History of SAI
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History of the Spanish American Institute
It was in 1909 that a group of concerned members of the Methodist Church in Pasadena created a non-profit organization with a dream to build a school so that Mexican boys might receive an industrial education.
Open for enrollment
The Spanish American Industrial Training School for Boys, located in Gardena, California, just south of Los Angeles, enrolled its first students in the fall of 1913 and a few years later the name was changed to Spanish American Institute.
A Legacy of Philanthropy
The Spanish American Institute would become one of Methodism’s oldest institutions in the Los Angeles area servicing the Spanish-speaking community throughout Southern California and served a useful bridge between the churches of Mexico and the United States.
Among the vocational classes taught were agricultural (vegetable and landscape gardening), poultry raising, dairying, auto mechanics, radio shop, carpentry, weaving and printing combined later with photography taking, developing and printing, wood carving, rug weaving, copper works, pottery. Some of the highly motivated and skilled boys were able to produce and sell their fine works. In the early years, the boys were instructed in shoe repair and tailoring.
The SAI Herd
Mr. Ernest E. Greenough, a Methodist Laymen of the Sunshine Farms, Merced, California, offered a foundation herd to SAI to establish a pure bred Jersey herd on the Campus. He helped build the first unit of a Dairy Barn, where a teaching unit in dairy husbandry might be carried on. Step by step, with the necessary equipment this teaching unit became the fastest growing vocational program.
The herd grew to over 200, including Holstein, Brown Swiss and Jersey. The excellent herd as exhibited at the Great Western Livestock Shows and many other competitions wining many prizes. Heifers from the SAI herd were sent aboard in the Heifers Project of Overseas Relief. Milk was processed and sold by Mayfair Creamery in Torrance and the dairy became a showplace for children’s groups from schools and other organizations.