In Recognition of the 100Th Birthday of Mercy High School Burlingame’s Kohl Mansionby Representative Jackie Speier
Posted on 2015-01-06
in the house of representatives
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Ms. SPEIER. Mr. Speaker, I rise to honor the Centennial of Mercy High
School Burlingame's Kohl Mansion, an historic and beautiful building
with deep meaning for the community and for me personally. As an alumna
of Mercy High and the mother of a daughter who also graduated from this
outstanding school, this institution has shaped my life.
Today, Mercy High School Burlingame, a Catholic college preparatory high school, educates 400 young women a year, with the majority coming from San Mateo County. About three quarters of the students are Roman Catholic and 90 percent of the students are engaged in at least one extra-curricular activity. Mercy encourages students to discover themselves and explore their dreams; they receive an education of mind, body and spirit. This recipe and small class sizes prove to be highly successful. In the class of 2014, 87 percent matriculated to four year colleges and 13 percent matriculated to community colleges.
Mercy education finds its origins in Ireland in the ministry of Catherine McAuley, the foundress of the Sisters of Mercy. Their work is marked by a special concern for the needs of the poor, in particular women and children. This tradition continues to this day.
The Kohl Mansion was originally built from 1912 to 1914 by Charles Frederick ``Freddie'' Kohl for his wife Bessie. Kohl, born in San Jose in 1863, grew up in a mansion on an estate in San Mateo, now known as Central Park. His father had made a fortune as the founder of Alaska Commercial Company and so Kohl Junior was used to an opulent lifestyle. Freddie and Bessie's travels to Europe further inspired them to build the lavish four-story Tudor named ``The Oaks.'' In 1924, the Sisters of Mercy bought the house and turned it into a chapel. When the sisters moved down the hill to a new building, Principal Sister Mary Lorenzo Murphy and seven other nuns opened Mercy High School in the mansion in 1931, admitting 36 freshmen and sophomores.
The old Kohl Mansion has embraced technology and modern facilities. Mercy launched its website in 1999. Over the decades, a state-of-the art athletic center with an Olympic size pool, a commercial kitchen, a new cafeteria and a multi-media center were built, among the many improvements. At every step of the way, the focus of the school was to provide its students with the best education and learning environment possible.
Mr. Speaker, I ask the House of Representatives to rise with me to honor one of the finest high schools in the country, Mercy High School Burlingame on the occasion of the Kohl Mansion's 100th birthday. May this historic building remain the home of education and learning for centuries to come.
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