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CURRENT ISSUE:  March 21, 2011
VOL. 49, NO. 6   •   Oakland, CA
Other front page stories
FACE kids show the joy of learning
Chris Good named new FACE director
Knights and Ladies help develop, keep the faith
Parents seek strong, safe
schools for their children

When Janet Magana enrolled her ready-for-kindergarten daughter Jacquelyne at St. Martin de Porres School, she was a little nervous. She wanted the Catholic education for her daughter that she did not have, but she was also had some questions.

Janet Magana with daughter Jacquelyne and son Jorge.
Courtesy photo
“I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to afford it,” she recalled.

A conversation with school president Sister Barbara Dawson calmed those fears.

“When I had my interview with Sister Barbara, she talked to me about what kinds of financial aid were available,” Magana said. “I wasn’t working at the time. I had their dad’s support, but it wasn’t enough.”

Financial assistance from FACE (Family Aid – Catholic Education) made the difference in Jacquelyne being able to attend the school her family wanted for her.

Magana knows the value of strong, safe schools. Her family came to Oakland from Mexico when she was 4. Her education included a year at St. Patrick’s School. Finances forced a move to public schools for her.

“Back in the day, they didn’t have so much help as they do now,” Magana said.

When Jacquelyne began school at St. Martin de Porres, Magana began working there. She began working in admissions, and, because she had gotten to know the school’s families so well, moved to working in financial aid.

Magana takes Jacquelyne to school, and then heads to the Sacred Heart campus of St. Martin de Porres, where her son Jorge is a second-grader.

When Jacquelyne started kindergarten, Magana started working at the school, first in admissions, and later moving to the financial aid office.

Magana went from filling out one FACE form, to at least one hundred, helping families transfer their financial information to forms and meet deadlines.

At St. Martin de Porres, there are 211 students, representing about 150 families. About 90 percent are eligible for financial assistance, Magana said. Some receive aid from the Basic Fund; most receive assistance from FACE.

Taking one class a semester, Magana is finishing the prerequisites to enter a nursing program.
“If I can get A’s, you can get A’s,” she tells her children.

Her daughter Jacquelyne has already visited Holy Names High School. She tells her mother that she, too, is interested in the medical field.

Jorge’s interest in being a firefighter is tempered by the knowledge his mother would be worried about him. Maybe he’ll be a dentist instead, he tells her.

And Magana’s younger son, Esteban, 3, who goes to St. Vincent Day Home, is looking forward to his time at St. Martin de Porres.

The children have the love and support of both parents. “I have a wonderful husband who’s very supportive,” Magana said of her husband, Jorge Cuevas Sr., who works in an East Oakland store.

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