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 March 6, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 5   •   Oakland, CA
Around the Diocese

When All Saints goes marching
Celebrate Your Culture Day was part of the Catholic Schools Week observance at All Saints School in Hayward. "As students are preparing to dress in the clothing of their culture, or to wear the colors of their culture's flag, many of our older students are questioning the current climate in our country and the ban on immigrants," Principal Jennifer Diaz wrote to parents. "Since we are all immigrants in America (except for our Native American brothers and sisters), it seems like the perfect time to celebrate our differences and the simple fact, that although we are different, we are all one. We all belong to God's family." The resulting peace rally and prayer circle proved to be a colorful example of that message.
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The pupils are learning engineering skills first hand.

Robotics club gets boost
from young alum

Last September, David Valencia, Class of 2014, partnered with Julie Castro, fifth grade and science teacher at St. Edward School, to lead and mentor the Newark school's first Robotics Club.

David credits St. Edward School for sparking his interest and ongoing pursuit of STEM education and its application. David represented St. Edward School in several diocesan and county science fairs.

It was at St. Edward where David discovered his love for science and engineering. He has continued this interest at Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose. He joined the nationally ranked Bellarmine Robotics Club as a freshman. Now in his junior year, he is one of the team's student leaders and is active in FIRST Robotics Competitions.

Wanting to give back to his alma mater and spread his love for science and engineering, David volunteered to start St. Edward's Robotics Club.

The pupils are learning engineering skills first hand with VEX IQ kits. David hopes that hands-on learning and experimentation with these kits will inspire students, both boys and girls, to also develop a passion for science and continue pursuing STEM education and careers.

100s of entries for Blake Shelton concert

The Catholic Voice received hundreds of entries in a contest to see the Blake Shelton Country Songs Tour at SAP Center in San Jose on March 10.

Here are the seven winners and their hometowns: Susan Camacho, Pleasanton; Charlene Arrington, Rodeo; Phillis Neitling, Concord; Madelyn Cudney, Livermore; Michael Acton, Newark; Renee LaPlante, Hayward; and Walt Angelo, Hayward.

Drawing their dream
Art teacher volunteers asked the fourth-grade pupils at St. Paul School in San Pablo to draw Martin Luther King and visually express what they understood MLK's speech stated. The next week, the art teachers challenged the pupils, among them Lily Sandoval-Sullivan, left, and Ethan Leung, to illustrate "If they have a dream." Many of them illustrated and wrote about dreaming of people not bullying one another, stopping smoking, not fighting, and not see color in people. Their thoughts and wishes were admirable and impressive.

Around the Parishes

Choirs were given the spotlight in the Feb. 18-19 bulletin at St. Philip Neri-St. Albert the Great Parish in Alameda. The adult choir visited the Pacifica Senior Living Center in Oakland Feb. 11 to share and uplift hearts with beautiful music. Meanwhile during the school year the SPN School students have partnered with the children's faith formation students to host family Masses at SPN church. The children's choir has been providing the music for these Masses.

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Around the Schools

Students at Berkeley's Saint Mary's College High School have been very busy during the month of February giving back to the community. Volunteers again helped out at the Alameda and SF-Marin County Food Banks, collected feminine hygiene products for homeless women in San Francisco, and worked with the Prisoners Literature Project in Berkeley. On Feb. 16, a dozen students and Saint Mary's mom, Julia Lojo, gave the precious gift of their hair to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program. Stylist Kayla Headley and her colleagues made the trip from Napa again this year to volunteer their time and talents to the cause. Saint Mary's Spanish Club students recently volunteered at San Francisco's Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts.

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Names, News, Notes

John Renke has joined the Cathedral of Christ the Light, Oakland, as the new pastoral associate for divine worship and operations. Renke, whose first day was Feb. 16, comes to the Diocese of Oakland from the Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii in Honolulu where he was the organist and director of music for almost 10 years.

Pamela Lyons, a former principal at Assumption School in San Leandro, has been appointed the new superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, effective July 1. Lyons, a graduate of Saint Mary's College of California in Moraga, received her graduate degree from the University of Notre Dame. Early in her career she taught in East Bay schools before spending six years working in corporate training before returning to education. Since 2014, she served as assistant and then associate superintendent of archdiocesan Catholic schools. She succeeds Nina Russo, who served as interim superintendent for the past two years.

Attention all middle and high school students in Contra Costa County! The 19th Annual Dennis Thomas Art and Writing Challenge, sponsored by the Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center in Walnut Creek, is now open. The topic of this year's competition is "Do Your Little Bit of Good" — taken from a quote by Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu in which he talked about how people of all ages have the power to change the world around them for the better. Three categories are open to participants: 1) essay, 750 words middle school or 1,000 words or less high school; 2) creative writing, poem, story or play; 3) art, any medium. The middle school grand prize is $250 and the high school grand prize is $500. For more information, 925-933-7850 or margli@ourpeacecenter.org.

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