How did Seisen start?
“Begin?...It didn’t begin! It just happened,” laughed Sister Carmen. “After the war, Air Force families asked us to run a kindergarten right where we already had one of our mission schools in a rambling house at Hatsudai, Yoyogi. So, we did. Years later they pleaded, ‘Sisters, couldn’t we have a first grade?!’ ‘All right,’ we said, ‘but no more, that’s all!’ Every fall we say no more, but somehow here we are, all the way to ninth grade!! There is a need, so…”
This excerpt was taken from an article called “Seisen School: Where Spiritual Growth is Emphasized” which appeared in a Tokyo newspaper in 1972. Seisen, which in Japanese means “pure spring”, grew from a trickling stream to a small yet forceful brook. In 1962, a kindergarten operated by the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was relocated from Yoyogi to Gotanda where it thrived. Plans for a first grade began. In September of the same year, the hope of the Handmaids and parents was realized as seven girls started first grade. With the approval of the Japanese Ministry of Education and the leadership of the first principal, Sister Rosina Gorini, classes at Seisen International School commenced.
The vision of a school that meets the needs of foreign residents began to take shape. Taking over as principal in 1964, Sister Carmen Linares began the Montessori program and had third graders as the school's "seniors". By September of 1971, the next principal, Sister Sagrario Nunez, had students from grades K-10 in her care. While the Gotanda building was overflowing, construction of a building at the current site in Yoga was underway. In 1972, classes in Yoga began. In 1973, Sister Asuncion Lecubarri took charge of students from kindergarten to grade 12. In June of 1974, she awarded diplomas to 18 students, Seisen's first graduating class.
Since its beginning, Seisen has grown from 77 students in 1962 to over 600 students. The faculty has increased from 14 to over 80 full-time and part-time teachers representing nearly 20 nationalities. In 1988, the first International Baccalaureate Diploma was awarded. In 2007, the International Baccalaureate Organization authorized Seisen to start the Primary Years Program. The growth of the Seisen family encompasses other significant facets: local and global service activities, the adoption of an annual school motto, biannual K-12 Masses, and a school-wide morning prayer each day. Not only have they strengthened the Seisen bond, but they have also spurred into action the Seisen philosophy and objectives.
In 1998, Sister Concesa Martin became the new headmistress. Miss Virginia Villegas took over as school head in 2002. In 2007, Sister Asuncion Lecubarri served as acting school head. Sister Concesa resumed the leadership of Seisen in 2008. Beginning with the 2012-2013 school year, Sister Margaret Scott is the new school head.