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Winter 2016

Winter 2016

Features 40

LEADING THE WAY Transitions in key institutional leadership are paving the way for a new chapter in school history, energizing plans for its future.



New hands-on SHS Farm learning experience continues to pique the interest of Sacred Heart’s youngest students at the Preschool & Kindergarten.

Be humble, be simple, and bring joy to others. —St. Madeleine Sophie Barat



From learning about harvesting their own food to practicing yoga, first through third graders have enjoyed curriculum enhancements. A BLUEPRINT FOR HUMAN DEVELOPMENT


The Creative Inquiry Program, newly launched as a department this fall, is not only attracting student and faculty interest, but sparking imagination and innovation.

Departments • Letter from Director of Schools


• Around Atherton: Campus News & Highlights


• Arts-in-Action: Exploring the Creative Side of SHS


• Gator Sports: From Fundamentals to Championships


• Alumni News

58 On the cover: As part of their project in the Creative Inquiry Program, Jeffrey Birdwell SHP ’16 (left) and Harrison Colby SHP ’16 are constructing a Shelby Roadster which they hope to sell at the annual auction this spring. To learn more, please visit p. 52. 3

Sacred Heart Magazine Winter 2016

Dear Sacred Heart Community,

Editor Dana A.S. Rakoczy

2015 has been a year full of transitions and new beginnings. Over the past 12 months, we welcomed a new chair to the Board of Trustees, a new principal at the high school, and dozens of new families, faculty, and staff to our school community. We tragically and unexpectedly lost a longtime colleague and friend, and said goodbye to a significant number of retiring faculty and staff— faces that continue to be missed, even as we celebrate their well-deserved rest. We also watched with pride as our elder Class of 2015 accepted their diplomas, and welcomed with excitement our entering young preschoolers, wondering how many will go on to become alumni of the SHP Class of 2030.

Assistant Editor & Designer Diana A. Chamorro (SHP ’04) Contributing Writers Charles Boyden (LMS ’10, SHP ’14) James Everitt Contributing Photographers Guiti Adjami Ciara Bedingfield Abby Dahlkemper (SHP ’11) Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures SHS Parents Abel Sanchez/Golden Images Joel Simon Stanford Athletics Colin Watson/USA Water Polo Printing Dual Graphics Digital Copy We encourage all comments, suggestions and questions; email Please note, submissions may appear in a future issue and may be shortened for length or clarity.

2015-16 Board of Trustees Maryan Ackley, Chair Peter Bell Sandra Bergeron Devon Briger David Burke Ed Cluss David Crawford Barbara Dawson, RSCJ Richard A. Dioli Elizabeth Dunlevie Diane Flynn Cathy Friedman Duane Tim Haley Catherine Harvey Mary Henry Kristina Homer Armstrong Beth Kawasaki John Kerrigan Eric Lamb Casey Lynch Sandy McNamara Amity Millhiser Mike Mohrman Clare Pratt, RSCJ Shami Ravi Mindy Rogers Mary Pat Ryan, RSCJ Paul Rydberg Paul Sallaberry Jeff Wachtel Trustee Board Emeriti Robert Glockner John N. Hunter


The necessary evolution of our Sacred Heart family is never easy, but always constant. It means that as a school, we have to be able to navigate and adapt to change, while still meeting—and preserving—our important mission. With more than 100 years in our campus history, the evidence is strong that change is what has kept our community vital, our perspective fresh, and our school thriving. And sometimes, when you’re lucky enough, change makes possible incredible opportunity. Twelve months ago, James Everitt came to me to discuss resigning his position as principal of the high school in favor of a new challenge. As we talked it through, it became apparent to us both that his deep experience with, love for, and loyalty to Sacred Heart would be well-suited in a new position within the senior administration, focused on mission-driven initiatives, strategic planning, and direction for the Office of Equity, Justice, and Multicultural Education. It was, and has been, a perfect match, and he is already making great strides leading the school’s current Living Agenda initiatives. The vacancy left behind at the high school, however, meant the possibility for another perfect match, and the return of one of my favorite alumnae, Jennie Whitcomb. Accomplished, experienced, and with unwavering conviction in the power of our Sacred Heart mission, Jennie has ably taken the reins from James, christening a new era at the Prep and signifying an even stronger collaborative team at the senior leadership level. In 2007 as I exchanged my own position as Prep principal for Director of Schools, I handed the “house keys” over to James. The house he inherited, supported by the Goals and Criteria, was solid and very sturdy. During his tenure, James had the opportunity to move walls, change the furniture, and basically remodel the structure the way he wanted it to be. And now it is Jennie’s turn to make the house hers. Looking back over the incredible history of this institution and its many ups and downs, it becomes very clear just how this school has weathered and embraced change over time. It is the fidelity to our mission and the legacy of the RSCJ that are our constant, that have given our school—our home—its unshakable foundation. And no matter the era, the leadership, or iteration of our school, we can rest assured that is something that will never change. Sincerely,

Richard A. Dioli Director of Schools

CELEBRATORY ART: Lower School students collaborated to create a traditional Rangoli in preparation for SHS’ Diwali celebration on October 22.



Prep Freshman Named Standout in STEM Cevasco (SHP ’19) earns national recognition for science experiment Hannah Cevasco is bringing new meaning to the term “honey do.” With an extensive examination into the natural properties of this common sweetener—specifically, honey that traces its origins to tree pollen native to New Zealand—she has crafted a convincing argument for Manuka honey as an anti-inflammatory and wound healant. Working in a lab at Stanford University, Cevasco applied different diluted concentrations of the honey to a sample of skin cells, monitoring the results over a period of 32 consecutive hours, and comparing both the overall effect and efficacy for each level. For her project, Cevasco was selected from more than 6,000 entrants around the country for the annual Broadcom Masters competition. Earning first place in the state of California, she sailed through the semi-finalist round then headed to the finalist matchups held in Silicon Valley last fall. Scored over the course of five days, the top 30 competitors were teamed to tackle a series of complex STEM projects involving engineering, biotech, and marine biology, among others.

When the final results were in, Cevasco, who plans to be a pediatric oncologist, walked away with one of two top honors in the science category and well-deserved accolades from the distinguished panel of judges.

From the PSK to the Prep, the SHS community came together to donate electronic plush toys to the SHP DREAM (Design, Robotics, Engineering, Arts, and Math) Lab to be modified for children with physical limitations. The high schoolers soldered a cord to the toy’s electronic board to make it work with assistative technology switches.


An annual tradition at the PSK, students in Room 1 visit Oakwood prior to the Christmas break to spend time with the RSCJ, and perform songs they have learned over the fall.

Greater Good

Berry (SHP ’17) awarded for service with statewide impact SHP junior Max Berry knows that sometimes the best way you can support children with special needs, is to ensure that they have as many opportunities possible to feel like a regular kid. Which is why, in early 2014, he began a herculean effort to bring an established basketball camp out to California in order to provide a local group of young children with epilepsy and their siblings the chance to play. Late last spring, thanks to Berry’s determination, Bounce Out the Stigma—a camp begun by Harlem Wizards pro athlete “Mighty” Mike Simmel—took up brief residence at the Rogers Practice Pavilion, aided by student-athletes and staff in the Gator sports programs and serving several excited campers. And, because of its great success on the West Coast this inaugural year, the camp is now committed to return to the Bay Area next spring, hosted by the NBA Sacramento Kings—a sponsorship Berry helped to secure. Thanks to these outstanding efforts and other service given as an AYSO soccer coach for kids with special needs, Vocalid Ambassador, and board member for the Young Adult Leadership Council, Berry and his mother have been named the Epilepsy Foundation of Northern California’s 2015 Volunteers-of-the-Year. They were recently

honored at a gala event for their tremendous work in the support of these children, giving them voice, encouraging opportunities, and raising community awareness.

Over fall, SHS welcomed four students hailing from three different Sacred Heart schools in Spain and Australia. While on campus, visitor from Sacred Heart-Kincoppal-Rose Bay had the quintessential SHP experience, learning how to milk—and herd— an obstinate resident goat.

As part of the LMS author/illustrator series, Eric Comstock visited on September 22 to read his recently published book Charlie Piechart and the Case of the Missing Pizza Slice. Pictured: Comstock with the three Charlies in first and second grades.


Building Bridges

India Project welcomes inaugural ambassador for Atherton residency About five years ago, SHS initiated an effort to build bridges with the Sacred Heart educational institutions in India, raising awareness, funding, and other means of support for the extraordinary education and empowerment work being done by the RSCJ and Sacred Heart educators in Mumbai and rural India. As part of this “ India Project,” a total of seven faculty from the Atherton school have been awarded scholarships to visit the schools in India, learn from faculty and students there, and explore the work of the RSCJ in the community. Selected at the conclusion of the last academic year, two more faculty are returning over the 2015-2016 year. In addition, three SHP students have also spent time at the Indian schools as part of the initiative—two in a reciprocal exchange program, and one engaged in service learning. For the first time since the project’s inception however, a teacher from Sophia College—a Sacred Heart school in Mumbai— traveled to the Atherton campus for a two-week U.S. residency in November, teaching courses and engaging with the greater community. A biology scholar, Latika Sethi brought global perspective to SHP science courses, taught about Hinduism, meditation, and biodiversity, and also shepherded the high school community through her native cultural festival of Diwali. Interviewed about her experiences for a local news organization, Sethi commented on the differences she found between her Sophia

Biology teacher Latika Sethi, SHS’ first “Project India” ambassador from Mumbai, spent two weeks on the Atherton campus.

students and those at SHS, and how she feels the experience might modify her approach to teaching. “The students here are much more independent and more experienced in general,” she said. “Our students in India tend to be a little more sheltered and protected... [What I’ve learned here is that] I need to work on the students’ personality, to follow how their minds are working...[not deviating] from the syllabus, but building on their perceptions.”

Sampling the Continents

Middle School students trade California for adventures abroad Primed for adventure and ready to take their Sacred Heart lessons on the road, last summer 32 Middle School students exchanged their familiar surroundings in Atherton for trips through Japan and the wilds of Costa Rica to explore, learn, and serve abroad. An Untraditional Field Trip Behind many months of preparation, 14 seventh graders embarked on a seven-day trip to Japan to immerse themselves in the culture, and present their research and suggestions at the United Nations (UN) library in Tokyo. Unlike a traditional school trip, students were expected to work independently and manage their own immigration process, currency exchanges, budgets, and dining, similar to what would be expected on an internship. The students enjoyed visiting historic sites, and experiencing customary dining experiences while in Japan.


As part of the field study trip, the students experienced international diplomacy first-hand with presentations on three different topics at Tokyo’s United Nations university library.

Relfection, meditation, and prayer in Kyoto and Hiroshima opened the trip, before students navigated to Tokyo’s UN university library to prepare for their UNICEF presentations. Three groups presented on developing programs that aid children following natural disasters, building and increasing UNICEF awareness, or creating a museum exhibition at UNICEF, experiencing first-hand international diplomacy. While in Tokyo, Sacred Heart was close to their heart throughout the day, as they held a memorial for Middle School teacher Michael Murphy. The students also appreciated the universal connection all students of the Sacred Heart share during a visit to the Tokyo Seishin Joshi Gukuin school. Despite a language barrier, the students quickly connected over their common bonds.

Wanting to leave a tangible memory behind at the end of their brief stay, the Sacred Heart students en masse decided to give their bracelets, bearing “Costa Rica 2015” on one side and “Murph” on the other (honoring the passing of Mr. Murphy), to the children at the school. Rounding out their journey, students were thrilled to explore Costa Rica’s somewhat wilder side, which entailed zip lining through a rainforest suspended 400 feet above ground, visiting a butterfly sanctuary, meeting up with crocodiles on a river tour, rafting and canyoning, and battling wits with food-stealing monkeys at the beach in Manuel Antonio National Park, one of the premiere natural parks in Latin America. But the students’ final destination prior to heading back to the U.S. may have proved most challenging of all—a Latin dance class, steeped in the fast action and fast rhythms that characterize the country’s popular dances.

The trip culminated with enjoying the sights and sounds of nightlife of the bustling city, and a visit to Tokyo Disneyland and Disneysea. Pura Vida Also embarking over summer, a journey to Costa Rica had 18 seventh and eighth graders exploring both the mountains and shores of the coastal country. Stopping first in Sarchi, the students visited a factory to learn about traditional oxcart painting. Of great historical importance to turnof-the-century Costa Ricans transporting grains and coffee from the agricultural interior to the rugged coastline, the colorful designs painted on the wheels and carts served to identify both the owner’s native region, as well as social status. Next on the itinerary was a vist to a small village school with an attached farm nestled in mountainous terrain. An afternoon of dancing, singing, and group conversation between locals and visitors proved enlightening about common dreams and goals, despite geographical and cultural differences. In Saarchi, students learned about the history of oxcart painting, used to identify an owner’s social status and home region.


Oh, the Places You’ll Go! International exchange lures 15 from SHP

Each year, Sacred Heart Prep participates in the Network of Sacred Heart Schools’ student exchange program, a travel-study program for qualifying applicants to briefly attend other select Sacred Heart schools in the United States and abroad. The purpose of the program is to enable students the opportunity to experience a Sacred Heart education from a global perspective, while taking part in local customs and traditions relevant to the region of immersion. During summer of 2015, 15 SHP students traveled to six different countries as part of the reciprocal exchange program, visiting Sacred Heart schools and residing with families in Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, and Spain. Participating SHP students range in age from entering freshmen to seniors, and their travelstudy experiences lasted approximately four weeks. Intended to complement the Sacred Heart educational experience, the Network Exchange program has been operating for a number of years. Student applicants selected for exchange assignments must have demonstrated a consistent and sound academic performance and history of positive social behavior.

Exploring the beauty of Austria on a reciprocal exchange, Kyra DiMarco (SHP ’17) visits Salzburg with her host family.

Worldly Wise

Student investigates UN-RSCJ connection First delving into the United Nations system as a member of the eighth grade “Government Team” and Middle School Model UN delegate, Zack Pendolino (LMS ’14, SHP ’18) was inspired to learn more about the global organization and its active role in promoting peace and justice. Discovering that the Society of Sacred Heart was granted a formal association with the UN’s Department of Public Information as recently as 2014, and that it now has special consultative status as a non-governmental organization with UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), his interest was further sparked to find a connection.

(Left): Zack Pendolino (LMS ’14, SHP ’18) volunteers with the RSCJ Province liaison to the UN. (Right): The SHP Model UN team readies for the Stanford Model UN Conference in November. For the second consecutive year, SHP teamed up with Duchesne Academy in Nebraska, to form a single group: the Omaha-Atherton Model UN team.


Enter Sr. Cecile Meijer, RSCJ, Province liaison for the Society of the Sacred Heart at the UN, and Pendolino’s mentor this past year. Working with Sr. Meijer, Pendolino has sharpened his knowledge of UN issues and impact, context that he is utilizing as a continuing member of the SHP Model UN team. Additionally, he was able to add a publication credit to his resume this past November, contributing an article about International Migrant’s Day to the Society’s website, which has since been translated into both French and Spanish.

All Saints Day

Annual Madeleine Sophie Awards honor spirit of RSCJ founder Joining a select cadre of RSCJ, educators, parents, alumni, and staff, four members of the SHS community were honored with the 2015 St. Madeleine Sophie Award: Margaret Beltramo, past parent and former trustee; Bill Campbell, past parent; Jesús Ramos, SHP faculty member; and Marie VauDell, past parent and staff member. “Each in their own way, Margaret, Bill, Jesús, and Marie have demonstrated outstanding commitment to our school and its educational philosophy,” said Director of Schools Richard A. Dioli during the formal ceremony in late September. “As a result, countless students have benefited from their leadership, their loyalty, and most of all, their hearts.”

St. Madeleine Sophie Awardees (l to r): Bill Campbell, Margaret Beltramo, Director of Schools Richard A. Dioli, Marie VauDell, and Jesús Ramos.

Honoring their friends and colleagues, those introducing the recipients shared the litany of dedicated service and numerous contributions each has given the school over the years.

Recognizing Margaret Beltramo’s “embodiment of the Sacred Heart spirit, her gentleness, and unfailing courtesy,” Nancy Morris, RSCJ and former director of schools, underscored her “indelible mark on campus,” from leadership of the Mother’s Club in the 70s, linking SHS with Peninsula Bridge Program to support student access, supporting a number of tough institutional decisions in the 80s as a member of the board of trustees, and as “inventor” of the annual auction fundraiser. Detailing Bill Campbell’s enduring relationship with the school community, trustee and past parent Mindy Rogers enumerated the various roles he has played. “It’s difficult to accurately paint a picture of his contributions across almost 30 years and in so many different dimensions...Bill has clearly defined principles and lives them with an intensity and commitment that is truly inspiring.” Citing his legacy at Sacred Heart, Rogers noted his time as football coach for St. Joseph’s, his uncanny ability to connect with and support students in need of a mentor or friend, his guidance in the development of the school’s athletic programs, and the establishment of the eighth grade powder puff football game. SHP faculty member Jesús Ramos was feted in both Spanish and English, respectively by Karen Filice, director of advising, and James Everitt, former SHP principal. In their humorous and heartfelt remarks, both emphasized Ramos’ deep faith and the framework it provides in his professional life; his energy and joy

in the classroom as a “transformational” approach; his leadership of the Sacred Heart Society student organization; and his unfailing generosity as both teacher and colleague. Marie VauDell, SHS controller and past parent, was praised by CFO Susan Raffo for committing her “heart and soul” to the school’s wellbeing, ensuring that institutional spending decisions embody the spirit of the Goals and Criteria. “In every decision she makes, she takes into consideration not only the students of today, but ensuring that the school will be here for future generations as well....‘For the sake of one child’ truly is Marie’s mantra.” But the highlight for VauDell, and perhaps of the night, was a filmed, personal tribute from her son, Tyler (SJS ’09, SHP ’13), who is currently away at college. “I’m so proud of you, Mom. You are what Sacred Heart means to me,” he said. Congratulating the awardees, Sr. Morris explained the importance of celebrating the founder’s legacy through the acts of current community. “St. Madeleine Sophie was a tiny lady with a sharp mind and a huge heart,” she began. “For most of us, the journey between head and heart takes a lifetime. But it is this balance between head and heart that characterizes the spirituality of Sacred Heart schools everywhere, and it is for this achievement that we acknowledge our recipients tonight.”


SHS Lauded by SHCOG Visiting Committee

Following up on school’s self-study, team offers commendations, recommendations Begun in fall of 2014, the Sacred Heart Commission on Goals (SHCOG) review process has nearly completed, with the school’s self-study submitted to the Provincial headquarters in early October 2015, followed by a formal visit, constituent interviews, and report filed by an assigned Visiting Committee in November. Comprising members of other U.S. Sacred Heart schools, the Committee spent four full days on the Atherton campus, talking with current and past parents, alumni, faculty and staff, and a number of students about how they perceive the Goals and Criteria are authentically lived out in the curriculum and in the community. On the final day of their visit, the Committee delivered their thoughts on the experience, lauding school leadership, campus culture, and the academic program, among others, as particularly commendable in the pursuit and adherence to the Goals and Criteria. Concluding their report, the Committee wrote, “Our role here over the last few days has been to listen to the voices in your Sacred

Heart community, to help you further the reflection you already began through your self-study process, and offer a fresh perspective to that which you have already identified as areas of strength and challenge. “We leave Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton transformed...You have six new followers and friends on the Visiting Committee. It has been our honor and privilege to explore the Goals and Criteria of Sacred Heart Education with you, in turn deepening our own commitment to these Goals we hold dear.” The SHCOG process is expected to conclude in February of 2016, resulting in a five-year extension of “accreditation” by the Provincial and U.S.-Canada Province team.

A World of Difference

SHS language faculty not remotely lost in translation elementary through graduate programs, the packed three-day event provided the SHS educators with access to innovative programs, research-informed practices, and cutting-edge technologies that are significantly transforming the ways in which language is taught and proficiency is measured. Capitalizing on this theme, SHP Mandarin teacher Minghui Anderson and two colleagues were invited to deliver a presentation on the critical impact of “comprehensible input” on developing and deepening language aptitude, in both face-to-face and online lesson formats. Of particular interest to the SHS faculty attending the conference was the emphasis on engaging students as language users, and not just learners, and each mentioned a number of viable ideas and “good reminders” that were shared—for example, the importance of also framing assessments in authenticity and interculturality; using World Languages faculty Jessica Huang, Elana Tao, Christiane Gautier, real-world examples and readings, games, and projectand Minghui Anderson attend the ACTFL conference in San Diego. based learning as ways to increase student motivation; Looking to expand their knowledge about educational best incorporating contemporary themes; and continuing to value both practices, sample current research in student assessment, and proficiency and performance. find creative inspiration from thousands of fellow language professionals across the country, seven members of the world As Dr. Christiane Gautier, head of the SHP Department of World languages faculty at both LMS and SHP journeyed to San Diego for Languages, summed it up, “We enjoyed attending many insightful the national conference of the American Council on the Teaching presentations and workshops. There is no doubt that these will of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), “Inspire. Engage. Transform.” continue to spark great conversations with all language colleagues on how we approach our work. This was an excellent professional With more than 700 hands-on sessions, panels, and workshops development opportunity, and all of us are very grateful to the designed for language instructors and administrators from school for its sponsorship.” 10

Mapping the Road Ahead

“Living Agenda” zeroes in on five initial areas of focus Ensuring that priorities outlined in Vision 2025 are realized, Sacred Heart’s new strategic planning process—the Living Agenda—has brought to light five major areas of immediate emphasis to be addressed over the course of the next 10 months: Health & Wellness, Instructional Technology, Diversity & Inclusion, Sustainability, and Integration of Goal III (Service) with the Student Experience. The work of each initiative will be tackled by respective crosscampus task forces, charged with gathering data, analyzing current programs, and making recommendations to the school’s senior leadership. Aggressively pursuing those areas that emerge In September, SHS partnered with local nonprofit StarVista to convene a panel of experts in the from the Living Agenda, the school fields of mental health, education, and advocacy. Open to the larger public and marketed to a will meet its annual and longnumber of local school communities, the event, “Navigating the Tides of Adolescence,” drew an attendance of approximately 500 parents and educators to Harman Family Assembly Hall, with range goals, ensuring delivery of compelling curriculum and programs participants sharing insight, fielding audience questions, and offering personal stories of impact. that actively reflect the Goals and Criteria, educational research and best practices, and ongoing and perception of its effectiveness on student achievement. The evaluation. assigned task force began work in January 2016. Underway since spring of 2015, the Health & Wellness initiative began with a broad survey to determine common and immediate themes across school constituencies. An analysis of the approximately 1,500 completed surveys revealed three priority topics to address—mental health and stress, social issues, and healthy living. A broad overview of the survey results was delivered at Parents’ Association meetings in fall, and individual workgroups have developed and are studying each subtopic in depth. Launching campus-wide dialogue on the theme of health and wellness, the school partnered with local organization StarVista to present “Navigating the Tides of Adolesence” in early September, a panel discussion featuring experts in the field of mental health, with moderator Rachel Myrow, KQED journalist, and Julie Lythcott Haims, author of best-seller How to Raise an Adult. Several smaller group discussions followed this event and have been focused on supporting parents in their efforts to raise healthy children. Those planned for future will explore teen depression and anxiety, substance abuse, and contemporary research on the importance of sleep. Currently in the data collection stage via student, parent, and faculty surveys, the Instructional Technology initiative will closely examine each population’s use of instructional technology

With a penultimate goal to ensure—in practice, programs, and policy—an inclusive, Christ-centered community in which each member is “welcomed, valued, cared for, and respected,” the Diversity & Inclusion initiative and its task force will formally launch in February. Also starting in February, the Sustainability initiative task force will investigate the wide range of relevant issues and available resources associated with institutional perseverance: environmental, financial, and human, among others. A detailed roadmap will be crafted and delivered to the Board of Trustees in May. The Integration of Goal III into the Student Experience initiative is intended to focus on curricular programs, identifying the moment, or moments, when students are engaged in direct service, advocate on behalf of those who are marginalized, and analyze and act on social justice issues. A broad examination will include looking at ways in which other Network schools are successfully implementing Goal III and its criteria, as well as lessons learned. In particular, the task force will seek to identify ways in which the school’s educational philosophy on service and reflection can be more systemically and seamlessly fused with its curricular program.


Community Welcomes New Directors Rogers, Dwyer, Robinson fill key positions Coupled with significant leadership transitions in 2015 (see story p. 42), three new directors began their Sacred Heart tenure, filling critical roles within institutional operations. Joining the SHS community in July, new Director of Institutional Advancement Karen Rogers is a recent transplant from the Midwest’s Marquette University, where she served as managing director for regional development, overseeing active fundraising teams in California, New York, Washington, DC, and the Twin Cities. Certified as a financial planner and fundraising executive, her prior experience encompasses the nonprofit, healthcare, and education realms. In her new role at Sacred Heart, she leads all institutional fundraising and communications, donor cultivation, and relationship management efforts, and is a member of the senior administration.

Karen Rogers

Replacing retiring veteran COO Sandy Dubinsky, Director of Operations Mike Dwyer began with SHS last March. Coming to Sacred Heart from Morrison & Foerster, LLP in Palo Alto, Dwyer served for more than a decade as the operations and facilities manager for the law firm’s extensive practice, experienced in all aspects of plant as well as personnel planning and supervision, sustainability initiatives, and efficiency improvements. With a background encompassing healthcare, commercial banking, and retail industries, he has a vast skill set in operations, business and people management, and in safety and security. In his current role,

Mike Dwyer

Kim Robinson

Dwyer oversees the physical plant for the 64-acre campus, leads the operations and grounds teams, and serves as a member of the senior administration. Assuming leadership for the high school’s Center for Student Success in September, Kim Robinson is a seasoned educator, credentialed in language, speech and hearing rehabilitative services, and a licensed speech-language pathologist. Previously working with local school districts in Atherton and Menlo Park, as well as with Temecula Valley Unified in Southern California, Robinson is highly experienced in student assessment, as well as interventive and remedial practices. Partnering with parents, faculty, and students, she has developed a number of individual educational plans to address a wide variety of learning styles/ learning differences, ensuring students receive the appropriate accommodations and resources to achieve success.

Integrating their chemistry studies and creativity, Prep students celebrated Mole Day to commemorate Avogadro’s Number (6.02 x 1023)—a basic measuring unit used often in the science discipline. Pictured: Director of Schools Richard A. Dioli with “Mr. Dimoli”

On October 23, the LMS student council helped organize the eighth grade’s Special Olympics soccer clinic for local elementary and high school students in San Mateo County.


Golden Dream

Best of the west showcased in 2016 senior Fashion Show Surfboards, ski gear, the glitz of Hollywood, and the staple of sunshine all featured large in this year’s annual fashion show, California Dreamin’, as members of the Class of 2016 took to the runway for their annual rite of passage. Ably guided by cochairs Margaret Matthews, Lisa Safreno, and Tiffany Woodruff, the event emerged as a true spectacle, reflecting a genuine love for the Golden State. Beginning the night, arrivals were greeted with a stunning replica of the Golden Gate Bridge suspended over the reception bar, a feast for the eyes and the talk of the entryway. Heading over the “Dock of the Bay” and into the golden-washed tent, senior moms and dads settled in for a show that began with an a cappella performance—of course, The Mamas and The Papas’ harmonious hit, “California Dreamin’,” sung by nine accomplished senior vocalists. Throughout the next hour, the 145 models hit the stage attired in ensembles from 15 different fashion labels. In themed segments such as Surf’s Up, Organic Life, and Road to Code, complete with changing backdrops and musical accompaniment, the students confidently ran the gamut of both style and humor for their individual turns in the spotlight. Capping the evening and stealing the show, the final scene celebrated SHP’s moniker as the “Second Happiest Place on Earth” in a wholly appropriate way—seniors sporting mouseketeer ears, and singing a parody of the famous club’s theme song, with signs spelling out “Sacred Heart” in place of Mickey Mouse. Former headmistress for the Lwanaga Girls Training Center—a Sacred Heart school in Uganda—Sr. Noellina Namusisi visited campus in October. Meeting with student groups and faculty, she gratefully acknowledged the financial support extended to the African schools, and discussed the value of women’s education in her home country.

An annual Thanksgiving tradition, students at the PSK contribute vegetables from home, and take turns helping cook a communal meal aptly named Gratitude Soup.


A Lasting Impact

Sophie Amid-Hozour (LMS ’13, SHP ’17) raises $50,000 for the St. Francis Youth Club After seeing a presentation during the Freshman Service Day in 2013-14, Sophie Amid-Hozour was inspired to volunteer at the Catholic Charities’ St. Francis of Assisi Youth Club over her summer break. “I originally was going to go to the Youth Club to complete my graduation requirement of 25 hours, but instead fell in love with every kid and completed about 75 hours my first summer,” said Amid-Hozour about her personal growth and the connection she developed towards the volunteer organization. After being introduced to the nonprofit and the work it does in the local community with youth, she quickly realized the effect she could have. “I wanted to get more involved this past summer because I realized how much work the program director Mar Y Sol (Alvarado) had, and it seemed like too much for just one person,” she said. Taking on a larger role, Amid-Hozour served as an intern under Alvarado with the goal of learning how to run a nonprofit organization and ultimately make a lasting impact.

St. Francis of Assisi Youth Club Program Director Mar Y Sol Alvarado (right) presenting Sophie Amid-Hozour (LMS ’13, SHP ’17) her awards this summer.

The latter goal sparked the idea to host her own fundraiser to raise awareness and money for the youth club, which resulted in her raising an incredible $50,000.

Amid-Hozour, who plans to intern again with the organization in the summer of 2016, was recognized with the Angel Award for her hard work and dedication.

Stirred Up

Inaugural Chili Cook-Off raises funds for the arts With scents of garlic, tomato, and hot-to-hotter peppers in the air, SHS’ first Chili Cook-Off kicked off on Dioli Circle this fall, accompanied by the symphonic sounds of the SHP band and a number of musical acts, and marked by a friendly competition among more than 20 teams of students, parents, faculty, and staff. From the sweet, tangy notes of “Island Style Chili” to the stinging heat of the cross country team’s “Chili Worth Chasing” entry, the mouth-watering spread attracted more than 200 guests to sample, judge, and crown the champions, the “Hung Out to Dry Chili” team of SHP parents Greg and Anne St. Claire and friends. But the undisputed real winner of the night was the SHS Fine Arts Program, which took in over $4,000 in support, and scored a tremendous event launch. The idea for this community culinary throw-down had been suggested by outgoing SHP Principal James Everitt, and the Fine Arts Boosters seized upon the opportunity to establish a yearly community fundraiser that would both raise money and raise awareness for the variety of quality arts programs available at the 14

school. In a nod to competition’s brainchild, the night of the event heralded its re-christening to the “James B. Everitt Annual Chili Cook-Off.”

Generations Unite

Annual Grandparents’ and Special Persons’ Day continues to highlight fall An annual event for students in preschool through eighth grade, Grandparents’ and Special Persons’ Day has become a can’t miss occasion for both the students and their special guests. On November 25, Sacred Heart welcomed more than 250 grandparents and friends to campus for a day to showcase the community their students are a part of. For Blair Stratford and her husband Gerald, the opportunity to spend quality time with their three grandchildren, Ben (LMS ’12, SHP ’16), Marina (LMS ’14, SHP ’18), and David (LMS ’18) Barrera, in the classroom has become a yearly highlight. “I think Grandparents’ Day is really special,” said Stratford, who has attended the annual event for nearly a decade. “By attending a couple of classes, you get to see the interaction between faculty and students, and it gives you a better picture of what’s going on in your grandkids’ life at school.” Stratford, who lives locally and is a regular visitor to campus to watch her grandchildren participate in extracurricular activities, notes that Grandparents’ Day allows those from afar to get a firsthand Sacred Heart experience.

Gerald (left) and Blair Stratford, pictured with grandson David Barrera (LMS ’18), have enjoyed attending events and activities on campus throughout the years, especially Grandparents’ and Special Persons’ Day with their three grandchildren.

“They get a taste and a feel for what the school is about,” she added. “You can hear about it from the kids, from the parents, but to actually see it—I think makes a big difference.”

Stratford happily knows they are in the right environment to help them develop into well-rounded individuals.

Stratford has seen the impact being a student at Sacred Heart has had on her grandkids, and appreciates the opportunities they have had while on the Atherton campus.

While their eldest grandson, Ben, will be graduating in June, the Stratfords will look forward to joining their younger grandchildren on campus in the coming years for recitals, performances, and, of course, next year’s Grandparents’ and Special Persons’ Day.

“It is an incredible school, and I think Grandparents’ Day shows that the school really does believe in [educating] the whole person,” she explained. “As a grandparent, I can’t speak highly enough of the school. Academically it’s good, but it is a happy place, and it’s a happening place.”

“We love Grandparents’ Day, and we would never miss it. If someone were away, they would be back in time for it. It means a lot to the kids,” she concluded.

As her grandchildren continue to enjoy the opportunities both in and out of the classroom,

Each year the annual event begins with a breakfast, mingling, and remarks from school administrators, followed by classroom visits, and a prayer service. If your child’s grandparent or special friend would like to join our mailing list, please submit their information to:



Student internship pays off in experience, mentorship While many college-aged students and young professionals are vying for dream jobs at premiere startups like Facebook, Roger Trejo (SHP ’17) has already been there, done that. At a mere 16 years of age, he’s already had a chance to experience work life at the Silicon Valley giant, one of only 20 young high school students—and one of two SHP students—selected for a competitive, six-week paid internship through Facebook’s Summer Academy, learning numerous facets of the tech business, networking, shadowing, and getting one-to-one mentorship with key employees, and, of course, enjoying the many notable perks available to Facebook staffers. Part of Facebook’s efforts to give back to the local community, the program is intended to develop a stronger pipeline for students in STEM fields. For Trejo, whose interest in computers had only recently bourgeoned, it was an opportunity that came at precisely the right time—just after he discovered the value of virtual. “It wasn’t until I took a computer science class last spring that I really got interested in techie stuff,” he says. “What I love about it is that you have the ability to create something out of scratch—that you don’t have to have any materials really, and you can create basically anywhere,” says Trejo, who has become a self-taught coder and is developing a couple of gaming and organizational apps. “At Facebook, I was able to choose the department to work with, anything from marketing and HR to business. I decided to intern with the IT [division], handling software and hardware issues that employees had with their PCs and Macs. While interns didn’t take on all the hours that the staff did, we did help relieve some of the [volume]. So it really taught me a lot not just about how to [find

Director’s Day On January 4, the entire Sacred Heart faculty, staff, and administration participated in its third annual service day, living out the school’s educational mission and spiritual philosophy. Following morning prayer and reflection, the 280 employees broke into smaller teams and headed to 17 sites from Redwood City to San Jose to lend a helping hand. Those benefiting included Second Harvest Food Bank, InnVision Shelter Network, My New Red Shoes, and many others. Pictured at right, the team assigned to Byrne Preserve in Los Altos Hills.


and resolve] problems, but also more about the basics of computers themselves.” Concluding the internship, Trejo took part in a presentation about his time spent on the Menlo Park campus, before an audience of family, friends, and fellow Facebook colleagues. “We talked about what we learned, what was most valuable. For me, it was defnitely the people we encountered, in our [tasks] and on campus. You’re surrounded by these incredibly intelligent people from different areas [of expertise], so I had access to all this insight—what they do now, how they got to where they are, and any tips I might be able to use in my own future. It really was the best part of the whole experience.” Trejo continues to be in contact with his summer mentor, a Facebook engineer, and hopes to expand his resume further with other opportunities in technology.

In Memoriam

Community mourns passing of beloved Sacred Heart educator, coach, and parent Early this past June, the Sacred Heart community mourned the untimely passing of Michael E. Murphy, teacher, colleague, coach, and deacon with the school for nearly a quarter century. Murphy lost his life during a hiking accident, only a few days following his participation in the LMS eighth grade commencement exercises on campus. A Bay Area native, Murphy attended St. Francis High School and Santa Clara University, and spent time as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army. In the decades that ensued, he married, began a family, and acquired both a teaching credential and master’s in religious studies. In 1992, he began his tenure at Sacred Heart, as teacher and coach. Ordained a deacon in 2006, Murphy regularly served St. Charles Parish in San Carlos, as well as on campus. Known as a great friend to many, with a deep spirituality and terrific sense of humor, Murphy was especially close with the students he shepherded as a Middle School religious teacher and basketball coach. With great care and patience, he came to know each and every one of his students, knew their interests and histories, encouraged their dreams, and counseled their concerns. An exceptional colleague, “Murph” was a dedicated member of the Sacred Heart community, even assuming an interim principalship at the request of Director of Schools Richard A. Dioli, when the elementary school was in need of temporary leadership. In 2008, he was recognized with the St. Madeleine Sophie Award for exemplary service to the school community and reflecting the attributes and attitudes of our founder. In November of 2015, he was further posthumously awarded with the St. Joseph’s School Henry Schimpf Award, for outstanding contributions to the elementary school’s athletic programs.

candlelight prayer service on campus attended by well over 400, including his wife Natalie and son Patrick (SJS ’03, SHP ’07). A memorial scholarship established in his honor has, to date, raised close to $200,000 to support qualifying students in the elementary grades. To donate to the Michael E. Murphy Scholarship, please visit

As the Sacred Heart community learned of Mr. Murphy’s tragic loss, the rally of support was immense and swift, beginning with a

Worth 1,000 Words Capturing the essence of Murphy’s personality, his ubiquitous and larger-than-life presence on campus, and his indelible impact on the community he served and students he taught, a tributary book was created and published by the LMS Class of 2015. The book features photos of Murphy during his tenure at SHS, mixed with the tributes he wrote for the eighth graders prior to commenecement and heartfelt reflections and quotes submitted by students regarding the impact Murphy had on them.

The iconic NASDAQ video tower in New York’s Times Square lit up scarlet and white on June 29 for Sacred Heart’s graduating high school seniors, as well as for Mr. Murphy’s untimely passing.


Justice for All

SHP community gets in-depth perspective through powerful, personal stories For the 2015-2016 academic year, students at SHP are exploring the topic “Race and the Criminal Justice System” as part of the curricular emphasis on social justice. Formal teach-ins, an immersion trip to Washington, DC, student art projects, and visiting speakers have enhanced classroom instruction throughout the fall, generating thought-provoking discussions and reflections among students and faculty. As part of this yearlong focus, two speakers of note were featured at all-school assemblies this fall: Sr. Helen Prejean, advocate against capital punishment and author of the well-known book Dead Man Walking, and Zak Ebrahim, a peace activist and son of convicted Islamic terrorist El-Sayyid Nosair.

Sr. Helen Prejean, a leading figure in the fight against the death penalty, spoke to the SHP community about her personal experience with Death Row inmates, as well as with their victims’ families.

A Grace-Filled Life The late summer day that Sr. Helen Prejean came to speak at SHP was warm and humid. Not perhaps as oppressive as her native Louisiana, but just warm enough to be mildly discomfiting to the packed audience in Harman Family Assembly Hall. Just enough to contribute to the drama unfolding on stage, as Sr. Prejean took the SHP community on an unforgettable and intimate journey through her life’s work. Soft spoken, plain spoken, and with a pronounced drawl, the diminutive figure is physically not what you’d expect for such a controversial force on the religious and political spectrum. The author of the book Dead Man Walking, and inspiration for both the film and opera by the same name, Sr. Prejean has been a central figure in the fight to reconsider use of the death penalty across the U.S., stemming from her 36-year experience as spiritual advisor to inmates living—and dying—on death row. In all, she has witnessed six state executions of convicted felons, men whom she sternly acknowledges did “unspeakable acts,” but whom she compassionately befriended to the end. A gifted storyteller, she recounted her path from upscale Baton Rouge family through her initial years with the Sisters of St. Joseph, acknowledging that much of her early ministry with the poor in Louisiana, while devoutly carried out, was not driven at the time by an urgent commitment to social justice. Rather, there was a general complacency that while admittedly racial, social,


and ethnic inequalities were unfair, “that’s the way the world had always had been.” Perhaps the most impactful part of Sr. Prejean’s talk, therefore, came as she described her own spiritual evolution from more passive religious to passionate crusader, a transformation she attributes to the power of grace—”God’s wake-up call”—and what she wryly refers to as “sneaky Jesus.” “When I joined the convent at 18,” she said, “I didn’t know what lay in store. That’s how grace works—slowly, imperceptibly, building, steadily rising...When asked to be a pen pal to a death row inmate, I thought all I’d do was write letters. I never dreamed I would come face-to-face with this man, to develop a relationship and become his spiritual advisor for years—much less that I would be with him in the killing chamber and watch him die. “ Nor did she have any idea how emotionally difficult it would be to then reach out to the murdered victims’ family; she recalled her struggle to balance empathy for all of the suffering she saw: convict awaiting execution, families who believe retribution will bring peace, and the executioners themselves who carry out the final act. “The truth is that early on, I didn’t have the grace to shoulder it all,” she said, describing her uncertainty, her fear, even her naiveté as she attempted to navigate through shifting emotions and a justice system that she has come to denounce as grievously biased and broken.

“I was seven years old when my father went to prison [for murder and conspiracy],” he said, “and yet not a day goes by that I don’t wish that he had chosen instead a peaceful life with his family. Instead he exposed me at a very young age to the violence and radical nature of extremism, subjected me to an ideology of intolerance.” And yet, he said, that fanaticism did not take hold of him or his family— even as they were forced to move several times to escape threats and persecution, masking any connection with his father. As a matter of fact, the more he engaged with people from “all walks of life,” the more he comprehended just how extreme his father’s religious doctrine had been. Peace activist Zak Ebrahim, son of a convicted terrorist involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bobming, shares his childhood experience with zealotry and resulting commitment to tolerance.

And the more determined he became to counteract and condemn it.

In the ensuing three-and-a-half decades fighting to abolish the death penalty, advocating legal reform, and providing spiritual support for both the accused and the victims’ families, Sr. Prejean’s fire has not remotely dimmed, but rather grown exponentially stronger.

“Being raised in the home of a Muslim zealot, I’ve been exposed to things that many people fear about Islam, yet it’s a foolish mistake to believe extremism is exclusive to Islam. Unfortunately, there are endless examples in every belief system of religiously motivated violence.

As she told the SHP crowd, “Grace unfurls inside us as we need it, and not ahead of time. And when it does come, you need to follow it generously and faithfully.”

“But I stand here today promoting peace and with a simple message: No matter the level of violence you’ve been exposed to, it doesn’t have to define your character. Violence is not inherent in one’s religion or race, and the son does not have to follow the father.

Diverging Paths When he was a very young boy growing up on the East Coast, Zak Ebrahim recalls a time when his father took him for shooting practice at a rifle range with his “uncles.” Ebrahim remembers the day clearly, as the invitation to tag along was unusual. Taking turns with the men, he began shooting at the target; his last bullet of the day hit a light atop the target, causing it to shatter loudly. It was at that point that Ebrahim heard the men with his father say in Arabic, “like father, like son.” The men’s laughter and his father’s smile, he says, made him feel the proudest he’d ever felt. Years later, this childhood recollection would become a defining moment in Ebrahim’s rejection of the radicalism and violence that hovered around his young world. Though he did not know it at the time, his father would soon come to be known as the first Islamic terrorist to commit acts on U.S. soil, and these “uncles” would eventually be convicted of filling a van with 1,500 lbs of explosives and detonating it at the World Trade Center in 1993, causing the death of six people and injuring more than 1,000 others.

“In all of us,” he said, “is the ability to change our paths.”

Balancing the Scales Continuing the year’s noteworthy speaker series, Father Greg Boyle founder of Homeboy Industries and author of Tatoos on the Heart, will visit the SHS campus for a student assembly and classroom discussions on April 5. Fr. Boyle’s appearence will come on the heels of an SHP service immersion trip to Homeboy headquarters in Los Angeles over spring break, during which students will work alonside former gang members and learn about the experiences that led them to Fr. Boyle and new life.




SHP Theatre finds gold in Moliere’s The Miser



Acting Out

From French satire to classic canon to fractured fairy tale, SHS fall theatre steps it up SHP Theatre: The Miser From the moment the curtain rose on the SHP theatrical production of Moliere’s The Miser, the audience knew it was in for something unlike they’d ever seen at the Campbell Center. After all, it’s a rarity that contemporary music and a rollicking dance number would signal the start of a 17th century French satire, but under the direction of SHP newcomer Francine Torres, that’s precisely what the cast delivered at both the opening moments and interspersed throughout the two act production—much to the spectators’ delight. Tackling the mores and manners of French society, The Miser tells the story of a man so obsessed with hoarding his fortune that he is willing to let his home fall into ruin and his family fall apart. The story is a cautionary tale, served up with all the broad comedy, biting wit and puns, and bawdy moments that herald its origins of both time and place.

Heralding a change in acts, the cast of The Miser caps off an energetic dance interlude. under a cascade of paper money.

Torres’ production involved a total of 35 students in cast and crew. Nick Conroy (SHP ’16) ably embodied the farcical titular role, and Austin Peay (SHP ’16) and Grace Zdeblick (LMS ’13, SHP ’17) played his hapless offspring with aplomb. MS Drama: The Canterbury Tales A classic of British literature and a Western canon staple, Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales tells the story of travelers on a religious pilgrimage from London to Canterbury, who decide to pass the time with a story-telling contest. The allegory is obvious—reflecting the mortal journey—and the various tales the 24 characters share with their fellow pilgrims illustrate both vice and virtue, the yin and yang of man. Penned in the late 1300s, Chaucer’s story was intended to be performed for the masses, as both religious instruction and cautionary tale. As the Middle School drama production, The Canterbury Tales might not seem an obvious—or easy—selection. Under the direction of Rachel Prouty, however, the young thespians from grades six through eight enthusiastically dove into the text, embraced the array of Chaucer’s personalities, and convincingly brought the pilgrim’s journey to life. Among those playing lead roles were Juliette Barragan (LMS ’17) as the Wife of Bath, Ned Stone (LMS ’17) as the Pardoner, Bennett Kruse (LMS ’17) as the Reeve, and Bella Bachler (LMS ’17) as the Prioress.


SHP Actor’s Showcase: The Secret in the Wings Moody, melancholy, and full of mystery, the fantastical drama by contemporary playwright Mary Zimmerman strings together a number of lesser known fairy tales, darker in nature and made all the more oppressive through the framing narrative of a young girl and her elder gentleman babysitter. More importantly, for the students involved in the fall SHP Actors’ Showcase, the play turned into a veritable creative playground. While initially cast and gently guided by Francine Torres, the production’s rehearsal process became more of an opportunity in self-direction, with actors able to explore choices through improvisation, re-invent scenes by integrating individual student talents, integrate original mixed media, and arrive on opening night with a production truly unique to SHP and the actors executing the script. According to cast member Ted Catlin (SHP ’16), “There was one day that we found this large piece of white material, and thought about ways we could use it in the scene. Hannah Morris (SHP ’17) is such an incredible dancer, it seemed like a waste not to use that, so we re-blocked the entire section using a backlight to cast shadows on the silk and illustrate the scene through movement.” The 12-member cast included Catlin, Morris, and Shelbyann Malcolm (LMS ’13, SHP ’17).

(Left): Middle Schoolers embark on a pilgrimmage and pass the time telling allegorical stories in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales.

(Right): Ellie Duebner (SHP ‘17) and Peter Bird (SHP ’17) create an eerie, intimate scene in The Secret in the Wings, the fall Actor’s Showcase selection. During the production, each cast member played multiple roles, with the narrative connected through Duebner and Bird’s relationship of child and babysitter.

Get This! Jumping aboard the ubiquitous “Got” campaign, the SHS Fine Arts Boosters have launched a new line of Gator apparel—this time in support of the school’s arts programs. Featuring a more artistic line of questioning, the winecolored line of t-shirts and baseball caps are available in “Got Drama?”, “Got Dance?”, “Got Art?”, and “Got Music?”, and feature the SHS Fine Arts logo on back. The merchandise, unveiled at the inaugural Chili CookOff and sold at the Holiday Boutique, was conceived as a way to augment financial support for the numerous arts programs at the high school, as well as for the elementary grades. In particular, proceeds from the gear sales will help fund travel opportunities planned for the theatre, music, and choral programs this spring. Led by drama director Francine Torres, students in theatre will have the chance to experience the famed Broadway, attending shows, taking backstage tours, and participating in acting workshops. A spring break trip to Los Angeles and the Walt Disney Studios will offer audition and puppetry classes for the more adventurous, and an early June jaunt to the renowned Ashand Shakespeare Festival in Oregon will give young thespians excellent exposure to classic works, techniques in style, and a chance to meet with professional company members.

Skaff’s vocalists will compete in the annual Heritage Festival, have an opportunity to professionally record a track, and attend an awards ceremony in the famed Disneyland Park, while Lacayo-Valle’s band will take part in the Disney Performing Arts program, which includes workshops in soundtrack production and performance lab, as well as the chance to perform live at Disneyland. For more information on how to support the SHS Fine Arts, or to order “Got”-wear, please, visit

Also heading to Southern California for spring tours are the SHP Band, led by Emilio Lacayo-Valle, and members of the SHP Choir and Advanced Choir, led by Will Skaff.


British Invader

Will Skaff scales up artistry through UK workshop Amid the historic halls of England’s Oxford University this past summer, SHP choir director Will Skaff experienced a lightning bolt moment as both artist and conductor. The moment came at nearly the close of the Choir Institute, a weeklong immersion program for choral conductors and educators in which Skaff was taking part to further his professional development. It had been an intense and grueling seven days focused on exploring choral artistry and building individual musicianship—an experience that in many ways, Skaff says, was less about technique and more humanistic in its essence. Throughout the program, Skaff and SHP music teacher Will Skaff conducts members of the Grammy-nominated Williamson Voices in a his group had been at rehearsals, concert at Oxford University, part of a weeklong institute for choral directors and educators. both conducting and watching others conduct the Institute’s resident choir—members of the GrammyAnd the magic, he has learned, also comes from being equally open nominated Williamson Voices of Westminster Choir College—as to those you are conducting. well as attended a variety of lectures. The content, he recalls, covered everything from Oxford’s architecture to the art of chanting “They are your instrument, and it’s a symbiotic relationship; to the importance of listening to your own inner voice, finding that they need you and you need them. So it’s also about realizing the something special within, and channeling that in your artistry. humanity of your singers. And this has definitely changed the way I now look at my own students—they have their own narratives, “My big breakthrough came at the dress rehearsal before our final so much going on in their own heads, and it’s important to recogconcert performance,” Skaff said. “Each of us got to work with nize that and meet them where they are. Once you have this good the choir on two pieces throughout the conference. But at that last relationship, the music you can make together becomes that much rehearsal, I was just so present in the moment that I was able to more beautiful and authentic.” let go of my nerves, and really audiate the music. I was able to get exactly the sound I wanted from the choir. It was like I was really driving the music, that I was leading it, rather than reacting to what they were singing. “As conductors we all learn the gestures. But this transformation comes when you let go, are present in the music, and allow yourself to be vulnerable and open to the power of your mind. And then it doesn’t really matter what your hands do. If you’re really in the moment, you get the beautiful product that you hear in your head.”

Throughout the academic year, fine arts faculty at SHP coordinate and host the monthly Oakwood Concert Series for retired RSCJ residing on campus. While performance segments vary each time, the concert reliably features choirs, bands, and other individual and group performances from students at the LMS and Prep.


Performing with Precision

Military musicians serve as 2015 artists-in-residence With crisp sound, swelling crescendos, and tight melodic harmonies, the Golden West Winds, part of the U.S. Air Force’s storied Band of the Golden West, spent a one-day residency at SHS, enthralling student musicians and concert-goers alike. Joining a number of classes at the LMS, the quintet answered questions and discussed the band’s historic origins, their own broad array of musical styles and use of original arrangements, as well as the challenges in ensemble play. The musicians also led clinics throughout the day, working alongside SHS winds students in grades four through 12, offering tips and training in instrumental technique. Capping off their SHS stay, the group gave a concert in Campbell Center for the Performing Arts, with a program featuring a number of familiar military marches and patriotic fare—a thrilling salute to members

of the audience with family who have served, or are now serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

SHP Trio Advance to All-State Honors Conroy, Stone, and Waterbury to perform in festival choir concert Sacred Heart Prep will once again be well-represented at the All-State Honors Choir concert, taking place in February 2016. Regional Honors Choir members and SHP seniors Nick Conroy (SHP ’16), Jack Stone (LMS ’13, SHP ’17), and Joe Waterbury (LMS ’12, SHP ’16) have been selected to join the prestigious festival performance, held in conjunction with the American Choral Directors’ Association and the California All-State Music Educator’s Conference. At the concert, tenors Conroy and Stone will perform as part of the men’s choir under the direction of University of Maryland’s internationally renowned conductor, Edward McClary, and fellow tenor Waterbury will take part in the mixed choir, directed by University of Michigan’s Grammy-nominated conductor, Eugene Rogers. This is the second consecutive Honors Choir appearance for Conroy and Waterbury; in 2015, both were selected at both the all-state and national levels, performing last spring at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, along with fellow SHP singers Isabella Custino (SHP ’15), Sandy Schlotter (SHP ’15) and Alex Summers (SHP ’15).

Stirking a winning chord, the trio of Nick Conroy (SHP ’16), Jack Stone (LMS ’13, SHP ’17), and Joe Waterbury (LMS ’12, SHP ’16) prepare for the festival concert.

In addition to choir, Waterbury also performs with the SHP Jazz Band and co-leads a cappella group, the Heartbeat Harmonies. Conroy recently played the title role in the SHP theatrical produc-

tion, The Miser, and Stone is a tennis athlete that helped the SHP junior varisty squad take its second consecutive WBAL championship last spring. 25

Communal Art Project “Takes Flight” PSK & LMS soar with Spirit Bird project Connecting artistic process with the school’s emphasis on Goal I, students in preschool through eighth grade are created a communal project that has both articulated the diverse individuality and creativity of each student and reflected the unified Sacred Heart PSK and LMS community through art. With a goal to create an large-scale installation in the Taweel Family Lobby, the Spirit Birds project was the brainchild of the LMS arts faculty, conceived as a way to launch the new school year and for young students to tangibly consider and explore the meaning behind Goal I—a personal and active faith in God. “We want each child to explore and Working with a visiting artist, eight grade students develop the next yearbook’s cover art: Spirit Birds. reflect on this Goal, and develop a “As visual artists, our work is often to make external our internal personal expression of faith,” said Ciara Bedingfield, art teacher spiritual process,” explained Bedingfield. “We have begun by using for grades 1-3 and lead for the project. “So [at the beginning of the the bird as a metaphor for hope. Many other artists, particularly semester,] we introduced the Spirit Birds assignment with this in poets, have used the bird to symbolize hope and dreams. Birds can mind.” symbolize freedom, power, messengers, transcendence, wisdom, Each PSK and LMS student received a small bird made from maple life and death. Watching a flock of pelicans migrate north over the ocean is like watching spirits on a journey. There is trust, ancient wood and laser cut from a simple design, with a task to personally knowledge, cooperation, and complete wonder and magic as they design, create, and decorate wings to attach, enabling the bird to fly. “fly.” At the conclusion of the project, each bird was suspended from wires and hung together in the entryway to Ravi Family “The wings we have made reference all of these [symbols, colors, Assembly Hall, flying together as one flock. and ideas], making the final installation a beautiful symbol of life and hope—and a wonderful reflection of our student community.” A poignant and meaningful addition to the exhibit is the inclusion of birds made by retired RSCJ residing at Oakwood, blended within the frozen flight.

(Left): Lower School students film their works “in flight” as part of the project.


Garden Arts

Studio art takes its cue from natural world Approaching the northern entry to Sigall Building, campus visitors are now greeted by the sight of a large-scale, verdant mural—a still life landscape of veggie varietals that reflect the foliage springing up at the nearby greenhouse and around campus as a result of the SHS Garden program. According to Peggy O’Leary, art teacher and head of the SHP Fine Arts program, the selection of mural subject originated with ongoing still life studies to improve and advance her students’ drawing technique. “In my classes, I try to use every opportunity to connect [lessons and assignments] with the amazing work being done on campus in the SHS Farm & Garden, in terms of building our awareness of food, farming, and agriculture. The 15 students who worked on the mural began the year with many life studies of plants on campus, including those in the vegetable garden. Dr. Stewart Slafter, director for the program, met with us there to describe various food plants, and following, students remained to sketch or photograph specimens that were then used as models for development back in the studio.” SHP art students work on the large-scale wheat murals, currently on exhibit in Harman Family Assembly Hall in the Michael J. Homer Science and Student Life Center.

According to O’Leary, this mural is only one of several ongoing projects her art students have undertaken to highlight the campus’ agricultural program. For example, last year, student Grace Berry (LMS ’11, SHP ’15) designed a stunning watercolor of SHS produce, which has been converted into the “official” banner for the SHS Farmer’s Market. Students this year created two large paintings of wheat stalks for the Feast of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, displayed in Harman Family Assembly Hall during Mass. And students have also been designing artwork to decorate the labels of food produced and sold on campus, including honey, olive oil, and eggs. And in addition to leaving a lasting visual legacy on campus, these students are also able to add to their respective portfolios for college and career. “Student artists are credited on the actual labels—their initials appear on the work they designed,” says O’Leary. “As for the mural, the student initials will similarly be installed, a visual reminder that these works are both by and for our Sacred Heart community.” (Top): Extending their study of campus greens, students in SHP studio art designed and created a colorful mural for the Sigall Building, reflective of the school’s commitment to sustainable farming and signature program, the SHS Farm & Garden. (Left): From “zippy” to “lazy” to “spiky” and “happy,” PSK students create their own adjective-driven caterpiller artwork, based on author Eric Carle’s famous Hungry Caterpiller.


Expanded Holiday Treat Showcases Myriad Talent LMS & SHP delight with song, dance, art exhibits, and more Sacred Heart’s LMS and SHP artists, musicians, dancers, and thespians showcased their collective talent prior to the Christmas break, at the two-day Holiday Treat in the Main Building. The annual tradition at the high school expanded this year to include the elementary school’s fine arts program to the festive merriment.

LMS Holiday Treat on December 9 (Clockwise): Oil pastels of guitars and other musical instruments; fifth grade band; fourth grade choir; and the Middle School dance team.


SHP Holiday Treat on December 10 (Clockwise): Drama students deliver a holiday-themed skit; the jazz band; ceramic student artwork; the symphonic band; and students in the dance program.




Lower & Middle Schools girls’ cross country meet



Another Successful Fall in the Books

LMS student-athletes enjoyed the fun, camaraderie, and competition in 2015 From the field to the pool and the running terrain, more than 175 LMS studentathletes enjoyed a successful fall season, competing in cross country, football, and swimming. The fourth through eighth graders relished in the excitement of competition and excelled, winning a combined nine league championships.

Varsity B Team 1 - 8th Grade JVA - 7th Grade JVB - 5th Grade

Flag Football

Boys Middle School Girls Middle School



4 3 2

Boys 4th/5th Grades Girls 4th/5th Grades Girls 6th Grade Boys 7th/8th Grades

Cross Country

With 11 sports offered throughout the year, the Gators are off and running, competing in basketball and soccer spanning the early and late winter seasons, which run between November and March.

WBAL League Championships

Athletics Honors Michael Murphy

Annual LMS Eighth Grade vs. Faculty Basketball Game renamed

In front of a packed house, SHS gathered for the 25th annual Eighth Grade vs. Faculty Basketball Game on November 20. Prior to gametime, attendees participated in raffles, bought Gator gear, and enjoyed on-site food trucks and a bake sale.

Leaving a lasting legacy with an immesurable impact on the lives of generations of St. Joseph’s and Sacred Heart Lower & Middle Schools alumni, Michael Murphy’s spirit will carry on in one of his favorite annual traditions—the Eighth Grade vs. Faculty Basketball Game. On November 20, both current families and alumni alike, gathered for the 25th annual game in Spieker Pavilion. Prior to tipoff, Director of Schools Richard A. Dioli and Boys’ Athletic Director Jeff Reynolds honored Murphy posthumously with the St. Joseph’s School Henry Schimpf Award. In attendance and accepting the award was his mother, Patricia Lautze. Reynolds also announced the game’s renaming to the Michael Murphy Eighth Grade vs. Facutly Basketball Game. Following a touching slideshow highlighting Murphy’s career at SHS, the students’ side came out with a strong early push, before eventually falling 89-72 to the faculty.

(Left): The eighth grade girls entertained the crowd with a dance routine at an intermission. (Top): (l to r) Boys’ Athletic Director Jeff Reynolds, Patricia Lautze, Michael Murphy’s mother, and Director of Schools Richard A. Dioli during the pregame presentation.


Title Town

Prep squads capture 11 titles over the fall Dynasties remained intact for Prep teams over the fall, as lengthy championship streaks extendend and new legacies were established. The Gators proved dominant in league play and regionally, capturing 11 titles over the fall. At the junior varsity level, girls’ tennis, girls’ volleyball, and boys’ water polo each captured West Bay Athletic League (WBAL) championships. Remaining atop its respective league was the theme for varsity programs, as four teams captured conference crowns for the second or more consecutive season. Boys’ cross country repeated as WBAL champions, winning its third title in program history, while the football program captured its fourth consecutive Peninsula Athletic League (PAL) and Central Coast Section (CCS) championship. The football team’s season was punctuated with a trip to the California State 3A championship. Dominance in the pool remained unwaivered, as the boys and girls water polo teams captured its fifth and fourth West Catholic Athletic League (WCAL) championships, respectively. Both programs closed out the year bringing more hardware home, with the boys’ winning their fifth straight CCS title, and the girls’ capturing an unprecedented ninth consecutive CCS championship. Individually, Natalie Novitsky (SHP ’17) was a top-10 finisher at the CCS Division IV cross country meet and advanced to state, and Sara Choy (SHP ’18) took home consecutive WBAL and CCS single’s championships in girls’ tennis. To read more about football and Choy, please visit pages 37 and 38, respectively.

(Top): Natalie Novitsky (SHP ’17) was the lone SHP boys or girls runner to advance to the California State Cross Country Championship meet on November 28. (Above): The girls’ varsity water polo team held up the number nine in celebration of winning its ninth straight CCS title. The Gators defeated St. Francis, 11-5, on November 21. (Left): The varsity boys’ water polo team celebrates winning its fifth consecutive WCAL championship after defeating Bellarmine, 9-8, on November 7.


Football Reaches State Championship The Gators earned local, regional, and statewide success in 2015 A year after winning the program’s first CCS Open Division title, the SHP varsity football team entered 2015 riding the momentum of their unmatched success. Despite returning a solid cohort of experienced players, the Gators relied on a resilient spirit to get them over an early slump and back to their winning ways. After consecutive losses in September, Sacred Heart went on to finish the regular season riding a four-game winning streak and earn a berth into the CCS Division III tournament. An early season loss was avenged in the championship game versus Riordan, behind a 35-28 victory on December 5 to advance to the Northern California 3A regional bowl game versus McClymonds.

The Prep football team won the CCS Division III title in thrilling fashion, 35-28, behind an Andrew Daschbach (SHP ’16) touchdown with 40 seconds left in regulation over Riordan on December 5.

Appearing in its second bowl game in three seasons, Sacred Heart rode a six-touchdown first half to a 56-20 victory to extend its winning streak to seven straight. The win propelled the Gators to their second state title game over the program’s 16-year history. Similarly to the 2013 championship, the Gators were unable to take over the game’s momentum, and ultimately fell 35-14 to Rancho Bernardo in San Diego on December 19. Sacred Heart finished the year with an 11-4 overall and 4-1 PAL Bay Division league record.

(Above): SHP put up a valient effort in the California State 3A championship game at Rancho Bernardo on December 19, but a slowed offensive attack was too much to overcome in a 35-14 loss. (Right): Thumbs up all around from the Gators after winning the Northern California 3A Regional Bowl game versus McClymonds, 56-20, on December 12.


Legacy in Progress

Sara Choy (SHP ’18) continues to dominate on national stage Sophomore Sara Choy is quickly cementing an unrivaled legacy on the tennis court after capturing back-to-back CCS titles, and garnering national prominence. As a freshman in 2014, Choy displayed unmatched dominance and joined elite company as the first freshman in program history to win a CCS single’s championship. Behind an umblemished 33-0 record, Choy entered her sophomore season primed to defend her title. “Sara is a really special player,” said head coach Losaline Mafileo. “She has worked hard [balancing] being on the team, and her outside goals.” The underclassman appears to seemlessly balance the demands of playing elite tennis among the nation’s best, while being a supportive and active teammate on the Gator varsity squad. With a longterm aspiration of playing NCAA Division I tennis, Choy must play year-round in selective tournaments to maintain a national ranking and be on the radar of college coaches.

Sara Choy (SHP ’18) is making her mark not only on the SHP record books, but on the national stage with wins in big tournaments.

This fall, she continued to impress winning three prestigious national tournaments. On September 20, she captured the girls’ under-16 single’s title at the Zimmerman/Johnson United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Tournament, featuring the top-16 girls in the country. The field included U.S. National Team members, and girls who are exclusively homeschooled to optimize their fulltime tennis training regimen.

“A lot of girls at my level are homeschooled and travel a lot for tournaments, not just in the United States but also out of the country,” explained Choy. “I am glad I am not homeschooled. I like going to school, because it’s really important to have a balance. It’s like life, you can’t go all out on one thing and put all your bets on that, because what if something goes wrong, what are you going to do after that?”

A testament to her character, she also won the Sportsmanship Award, which was voted on by her peers.

Choy’s dedication and drive to succeed not only in tennis, but in life has been ehanced by attending Sacred Heart.

“She has a bigger picture of things, and she is always nice to her teammates and her coaches,” said SHP assistant coach Susan Lynch.

“The tennis program here is really good, and the coaches are super supportive,” added Choy about experiencing the right balance between academics, athletics, and an inclusive community at Sacred Heart. “I know that I am going to have to work really hard to do well at SHP, but I just think it builds up who I become and who I am. “I am part of the yearbook here. I really like designing stuff, and yearbook has helped me with that. I also enjoy how festive we are, like during Spirit Week—it brings out that unity in our school.” Choy’s efforts, balancing a traditional school experience and tennis, continue to pay dividends. On November 29, she won the girls’ under-18 USTA National Selection Tournament as an unseeded player, before capturing her second consecutive CCS single’s title two days later to improve to 59-0 overall at SHP. Ranked No. 6 nationally for girls under 16, Choy’s remarkable 2015 closed out with her winning a third national tournament, the under-16 USTA National Winter Championships as the top-seeded player on December 29.

Choy, who boasts a 59-0 record at SHP, was named the 2015 San Jose Mercury News and San Mateo Times Player of the Year.


Alumni in Action

Former Gators continue to make their mark in collegiate and pro ranks (Right): Abby Dahlkemper (SHP ’11) continues to make strides in professional women’s soccer. After being the No. 3 pick overall by the Western New York Flash in the 2015 National Women’s Soccer League draft, she went on to be an immediate impact player starting all 20 games played. On the defensive line, she helped the Flash earn three shutouts and added an assist during their six-win season. Dahlkemper is also a member of the U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team.

(Left): Tom Kremer (SHP ’12), an 11-time All-American swimmer at Stanford, currently is redshirting his senior season in order train fulltime with the Israeli National Team in hopes of earning a spot on the country’s Olympic roster. (Below): Current Stanford swimmer Ally Howe (SHP ’13) won the secondary final of the 100-meter backstroke at the 2015 Phillips 66 National Championships in San Antonio, Texas on August 10 with the sixth-best time of the meet of 1:00:73.

(Left): KK Clark (SHP ’08) helped guide the U.S. Women’s Water Polo National Team to gold at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada on July 14. Clark and Team USA are currently competing in tournaments, and preparing for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.



Excelling at the Next Level

Former SHP football standout Ben Burr-Kirven (SHP ’15) shines in the Emerald City From championships on the football field to immersion trips abroad, and most importantly being a member of the supportive Sacred Heart community, recent graduate Ben BurrKirven fondly refers to his time on the Atherton campus as the most impactful experience of his life. “Getting to spend four years going to school, and playing sports here has honestly been the best thing that has happened to me,” he said. While his name will forever be tied to the unmatched success he helped lead the varsity football program to, including a historic 2014 CCS Open Division championship during a run of three consecutive section titles, its first state championship appearance, and dozens of individual accolades, he credits the opportunities he had and the mentors he acquired as pivotal in his formation. “Being a student here has been amazing,” said Burr-Kirven. “There is so much support both academically and athletically, and there are so many things we do as a community, like our Espacios, that makes it feel like Sacred Heart and not another school.”

Ben Burr-Kirven scored both touchdowns in the Gators’ 14-0 win over Bellarmine to capture the 2014 CCS Open Division title.

Among his highlights at the Prep and directly influenced by the community’s deep connection to service, Burr-Kirven participated in immersion trips to Taos, N.M. and Costa Rica.

young man. The whole Men Built for Others program, other schools have similar things, but for Sacred Heart it is actually the basis for our program—without that there is nothing.”

“Those two trips were really memorable to me,” he explained. “In Costa Rica I lived in a house with a family that had no running water, and got to be immersed in their daily lives. I spoke no Spanish, and they didn’t speak English.

With his solid foundation and an unmatched ability on the field, Burr-Kirven quickly rose to notoriety during his time at SHP. From media coverage to college scouts, the opportunity to play at the next level proved to be his destined path.

“I think that was a really significant experience, to work with these people who have such different lives from us. I know if I hadn’t come to Sacred Heart, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go.”

Through the recruiting process, Burr-Kirven visited schools from the Ivy League to the Pac-12 in search of the best opportunity for him to flourish both in the classroom and on the field. After receiving numerous offers, he chose to pursue his dream of playing college football at the University of Washington (UW).

As a student-athlete, Burr-Kirven was also able to share his athletic talents by partaking in the football program’s inaugural “Day in the Swamp”. In the thick of the 2014 season, a day of practice was canceled to host a football skills camp for individuals with Down syndrome. “It was one of my favorite days of the year,” he said. “It was special to be with these guys who wanted to come out and play football, and everyone in the program was excited to be on board.” While on the gridiron, Burr-Kirven’s love of football proved to be equal parts the sport, and the family atmosphere the SHP program fosters. “When I became a sophomore on varsity, I got to be around Coach (Pete) Lavorato, Coach (Mark) Modeste, and Coach (Matt) Moran. Besides the football part of winning games, it was just an amazing experience because those three guys helped shape who I am as a

“When I met the UW coaching staff and learned they have almost the exact same thing as Men Built for Others called Built for Life, I fell in love with them and their program,” Burr-Kirven explained. “I just knew that was the right place to be. I would be able to do well not just as a football player, but as a student and grow as a man.” As a true freshman this past fall, Burr-Kirven saw action in all 12 regular season games, playing linebacker and on special teams. For his work, he was voted Washington’s Most Outstanding Special Teams Player. Burr-Kirven’s season capped off with Washington earning a 44-31 victory over Southern Mississippi on December 26 in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl game.


Leading the Way With a number of changing tenures in key leadership positions, Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton has ushered in a new chapter, and one that’s poised for even greater success.

Well-versed in the SHS community and its mission, this impressive threesome —one parent, one alumna, and one recent principal— are up to the challenge, grateful for the efforts of their predecessors, and with hearts open to possibility and eyes firmly fixed to the horizon.


Maryan Ackley Chair of the Board of Trustees


tepping into the role of board chair last summer, Maryan Ackley came fairly well prepared for the task at hand. After all, as a parent in the Sacred Heart community for 17 years, with a career as CPA, and with a good deal of experience on the board's Finance, Investment, and Audit Committees over the past several terms, she has both the head—and heart— required to lead. Now settled into the position, Ackley and her fellow trustees are well underway in working to meet the priorities outlined in Vision 2025, the institution's guiding document published last spring and spearheaded by outgoing Chair Eric Lamb and Director of Schools Richard A. Dioli. "The last decade brought enormous change for Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton," she says, citing both the significant physical transformation of campus, as well as the changes to and expansion of academic, athletic, and fine arts programs. "Considering this next chapter in the school's history, I am confident that the driving themes in Vision 2025 not only reaffirm a commitment to our core, historic mission, but also encourage further strategic growth and evolution across all aspects of our educational experience, our community, and school operations. In addition, the adoption of our new Living Agenda process has already brought critical and timely issues to the forefront, helping us focus on areas of greatest benefit to the community." Central to Ackley's own goals as chair is careful and thoughtful stewardship of the school's financial resources, which the CPA is well suited to address. For example, in an effort to promote transparency and educate the parent community about the school's financial model, she, along with Finance Committee Chair Paul Rydberg, met with the Parents’ Associations and hosted an evening presentation last fall, correcting assumptions about financial aid, clarifying how fundraising and endowment are applied, and talking about the importance of access for students across the socioeconomic spectrum. As she puts it, "The board really plays a critical role in this regard. The school is fortunate to have a strong financial position, but balancing the affordability of a Sacred Heart education with the goal of hiring, retaining, and equitably compensating the best faculty and staff is an ongoing challenge. Additionally, we are committed to ensuring generous financial aid is available each year, not just through the Sophie's Scholars Program, but to all qualifying families—the majority of whom receive less than 50 percent of their tuition obligation.

"In combination, all of these efforts help mitigate rising costs, help bridge the gap between tuition and the actual cost to educate a Sacred Heart student, and help minimize annual tuition increases for Sacred Heart families. And we have achieved measurable success; in contrast to a decade ago, we've kept our rate of tuition increase to half of what it once was, comparatively less than many peer schools and without any reduction of quality. "What makes us unique in the Bay Area is that we provide the same level of academic and extracurricular programming as other top private schools, but in the context of a Sacred Heart Catholic school. Service and spirituality, scholarship and values really do matter here, and the Goals and Criteria are woven into the fabric of everything we do, not just in the academic experience, but throughout our entire school community." And it is precisely this ethos that Ackley points to as the school's greatest asset, and a benefit to leadership. "Over the past 17 years I have had the opportunity to see how this community has come together to celebrate wonderful milestones and to support each other in times of need or loss," she adds. "As the parent of two alumni and a senior about to graduate, I know the lessons learned in community-building are ones that stay with my kids for the rest of their lives. And as chair of the trustees, I am assured this same collaborative and caring spirit will both guide and ensure our success in the work ahead.”

"Working closely with the administration, we have made great strides to increase endowment, grow the annual giving program, and stay focused on fiscal operational efficiencies," she continues. 41

the charism of St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, how we fold in our spirituality—these are the tools we have to form our unique response. “And having the RSCJ here on campus as a cheering squad? What an incredible opportunity to be in community with them, to hear their stories of courage, vision, tenacity, and hope. It’s part of why I wanted to come back and be part of this complex ecosystem, where you have so much opportunity to shape kids view on what’s possible for themselves and for their world. If we can cultivate this RSCJ legacy of hope and joy in students while they’re here, it’s a powerful elixir.” Gratefully acknowledging that the Prep is currently a “highly functional operation” thanks to her predecessors, faculty dedication, and the unilateral support of the school community, Whitcomb nevertheless is already seeing avenues of potential growth for this next era, particularly in four distinct areas. “First and foremost is supporting the campus-wide health and wellness work. Because task forces are still at work, it’s unclear exactly what might unfold regarding changes in our scheduling, further refinement of graduation requirements, how we handle APs or structure advising. But this is so important for our community, and will be a priority for me.”

Jennie Whitcomb (CSH ’81) Principal, Sacred Heart Preparatory


oming full circle, alumna Jennie Whitcomb has returned home to Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton—significantly wiser and more experienced as the Prep’s newest principal, but bearing the same passion for her alma mater and the RSCJ that marked her days as a student. Director of Schools Richard A. Dioli has made no secret of the fact that he’s been trying to lure Whitcomb back to Sacred Heart for some time. But what made this opportunity different, she says, is that it came along at just the right time for her both personally and professionally. “I think what’s really exciting about Sacred Heart is that a lot of places I’ve worked claim to be mission-driven, but this one truly is. When I was a student, the RSCJ mission was more subtly woven into our curriculum and experience; the language of the Goals and Criteria was just forming. Now, you hear it more clearly in the lexicon; there’s a common context. So when a new idea is shared, people are able to make explicit connections with the Goals and how they drive decision-making. “It’s what makes this place and this education so special—a colleague aptly called it that ‘Sacred Heart magic.’ For example, it’s not surprising that this community is thinking about health and wellness and balance; these are topics that are nationally of interest to schools. But how we differentiate our approach, is through our way of looking at and dealing with these issues. How we infuse


“Second, I want to think about how our Creative Inquiry Program is an engine for innovation across the Prep, not just as an elective, but as a resource across disciplines and courses. The kind of ethos and energy, the collaboration and prototyping and problem-solving found within reflect how college campuses and the professional world work, and I’d like our kids to have opportunities to experience that while here. “Third, I want to continue encouraging and supporting faculty professional development. When teachers have access to growth opportunities, are able to collaborate across disciplines or teams, are engaged, inspired, excited by possibilities, it affects how they teach in powerful ways. “Last, I really want us to tackle the big questions. Ideas like ‘what is a grade,’ and what does it mean in the culture of our school, and what happens when it gets in the way of living our Sacred Heart goals and mission. We can make several instructional or structural changes, but if we aren’t thinking culturally, we will have spent a lot of energy moving things around without making meaningful change in our youth’s experiences. “I realize that this is a lot, and it’s very daunting. But I feel I have the work ethic, a love of this institution and spirit of this institution, a deep abiding care for the people who are here and willingness to work with all. And that’s the shoulder I can push forward with; that’s who I am, and hopefully it makes me the right person to lead the Prep at this time. I have always been committed to doing my best to leave a place better than it was when I arrived, to really deepen or renew its mission. Sacred Heart is an institution that I love, so to come back and be part of this school again for a while, to participate in its mission and honor the legacy of the RSCJ is really just extraordinary.”

James Everitt


Director, Mission Initiatives & Institutional Planning

ifteen years ago, James Everitt began his Sacred Heart tenure as a religious studies teacher, and soon acquired the additional post of director for the school’s Equity, Justice, and Multicultural Education (EJME) program. Six years later, he was offered the role of high school principal, leading the Prep during a critical period of curricular and instructional growth. Throughout this tenure, his allegiance to the school’s educational philosophy and spiritual practice deepened, and to this day, he remains inspired and guided by the vision of foundress St. Madeleine Sophie Barat and her Order, the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As of this past fall, Everitt’s wealth of Sacred Heart experience is serving him in a new capacity, as director of mission initiatives and institutional planning. Leveraging both his interests and expertise, the recently created position has oversight for schoolwide programs and operations related to education to mission and EJME, as well as key leadership for the new strategic planning process, the Living Agenda. It is the latter responsibility that evolved early last spring, as he chaired the group composed of faculty, administration, and trustees focused on the school’s immediate concerns. As Everitt describes it, “While the priorities in Vision 2025 are clear and aligned with our Goals and Criteria, the work of the Living Agenda is tied to how we, as a school, can both meet and sustain its overarching objectives. In other words, how we can identify emerging needs, then create and follow a roadmap to address those needs, in order to ultimately live out—and live up to— Vision 2025. To date, five critical initiatives have been determined under the Living Agenda: health and wellness, instructional technology, integration of Goal III into the student experience, sustainability, and diversity and inclusion. It’s my job now to keep efforts moving forward on all five fronts by managing the process, developing and mobilizing the task forces that will examine specific issues, and communicating our progress to both the director of schools and the board of trustees.” While the predominant initiative of health and wellness got underway last year, he says, work on the other four has been rolling out over the first few months of 2016, with surveys, research, and discussion all intrinsic to the process.

Reflecting on his other primary responsibility—mission initiatives—Everitt is clearly energized by the possibilities he perceives. “I see some overlap,” he says. “Part of formation is about inclusion, which is the work of EJME. They’re definitely related. But the purpose of education to mission is specifically about passing on the heritage and spirituality of the Society of Sacred Heart; this is a clear directive from the Network. “In this climate, however, I think it’s important we also start talking about what Catholic education means today, what it means to be a ‘Catholic school’ with a lay-faculty and serving students and families, not all of whom are religiously affiliated. So in some ways, I see my role is to help translate the Society’s mission and priorities through the lens of contemporary thinking about Catholic education. To put it into a context that’s accessible, and bring it to life here.” For example, Everitt cites language from the Goals and Criteria, that Sacred Heart aims to be a “Christ-centered school.” “What does that mean really? It comes from the practice of St. Madeleine Sophie to meditate on the Heart of Jesus and act accordingly. In every sense today, it is directly connected to this work of inclusion. It means that when a student, employee, or parent comes to school here, they are treated with respect, compassion, dignity, generosity, forgiveness. But we have to start using this term explicitly, live what it means, and be clear on why we are doing it. “And I think we will get there,” he adds. “I think we can start seeing real impact within a year. We just have to target specifics that we want to do, and above all, be intentional about our goals.” 43

A New Appreciation The Preschool & Kindergarten students have enjoyed a hands-on learning experience at the SHS Farm over the fall.



The PSK students have enjoyed being introduced to the animals in a hands-on experience at the SHS Farm over the fall. During their visits, under the direction of Prep Latin teacher and animal caretaker Julia McDonald, they have learned how to properly hold and feed chickens, rabbits, roosters, and turkeys.

Each year, PSK students have excitedly peered through the fences around the SHS Farm, observing the more than 50 animals living on campus during occasional classroom visits. With an already present interest, preschool teacher Anna (Moorman) Reitman (SHP ’03) worked with her colleagues to integrate it into a regular part of the curriculum. “In the past, each classroom would go to the farm whenever it worked in their schedule, but we really wanted to go and interact with the animals, and get a hands-on experience,” said Reitman. “When they go to the LMS they are able to have either responsibilities or hands-on available activities, so we thought we would introduce it at the PSK to prepare them to know how to hold a chicken, pet a rabbit, or feed the animals, and there wasn’t an element of fear.” Reitman worked with PSK Principal Cee Salberg, and Prep Latin teacher and animal caretaker Julia McDonald to develop a program for each PSK classroom to get the same experience. The five classrooms each meet McDonald at the farm on a rotating schedule, Providing the students with a level of comfort and familiarity, the PSK teachers are preparing them to be more involved with the SHS Farm & Garden as they advance through the LMS and onto the Prep. Pictured: Julia McDonald shows a preschooler how to safely hold a chicken.


with one class visit per week. There she introduces and exposes the children to new aspects to life at the farm. “They love it!” said Reitman about the students’ reaction to going to the farm. “The first visit they were a little hesitant and some didn’t want to go into the pens. By the second visit every single student was in with the animals, feeding, holding, and petting them.

“It has been a really great experience, and they have come away with knowing the correct terminology for the animals, what they eat, and an overall respect for other living things,” she said. The visits have enhanced an already established lesson plan the teachers introduce throughout the year. “We have a farm unit in each class, where we learn about why there are farms, and how animals are used to help produce food, like milk and cheese,” added Reitman. “In our curriculum here we also do a lot of zoology, where we learn about the five classes of animals.” Adding to their appreciation of the animals, they are also able to first-hand apply their observations to their studies about different classes of animals. “It provides them more of a key experience versus just figurative talk,” explained Reitman. Through this new instruction, the students have benefitted from learning the mutually beneficial relationship between humans and animals. For the preschoolers, they have learned how to respect animals, while the kindergartners have been introduced how to care for them. After an exciting and informative first semester, the students will have new opportunities like learning how to milk the goats during the second half of the school year. Visits to the animals will be complimented with trips to the garden see the vast array of vegetables being grown on campus, and learn about plant biology.

The students have developed a new level of respect for animals through their introduction to the farm.

“Our whole purpose for doing this is to show the importance [of animals and plants] in our world,” concluded Reitman. “The farm-to-table idea of where does food come from, and to foster the respect for living things—what do they need and how we can help protect them.”

Visits to the farm have served as a resource for the PSK teachers to enhance lessons on biology, and zoology. They have also been able to introduce concepts like farm-to-table in an age-appropriate format.


Exploration Class Offers Students New Resources From learning about harvesting their own food to traditional cultural dances, and practicing yoga, first through third graders have enjoyed the newly created Exploration Class.

When the opportunity to enhance an already rich curriculum for first through third grades presented itself, the LMS administration partnered with teachers and departments across campus to form the new Exploration Class. Students are exposed to the SHS Farm & Garden in a more structured format, enjoy learning cultural dances and partaking in more self-directed creative art projects, and have been introduced to yoga. Additionally, homeroom teachers are able to implement their own mini units focused around Social Emotional Learning (SEL). “The class is giving students exposure to some of the things on campus with these mini units of instruction,” said LMS Director of Curriculum Myra Syed. “It’s been great to have different groups across campus partner with us.” With the Lower School calendar now on a trimester system, each grade will attend the Exploration Class once per week in a block system. Among the highlights through the first half of the school year has been the integration of yoga under the direction of drama faculty Tom Segal, who has been practicing the art for more than 25 years. “The reaction has been very positive,” he explained. “The children have been very receptive, and though I have to be strict about helping them to focus and enjoy the quiet, they have shown an eagerness to experience it.” That excitement has transcended the class period, as students continue to demonstrate what they have learned when they are home with their parents.

“I teach a brief and easy introduction to dances, and traditional music from various parts of the world,” he said. “When possible, I’ve invited faculty from other countries to come and share about their native culture. During the first trimester, we learned American jazz and blues, traditional Arab folk dance, Argentine tango, and Indian classical dance.” Complementing their dance and music lessons, the students have benefitted from additional periods to exercise their creativity with Lower School fine arts teacher Ciara Bedingfield. Among the highlights of the first half of the year was the Spirit Bird project and installation (See article on p. 28). From inside the classroom to the outdoors, the Lower Schoolers have also learned the importance of nutrition and making healthy food choices through the partnership between the SHS Farm & Garden and Epicurean—the campus catering company. “During the first grade block we thought it would be nice to do a unit focused on the cafeteria, because they tended to make some bad choices when selecting food,” said Syed. After learning about their entree and snack options in the cafeteria, the students got a hands-on harvesting and cooking experience. “We thought it would be really interesting to have them pick food from the garden after they learned about the cafeteria,” Syed explained. “They were introduced to the garden, and healthy food choices they could make eating vegetables.”

“I’ve had ongoing responses from students and parents. When kids see me on campus, they often share with me that they are practicing at home, or they are excited to ask what we are going to be doing next in class. Parents have done the same when I happen to see them on campus,” added Segal. Segal’s units of instruction have also integrated international dance and music appreciation.

Prior to the Thanksgiving break, the first graders spent time reflecting on what they were thankful for during a Social Emotional Learning unit with their homeroom teachers. Adding to the festive reflection time, the students decorated placemats with turkeys on them and wrote what they were thankful for on the feathers.


Led by SHS Farm & Garden director Stewart Slafter, Ph.D., the students went on a guided tour of the garden, and picked different vegetables for an informative cooking demonstration. Rounding out the Exploration Class, homeroom teachers have created SEL mini units that are a mix of set curriculum, and responsive to interactions between students. “We have a couple different programs that the teachers have access to pull resources from,” explained Syed about SEL lesson plans available to faculty; “however, a lot of time it will in response to something that is happening on the playground. For example, if students are having some issues with sharing equipment the teacher can do a mini unit focused on sharing. The students will do role playing, and make ‘I’ statements to learn how to get a long.” During the homeroom time block, teachers have also integrated service projects. Over the first trimester, the LMS supported the My New Red Shoes fundraiser, by donating more than 200 pairs of new shoes to local children.

Throughout the trimester, SHS Farm & Garden director Stewart Slafter, Ph.D., gave tours of the one-acre garden to the Lower Schoolers, teaching them about the different vegetables, and how to harvest them to make a healthy meal.

Enhancing their understanding of the fundraiser, teachers established a service project-specific unit where students helped sew bags to place the pairs of shoes in before being donated. From service projects to meditating, the evolving Exploration Class has captivated and excited Lower School students, and provided them a new appreciation for their Sacred Heart education.

(Above): Third graders excitedly showoff their completed Spirit Birds, as part of the creative arts unit. The Spirit Bird project united students from the PSK and LMS for a large-scale installation in the Taweel Lobby of the Johnson Performing Arts Center. (Right): Students enjoyed learning how the vegetables they had just picked in the SHS Garden can be easily transformed into a fun, healthy, and delicious meal.



Newly established as a formal department, now offered as an elective for upperclassmen, and recently unveiled to the larger community at a fall dinner honoring members of the 1898 and Tower societies, the Creative Inquiry Program at Sacred Heart is giving students an invaluable lesson in self-discovery, leadership, negotiation, and collaboration—and most important, stoking the fires of lifelong learning. Based on the popular Maker’s studio and idea lab format, the program enables students to conceive, design, and execute their own innovative projects in fabrication, media arts, social justice, and more. Rapidly gaining ground as SHP’s most sought-after opportunity, the program has seen a recent spike from 12 team and individual projects last spring to 28 “registered” and credit-bearing projects this fall—attracting campus-wide interest from students and faculty alike for both its possibility and promise.


In December, Sacred Heart Magazine hosted a roundtable with the Inquiry faculty to learn more: Dan Brady (SHP ’04), humanities teacher and program director; Katie Hennessey, English and religious studies teacher; Guiti Adjami, leadership and yearbook teacher; Moshe Quinn, fine arts and media arts teacher; Clint Johns, computer science and robotic teacher, and “resident tinkerer” for the DREAM Lab; and Michael Vaganov, computer science teacher. Sacred Heart Magazine (SHM): Let’s talk a little bit about the origins of the Creative Inquiry Program, how this idea germinated, then fused together the various disciplines you all represent. Dan Brady: “Fuse” is the right word. I don’t think there’s one origin story. There’s several different pieces that have now merged together to form the Creative Inquiry program. From my end, I was tasked with leading the media program, which at that time was just the newspaper, [and later grew to include the radio and TV stations, yearbook, and a website]. We had always seen the program as about learning necessary technical skills. But what became apparent was that the really powerful educational experience came when a student was taking on responsibility and leadership, negotiating with adults to create a successful product, and working within a team to create something that mattered. [In this,] the formative experience was profound.

Eventually, we realized that basic insight applies to any sort of creative experience, and [initiated] the Design and Production Lab, opening up possibilities for student exploration and expression. Turns out, a lot of what we were doing aligned with what was happening in the Robotics Lab, which Clint was running. Clint Johns: Dan came to me toward the end of last year and asked me what my ideal vision of education looked like. I gave him my spiel about how I believe that robotics is a transformational experience for students who work together in a design process. Over the course of six weeks they create a five foot tall, 120 pound robot capable of competing against other high school teams—a process that models real business cycles in engineering firms. There was this immediate and clear connection between the types of learning experiences we were both supporting, so it made sense to merge forces and create an entity that encompassed both ideas of long-term meaningful experiential projects that students themselves help to create.

The Creative Inquiry Lab, housed in McGanney Sports Center on the SHP campus, fosters collaboration among students in both the creation of projects, as well as the execution. With a variety of resources to support student interests, and five dedicated faculty mentors, students are flocking to the program, enrolling in the elective, exploring the space, and getting involved with ongoing work as volunteers.


Brady: So we had media arts and fabrication. The third side of the program only came into focus the last few months, what we’re beginning to call the justice program or, alternately, social entrepreneurship, [led by Katie]. Katie Hennessey: I came to Sacred Heart right from writing a dissertation about essentially moral development and character development as the heart of Catholic education. So I [have strong interest] in teaching that really focuses on character development. There is something about what can happen in a classroom, [the evolution of] a genuine relationship between teacher and kids, which I could see always happened at Sacred Heart and is at the center of Sacred Heart education. That relationship helps students become self-reflective human beings, and could provide an excellent model for this kind of educational experience. SHM: Other local schools are engaging in similar programs, but you maintain that ours is different because of that Sacred Heart approach, and framing through the Goals and Criteria, true? Hennessey: Right now, it’s popular to have a Maker’s Space or design space, but the Sacred Heart mission requires us to do it in a countercultural way. What we’re doing here is unique, forward-thinking. We’re clear with students, “The thing you’re making can fail. It might fail. There should be a real possibility that it fails or else you’re not really trying to do something hard. What we care about is who you become in that process.” Brady: It’s countercultural in the broad sense; at its core it’s very much aligned with the rest of school. In subtle ways, it’s In one of the more “racy” projects, a driven student team is building a Shelby Roadster from scratch, to be sold at the school’s spring auction. not difficult to suggest to students, “Well, that’s a cool idea for a project. How might we frame this so that it does some kind of combining justice and fabrication, “Design for Good.” It’s a perfect social good?” They’re ready for that. It’s not been that difficult to marriage in that sense. encourage kids to write a reflection. Some are a little resistant, but it doesn’t take a huge persuasion to convince them that self-knowlJohns: [In essence,] this course will allow students to create edge is important. meaningful impact in the local community. That can manifest in lots of different ways, whether it’s physically constructing Hennessey: We’ve also had kids come in and say, “What I’m something to improve someone’s life, or designing a process that interested in is Goal III, and I want to find a way to make other people on this campus really care about justice.” So we look at how would improve a nonprofit’s operations, enabling it to help a greater number of people. can we make justice here, and the kids go out and do it. And The kinds of projects I’m talking about are things like helping that experience of “making jusstreamline the food sorting process at Second Harvest. Using a 3D tice” becomes just as valuable printer to craft a working prosthetic hand—which is already being as building a robot or producing done by one student. Or designing and building a contraption for a a TV show. wheelchair-bound paraplegic mother to take her infant out in a way that enables her to both propel the wheelchair and safely hold the Brady: What’s really exciting child. Very different experiences all, but still within the context of though is that when you put all helping [individuals or organizations] outside of the school—that is the Creative Inquiry aspects— what I want the course to be about. fabrication, media arts, social justice—in the same place, and SHM: Do you find that the process you are guiding stuyou literally and metaphorically dents through is changing or sparking ideas within your break down the walls between own professional work? them, the cross-pollination just happens. For example, Clint is Hennessey: We always tell students, “You are creating something, designing a new course that’s and the faculty that are in here, we’re also creating something with you.” That’s really clear. You come in with a plan, then the plan 54

CURRENT INQUIRY PROJECTS Among the 45 students enrolled in the elective Creative Inquiry Program, the following represents a sample of the collaborative projects currently in progress: • Creation of sports media channel, broadcasting SHP events • Design of basketball court for the visually impaired • SHS mentorship program supporting peer-to-peer interaction between SHP, LMS, and PSK Advised by Clint Johns, resident “tinkerer” in the Robotics DREAM lab, students are inspired by the possbilities in fabrication—for example, turning a Gatling gun into a T-shirt launcher.

changes as you go, and you have to adjust and roll with that. I think we’re learning new ways to do this better every day. Brady: Just as example, assessment is a big question for this sort of work. We just had a framework for assessment that we tried. In the practice of trying it, we saw what was good about it and what isn’t. Now, we’ve been working through on a completely new version, a 2.0 version that as a team we’re going to talk through and hopefully give that a try for the semester. As I’ve told the students, we’re doing our own creative inquiry with this whole thing. What has been interesting is that it has sparked some conversations among other teachers in other parts of the campus to think about and iterate their pedagogical thinking. When this first started, we had formed an advisory group with a representative from every department, but a lot of what it has merged into is discussions about teaching—things that could change and evolve practice in any context, not just in Inquiry Lab. SHM: So are you seeing increased interest in project-based learning or collaborative team projects in the classroom as a way of getting a tangible idea across? Brady: (gesturing to the white boards) Everything you see here is a design process that an English class is doing. It doesn’t theoreti-

cally have anything to do with an Inquiry project, but because we exist, because we’ve been in conversation with the faculty member, that possibility has opened up. Johns: I’ve been approached by a Latin class that wants to build a couple of chariots; they’re going to be working with me on design and construction next spring. Hennessey: [A lot of classes are starting to] use this space and these methods for thinking through problems. It’s awesome. We’ve had an economics class in here in the last couple weeks too working on a project, creating businesses. Students in a social sciences course are learning about all these justice issues [in global context] and they want to act. They want action, and this is a place where we focus on how to take ideas into action. SHM: You mentioned student assessment; if the goal is not centered on the end product, but rather the individual’s growth, how is that translating to scoring for purposes of the academic record?

• Re-structure of annual student social justice teach-in to promote active, sustained participation • Complete build of a working vintage Shelby Roadster • Blacksmithing tools for the SHS Farm & Garden • Production and broadcast of SHPTV show promoting dialogue on health & wellness • Conversion of Gatling gun to a promotional T-shirt launcher • Planning and production of nine- issue student newspaper • Development and management of “The,” SHP’s digital town square • Creation of educational websites, focused on topics such as sustainable goods, current events • Recording and production of instrumental music album • Design and build of robot for competition with remote control and autonomous features

Moshe Quinn: Self-assessment is a huge piece, central to the ethos or the ideology of character growth. Then there’s the advisement, the relationship with the teachers that are helping with the project, and who provide the external assessment. You can’t really have one without the other to have a full


experience and also have a good sense of what’s going on with growth. We see it as a dynamic process. Brady: It’s an iterative process. We started with the idea that this is about human development, that assessment was going to be based on growth, not necessarily how impressive the project was or even how successful it was, but how much did a student grow. We always knew that was going to be very difficult to measure. You don’t know where students begin; you don’t know where they end. Sometimes the most important way to spur growth is not necessarily to identify it as a deficit. We have learned, however, that there are certain habits or activity that, when pursued by a student, results in observable growth, and that’s something we [have found a way to quantify]. SHM: Do you find the students attracted to this program are a certain type—perhaps more self-driven or self-motivated? Brady: I think so, but it also draws the student who wants to be that kind of person. You see it when they look for an excuse to come in and clearly convey a sense of wanting to belong here. Hennessey: It’s both—there are the kids who are super-driven and always try to do more, but also those who never quite dial into or feel comfortable in traditional school. They see what’s happening here and they think, “that looks fun; I want to be part of that.” SHM: How important has the flexible, open-space design been in supporting student collaboration? Have you seen changes in the way kids are interacting with one another or with you?

this stage of her project. I said [to the students in the room], “Does anyone else want to be part of the conversation?” Two other people jumped in, and we had a great discussion about her project. That happens every day. Guiti Adjami: The kids, they love it. They say, “It’s our place. All of us, we can share in anything we want to do.” They are involved with the car project. They are involved with the TV and robotics. They were here over Thanksgiving, stay late at night. They just want to be here. Johns: It’s difficult to quantify, but all the students get so much more exposure. That encourages their minds to wander and then they can take advantage of the thoughts that strike them. Brady: The space is critical. It just orients action and, in subtle but profound ways, it directs how students behave. Yes, sometimes I come in here and it’s just a mess. You do want some messiness. We’re consciously trying to create a space that’s different than the traditional classroom. And we’re still figuring it out. Michael Vaganov: I’ve got a couple freshmen students in my Computer Science course coming in after school sometimes. They stay late even on Fridays and we hang out, and we talk about programming and projects they want to do. This whole space just breathes that creative energy. Brady: When you’re doing meaningful work there’s a real profound opportunity to share in intellectual growth, and this space has become a really intellectually active space. There have been some days when students are not quite in the zone to work on their projects. We’ll just start talking about something that came up in

Hennessey: Just this morning we had one student who was trying to make some final decisions at

(Above): The GatorBots, the FIRST Tech Challenge robotics team led by Andrew Zhu (SHP ’19), prepare its entry for fall competition, a remote-controlled machine that not only made finals, but earned the “Control Award” for most innovative software design in autonomous mode. (Left): Patrick Tandy (SHP ’17) perfects the craft of blacksmithing utilizing hammer, anvil, and a red-hot forge.


the newspaper, something in the news, something conceptual or academic. Another teacher will stop by, and just by some sixth sense will come in and join. These have been the most intellectually rigorous conversations—the kind you work so hard and aspire to create in your classroom. Then, in this context it just emerges. I can’t explain why that has happened, but it happens here, repeatedly. SHM: Outside of enrolling in Creative Inquiry—which you mention is really more a capstone experience for juniors and seniors—can and do other students take part in the ongoing projects? Brady: All the time. When students come in, it’s usually with an idea in mind, like, “Could I maybe work on the newspaper?” or “I want to work on the radio station.” We try and attach them to an existing project, connect them with the student leader, and basically put them on a creative team. Like joining the robotics team; there are a ton of freshmen and sophomores on the robotics team. There’s only four students who are leading the justice teach-in, but there’s a much wider circle of students who are contributing to it. Adjami: This place is about sharing and creating ideas, about taking advantage of opportunities that are here. A student of mine was in the room, working on page design while I was also covering the radio. She wanted to do the broadcast, asked if she could. And she loved it. SHM: How would you like to see the program evolve, a few years down the line? Hennessey: Get more people involved. I want this to be a place that everyone feels part of, where the whole school is [actively and creatively engaged]. I think that a lot of what we’re doing is what most teachers here want to be doing on some level.

Quinn: There’s something essential to human nature, the drive and the openness to discover, to play, to experiment, and to learn by trying something different. But that’s not really what we’re focusing on as much as creating a space and an environment where any person can learn about themselves by engaging in a new process that they haven’t tried before in an open, playful, reflective manner. Johns: The kids who come in with ideas have already figured out, “Hey, I am a powerful human being, and whatever I want to try to do, I can do, if I’m willing to go through the effort.” But there are a lot of kids who haven’t become aware of that potential yet, who don’t have that confidence in themselves or in the process. This room, this space, this department is about giving them the key to unlock that door, because that is entry to lifelong learning. Students here can transform, grow as a person, learn a ton of skills, and be better for it. And then they want to learn more. They become passionately curious about their learning. And really that’s the goal of the school, the charisma of the school, about the formation of person and the goals and criteria we’re all trying to hit. And that’s what gets me up out of bed every morning—because that’s what I’m really interested in, too.

Brady: I see it almost like a hub, where a physics teacher and an English teacher could interact with each other and come up with some interdisciplinary project or something like that. Quinn: We already have a project for that. Brady: Most important, I hope it’s a place that [reflects and practices] community—that isn’t its own thing, but is something open and an important part of the life of the school. SHM: And transformative? Brady: Definitely.

Inspired to create an affordable prosthetic hand using a 3D printer, Mike York (SHP ’17) has crafted an intiial prototype—additionally building the 3D printer he plans to use in the prosthetic production.




Alumni Board members volunteer at Ronald McDonald House



From the Alumni Association President Dear Sacred Heart Community, What a gift it has been to be the President of the Alumni Association this past year. Along with our stellar and dynamic Alumni Board, we have worked hard and collaboratively to create perfect opportunities that bring alumni from all generations back to our campus, back to our community, and back to our roots. In addition to our new book club, Burgundy & Books, and to our internship and new mentorship programs, here are a few other highlights of the past months: • Oktoberfest: Hundreds of alumni and their families returned to campus in October to toast and meet up with new and familiar friends. Most notably, our alumni in attendance spanned the generations from 1935 to 2011. • Community Service: November is a special time for the Alumni Association to give thanks and serve others. This year several alums gathered at the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford to dish out ice cream sandwiches to children and connect with families. • Board Growth: We welcomed new voting board members Jen Panos (SHP ’97), Carter Brutschy (SJS ’00, SHP ’04), Abby Smith (SHP ’88), and Rob La Rue (SHP ’07). Their multi-faceted talents and ideas have already contributed in great ways to the vibrancy and strength of the Board and its subsequent programs and events! On a final note, if you’re interested in being more involved in the Sacred Heart alumni community, but aren’t certain how to connect, please reach out to me, fellow board members, or to our Alumni Relations Manager Shannon Melinauskas. On behalf of the board, we look forward to continuing to serve Sacred Heart alumni in the 2016 year. In your service, Christine O’Neal (SJS ’94, SHP ’98)

Alumnae Recollect School Days—80 Years Later Over summer, two Sacred Heart alumnae had a very special reunion on campus. Sr. Mary “Be” Mardel, RSCJ (CSH ’35) and Pat Rardin (CSH ’37) came together for a celebratory luncheon at Oakwood, Mardel’s residence, and to chat about their former days as students and the changes wrought over time. It was Rardin’s first visit to the Atherton campus in a number of years, but in conversation, it seemed like yesterday. Over the course of an hour, the pair recalled everything from congé hiding spaces and strategies, to classes that were challenging but taught by wonderful religious, to gentle pranks played on the Sisters and on classmates. Honoring this incredible longevity and the valuable memories the two women share with regard to our Sacred Heart history, a formal interview was conducted and filmed on site.


The Spark Within

Alumni awards honor SHS spirit reflected In a brief ceremony at the 2015 Alumni Oktoberfest, two alumni were honored for their individual accomplishments and embodiment of the Sacred Heart spirit: Sr. Mary “Be” Mardel, RSCJ (CSH ’35) received the Spirit of Mater Award, and Aziz Sayigh (SJS ’99, SHP ’03) was inducted into the SHP Athletic Hall of Fame. Celebrating the 80th anniversary of her Sacred Heart graduation and the 75th Jubilee of her entry into the Religious of the Sacred Heart, Sr. Mardel was joined at the event by a number of fellow RSCJ to witness the special acknowledgement from Sr. Nancy Morris, Director of Schools Richard Dioli, and Alumni Association President Christine O’Neal (SJS ’94, SHP ’98). Among the most meaningful honors given to alumni of the school, the Spirit of Mater Award acknowledges select graduates who in their personal and professional lives embody Pausing before the formal awards presentation are Sr. Nancy Morris, Spirit of Mater winner Sr. Be Mardel, Director of Schools Richard Dioli, the Goals and Criteria and “radiate the divine spark of and Athletic Hall of Fame inductee Aziz Sayigh. Mater.” From her many years serving at Convent of Sacred Heart, San Francisco (Broadway) as teacher, surveillante, As a member of the football, basketball, and track teams at and mistress general, to her establishment of the St. Madeleine Sacred Heart Prep, Sayigh was honored as an MVP three times and Sophie Center for children with mental challenges in Southern twice recognized for superior academic performance with an SHP California and work with an AIDS support group, to her eventual Scholar-Athlete Award. Continuing on to Dartmouth College for a return to and longstanding tenure with Broadway/Stuart Hall as degree in engineering and economics, he played on the Big Green’s director of schools, Sr. Mardel has given her life to the support of varsity football team and captained Dartmouth’s competitive St. Madeleine Sophie’s vision. rugby team, earning All-Ivy League standing and was honored with the prestigious Corey Ford Award, given to a “non-senior Only the 16th graduate to earn entry into the SHP Athletic Hall whose dedication and enthusiasm on the field best exemplifies of Fame, student-athlete Aziz Sayigh was lauded as both an the spirit of Dartmouth Rugby.” And, at Stanford Graduate School outstanding leader and team player across all competitive fields, of Business for an MBA, he continued his successful leadership traits that have successfully translated to his professional career streak, captaining and coaching the Stanford rugby team between and still serve and define his character today. 2011-2013.

All in the Family

Alumni promote “Gators first” in career programs With approximately 5,000 members worldwide, the SHS alumni network is a vast and varied resource—which is precisely why the current Alumni Board is spearheading a number of initiatives to connect recent graduates with a range of alumni professionals and alumni-led companies for internships, mentorship, and other career opportunities. Entering its fourth year, the SHS Alumni Internship Program continues on an upward trajectory, attracting 38 applications this past summer for open positions in investment banking, online gaming, technology, law, tourism/travel, and marketing, among others. A total of 12 applicants were selected for paid or creditbearing internships, critically building their resumes and gaining valuable insight and skills—all thanks to fellow alumni.

This fall, the launch of a dynamic new professional resource benefiting and driven by members of the SHS alumni community was announced: the Alumni Mentor Program (AMP). Designed to match college-enrolled students and/or recent college graduates with more seasoned alumni professionals, this new program is structured to create an ongoing, one-to-one relationship enabling shared expertise and mutual learning, exclusive networking, and potential career opportunities. The AMP pilot year is underway, but additional alumni are sought as both mentor and mentee candidates. More information about the matching process, program goals, and projected volunteer commitment can be found online at 61

Sticking Point

Alumnus CEO shares insight at Silicon Valley Summit This fall, hundreds of entrepreneurs, investors, and leading executives converged for the Global Silicon Valley Pioneer Summit, a three-day dynamic forum exploring, catalyzing, and accelerating innovative technologies and partnerships to bring about a positive sea change in both industry and society. Among the organizers and featured speakers at the event were a number of current and past SHP parents. Also on tap to share perspective and lessons learned was Marco Zappacosta (SJS ’99, SHP ’03), co-founder and CEO of Thumbtack, an online agency connecting small business services and independent professionals directly with consumers that has virtually overtaken the market since its entry in 2011—recently raising another $125 million in funding and averaging five million projects contracted annually. Fast becoming a powerful voice for small business, last summer Thumbtack and Zappacosta partnered with the SBA to advocate for greater White House support and available resources for these independent shops that truly are the backbone of local economies. At the GSV Summit, Zappacosta was interviewed about why his model is pushing transformation.

Interviewed about the “Service Marketplace of the Future,” Thumbtack CEO Marco Zappacosta (SJS ’99, SHP ’03) talks with Polaris Venture’s Gary Swart, current SHS parent, at the Summit.

“Local services are not a commodity,” said Zappacosta, explaining why Thumbtack has exceeded other similar, but lesser-scaled ventures, such as Craiglist. “[The thing is,] you [the consumer] really care about who you hire.”

Novel Idea

Alumni Lit Club explores range of eras, themes From brooding British residents clinging to the declining family estate, to an unlikely alliance borne in a seaside village in France during the throes of World War II, to an intimate journey of healing, there is no shortage of drama—or dramatis personae— explored in the new “Burgundy & Books” series, hosted by the SHS Alumni Association. Led by popular former English teacher Connie Solari, and featuring the regular attendance of fellow retired faculty, the book club has attracted a steady and growing following among alumni and past parent populations. In fact, the club meetings have reliably recorded just about 40 male and female participants from ages 18 through 88, for lively discussion around the Evelyn Waugh classic Brideshead Revisited, contemporary novelist Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See, and J.L. Carr’s introspective novella, A Month in the Country. Part of a focused initiative by the SHS Alumni Board to extend the educational life of the school for past parents and grads, the book club came to fruition largely due to the outreach and planning by board member Whitney Glockner Black (SJS ’88, SHP ’92), who saw an opportunity to build activities around enrichment—and, of course, enjoyable reads. “The Board and I wanted to reconnect with the intellectual aspects of our Sacred Heart experience, particularly the open and thoughtful discussions that had taught us so much,” Black said. 62

“Selfishly, I missed the literary discussions that had inspired me to study literature in college, so I reached out to Connie Solari who was happy to help us establish and lead a literary book group. We were delighted to see so many parents of alums, alums, and former faculty—beloved drama teacher Joan Burdick, art history teacher Janet Whitchurch, and Sacred Heart legend Sr. Nancy Morris—turn out for the conversations, so we knew we had struck on something good. Moving forward, we’re looking forward to helping alumni connect further with the intellectual experience on campus.”


Alumna Molly Coogan (SHP ’01) embraces SHP in NYC Actor, writer, musician, producer, and director, Molly Coogan embodies the working artist. Her professional resume is peppered with productions for theaters on both coasts, a sampling of film and television, and among her listed special skills are the ukelele, basic acrobatics, and a spate of dialects. All-in-all, it’s an impressive and well-rounded showing. Graduating from Sacred Heart just about 15 years ago, Coogan headed off to Bates College in Maine, where she earned her degree in theater arts, attending an acting conservatory program at the prestigious London Dramatic Academy her junior year. Completing college but not convinced that the NYC theatrical mecca was the right destination just yet for career-entry, she returned to the Bay Area and re-established connections with colleagues in the local industry. Before long, Coogan was holding down a full-time job, working in back-to-back productions, and rapidly gaining eligibility to join the Actor’s Equity Association (a must for aspiring theatrical professionals). With union card now in hand, she was clear on what her next career move had to be: New York City. So, at 24, she packed up and exchanged the familiar for the unknown. What made the initial transition from California to New York infinitely easier, she says, is that she already had an arts community of sorts in the city, relationships forged at Sacred Heart that continue today. This network—and the one she established on the West Coast—has been critical in advancing her career, contributing to everything from getting an agent, to learning about auditions, working with new playwrights and connecting with directors. Moreover, this Sacred Heart connection has afforded her the ability to work with people she genuinely loves. “One of the things I learned is that creating your own content and work is paramount to also surviving as an artist in New York. Largely because of my Sacred Heart community, I was able to produce an original work that has in many ways helped to open a number of doors in my career.” The piece, which has since become a virtual calling card, was a music video for Coogan’s original song, “It Could Be.” Featuring one continuous uncut shot for the entirety of the 2:33 minutes, the film was extremely challenging technically to

Coogan and company had only one day in which to produce her original music video, “It Could Be,” filmed in one continuous uncut shot.

produce, but was successfully executed in the final take of the day. Helping their fellow SHP alumna, a few of Coogan’s classmates and friends numbered among the crew, including Larkin Clark (SHP ’01), who assisted with make-up and behind-the-scenes still photography. Today, with about eight years under her belt in the Big Apple, she is decidedly established as an artist and her resume continues to grow. Over the past year, she has appeared on an episode of CBS’ “Blue Bloods,” shot a pilot for TBS, participated in several staged readings and workshops in and around NYC, and performed with theatre company The Civilians in the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art—an historic event, as it was the first time a theater company had been chosen for the Met’s artist-in-residence program. Her original filmed comedy sketch “Nickelblock,” which appeared on YouTube in September, gained significant fame and was reposted on prime media sites, including the Huffington Post, E!, Buzzfeed, and Thrillist, among several others. And her new web series, “Things I Hate”—directed by her collaborator on “It Could Be,” not coincidentally, the brother of two SHP alumni—is set to debut in January 2016. Thriving on bicoastal opportunities, Coogan also continues to keep her California connections current—as recently as last summer she performed locally in TheatreWorks’ New Works Festival, in a reading of a new work by critically acclaimed playwright Melissa Ross. As she puts it, “It all comes down to building and maintaining really strong relationships with people from [all walks of life]. But especially in the case of my Sacred Heart community, these connections and friendships have been priceless.”


Alumni Reunions & Oktoberfest Alumni gather to celebrate their Sacred Heart bond



SAVE-THE-DATE Saturday, October 1, 2016 66

For more information, please visit

For more information and to RSVP:


150 Valparaiso Avenue Atherton, California 94027-4402

MARK YOUR CALENDAR! Upcoming Events at SHS March 3 Alumni Association Board Meeting • 6 p.m. SHS Alumni Lecture Series • 7 p.m. with former faculty member Janet Whitchurch Otto Library, Main Building 3-5 SHP Theatre Presents: “Guys & Dolls” Campbell Center for the Performing Arts 6 SHS Family Mass followed by BINGO • 10 a.m. Harman Family Assembly Hall 14 SHP Athletics Boosters Annual Golf Tournament Stanford Golf Course

28-30 SHP Actor’s Showcase: “Baskerville” Campbell Center for the Performing Arts, Black Box

19 Annual Auction Benefit • 6 p.m. “Be True to Your School” Rogers Practice Pavilion

May 8 SHS Mother’s Day Family Mass • 10 a.m. Harman Family Assembly Hall

April 14 Alumni Association Anderson Art Tour • 5:30 p.m. Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford

27 Prep Graduation • 5 p.m. SHP Soccer Field

22-24 MS Musical: “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” Campbell Center for the Performing Arts

June 11 8th Grade Commencement • 10 a.m. St. Joseph’s Grotto

Sacred Heart Magazine, Winter 2016  

Published for Family, Friends and Alumni of Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton

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