Mayfield in Sussex, How Is It Similar or Different From Mayfield Senior?


Mayfield Senior School Archives

Photo credit Mayfield Senior school Archives Caption: Though Mayfield Girls School in Sussex, England and Mayfield Senior School in Pasadena, California are 5468.20 miles away from each other, the two schools share similarities in many ways, one being their prominent architecture.

Frances Aguirre, Staff Writer

Mayfield Senior School, has educated girls in a 100-year-old mansion along Pasadena California’s former Millionaire’s Row since 1950, but the over 300 students benefit from Mayfield traditions that go much further back to Mayfield Girls School in East Sussex England, established by Cornelia Connelly. The similarities of the two schools, both part of the Holy Child Society School network, are remarkable despite a distance spanning over 5,000 miles. 


The original Mayfield Girls School has acres of rolling green hills and forests in East Sussex, England owes its start to a chance picnic by the founder herself.  In 1863, according to Mayfield’s website” …Mother Cornelia Connelly, …escorted a small group of girls from the Holy Child School at St. Leonards-on-Sea to the ruins of the Old Palace of Mayfield. Connelly was impressed by the surroundings,“Within a matter of weeks, the estate had been purchased by the Duchess of Leeds and presented to the religious order.” Mayfield Girls school subsequently started in 1872. 


If Mayfield Senior and Mayfield Girls School share characteristic, it’s “…the joy of learning and growing together,” says Melissa Smith, who has been a teacher at Mayfield Senior in Pasadena for more than 30 years, and made the pilgrimage to the original Mayfield school for the first time in the Summer of  ’22. 


“I got to visit with my two daughters who went to Mayfield schools grades K-12,” Smith said. “Seeing the tomb of Cornelia Connelly was epic for all of us.” Another favorite thing on Smith’s visit was meeting the head of the school, who walked in from the neighboring village. One thing that Smith values about Mayfield Senior’s community is “that we are not a school that only celebrates one type of gift but that we value our community members for the different gifts they offer.” 


Both school communities prize working together towards worthy goals. The similarities are evident on the respective websites: Pasadena’s Mayfield Senior School describes their school as a school  “where the powers of faith, community, and excellence create an irresistible place of discovery that draws us together with enthusiasm every day. Our teachers are innovative, caring, and fun, creatively engaging students so that they are captivated, curious and motivated. We know how girls learn best, and we stretch their minds. With deep thought and care, we work to ensure that each student receives what she needs to be successful.” 


England’s Mayfield describes their school as a  “vibrant community,” with “A wide-ranging extra-curricular provision,” that “complements learning in the classroom. Our ‘Actions, not Words’ Programme provides opportunities to be involved in service both in the local community and further afield, ensuring that faith in action continues to be an essential part of Mayfield’s life.” 


The background between the two schools and mission statements reveal the same sentiments. For Pasadena’s Mayfield:“Mayfield’s mission is to provide young women an intellectually empowering learning community of joy and belonging, where students enact their faith and love by transforming the world with their God-given gifts.” 


Mayfield Girls school mission statement is to: “empower young women to realize their potential in a strong community rooted in the Catholic Faith, where everyone is welcomed and nurtured…” as well as “To deliver a creative, innovative, and academically enriching curriculum which enables all students to grow emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.”


Students take comfort in the common Mayfield mission. “The idea that all students need to develop all parts of themselves, not just their academics, but also themselves, their athletics, their arts, all parts of it, are part of who we are, so we need to develop all that as students,” said Sissy Parker, a member campus ministries, faith and action, and thought committee. 


“For me, it has a lot of meaning because I came from another holy child school, Mayfield Junior school, so I think being able to continue that kind of education is very special, and the idea that other people around the country and world can experience that too,” Parker said.