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High schools mull best way to report grades

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Brother Donald Mansir, FSC

placeholder October 17, 2011   •   VOL. 49, NO. 18   •   Oakland, CA

Eighth-graders gather on the Cathedral Plaza before going into the Cathedral of Christ the Light to hear a presentation by Jason Evert, a speaker with a worldwide reputation for his talks on chastity.
Students get great message
on chastity, self-worth

More than 650 junior high school students heard a message of respect, self-worth and chastity at a Sept. 29 gathering of students from 19 Catholic schools at the Cathedral of Christ the Light.

Jason Evert

Jason Evert, a speaker on chastity with a national and worldwide following, held his audience captivated for 75 minutes, mainly by speaking their language. The event was sponsored by the Diocese of Oakland Youth Ministry Office.

It was the fourth of Evert’s talks in his latest Bay Area visit. He spoke to students at Salesian High School and De La Salle High School and at Holy Rosary Parish in Antioch.

He went to extremes to earn his audience’s respect at Salesian, where he spoke to all 540 students in the school gym, said Sister Mary Greenan, coordinator of youth ministry and religion department chair.

When Evert sought a volunteer at the beginning of his talk, he found one in Freddie Tagaloa, who stands 6-8 and weighs 312 pounds — a standout offensive lineman.

When Evert hoisted Tagaloa off the ground, he won the attention of the audience, who had come to a talk about respect.

“He got their heart when he picked Freddie up,” she said.

“I liked his engagement and acceptance of where they were,” Sister Mary said. “He impacted them, without a shadow of doubt.”

After the talk about making good choices, punctuated with anecdotes, often humorous, from the point-of-view of both girls and boys, the junior high students, teachers, students and parent chaperones had words of praise for the presentation.

“He gave the message in a great way,” said Rebecca Gallo, mother of an eighth-grader at St. Francis of Assisi, adding that nobody talked to students about chastity in this way when she was a teenager. “Kids today are so much more open,” she said.

“I’m so glad to be here,” she said, “and glad that they’re doing this.”

The day would give them something to talk about when they returned to their classrooms.

Eighth-grader Julia Harrison of St. Francis of Assisi said she found the speaker “captivating.” She said she liked the way Evert “took control of how to get his point across. I love how he made it a lot of fun but still told us all we needed to know.”

For more about Jason Evert, see www.chastity.com
Evert wove the serious with the fun, reminding them the message was about self-esteem.

Rachel Gonsalves, eighth-grade teacher at St. John School in San Lorenzo, said a gathering of students, particularly one with students who know each other from other activities, such as CYO, “sends the message they are not alone.”

“Being at the Cathedral,” she said, “showed them they are part of a greater family.” The message she said she hoped they take with them is the importance of having dignity for themselves. “Kindness to self is contagious,” she said.

The students, teachers and parents joined in the 12:10 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral, which was celebrated by Father George Mockel, vicar general of the diocese.

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