May 13, 2012 § Leave a comment
Cathedral’s annual observance of Founder’s Week was a mix of fun, information, and worship experiences. Each day there was a different theme, based on the five Lasallian Core Principles, with appropriate activities to commemorate it.
Monday was “Respect for all persons,” and anyone wearing this year’s “Signum Fidei” button or wristband was allowed to come to school in modified dress rather than in the usual uniform. Each class began with a prayer (over the Intercom) for respect. Br. Ernest Miller, FSC, addressed junior religion classes on Lasallian involvement in promoting and respecting the rights of children.
On Tuesday, thanks to preparation by Mrs. Aguirre and Lasallian Youth, selected students and faculty members participated in service projects off campus in acknowledgment of the second theme, “Concern for the poor and social justice.” Some teachers provided transportation to and from the projects; some substituted in classrooms while their colleagues served. Modified dress was again available for those who could spare $2.00, and the money was designated for our sister school, St. Mary’s in Kenya. Br. Ernest continued speaking to the juniors, and Br. George Van Grieken, FSC, arrived to address vocation with other classes. During lunch, Mrs. Aguirre and Lasallian Youth invited students to help them make sandwiches for delivery to the homeless, and in the cafeteria lines, students donated “change for change,” which also went to St. Mary’s.
Wednesday the “Spare your Collar for $2.00” continued as Cathedral observed a commitment to “Quality education,” presenting Honor Roll students with a free snack from the Administration. Teachers, too, received juice, coffee, bagels and muffins in the morning, plus a free lunch of assorted Chinese delicacies! Mr. Ferrante and the yearbook staff posted various teacher profiles around campus to let students know their instructors have interests outside the classroom as well. Br. George Van Grieken continued speaking to classes about the Lasallian vocation.
Thursday was a dress-up day for celebrating “Faith in the presence of God.” Lasallian Core Principle posters were on display around the campus, and Father Rick, a “Brothers’ boy” from Cuba celebrated Mass, which included slides prepared by Br. Roch and music by the Praise Band under the direction of Mr. Yslas. At the end of Mass, Br. Chris Patino renewed his vows for another year as a Christian Brother, and Brother Visitor Donald Johanson, FSC, of the San Francisco District, bore witness. Br. John Montgomery acknowledged the departure of several long-time Cathedral teachers: Nancy Price (retiring after 25 years), Sanford Jones (moving to the Philippines), Bruce Matteson (leaving after 11 years), and Br. Chris Patino (moving to San Miguel in Tucson). At the end of the day, just before school was dismissed, Br. John called classes to the athletic field, where a star had been laid out in preparation for the school’s picture. The yearlong theme “Many stars, one La Salle”was illustrated in the photo (taken by Abel Gutierrez) of the entire student body, faculty, staff and administration radiating in five points from the Phantom in the center of the athletic field.
Finally, on Friday, the school celebrated an inclusive community of “Brotherhood” with a Purple Pride dress theme. Students wore Cathedral logo shirts or other CHS apparel. Several inflated amusements were set up on the field, including a climbing tower, basketball and soccer skill games, water rides, and a dunk tank. Hot dogs, snow cones, nachos and an assortment of drinks were available for purchase (but not to take onto the field!) and a good time was had by all right up until 12:30 p.m. Juniors and seniors went home to prepare for Prom, held that night at Castaways in Burbank, and freshmen and sophomores went home to an early weekend.
Director of Student Life Br. Chris Patino expressed his gratitude to all of the above-named, as well as to the many people who, with faith and zeal, worked behind the scenes to make this week possible, specifically: The Administration, for all their support, helping pick loose up ends, and their attention to all the logistics; Mr. Resurreccion and the ASB, for all their work, true Phantom spirit, and Lasallian activities; a special shout out to Mr. Res for not only handling many activities this week, but also for taking care of all the preparations for Prom; Ms. English, for designing a great flyer and meaningful logo for this year’s Founder’s Week; Mr. Bertolone, Mrs. Collier, Mrs. Soliz, and Mrs. Zaragoza, for their selfless help and support with many details — what would we do without you? Br. Roch and KCHS, for their coverage of Founder’s Week and presence at many of the activities; Br. Lawrence, for keeping the website up to date with all Founder’s Week information; Mr. Gutierrez, for his attention to all the details in putting together a great school photo of our Human Star! Mr. Flores, Coach “AJ” Jefferson, and Coach “Toro” Torres, for providing support and students to help set up the gym; and to Mr. Jones, Br. James, Br. Paul, Br. Lawrence, and Mr. Res, who welcomed guests into their religion classes.
But the year isn’t over yet. Br John announced an assembly next Monday to hear a choral performance sponsored by the Colburn School of Music in downtown Los Angeles. This spring students from Cathedral, Salesian, Bishop Conaty, and Sacred Heart of Jesus were invited to be part of a new community outreach program, and their performance is intended, first, to showcase what the students in our local Catholic high schools have been able to accomplish in these few short months, and second, to encourage more students to join the choral program next year. Thursday night is the Spring Band Concert and Art Show, followed by the Farewell Dance on Friday. Then it’s final exams for seniors, graduation rehearsals, Senior Presentations in the gym in front of the student body, Baccalaureate Mass in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, and graduation ceremonies in Pasadena. Final exams for everyone else begin on Tuesday, May 29.
March 26, 2012 § Leave a comment
On Tuesday, March 20, a select group of seniors from fifty different Catholic high schools across the archdiocese assembled at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. They were being recognized for their volunteer service to their local parish church or school community. At the Archdiocesan Christian Service Award Mass held in their honor, each of these students received a medallion from Archbishop Gomez as an acknowledgment of their dedication.
Because of our large enrollment, Cathedral is able to select two students to receive this award. This year Principal Br. John Montgomery, in consultation with Lasallian Youth moderator Br. Chris Patiño and Campus Minister Sanford Jones, chose seniors Alejandro Toruno and Christian Chavez.
Like many other Phantoms, Christian Chavez takes the bus to school every morning. However, he rides about an hour and a half each way, boarding at 6:10 a.m. in Venice and arriving at CHS about 7:30. As a sign of the intensity of his commitment, that’s pretty convincing. And his service to St. Mark’s, his local church, is equally impressive.
Since his junior year he has served as leader for both introductory and advanced confirmation groups. As Youth Representative to his church’s Pastoral Council, Christian has worked on several service projects. He has organized, packaged and distributed food for St. Mark’s “Loaves and Fishes” food drive for the needy, and he sold tickets for their local Oktoberfest fundraiser, with the money going to help finance church programs.
But he has not ignored his school community. For the past two years he has participated as a peer minister at the freshman and sophomore retreats. And he has spent more than a few lunch periods making sandwiches with Lasallian Youth. As a junior, he spent his Thanksgiving holiday with Br. Chris and other Lasallian Youth on a service trip to Arizona for El Otro Lado [see Purple Letter of November 29, 2010].
Plans for college are still in flux. He applied to ten colleges and is still waiting for word from Loyola-Marymount, Seattle Pacific, and Azusa Pacific universities. He has already been accepted by the others, including St. Mary’s College of Moraga; Cal State campuses at Northridge, Los Angeles, and San Francisco; Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, and the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Asked which institution he plans to attend, Christian is “still torn.” Cost is a major issue he says, because “my mom can’t help.” He is grateful to Br. Chris who “helped me get a $20,000 scholarship to the University of Arizona [Br. Chris’s alma mater].” That may sound like a lot, but it amounts to $5,000 a year, and the annual cost is $40,000. Similarly, St. Mary’s offered him a Lasallian Service Award of $11,000, “but that school costs $50,000.” Not one to give up, Christian says he may go to Cal State for a few years and then transfer. He hopes to major in electrical engineering and work with computers.
Senior Alejandro Toruno has been active in Lasallian Youth projects since his sophomore year, when he tutored children once a week at Sacred Heart and St. Alphonsius elementary schools, distributed weekly meals at the Union Rescue Mission, and worked in the soup kitchen at the Midnight Mission. He continued his service at the Midnight Mission once a week during his junior and senior years and moved his weekly tutoring sessions to Dolores Mission.
As part of the Lasallian Leadership Team, Alejandro has traveled widely in his search for ways to ease the pain of the world. As a sophomore he participated in the service learning project El Otro Lado over semester break [see Purple Letter of February 10, 2010]. Then over Easter break he went to New York City for the Convocation on the Rights of the Child [see Purple Letter of May 10, 2010]. And he was one of eighteen youth who flew to Madrid last summer for World Youth Day [see Purple Letters of October 10, 2010, February 14, 2011, and October 3, 2011]. He also works closely with Campus Minister Sanford Jones to plan prayer services and Masses.
He has also found time to work stage crew for last fall’s play, Holes, and to be active in the Spanish Honor Society.
Asked about his future, Alejandro admits that he “loves the Lasallian mission.” He will attend La Salle University in Philadelphia on a Lasallian Community Service Scholarship. There he plans to major in history and education, because, he says, “The classroom is the ultimate service to young people.” He is guided by his senior quote from former President Ronald Reagan: “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”
“If I can motivate others to service,” he explains, “I’ll do even more.”
Congratulations and thanks to Christian and Alejandro for their years of service and for receiving this year’s Archdiocesan Christian Service Award.
November 28, 2011 § Leave a comment
On Wednesday, Nov. 23, after the final $5.00 or 5 cans were collected for charities, while most students were enjoying an early beginning for their Thanksgiving holiday, faculty and staff met with selected parents and students for the second WASC/WCEA preparation meeting.
The opening devotional included Scripture readings about the Holy Spirit from both the prophet Isaiah and the Epistle to the Corinthians. The Scripture was followed by individual charges to each group present.
The charge to students read: “We love you as you are. You are human just like us and capable of right and wrong. Yet, we challenge you this school year to grow intellectually and spiritually, to be like Christ. You are our hope for the future church – and you are servants and leaders even now. We believe in you. Faith is not just for adults, so we urge you to ‘Remember your Creator’ during this time in your life.”
To the administration, faculty & staff: “In some way you answered a call to be involved in education. The world of the curse will deny that calling. It will try to corrupt your love for teaching with all sorts of pressure and criticism. The world of the curse knows only criticism. But you are not merely educators, for if you are a child of God, you are much more. You are Christians and you carry songs of blessings and words like apples of gold in frames of silver into the world. Your family of faith reaffirms your calling. May God bless your calling as you walk and talk like Christ. Our blessing carries this charge – ‘Be Christ for the students and the school community.’”
And to the parents: “The prime responsibility for the education of the child belongs by natural right to the parents. In the Lasallian school, this fundamental right has its origins in God, creator of all human life, through the medium of the parents. No human authority, therefore, can go against this first responsibility. In the school situation, it finds expression in a close collaboration between teachers and parents. The teachers are given their mission by the parents and the Church. The children, through their agency of the school, bring to their parents the knowledge and values they have learned at school.”
We closed the devotional with a prayer for the Holy Spirit to keep us in a community of believers and learners who resolve to live up to our Lasallian identity. It was a good beginning to a long process of evaluations, commendations, and recommendations for our school’s future.
Br. John introduced the agenda by explaining that WASC and WCEA are “dual accreditation agencies” and that today’s program would focus on four tasks.
First, we looked at the “LIFE” statements (Lasallians with Integrity Focused on Education) to see if they still reflect the learning outcomes we expect of our students. Suggestions included re-arranging some of the clauses and changing some of the verbs to reflect more accurately the results we want.
Second, we reviewed the list of changes since the last WASC visit (2007). This list was generated at the faculty in-service November 3. We looked for the most important strengths, first as individuals, then as table members. Each table chose four strengths to present to the whole group; then Br. John distributed four stickers to each person present. We used the stickers to establish priorities for the most important strengths. Br. John promised to tally the votes and report on the results at the next meeting. Some of the strengths recorded by more than one table included an academic, college preparatory curriculum, the presence of the Christian Brothers and dedicated faculty, staff and parents, and the abundance of opportunities for student involvement outside the classroom.
The same procedure addressed “areas for growth,” or weak areas in need of strengthening. Again, individual lists were generated, followed by table discussion and summary lists by each table. Crowded classrooms, reduced funding, and less instructional time were some of the issues that arose in more than one table discussion. Everyone used a second set of stickers to indicate which areas should be top priorities for the Action Plan, which concludes the WASC self-study document. Br. John promised to report the results at the next WASC meeting.
The last item on the agenda was to read several parent survey forms (collected at the November General Parent meeting) to see if the parent response was similar to that of the groups at today’s meeting. While these surveys have yet to be tabulated, it was reassuring to read so many responses from parents who recognized Cathedral’s strong academic program.
The next WASC/WCEA meeting will be in January.
November 21, 2011 § Leave a comment
In the middle of the Civil War, with many crises facing him, President Abraham Lincoln declared that the first official American Thanksgiving would take place on the last Thursday of November. It has become a day for acknowledging God’s lavish gifts of grace, love and forgiveness, and a reminder that we should be equally generous with what we have been given.
After finishing up October with the excitement of Halloween costumes, Cathedral students spent most of November finding ways to give unto others, beginning with giving $5.00 (rather than the usual $2.00) or five cans of food in order to qualify for modified dress on Tuesdays. They took full advantage of this opportunity, bringing not only cash but canned food donations. Campus Minister Sanford Jones, who supervised the collections, reported that during the first week 16 freshmen, 18 sophomores, 28 juniors, and 14 seniors participated, donating 375 cans and $155 in cash.
By November 18, the students had raised the cash total to over $600, which was used to fulfill the school’s annual commitments to St. Peter’s Church, Sacred Heart Church in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles Mission on Skid Row, and the House of Ruth in Boyle Heights. The Campus Ministry team (led by Mr. Jones) and the Lasallian Youth (led by Mrs. Aguirre) and students Lawrence Schuman, Adolfo Monroy, and Alex Toruno, used the money to purchase $400 in turkeys, canned vegetables, stuffing, dried beans, and macaroni & cheese, which was delivered to Sacred Heart and St. Peter’s Church. Fr. Raniero was very grateful for the donations as he needs to fill 800 baskets for the families in his parish. Another $200 bought Ralphs gift cards for families at Divine Savior and Transfiguration Church.
Moreover, Thursday, Nov. 10, was multicultural food day, and parents provided samples of national dishes from around the world. This sharing was augmented by a “jeans & jacket” drive, allowing students to come in modified dress if they donated denim jackets or jeans in good condition for use by those in need of such clothes. (Denim is long wearing and a timeless fashion.) Mr. Jones commented, “It is our Christian duty to help others” and noted further that the generosity of Cathedral students “will go a long way.”
Not to be outdone, the National English Honor Society conducted a book drive “gently used” children’s books were collected and delivered to Shriners Hospital. Mrs. Staveley wrapped the books in cellophane baskets to present to the children being treated there.
All this was in addition to the regular lunchtime sandwich making by Lasallian Youth on Nov. 8 and 29 and delivery of sandwiches to the Midnight Mission after school both days. Work at Dolores Mission and St. Vincent de Paul after school on Mondays and Thursdays was suspended last week while Br. Chris was in Rome. Applications for the trip to Arizona, “El Otro Lado” (the other side) were turned in this past Friday, the end of the last grading period before finals.
Giving is essential to bringing God’s Word to the world. It is a way of showing that our possessions are not our god. By choosing to live beyond ourselves, we help bring God’s Word to the world. We give of our first fruits (not our leftovers) when we give our time, our talent and our resources, with which we have been richly blessed. Such generosity can change the world.
The month was short in terms of classroom instruction time, with no classes on Friday, Nov. 4, or Friday, Nov. 11. The regular Thanksgiving prayer service will be on Tuesday this year, shortening odd-bloc classes to 60 minutes instead of the usual 80. The Thanksgiving holiday for students will run Tuesday afternoon through Sunday, while for teachers it will begin Wednesday at noon because Wednesday (like Nov. 4) is a WASC preparation day for faculty and staff.
November 14, 2011 § Leave a comment
Every six years, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) evaluates Cathedral to be sure we are meeting the requirements of a college preparatory secondary school. Staff, faculty, students, and parents review the school’s policies and practices, looking for evidence of commendation and areas of recommendations for improvement. For many years (1988, 1994, and 2000), Cathedral earned the equivalent of an “A” grade: a six-year authorization with a mid-term visit or report. In 2006, however, we received an “A+,” that is, a clear six-year authorization, with no mid-term report required. It meant not only that Cathedral is doing a great job educating your sons and preparing them for college, but also that you can expect we will continue to innovate and improve our curriculum just as we have with the establishment of the Science Academy.
This time around a new component has been added: Catholic identity as recognized by the Western Catholic Education Association (WCEA). From its beginnings the WCEA was the “Catholic partner” of WASC. In 2005 it became an independent organization with Br. William Carriere, FSC, as Executive Director. According to Br. William, WCEA holds Catholic high schools (and elementary schools) accountable for fidelity to Catholic principles in education, religious instruction, etc., while they meet the standards required to prepare their students for college.
At the faculty’s Faith Formation Workshop held a year ago [see Oct. 4, 2010], Br. William introduced two of the eight standards by which Catholic identity will be measured. The first was that the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) had established a nation-wide curriculum for religion classes, and the second, the focus for that day, was “…bringing the Good News of Jesus into the total educational experience.”
On October 5 of this year, Principal Br. John Montgomery, Dean of Studies Sulema Modesto, and Study Co-coordinator Nancy Price attended the first WASC/WCEA meeting, where Br. William identified all eight standards as follows:
1. The school has a mission statement and a philosophy statement which indicate the integration of the Roman Catholic Faith into all aspects of school life.
2. The school provides regular opportunities for the school community to experience prayer and the Sacraments.
3. The school uses a religion curriculum and instruction that is faithful to Roman Catholic Church teachings, and meets the requirements set forth by the USCCB.
4. The formation of teachers for catechetical and instructional competence is ongoing.
5. The school maintains an active partnership with parents whose fundamental concern is the spiritual and academic formation of their children.
6. The school helps students develop a service-oriented outreach to the Church and civic community after the example of Jesus, who said, “I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you” (John 13:15).
7. There is widespread use of signs, sacramentals, traditions and rituals of the Roman Catholic Church throughout the school.
8. All school personnel are actively engaged in bringing the Good News of Jesus into the total educational experience.
At the introductory WASC/WCEA preparation meeting last Thursday, November 4, six tables of faculty and staff examined these standards, looking for supporting evidence in Cathedral’s life over the past five years. These examples will form the backbone of our WCEA report, which the school (administration, faculty, staff, parents, and students) will prepare in anticipation of the official visit in the spring of 2013. At the end of the meeting, Br. John asked the 43 faculty and staff present to rate the school as “highly effective,” “effective,” “somewhat effective” or “ineffective” for each of the eight standards. It is not appropriate at this time to go into details, but it is reassuring to learn that 83% found the school “highly effective” or “effective” regarding at least one standard; 90% rated the school as “highly effective” or “effective” in four standards, and 100% of the responses ranked Cathedral as “highly effective” or “effective” in three of the eight standards.
The Purple Letter will keep you posted on developments.
October 31, 2011 § Leave a comment
Last week was busy for Phantoms! To begin with, it was Homecoming Week, and each day the ASB encouraged participation by offering modified dress to those who wore the specified theme T-shirt or sweatshirt.
Monday was for “superhero” T-shirts or sweatshirts, with an obstacle course on the field during lunch, followed by the Lasallian Core Values Assembly.
As students filed into the gymnasium, CHS alumnus Jerry Yslas (Class of 1981) sang a soulful version of the Cathedral’s Alma Mater. Accompanying himself on the guitar, he invited the audience to join in the singing. Seniors had the chairs on the floor; juniors, sophomores and freshmen were in the bleachers. The crowd swayed back and forth to the music, snapping their fingers and clapping in rhythm.
Our new praise band, Disciples of Soul, had debuted on Sunday, and as Br. Chris Patiño introduced them to the student body, he commented, “They did a great job at the Family Mass.” Vocalists were Eric Babb, Arthur Martinez, David Delgado, Carlos Morales, Johnathan Luc, with Michael Mora on harmonica. Instrumentalists were Andrew Flores, Joe Ibarra, Andrew Lucero, and Andrew Lopez on guitar; Alan Escobar and Gustavo Puga-Manning on bass guitar; Matthew Nuesca and Paolo Joaquin on keyboard; and Franklin Muñoz & Brandon Gutierrez on drums.
Led by Jerry Yslas, the Disciples of Soul opened the assembly with two songs, “When the Saints Go Marchin’ In” and “Seek Ye First (the Kingdom of God)” as a way of preparing the assembly audience for the All Saints Day Mass coming November 1.
To introduce the core value, “Signum Fidei,” Br. Chris explained that “singing is a way to worship God” just as “praying is a way to worship God.” Then senior Cade Maldonado began the opening prayer with the traditional “Let us remember…” and Jerry Yslas led the Disciples of Soul in a prayerful song based on I Corinthians 13, the chapter on love. Cade returned to the lectern to finish with “Live Jesus in our hearts… forever.”
After the prayer, sophomore Tristan Hom introduced the guest speaker, Judy McDonald, as “a Catholic comedian.” Wearing sandals and youthful braids, she encouraged the crowd to see her resemblance to actress Sandra Bullock, star of The Blind Side. The crowd enjoyed her light-hearted take on Catholicism (a description of Rome as the Catholic Disneyland; her visit to the “Holy Land” – Ireland). She related the joy of knowing that, no matter where she is, the Catholic Mass is always the same. Then she attended a Gaelic Mass – and could not understand a word! To explain why she became a “Catholic” comedian instead of just a comedian, she reminded the crowd, “Somebody always knows your mom, and [whatever you do] is going to get back to her. And,” she continued, “it’ll get back to ‘Abba,’ to your heavenly ‘Daddy,’ too.”
She encouraged the audience, “Do what you love.” God does not promise to make life easy, but God does promise to be with us through it all. “God likes laughter that is true and joyful,” she assured the boys. She said you are a sign of faith if “you live as a son of your Dad. You can do anything if you do it because you love your [heavenly] Daddy.” Cade Maldonado closed the assembly with a reminder to honor our Brotherhood as Phantoms.
Tuesday’s dress-up was a college or university T-shirt or sweatshirt in honor of Wednesday’s annual College Visit Day. The cast and crew of Holes, however, missed classes to perform the play for an audience of selected elementary students.
Wednesday required the usual uniform dress code for College Visit Day, followed by the opening of Holes in the evening. Beginning at 8:00, eighteen busloads of freshmen, sophomores and juniors traveled to various institutions of higher learning for a tour of the facilities. We are fortunate that so many post-secondary schools are available in the greater metropolitan area. To help students focus on what they see on their visits, they were encouraged to visit the school’s website to find out what they can about fields of study, living arrangements and costs.
Freshmen were divided among several UC campuses (Riverside, UCLA, and Irvine), and many were making their first visit to a college ever. They had the opportunity to see what Cathedral’s faculty, staff, administration and development office have been striving for on their behalf. The hope is that they will “buy in” and join the campaign to prepare themselves for college.
Sophomores went to a private university, such as USC, LMU, or Marymount; and juniors got a look at the Cal State campuses in Los Angeles, Northridge and Fullerton. These students have the advantage of being able to compare the campus they visit with those visited in previous years. Perhaps they will realize what they can achieve with a higher GPA and higher test scores.
Seniors were able to use the library and computer lab facilities to continue, refine, or finish up their college applications.
On Thursday the colors were red or purple (What do you bleed?), with a flag football game between seniors and faculty at lunch. In the evening, Holes played to a sold-out crowd. Their next performance is in November.
Friday was for class colors: gray for freshmen, purple for sophomores, white for juniors, and black for seniors. The sophomore and freshman classes sponsored a pie and ice cream eating contest at lunch. The school day culminated in a rally that introduced the Homecoming Court: five princesses and their escorts: Maryssa Perez and Vincent Fernandez; Denise Patiño and Julian Espadas (Ernie Gurule was her escort at the game); Gloria Sandoval and Cade Maldonado; Fabiola Desantiago and Adolfo Monroy; Caitlynn Smith and Cesar Solis. The Homecoming game was Friday night, and the Homecoming Dance was Saturday.
October 10, 2011 § Leave a comment
The tribute to World Youth Day sponsors was only one of several activities Cathedral observed recently. Thursday, September 29, was the Honor Roll Assembly, the first opportunity for freshmen to see how the school recognizes academic excellence.
As students filed into the gym, they noticed over 230 members of the “A” and “B” Honor Roll already seated front and center. The Cathedral Jazz Band, which included several Honor Roll musicians (Patrick Vong and Ian Tadeo on flute; Adrian Castillo and Luis Hernandez on trumpet; Andrew Bille and Carlos Marroquin on percussion; Franklin Muñoz on drumset; Gus Puga-Manning on bass; and Andrew Flores and Sergio Torres on guitar), played music appropriate to the occasion: “Look to the Sky” by Jobim and “Don’t Ask” by Sonny Rollins. Dr. Brian Bartel pointed out that composer Sonny Rollins “is going to be celebrated in the Kennedy Center Honors this year.”
The assembly began with a prayer by senior Ernie Gurule, who acknowledged education as “God’s greatest gift to us” especially when combined with “our responsibility” to do the work.
Principal Br. John Montgomery, FSC, introduced this year’s keynote speaker, Professor Shane P. Martin, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Education at Loyola Marymount University. He spoke of the past: three of his uncles (Classes of 1947, 1949, and 1950) graduated from CHS, and they called their years at Cathedral “the seminal experience of their lives.” He spoke of the challenging present: Compared to public high schools, Catholic high schools have higher SAT results; more of their students take college preparatory courses; and their graduation rate is higher. Unfortunately, Latinos make up over 50% of the students in Catholic schools, but nationwide only 13% earn a Bachelor’s degree; only 5% have a Master’s degree; and only 4% are professors at the university level. Then he spoke of the hope for the future. “Success in high school leads to success in college; and success in college leads to success in life.” The earning power of a college degree is $60,000 to start; a high school diploma brings in only $30,000. That’s $30,000 more in earnings every year! And advanced degrees earn even more. “The choices you make today will set your path for life,” he concluded. “These are the best days of your life. Keep up the great work!”
The faculty particularly enjoy seeing who gets the Honor Roll tie, the academic equivalent of the letterman’s jacket. It goes to students who make the “A” Honor Roll for the first time. These were four seniors: Jonathan Calleja, Christian Chavez, Kyle Edwards, Walter Ramirez; seven juniors: Andrew Baxter, Azriel Caballero, Adrian Castillo, Jorge Martinez, Ernesto Morales III, John Severino, Gerard Watson; and nine sophomores: Joel Candaza, Adrian De La Cruz, Steven Felix, Elio Hernandez, Mike Lopez, Chidi Mbata, Andres Ramirez, Joe Rojas, and Daniel Talavera. Congratulations to these twenty students whose extra efforts have raised their GPA.
The Excellence Award, for the student in each class who maintained the highest GPA for the previous semester, went to seniors Matias Farfan and Luis F. Garcia; junior Christopher T. Muñoz; and sophomores Alberto Colin, Joseph T. Gonzales, Tristan M. Hom, Joseph P. Lacson, Matthew Nuesca, Michael Palos, and Carlos Serna.
The weighted average afforded by AP and Honors courses allows students to earn more than a 4.0 GPA. In addition to the above-named “Excellence” award winners, the following “A” Honor Roll students earned the Principal’s Award for maintaining a GPA of 4.0 (or higher) for the spring semester: seniors Michael J. Candaza, Kyler Giles, Geoffrey Tello, and Sergio Torres; juniors Andrew Baxter, Andrew Bille, Anthony J. Cardinal, Oscar Cruz, and Ian Tadeo; and sophomores Marin J. Gonzalez and Martin A. Vasquez.
The following students earned both President’s and Principal’s Awards because they maintained a GPA of 4.0 or higher for both semesters last year: seniors Cristian Alegria, Antonio Chavez, Justin Dominguez, Jesse Flores, Anthony J. Salvatierra; juniors Giovanni Alvarado, Alec Escalante, Francisco J. Lopez, Johnathan Q. Luc, Mark Pang, Julian Tolosa; and sophomores Jeremy Calleja, Diego Garcia, Paolo Joaquin, and Gustavo Mexicano.
The Purple Card, which promises free admission to one dance (except Homecoming and Prom); a free snack once a quarter; and one free lunch per quarter, is awarded to the top ten students in each class. (The number of recipients increases if students have identical GPAs.) Every one of these students has also received both Principal’s and President’s Awards. Congratulations go to seniors Aaron Bautista, Mynor Franco, Juan F. Hernandez, Dong H. Kim, Steve J. Lee, Oscar F. Leong, Daniel P. Salas; juniors Chris Argueta, Armando Freire, Ian Gomez, Frank J. Gutierrez, Juan S. Hernandez, Steven A. Hernandez, Adrian A. Jimenez, Ricardo Olivares, James P. Rodarte, Ryan J. Sagucio, Yohanes T. Shimelis, Patrick Vong; and sophomores David Delgado, Luis Llobrera, Mark A. Muñoz, Earl John Reyes, Mauricio J. Romero, Rosalio S. Vidaurri, and Norman Zelada. A Purple Card was also earned by Principal’s Award recipient sophomore Gerardo E. Henriquez.
Other members of the “A” Honor Roll include seniors Adam Avila, Andrew Flores, David A. Guerra, Christopher Hooks, Gerard S. Lin, Cade Maldonado, Matthew Malinoski, Edgar Medina, Justin Mercado, Julio Ortiz, James Pineda, Elmer Renderos, Christian Rubalcava, Luis Saucedo, Ricardo Solis, Roberto Torres; juniors Sergio Arias, Steven Carino, Cesar Esquivel, Gilmar Galindo, Christian D. Gonzalez, Michael Limon, Blake Martin, Franklin Muñoz, Thomas Muñoz, Cristian Ramirez, Rafael Rodriguez, Andrew Villalobos; and sophomores Christopher Aguilar, Alec Alvarez, Christopher Conde, Brian Cordova, Victor D. Cruz, Marcus B. Droz, Christopher G. Gonzalez, Joseph D. Gonzalez, Alan C. Hodge, Joshua S. Khan, Emmanuel Licup, Jonathan Llamas, Bobby D. Luu, Andrew Moya, Christopher X. Murillo, Jonathan Pagador, Timothy Patag, Jose L. Sanchez, Steven Sosa, and Nathaniel Sun.
Following the acknowledgment of both “A” and “B” Honor Roll members, Mrs. Salas, moderator of the National Honor Society and the California Scholarship Federation, asked the elected officers to stand and be recognized. The following week they took their oaths of office, along with officers and members-at-large of the Math Club. Br. John dismissed the Honor Roll members from the gym with the promise that, as a special reward for their achievement, they could come to school in modified dress for free on Friday. In January we will see how well this year’s freshmen, the largest incoming class in Cathedral’s history, will do academically.