I knew St. Michael's school was a Livermore institution, but I was a bit surprised that it's been around for 100 years.

The school is celebrating its centennial year with a big event on April 27. It will begin with Mass at 3 p.m. in St. Michael Church. Former and current students and staff will wear name tags saying what class they are from.

After Mass, current students will show former students their classrooms, which have been decorated by the students for a different decade in the school's history. The students have made displays that show historical events, information on the president and pope from that decade, and examples of the decade's fashion, food, entertainment and transportation. In addition, a video will run in each classroom showing class pictures from the decade. There will be two pasta dinners starting at 5 and 6 p.m. at $12 for adults, $6 for children.

On May 18, there will be a family picnic at Monsignor Adams field across from the school. Later this year, on Sept. 20, the mayor of Livermore will present a proclamation to the parents and students of St. Michael's. Then the students will celebrate with birthday cake.

In 1913, the pastor of St. Michael's was Father Patrick Power. Father Power raised money through donations, bought some land and invited the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael to come teach young Livermore residents. The first class had 30 pupils, from grades one through seven. By 1918, there were 77 girls and 52 boys enrolled at the school. Six Dominican sisters ran the school.


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After World War II, returning soldiers enrolled their children in the school. Enrollment grew to 216 in 1951. In order to accommodate the new students, the church built a parish hall and eight more classrooms by 1958. As the Livermore lab grew, enrollment swelled even more, reaching 400 students by 1960.

That's where my family's history jumps into the story. My grandpa began working at Lawrence Radiation Laboratory in 1959. Once my mom was old enough for first grade in 1962, she became the first of eight children that my grandparents put through St. Michael's school. My mom will not allow me to show you all her first-grade class pictures from 1962 because she cut her own hair that year, and it looks hilarious.

The stories my mom, aunts and uncles tell about their years at St. Michael's school would fill up at least two columns. My uncle was the last of the eight children to go through the school and maybe by the 1970s the nuns had relaxed their firm discipline a bit. Maybe a little too much, because my uncle loves telling stories about sneaking out of the school to buy doughnuts.

By the 1970s, Father Robert Adams -- who passed away in 2010 at the age of 90 after serving the Livermore parish for 46 years -- had two more classrooms and a large convent for the sisters built. He also opened up a kindergarten class at the school. In 2004, a new school office building that houses additional classrooms was built. Today, about 300 students are enrolled in elementary and middle school at St. Michaels.

Contact Patrick Brown at pbrown@bayareanewsgroup.com.