School History


In the year 1954 the Archdiocese of Los Angeles launched Pius X High School.   Monsignor (then Father) Joseph Sharpe (RIP 1999) was the first principal.  The gymnasium and football field were still dreams and all games were played at South Gate High School.  Construction on the main building was being completed even as school opened.  September 1956, the Warriors proudly occupied the new west (girl's) wing—finished in 1955.  The Class of '60 donated gridiron lights and scoreboard to the football field.
Father Sharpe became Archdiocesan Superintendent of Schools in 1961 and vice-principal  Father Charles Cranham (RIP 1974) became the school's second principal.  In 1964, Father Cranham took up his new position as principal of St. Paul's High School in Santa Fe Springs and Father (now Monsignor) George J. Parnassus became the third principal of Pius X High School in the Fall of that year.  Shortly afterwards, the most exciting news of all filtered out of the main office of Pius X High School and through the student body.  Construction would soon start on a new east wing addition to the high school.
Transformation: 1995-Present Day
St. Matthias High School was, since 1960, located on Stafford Avenue and Belgrade Street in Huntington Park.  In March of 1995, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles announced a school realignment transforming Pius X, a co-educational high school into a co-institutional high school with St. Matthias, phasing out the Pius X program over a three year period. About 80% of St. Matthias’ all girls student body of 300 transferred to Pius. This resulted in a larger all-girls high school located on the sprawling 17-acre Pius X campus.


Beginning with the 2013-14 school year, the all-girls St. Matthias High School will become a co-ed campus.  It will also have a new name: St. Pius X - St. Matthias Academy. The 19-acre school was previously home to the co-ed Pius X High School from 1953-95 before it became St. Matthias, a Catholic school exclusively for girls.  Monsignor Sal Pilato, superintendent of high schools for the Archdiocese, said the change will help to ensure that students have access to Catholic education at all grade levels. "In the city of Downey and the surrounding communities, the school communities of Pius X High School and the current St. Matthias High School have been an important part of serving this mission and have served it well," he said. "Communities and their  needs change over time, and schools must respond to those needs in order to remain responsive." The change comes more than a year after Loyola Marymount University's Center for Catholic Education was asked by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the St. Matthias High School board to conduct a study on the school and make recommendations for its future. The study solicited participation from parents, staff, students, board members, alumni and neighboring parish churches. "We are pleased that so many members of the community were part of the planning process that resulted in a new school a vibrant future for a campus that launched many Catholic lives over the past 60 years," Pilato said. In a statement, Archbishop Jose Gomez said "education remains essential to our Church's mission. Catholic schools have given generations of students excellent opportunities through education, and a chance to become leaders in our civic and cultural life."