Classroom remodeling cause for celebration at St. Anthony

The new office is among the recent upgrades at St. Anthony of Padua School and Preschool. A ribbon-cutting celebration is slated for Oct. 3. (Courtesy photo)

By Gary Luster

St. Anthony of Padua School and St. Anthony Preschool will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. on Monday, October 3 to commemorate the completion of the remodeling of 11 classrooms at the school.

The celebration will begin at 9:30 a.m. with check-in at the parish hall followed by the ceremony at 10 a.m. in front of the school, which will feature a welcome message and remarks by Principal Angela Grey, School Director Sister Gisela Pedraza and Monsignor Sal Pilato.

Remarks will also be made by Bishop Mark Trudeau of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. After remarks, a tour of the preschool and elementary school will be conducted at 10:20 a.m. which will be followed by a continental breakfast in the hall.

Grey said that the improvements to the school were the results of a generous donation from a source which has chosen to remain anonymous.

According to Grey, the school’s benefactor has chosen to stay unknown so that the focus will be on the school and its modern improvements.

“Last year around October, our school received a surprise call, and we were told that we were being considered to receive a generous grant award from a donor to modernize our school,” Grey said. “Our school has been around since 1940 and was started by the Sisters of Providence, so hearing this possibility of being considered was welcome news. A few weeks later, we were notified of an award to modernize our K-8 classrooms and the office.”

Modernizing the 11 classrooms took approximately two months beginning on June 20 and involved the installation of new shelves and cabinets, new paint for the doors and the classrooms as well as new flooring. Restrooms were painted and broken windows and ceiling panels were also repaired.

While money from the school’s anonymous donor helped with the remodeling project, the school itself also chipped in for the renovations thanks to fundraising efforts. By the first day of school on Aug. 29, the renovations were complete.

Grey said the school came to the attention of its anonymous donor because of a previous collaboration in 2016 when the donor helped the school with a new playground and science lab.

Along with the improvements to classrooms, the school also saw the installation of a new soccer field, a process that took all summer from June 20 to Aug.22 and involved replacing worn-out grass with brand-new turf.

“We had green grass in the area near 161st Street last year, and we replaced it with turf over the summer because the grass would attract bugs, needed a lot of water, and was too small for students to have full games on it,” Grey said. “I don’t have dimensions, but two soccer games can take place on the green at a time. This allows up to four classes to play on the field during recess and lunch.”

St. Anthony of Padua School, a parochial school in Gardena under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, was established in 1940 and is a K-8 Catholic elementary school that strives to meet the religious, moral, intellectual, social, emotional, cultural, and physical needs of its students.

The school is committed to the transmission of the teachings and values of the Catholic Church and Christian culture to all students.

Students learn to become responsible to themselves so that they can develop their potential and God-given abilities in order to accept the consequences, both good and bad, of their free choices.

Students learn that they are not only individuals gifted by God but also members of an imperfect society in which they learn to exist, not by conformity, but by striving with others of good will to build a better world.

In 2015, the school celebrated its 75th Diamond Anniversary on June 13, the feast of St. Anthony of Padua. That July, the school was voted Best Private School in the South Bay for 2015, by the readers of the Daily Breeze newspaper.

For more information about the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 3 or to attend the event, please RSVP to 310-686-0415 or send an email to