beatles, debuted on the Ed Sullivan Show, while Big Bird debuted on a new children’s television show called Sesame Street. The US sent troops into Vietnam, and the decade closed with the Summer of Love and the Woodstock Music & Art Fair in upstate New York.

In 1964 the Daughters of Charity adjusted to the needs of a modern world by giving up their cornets and changing to more functional habits. The girls' uniforms changed, too. They adopted a plaid box-pleated skirt, white blouses, and a green sweater or blazer. On September 7,1962, flames from St. Mary’s soared high in the air — the Cathedral was burning. Within hours the structure, which survived the 1906 earthquake, was left in ruins. The Daughters graciously deeded their property to the Archdiocese in exchange for the use of a new high school building at 1100 Ellis Street (today’s De Paul Campus for the Arts). The name was changed to Cathedral High School, and it became part of the Archdiocesan school system. St. Vincent was razed, and a new St. Mary’s Cathedral was built next to the school. The school became increasingly multicultural and, as early as 1967, Cathedral and Sacred Heart High began to share facilities and faculties to make a wider range of classes available to all their students.

Saint Vincent
Photo: Vincenettes express their joy of serving at the gala event, “A Night in Heidelberg.”

mitty 2
Photo: Storming through the Galileo line on the way to another TD is #76 Bill McDonagh ’67.
The turmoil of change that dominated the ’60s were deeply felt and discussed at Sacred Heart. To build a sense of camaraderie, Sacred Heart, Saint Ignatius, and Riordan held joint masses and cooperatively worked together to remind themselves that they were all part of the same church. By 1965, enrollment at SH had increased to over 800 and the faculty to 38. Social events, such as dances and rallies, played an important part in SH life. Pep rallies included car parades and entertainment. The 1960s were a successful time for sports. The baseball team won the league championship in 1960, 1961, and 1966. In basketball, SH won the AAA Crown in 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, and 1969. The 1965 football team won the round-robin AAA Championship. In 1969, a new rule required all competing student athletes to be city residents. As a result, SH left the Academic Athletic Association (AAA, the city league) and joined the Western Catholic Athletic League (WCAL).

Check out this link to a curated mix-tape on Spotify and dance to the songs of the 1960s

Sacred Heart HS 1960 8 copy 2
Photo: Cathedral and Sacred Heart students share their musical talents.

The 1970s were a time of tumultuous transitions — President Nixon resigned from office and the last American troops departed from Vietnam. The women’s movement saw the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, and a new movement to protect the Earth began. Environmental protests made an immediate impact in the collective consciousness, and the early 1970s saw the first Earth Day. In pop culture, mirror balls glistened and glittered in disco dance clubs to a soundtrack filled with songs by Donna Summer and the Bee Gees.

At Cathedral, the yearbook was called La Nouvelle to emphasize a new era. In 1975, the yearbook changed its name to The Retrospect and the school created a literary magazine called Patchwork and a newspaper called Torrian Talk. The new school continued many of Saint Vincent’s traditions such as Hello Day, Christmas Tableau, and Move Up Day. New events such as the Unity Mass, Faculty Day, and Open House for eighth graders debuted. Students participated in a variety of clubs and activities, such as Solidarity, Student Council, Choral Club and Library Club. New groups such as the Photography Club and Business Education Club were organized, and the Mental Health Club, Intercultural Club, and the Social Auction Club reflected the students’ growing social consciousness. The school population grew to about 400 students with approximately eight Daughters and 13 lay teachers.

Saint Vincent
Photo: Hello Day, Cathedral High School, 1975.

mitty 2
Photo: Track team practicing start, 1976.
On January 5, 1974, Archbishop McGucken and 20 other priests celebrated Mass at Saint Mary’s Cathedral on the centennial anniversary of Sacred Heart High School. The student body remained at over 800 with 16 Brothers and 26 lay teachers. In sports, the 1970s saw the beginning of junior varsity and freshman basketball, freshmen football and baseball, and the introduction of volleyball and cross country. The varsity baseball team was league champion in both 1970 and 1978. The basketball team was crowned WCAL Champion in 1972 and the tennis team earned the title in 1977. Construction began on a new, five-story classroom building on the half-block immediately behind SH on the south side of campus in 1977, and in 1979 an infamous food fight broke out in the cafeteria.

Check out this link to a curated mix-tape on Spotify and dance to the songs of the 1970s

Sacred Heart HS 1960 8 copy 2
Photo: Unity Mass, Cathedral High School, 1980.

Popular culture in the 1980s was about big hairdos, big shoulder pads, and the birth of cable television. Twenty-four hour news coverage and MTV played on televisions across the country. Video Killed the Radio Star by The Buggles was a definitive and fitting first video to hit MTV audiences. By the end of the decade, the ’80s laid claim to pop culture game changers like ET, Beverly Hills Cop, The Breakfast Club, Family Ties, Thriller, and Purple Rain.

In 1987, Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory became the first co-educational Catholic high school in San Francisco. The transition took three years to complete and was achieved under the leadership of Sister Joan (Audrey) Gibson, DC, and Brother Philip Clarke, FSC. With respect to both schools and their traditions, a new school seal was designed to incorporate the olive branches from Cathedral’s seal, the star from Sacred Heart’s seal, as well as the motto of each community: “Sign of Faith” and “The Charity of Christ Urges Us.” Naming the two campuses after Saint Vincent de Paul and Saint John Baptist de la Salle honored the founders of the Daughters of Charity and the Christian Brothers. Much thought was also given to the new school’s symbols. In order to honor Cathedral and Sacred Heart high schools and celebrate their new identity, Sacred Heart Cathedral combined blue, green and white as their official school colors. The name “Fightin’ Irish” used by Sacred Heart’s sports teams was kept because “Torrians,” used by Cathedral, referred to Irish female warriors.

Saint Vincent
Photo: Double Decker Dance: Double Dance, 1988.

Check out this link to a curated mix-tape on Spotify and dance to the songs of the 1980s

Sacred Heart HS 1960 8 copy 2
Photo: Sister Joan (Audrey) and Sister Frances promenade down the runway 1993.

In the 1990s after a brief recession, the US economy grew along with household incomes and a healthy stock market. The Hubble Space Telescope was launched, the search engine Google was founded, and McDonald’s began supersizing. Smoking was no longer allowed in airplanes, Dolly the sheep was cloned, and Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first Black president. With the ’90s came the birth of the Internet, and thanks to computers, events, commerce, and culture had global reach through the world wide web. Tamagotchi digital pets could be seen swinging from student backpacks, the Chicago Bulls dominated the NBA, and a sitcom about a group of Friends in New York City enraptured audiences.

In 1991 Sacred Heart Cathedral graduated its first class to have gone through four full years of co-educational high school. Their pioneering spirit helped navigate between the old traditions of the two individual schools and paved the way for new SHC traditions, such as the Walkathon. On September 7, 1994, our domain,, was first registered, bringing SHC into the digital age. Construction began in 1996 on a sixth floor added to the La Salle classroom building to house a new library, school chapel, and terrace. The first floor was also renovated to provide additional classrooms. In April 1997, Archbishop William Levada blessed the new Herbst Library and the Victor Barulich Memorial Chapel.

Saint Vincent
Photo: Brother Joseph with Archbishop John Quinn at the Mass of the Holy Spirit, 1992.

Check out this link to a curated mix-tape on Spotify and dance to the songs of the 1990s

More to come soon!

More to come soon!

More to come soon!

Everything you need to know

Sacred Heart Cathedral's 170th Anniversary Celebration 

Location: Oracle Park, 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94107

Date: Saturday, September 10, 2022

Time: 6 - 10 PM

This event is designed to be family friendly and all SHC community members and friends are welcomed! Please help us spread the word to current and alumni SHC families. Perspective families looking to join the SHC Community are also welcome, but must be hosted by a current SHC family or alumni.

Adult: $70

Young Alumni: $50 for alumni who have graduated between 2007-2022

Youth: $17 per ticket for guests ages 13-18

Child: Complimentary with a 2 ticket limit per family for children ages 12 and under. Must be accompanied by a paid adult. .

Both! We look forward to hosting guests in the Club Level of Oracle Park and there will be access to outdoor seating in the stands and special experiences to be announced this summer.

Tickets went on sale Friday, June 10 and click here to buy. We expect high demand and encourage you to purchase tickets before sales close on Wednesday, August 31.

We will have a waiting list for those who are not able to secure tickets to the event.

Select food and beverage items are included with each ticket and will be offered throughout the ballpark. Envision enjoying ballpark fare - hot dogs, popcorn, french fries, and sweet treats - all while celebrating with the SHC community at the beautiful Oracle Park. For guests 21+ select beer and wine options included.

This summer, we will announce the family friendly experiences.

While we will offer a wide selection of foods which includes vegetarian options, we cannot guarantee accommodation for guests with food sensitivities, allergies or other dietary restrictions.

Due to the size and scope of the event, refunds will be assessed on a case by case basis. If you may not be able to attend, please consider making a gift!

All gifts will benefit the Brother Joseph Fabiano, FSC and Sister Frances Meyer, DC Endowed Scholarship Funds.

Meet Brother Joseph

Meet Sister Frances

Yes! Expect to hear special moments throughout the evening highlighting our history. Dance through the decades and experience a live performance by The Boombox, a band comprised of some of the finest live and studio musicians in San Francisco Bay Area.

The Gates of Willie Mays Plaza will open at 6pm. No new entrance will be admitted after 8:30 pm. All guests must have an electronic ticket to enter. If you are 21+ be prepared to show a valid photo identification if you plan to consume alcohol.

Currently guests are not required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to enter the ballpark. We will follow guidance from Oracle Park and the SFDPH for gatherings based on venue type and expected attendance. Please check our website for the latest information, changes may come suddenly.

No alcohol (including non-alcoholic beer and wine), tobacco (including vape pens), or illegal drugs may be brought into Oracle Park. Once inside the park, alcoholic beverages may be procured with a valid photo ID throughout the park. The following restrictions apply:

•There is a two-drink limit per order.

•No alcoholic beverages may leave the ballpark with existing guests, including unopened bottles and cans.

It is of utmost importance to SHC that each and every person attending our event has a positive and rewarding experience and to that end, we invite all attendees, vendors, and others to help us realize a safe, respectful, and positive experience for everyone.

Unacceptable behavior, such as consuming your own beverages or handing alcoholic drinks to a minor, will not be tolerated. Anyone asked to stop unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately. If a guest engages in unacceptable behavior, SHC and Oracle Park may take any action deemed appropriate, including expelling the offender from the event with no refund.

Backpacks (including clear backpacks), strollers and hard sided coolers are NOT permitted, no matter the size. Other bags, including purses, fanny packs, briefcases, diaper bags, and handbags are allowed into the ballpark as long as they do not exceed 16" x 16" x 8" in size. Oracle Park does not store bags.

All bags will be thoroughly inspected before they are permitted into the ballpark. Hard-sided coolers, strollers and backpacks will not be permitted. Guests are strongly encouraged to arrive early and to allow additional time to enter the ballpark.

Arranging your trip to Oracle Park is easier than ever. We highly encourage the use of rideshare companies such as Lyft, Uber, or taxis to arrive and depart from our event. Please practice responsible drinking and driving. Learn more about all of your options at

Transit: Please check schedules for Muni, Caltrain, and the ferries.

Parking: For the most updated information regarding parking, please check the SF Giants website

Biking: Benefit from protected bikeways along the San Francisco waterfront and throughout the neighborhoods around Oracle Park and guarded bike parking and public bike racks when you arrive.

Casual! Please plan to dress accordingly for the unpredictable weather at Oracle Park. Wearing layers of your SHC gear is encouraged. 

Purchase SHC 170th Anniversary Celebration merchandise in the Irish Prep Shop today! 

Please contact with any other questions.

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