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St. HOPE’s History Builds the Foundation for its Future

By: Meagan McPhillips

With 30 years of challenges, successes and reinvention, St. HOPE proves it’s a valuable part of the Oak Park community.

History of Sacramento High School

St. HOPE was founded in 2003 but the school campus’ history dates back to the late 19th century. Named after the city, Sacramento High School started as a small one room building with less than 40 students in attendance. After several moves the school settled at its current location at 34th and Y street in 1924.[1]

For Martin Mortensen, going to Sacramento High School was a family tradition. “It was a super experience to graduate from the same high school that both of my parents attended as students. My older sister, younger sister and younger brother all graduated from Sacramento High. My wife of 58 years also graduated from the June class of 1957. Not many families can say that they had this experience.”

Photo credit: Martin Mortensen (far left) on his first day of school with friends.

The school continues some of their early traditions today including the Sac High-McClatchy High School rivalry. Each year there is an annual football game and the winning of the ‘victory bell’.[2]

In 1989, a few years into his budding national basketball career, former Oak Park resident Kevin Johnson wanted to give back to the community that raised him.[3] Johnson set up a portable classroom as an after-school program to help students and laid the foundation for St. Hope, an economic and educational success for the area.[1]


It is no surprise that Sacramento High School was chosen as the site of a new charter school program in the early 2000s. For one, Kevin Johnson attended Sacramento Charter High School.[3] His goal was to help students and improve the education