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St. James Academy of Malabon City broke ground from the vestiges of Malabon Normal School, the first Archdiocesan Catholic teacher training institution, conceived by then Manila Archbishop Michael J.O’ Doherty in 1925 and formally opened in June 1926, with the Maryknoll Sisters taking the reins of the administration.

The first Grade School graduation took place in 1931 with 20 graduates while the High School had it in 1933.  In April 1936, the normal school and the pre-school department were moved to Isaac Peral St., Manila, now the United Nations Avenue, while the grade school and high school departments remained in Malabon.  The school in Malabon was renamed St. James Academy, after St. James the Greater, patron saint of Bishop James Anthony Walsh, M.M., the co-founder of the Maryknoll Congregation with the Maryknoll Sisters still supervising the institution.

When World War II broke out in 1941, the school was closed down but classes continued at the private residence of the Punzalan family and managed by lay teachers while the Maryknoll Sisters were interned by the Japanese in Los Baños, Laguna and at the University of Santo Tomas.

The school reopened in 1945 when the war ended.  The first high school graduation after the war took place on March 26, 1946 with 20 graduates.

In 1960, St. James Academy, being an Archdiocesan school, became an automatic member of the Manila Archdiocesan and Parochial Schools Association after the Archdiocese of Manila promulgated a decree creating MAPSA.

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