In 1595, Fr. Antonio Sedeno, Fr. Pedro Cherino, and Fr. Antonio Periera, all members of the Society of Jesus, founded the first school in Cebu, the Colegio del San Ildefonso located at Calle Martires (now M.J. Cuenco Avenue). The co-educational Elementary and High School Departments served as a training school for Junior Normal and Education Students (later renamed Teacher’s College). Though it was forced to close down during the Second World War, it reopened in 1945 at the Cathedral Convent at Mabini Street ran by the Society of the Divine Word (SVD).
To afford the adolescent students a thorough Catholic training and education fitting the feminine character, the first Girls’ High School was opened in 1949 at the corner building of Jones Avenue and P. del Rosario Streets. In 1957, the administration of Girls High School was entrusted to the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Spirit (SSpS), a sister congregation of the SVD.
To accommodate the growing population in 1949, the elementary and high school departments of the Girls High School were transferred to their present site at the P. del Rosario Extension (now Alcantara Street). The five-storey building was erected with the help of the German people through Zentzaestellefur Entwicklungshilfe (National Agency for Development Aid).
The Department was under the helm of the SSpS for 43 years. In 1992, the congregation ceased to run the school. The principalship of the high school was handed over to a lay person and that of the elementary was assigned to a sister from the Order of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration (OSF) who eventually passed it on to a lay person.
In 1992, both departments were formally and separately accredited by the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities (PAASCU). Since then, they were granted five-year re-accreditation status after each visit.