Chris Trinidad, far right, Director for Campus Ministry, Religious Studies teacher, and Choral Director, poses with Science faculty member and trip chaperon Ali Gonzales, far left, and members of the Saint Mary's Magnificat Chamber Singers who traveled to the Philippines for Enrichment Week 2012 to visit Christian Brothers' schools there and to perform for and with their Filipino Lasallian colleagues.
Saint Mary's students hit the road in Enrichment Week
For one week each year, Saint Mary's College High School's students take to the highways and byways, bike paths and BART paths, and travel by airplane — a first for some - bus, van and on foot as the school's 600 students and 80 faculty, administrators and staff members experience "Enrichment Week."
The popular program, begun in the late 1970s and in its current form since 1997, mixes all four grade levels in a variety of courses developed by faculty to provide an additional means to develop and extend the school's educational mission. Each student can choose and participate in a course that is of particular interest.
The Berkeley school held this year's Enrichment Week Fair on the school campus during the lunch period Jan. 11. More than 30 faculty tables and booths offered information about the nearly four dozen specialized courses to be held on and off-campus March 4 through March 8.
The curriculum for Enrichment Week is a mix of academic, travel, career exploration and recreational classes, as well as many service opportunities. Many groups hold small fundraisers during the year to offset tuition costs.
Favorites through the years have included: American Film Classics, Bay Area Back Roads, auto maintenance, driver training, culinary arts, Exploring New England, learning to fish, Haunting Historic Tour of the Bay Area, movie-making, knitting classes, Oregon Shakespeare, science camps, SAT test prep, self-defense courses for young women, San Francisco architecture tours, Yosemite Institute in Olympic National Park, courses at U.C. Berkeley, and programs in places such as El Salvador, the Arizona-Mexico border, the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana, Washington, D.C., and Montreal.
Many students travel to fellow Lasallian (De La Salle Christian Brothers) schools around the United States and overseas. Students have visited the Rome Motherhouse of the 333-year old De La Salle Christian Brothers religious order that conducts Saint Mary's and other Lasallian schools in eighty countries worldwide.
Upperclassmen may also create individualized courses for approval by school administrators, such as focused college visits around the country. A special community assembly follows Enrichment Week to showcase students' many unique experiences. No student or faculty member comes back unchanged, filled with memories that will truly last a lifetime. Service work done by students leaves lasting impressions, such as the many colorful wall murals painted by Saint Mary's art students to brighten up inner-city Catholic elementary schools in the Oakland Diocese.