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GRADUATION:
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placeholder June 8, 2015   •   VOL. 53, NO. 11   •   Oakland, CA
Why I chose to go to a Catholic high school

The Catholic Voice reached out to the elementary schools of the Diocese of Oakland and asked a sampling of graduates why they chose to attend a Catholic high school.

Christian Alejandro
St. Felicitas School, San Leandro
Attending: Moreau Catholic High School, Hayward

I choose to pursue a Catholic high school because I feel that it is the best way to help me grow in my faith. I want to become a better Catholic and see God all throughout my high school years. I hope to learn more about my faith and strengthen my relationship with God. My faith is very important to me and I want it to be as strong as it can be. As everyone gets older they tend to let go of their faith in God a little, but I know that going to a Catholic high school will help me keep my connection with God. Through the next important four years of my life I want God to be with me as I experience a whole new chapter in my life.






Catherine Campusano
All Saints School, Hayward
Attending: St. Joseph Notre Dame, Alameda

I haven't always attended Catholic school. My schooling began at a private preschool, and from there I went into the public school system. Everything was fine until I moved up to middle school, where suddenly I found myself trying to figure myself out, along with over 1,000 other confused middle schoolers. I fell into the wrong crowd and was on a dangerous downward spiral. My grades never slipped, but there is more to an education than just grades. I knew there had to be more and I needed more. My parents had already planned on applying to Catholic high schools when the time came, but because I needed intervention quickly, they decided to apply to All Saints so that I could move into a healthier environment.

This was a new start for me, a new beginning in a real community. I was able to start fresh, to rebuild myself from the ground up. To this day, the friends I have made at All Saints have no idea the major impact they have had in turning my life around. When I toured Catholic high schools, what stood out to me was not the high level of academics (we expect that to be), or the incredible staff (we also expect this). What stood out to me was the continuing of the sense and reality of real community at St. Joseph Notre Dame.






Evan Coker
St. Joseph School, Alameda
Attending: St. Joseph Notre Dame High School, Alameda

In the past few years, I have challenged myself in the sport of motocross. It takes strong focus and commitment both physically and mentally. This has given me the courage to commit to the academic challenges at SJND. I am extremely excited to be advancing to the next level and look forward to continuing my education in an environment that has embraced myself as well as my family into the St. Joseph community. Go Pilots!






Cassidy Cushing
St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception School, Walnut Creek
Attending: Carondelet High School, Concord

I am pursuing my Catholic education because of the close community it provides, the superior education, and the faith-filled lessons. Catholic schools consist of caring people that are brought together by God. This kind of community sets the foundation for me to succeed academically and in life. Education at Catholic schools is always held to a high standard and our faith is always entwined into every lesson we learn. Catholic education is very positive and benefits me, which is why I would like to continue pursuing it through my high school years.






Emiliano Eugenio
St. Bede School, Hayward
Attending: Moreau Catholic High School, Hayward

I've decided to continue my Catholic education in high school because Catholicism has been the center of my life. Catholicism has helped shape my actions as a person and the choices I make. When the going gets tough, I refer back to my Catholic faith to seek comfort and calm. I attribute my success in academics, sports, social life and everyday activities to my family, faith and Catholic education. So many aspects of my life have been influenced by my spiritual development at St. Bede Catholic School, that I wouldn't be the same person I am today had I not taken the same route. I'm truly blessed to have the opportunity to further my education at Moreau Catholic High School and continue my growth spiritually and academically.






Rebeca Flores
Most Holy Rosary School, Antioch
Attending: Carondelet High School, Concord

I entered Catholic school when I started Pre-K, so I have been in Catholic school my whole life. I have a wonderful family who love and support me through anything. I realized how supportive my teachers at Holy Rosary School truly are when I became ill in Seventh Grade. I missed three months of school, and I was so worried that I would fall too far behind. My teachers took the time to work with me and helped me to catch up. The support I received from my school community was heartwarming. My Catholic faith is very important to me. It is my Catholic faith and my Catholic education that have helped shape who I am today. I look forward to my high school years attending Carondelet and to continue to be a part of a faith community.






Sofia Green
St. Francis of Assisi, Concord
Attending: Carondelet High School, Concord

Nine years ago on my first day of kindergarten, I still remember the tears in my eyes because I didn't want to leave the comfort zone of my home and my parents. At that point in my life I didn't have a say on whether I wanted a Catholic education or not. Nine years later, I cannot express how thankful I am to have been part of an amazing Catholic community. Now I do have a say, so why do I choose to continue my Catholic education in high school? For me, it has not only been the academics, but the great sense of community and belonging, a community that looks at the whole person and accepts them for who they are. It has also been the many friendships with classmates and teachers who are always very supportive. Through this journey, I have learned that if I ever fall, God will always be there to pick me up. My Catholic education has now become my comfort zone and I am very excited to continue with this journey at Carondelet High School.






Scott Lombardi
Most Holy Rosary School, Antioch
Attending: De La Salle High School, Concord

Having a Catholic education has been a way of life for me since my first day of kindergarten at Holy Rosary School. Studying religion on a daily basis, praying throughout the day and attending Mass with my classmates are part of my life. Because of my Catholic school education, I am a better student, athlete and person. As a student I enjoy learning, and as an athlete, I give the perfect effort, which is 100 percent all the time. The values I have learned in Catholic school will stay with me throughout the rest of my life. I look forward to continuing my Catholic school education.






Maria Magana
St. Joseph School, Fremont
Attending: Moreau Catholic High School, Hayward

I give God a lot of credit for where I am at today. He helped me find my family that I have and he has given me great opportunities. I've learned many valuable life lessons through God. One life lesson that I think is important is to never judge someone at first glance. God has taught me a lot, but this lesson is very important to me. Appearance does not matter, it's their actions and thoughts that matter. I am thankful for having wonderful religion teachers who have helped me learn about my faith. They helped me come close to God. By continuing my Catholic education I hope to continue to come closer. I look around and I see beauty in everyone and everything. I always try my best to live faith filled and continue to see things through God's eyes. I always ask God for his help in my time of need because I know God will always be there for me. I've already learned many life lessons and I hope that by continuing a Catholic education I can learn more lessons that will help prepare me for when I graduate from high school.






Carenina Magsano
St. Patrick School, Rodeo
Attending: Salesian College Preparatory, Richmond

Attending St. Patrick School has changed my life, not only academically, but spiritually as well. As a Catholic, I would like to continue pursuing the type of education that St. Patrick School has given me. Being in a Catholic school allowed me to be in an environment in which I am surrounded by God's loving presence, which allowed me to develop my faith in God more. Catholic high school will give me the chance to learn even more about our loving God, His Word and many other faith-based topics. Catholic high school also offers a challenging curriculum, which will help me prepare for whatever college I desire and lead me toward a good future. Furthermore, receiving a Catholic education continues my chance to be a person of service. Serving others means serving God. I will have the opportunity to serve God as part of my daily routine. I have appreciated my Catholic education so far and look forward to attending Salesian College Preparatory where I can continue to grow my faith, be challenged academically and be a person of service.






Stefany Vanessa Melgar
St. Jarlath School, Oakland
Attending: Holy Names High School, Oakland

I started my education at a public elementary school. Public schools are not bad, but I didn't feel as safe nor could I be my true authentic self. In a Catholic school I feel safe and I love how I can be myself. A Catholic school provides many ways to practice leadership. For example, when we have Faith Family Formation activities it allows me to be a leader to my peers. I believe God is the center of everything. It is important that my religion is a part of my academics because I can express myself. When I was in a public school I wasn't able to talk about my religion. Another thing I love about a Catholic school is that students are more open and more friendly. I don't know how, but they just are. For example, one of my best friends is in seventh grade and I love how they don't care that I am an eighth-grader, they just think of me as a friend. I am pursuing Catholic education because I love my religion, I love talking and learning about it and I love the safe environment it provides.






Stephanie Perezalonso
St. Raymond School, Dublin
Attending: Carondelet High School, Concord

Catholic education has shaped me into being a better person and has allowed me to grow in my relationship with God. St. Raymond School has empowered me to do my best in my studies, nurtured a love for learning, encouraged me to serve my community and supported me in following Jesus' footsteps. I used to believe that I wasn't capable of doing well in school and never knew what it was like to finish a book! Attending St. Raymond School, I was expected to do my best and to persevere through my challenges. This experience has made me more successful. I chose to attend Carondelet High School because I would like to continue my education in a Catholic environment and continue my faith journey with God. At St. Raymond, I met so many great people, and was given so many opportunities to learn and help my community. Carondelet will set high expectations for me, academically, spiritually and for service. I will forever be thankful. St. Raymond School has prepared me for the challenge and I look forward to success!







Matthew Ramirez

Wood Rose Academy, Concord
Attending: De La Salle High School, Concord

During the past nine years of having attended a private school, I have come to realize the importance of it. By attending Wood Rose Academy, I have chosen to pursue Catholic education, and will continue to do so in high school. Pursuing Catholic education can fortify my relationship with God and can bring our community together. It will continue to strengthen during high school as I attain more knowledge about my faith, and as I achieve my aspirations in life. I see Catholic education as the best way to achieve my aspirations and as a reason to strive for them.






Jewelle Segarra
St. Peter Martyr School, Pittsburg
Attending: Carondelet High School, Concord

My education in a Catholic school encourages me to become a better person. I learn how to understand and appreciate what I have, strengthen my Catholic faith, values and love for God. It helps me to be a productive student, spiritually and academically because of our school's strong foundation. I'm on the right path to success if I continue my Catholic education.







Nataly Torres
St. Anthony School, Oakland
Attending: Bishop O'Dowd High School, Oakland

"They will know we are Christians by our love!"

While I did not start as a student of St. Anthony Year Round School, I appreciate a Catholic education because of the Christ love and kindness given. I have come to prefer Catholic education because of the values, and principles based on Jesus Christ and all his Holy Church. I appreciate being taught about my faith throughout all the years in school and at home having the continued foundation of God everywhere is helping me to be a better person and student. As a child I was taught to always reach for things you love and to find the best way to do so and always prepare for the future. My education here has taken me to the next step, which is acceptance to Bishop O' Dowd High School where I will be a proud Dragon. Ultimately I want to attend Catholic University in Washington, D.C., or Xavier College in New Orleans, Louisiana.






Melina Peña
St. Paul School, San Pablo
Attending: Salesian College Preparatory, Richmond

Attending a close- knit high school where college preparation and faith are top priorities is very appealing to me. I believe that faith is very important to a young adult. I was born and raised in a Catholic nurturing environment and this has allowed me to become the person that I am today. I want to continue to live in this nurturing atmosphere, which I believe is provided through a Catholic education. For high school, I will be attending Salesian College Preparatory as this school will help me in achieving my personal and academic goals.






Aristotle A. Vergara II
St. Clement School, Hayward
Attending: St. Francis High School, Mountain View

As a practicing Catholic, it is important for me to continuously learn more about my faith. Catholic schools are known for providing high-quality education. It's being pursued by many because it truly creates students who are not just academically excellent but also well-rounded in all aspects of life. Through Catholic education, we are truly not only taught essential academic curriculum but also develop a sense of morality and cultivate a call of service for others through knowing and living the message of Jesus. I'm proud to say that Catholic education has truly molded me and shaped me to be a student leader who continuously strives to make a difference in the lives of others because of their willingness to be of service to others and fulfill the message of Christ. Catholic education is simply not education, but an influential and transformative journey that truly creates students with Christian values, intellectual ambition and curiosity, and the advocacy of serving others in their own way. As a proud student of St. Clement, I have learned that getting all A's is not a guarantee to success, but having the right attitude and work ethics will go a long way. As I continue my journey to St. Francis, I know that the love and compassion within me will be nurtured and will eventually be my anchor in changing the world, one person at a time.

 
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