May 28, 2012 § Leave a comment
On May 21, morning announcements began with the following exciting words:
“What the Lakers and Clippers couldn’t do on Saturday, the Phantoms did: they won! For the first time in Cathedral’s history, we are CIF Southern Section Division 4 Volleyball Champions!”
On Saturday, May 19, at Cypress College, the Phantoms took a quick two-game lead in the championship series. A third straight win might have looked easy, but momentum shifts quickly, and suddenly the defending champion Santa Monica Vikings tied the series with two wins of their own. As school president Martin Farfan related the story, hearing the enthusiastic Cathedral fans chant, “We believe!” was inspiring, regardless of the outcome. After several match points, and – according to the Alumni Association account – “a few fans asking for a defibrillator,” the Phantoms finished their season with a championship plaque.
Who are these players who, for the first time in Cathedral’s history, have brought home a division championship in volleyball? Sophomores Alejandro Albarran, Jonathan Alvarez, Jeremy Calleja, Steven Sosa, and David Escobedo; juniors Justin Adelmann, Michael Limon, Matthew Ortiz, Ryan Sagucio, and Clemente Arias; seniors Nick Ochoa, Ivan Palomera, Ernest Gurule, Matthew Malinoski, Jonathan Calleja, and Aaron Bautista.
Since 2004 Cathedral alumnus Mike Godoy (Class of 1997) has been coach of the varsity team [see Purple Letter of September 13, 2010]. He is well known for his work with freshmen, his interest going beyond the introductory speech and pre-algebra courses he teaches. Not only is he activities moderator and academic counselor for the freshman class, but he also supervises freshmen and their tutors in the Morning Program. His desire to make the freshman experience not only memorable but successful is evident.
But this story is only peripherally about the coach. It’s really about the volleyball program at Cathedral. Mr. Godoy’s philosophy of coaching is somewhat unorthodox for those expecting a martinet. “I want to build trust” with the members of the team, he says, so “we work around the occasional detention,” or, if necessary, players will choose a Saturday detention, so they do not miss practice. In addition, there is “no penalty for being late to practice” if the student brings a note from the teacher he was seeing. “They want to be there [at practice],” he explained. He added two assistants, Deon Jones and Megan Rush, to help him prepare the team for the playoffs.
He and his assistants (currently Shawn Cui for the frosh and Cat Avila for the JV) have built an impressive program without off-campus recruiting or mandatory study hall. “Our teams are entirely home-grown,” he says proudly. “If I see a kid who’s not involved in activities, and he looks like he might do well, I suggest that he give volleyball a try. If he comes to practice, great; if he doesn’t, I don’t resent his decision.” Moreover, fourteen of his sixteen varsity players are on the “A” or “B” Honor Roll, and several of them are taking AP or Honors classes as well.
This is not to imply that volleyball is easy, however. Players need to develop techniques the average spectator is not aware of. “We have plays,” he explains, and the boys need to develop stamina because the game “depends on momentum.” Only six players are on the court at a time, and it is hard play, whether the situation requires “a dive, a jump, or a sprint.” It’s “a roller coaster of emotions and physical exertion.”
“But now that we have a championship,” he concluded, “more teams may be willing to play us.”
We are lucky to have someone with Mr. Godoy’s zeal and passion.
May 21, 2012 § Leave a comment
Senior exams are this week, culminating in Senior Awards Presentations Thursday morning in the gym, Baccalaureate Mass Friday night at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, and graduation Saturday morning at the Church of the Nazarene in Pasadena. In honor of these events, this week’s Purple Letter presents a reflection written by four graduating seniors: Juan Hernandez, Jesse Flores, Michael Candaza, and Cesar Solis, members of the National English Honor Society.
Four long years at Cathedral. Who could have known that, when they said, “Your time in high school flies by,” they were not kidding! The Class of 2012 is now approaching their final days here at Cathedral and what can be said but it’s been a fun and vigorous path long the way: from being the first freshman class to have orientation inside the gym – which at that point had only been open for a few months – to being present in the gym when they had the blessing of our new field and tombstones. As the Class of 2012 now approaches our end, we are leaving with a few new improvements that were installed this past year: our former Student Activity Center, the SAC for short, now flourishing into the Student Life Center or the SLC, and the new Br. James Meegan Library-Media Center, which is still being installed. What a beauty that place has become! You should have seen the old one.
Our sports teams have changed as well, from our football program, after our sophomore year, moving up to Division 3 from their former Division 10 section, to soccer being able to win League these past 3 years that we have been there, and to not forget our cross country doing the same, going all the way to State this year! Such great effort our seniors have put into making those sports teams strong. We know there is one event our class cannot forget to acknowledge, and that would be that in our time at Cathedral, our freshman year the track team was able to win State. No other class in our campus currently can say that.
Cathedral’s time can never be summed up in just these few paragraphs, but one word of advice is to cherish your time here. Take the right opportunities when they are presented to you. Don’t hesitate to make a move that may bring joy to you. Who knows? You might end up loving it. Don’t be afraid to try new activities at Cathedral. Who knows? You may be the school’s new main star in the theater, or the new head anchor at KCHS, or the star player on a sports team. Give everything a bit of chance while you are here; you may never be certain of the outcome. Trust us when we say that your time at Cathedral does fly by. One moment you’re a freshman about to embrace summer break, and then you’ll be where we are today: seniors about to graduate, going off to the real world, no longer the little boys we came in as but young men. As our English teacher Mr. Matteson always says, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” Have fun spending your time here at Cathedral; venture out to see what the school can offer you, and remember to always make the right choices. Do take into account that our class was once the largest on campus, but because of failing grades, stealing and drug usage, our class is now the smallest. Plain out and simple: don’t be stupid. Hopefully this is helpful for you freshmen who are still wondering what our school can offer you. We didn’t know at your age but as our time progressed, we found where we belong.
Next week: Spring band concert and art show, graduation ceremonies, and farewell.
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.
March 18, 2012 § Leave a comment
Readers of The Purple Letter will agree that since coming here in the fall of 1998, Mr. Walsh has built Cathedral’s reputation for straight plays, comedies and musical productions second to none. Who is the man behind all this success?
Joseph Walsh was born in a small town thirty miles west of Boston. He went to public school because his father died when little Joseph was in eighth grade, and his mother could not afford to send all six of her children to Catholic school. She waited tables in an Italian restaurant and cleaned houses to support her family. When Joseph was a senior in high school, his mother married again, and together she and his stepfather sent all their children to college.
Like most high school seniors, Mr. Walsh applied to the best colleges and universities for his area of interest. Two of the most prestigious are NYU (New York University) and Emerson College. Even though he was accepted by NYU’s theater department, he confesses, “I did not get into NYU because my SAT math scores were too low.” (A word to the wise…)
At Emerson College in Boston, Mr. Walsh served as class president all four years and graduated with honors. He also participated in about thirty productions and received the Carol Burnett Award, presented to one actor in each graduating class in recognition of his talent and potential. Then it was off to the bright lights of New York City – where, he acknowledged with a laugh, “I discovered I was one of about a million others who also had ‘talent and potential,’ and who could sing and dance better than I.”
“New York forced me to grow up,” he continued. “I was on my own financially, and worked as a waiter before discovering Lambs Theater.” It was at this historic off-Broadway theater that such famous performers as Mark Twain, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Fred Astaire, and Marlon Brando made appearances during their celebrated careers. Mr. Walsh worked as an assistant stage manager, took classes, and auditioned for A Comedy of Errors, winning the role of Dromio. “That got me my equity card,” he concluded.
He also went to work as an assistant for the payroll company that had the accounts for all the Broadway shows and the touring companies. The connections he developed enabled him to see “every Broadway show for free” during the ten years he spent in New York. Moreover, he explained, “What I learned by seeing these shows and how they were put together – the composite of acting, directing, costuming, lighting, sets – all the collaboration” built upon and enhanced his formal education at Emerson. And whenever he returns to New York, he insists, “I continue to see productions – as many as I can fit in!”
(Recognizing the collaborative nature of theater has no doubt been responsible in large part for the success of the productions at Cathedral. But on with the story.)
His next big break came when he saw Amadeus and auditioned for the title role in the national tour. “I lost out to Mark Hamill,” he confessed, “and was cast as one of the valets.” However, he had a choice between playing the Broadway show and going on tour. He toured for a year, including two months in Los Angeles, and then returned to New York and the Broadway production. “That was also a life lesson,” he admitted. He made a lot of money and had virtually no expenses, but “spent it all, in just about the same amount of time it took to earn it.”
He continued his career with “a small part in a small play” at Lincoln Center, followed by the role of “Rosencrantz in the Classic Stage Company production of [Tom Stoppard’s] Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. ” Pleased with his good review, he showed it to his mother, who replied, “If you are going to read the good reviews, you must read the bad ones as well.”
Eventually he became frustrated with New York and decided to move to Los Angeles in late 1987. He auditioned at the Odyssey Theater in West Los Angeles for a company called LAAFO (Latin Actors and a Few Others). “There were about twenty in the company, and only three non-Latinos. I was one of those Few Others,” he explained.
But acting did not have the attraction it once did, so he decided to explore other ways to make a living. He worked at a drama camp in Tujunga one summer. (Perhaps his heart was telling him, as Mother Teresa is reported to have told St. Peter at the gate of Heaven, “What I really want to do is direct.”)
Then came “the most rewarding period of [his] life” up to that point – a drama therapy program financed with grant money from the Mark Taper Forum. For five years he worked with chronically and terminally ill children, producing theater and improvisation at Children’s Hospital on Friday afternoons. They worked conferences for the American Cancer Society, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and even a hospital in Orange County. He acknowledges he still has “memories of children who have passed away, [of] the bravery and courage of their families.”
He met the principal at St. Thomas the Apostle, Dan Horn, who introduced him to substitute teaching, but he refused to take a full-time position until the kindergarten teacher went on maternity leave. “I agreed to take over the kindergarten class for the remainder of the semester,” recalled Mr. Walsh. He stayed for five and a half years.
At the end of Mr. Walsh’s first full year of teaching, the principal nominated him for the “First Year Teacher” award. It is a national competition, with one winner from each state. Modestly, Mr. Walsh concedes that “Dan Horn’s letter was instrumental in my becoming the California winner, the only one in the nation from a Catholic school.” After that, he felt called “to teach long enough” to consider himself deserving of this recognition.
Working with children in fourth through eighth grade, Mr. Walsh produced several plays at St. Thomas, including The Wiz; Bye, Bye, Birdie; Our Town; and Godspell. Sam Robles, a teacher at Cathedral at the time, saw a show and asked the Cathedral administration, “Why aren’t we doing this?”
The Principal and the President of Cathedral invited Mr. Walsh to come for an interview, but he replied that he had “no desire” to leave St. Thomas. Dan Horn, however, “understood what God might have had in mind for me,” concedes Mr. Walsh, “even though I didn’t know it at the time.” Unselfishly he persuaded Mr. Walsh to talk with Br. John and Br. James. The rest is Cathedral history.
After fourteen years, Mr. Walsh recognizes that his time at Cathedral has been “incredibly rewarding.” The students, he says, “are amazing. Every time I set expectations, the students exceed them.” And he is extremely grateful for “administrative support other schools don’t get,” and for the work of his producer, Br. Roch Dufresne, who takes care of such essential behind-the-scenes details as tickets, programs, publicity, videography, etc.
Building on what he learned from Broadway productions, Mr. Walsh insists that “success is collaboration.” To realize his vision, he brings in the people – the musical director, the choreographer, the lighting director, the set designer, the set builder, and the producer – who will help him achieve it.
While he plans to be at Cathedral “forever,” with characteristic self-effacement, Mr. Walsh’s long-term goal is to make sure that “the arts education program essential, not the teacher.” He hopes that the next phase of development at Cathedral includes “a performing arts facility that will guarantee [the school] never has another 25-year absence of theater.”
March 11, 2012 § Leave a comment
He was born in Los Angeles, but moved to Pomona when he was about five years old. He played football and ran track before graduating from Diamond Ranch High School. He continued football at Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC), where he received his Associate of Arts degree. Then he enrolled at the University of Redlands to pursue his Bachelor of Arts degree in Graphic Design as well as playing football and running track.
Before coming to Cathedral, Mr. Robinson was employed by GEAR-UP, a federally funded program to help inner-city youth prepare for college. At Garey High School he worked as a tutor in a ninth-grade English class, helping students plan their A-G requirements, work on raising their GPA, and prepare for SAT and ACT exams. However, he discovered that students did not really have college on their minds. They much preferred talking about local events: games, fights, girls, parties, and who was in what kind of trouble. They appeared to have, as Mr. Robinson put it, “little or no interest in developing college aspirations or careers.”
This problem seemed tailor-made for a graphic designer. Because Garey was a public school, there were no uniforms, but graphic T-shirts were worn by almost every student on campus. As his senior project at the University of Redlands, Mr. Robinson had developed a fictional clothing line, so he knew how to build a website, create logos, and design T-shirts and jeans layouts. He began to brainstorm possibilities to see what would appeal to his potential market. He came up with a slogan: “Educate to elevate,” and designed a logo to go with it.
In an interview with Monica Rodriguez of the Inland Valley Bulletin, Mr. Robinson related the support he received from both his mother and Mary Lou Ortiz-Jamieson, his former fourth-grade teacher, known affectionately as “Mrs. O.J.”
Angela Robinson, according to the article, told her son about Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana, former superintendent of Pomona Unified School District, whose high school counselor had told her “she had no chance of attending UCLA”; nevertheless, she enrolled at the university, “graduated cum laude,” and subsequently earned both a Master’s and a Ph.D. Moreover, Ms. Melendez not only became Pomona Unified’s superintendent, but currently serves as “Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education for the U.S. Department of Education.” Not bad for a kid who, as Mr. Robinson tells it, “was told she wasn’t college material. That just blew me away,” he concluded.
Recognizing the importance of developing college as an educational goal, Mr. Robinson turned to “the teacher that made the biggest impact” on him and paid a visit to Montvue Elementary School, where he found “Mrs. O.J.” teaching a combined class of fifth and sixth graders. Mr. Robinson said she always “encouraged her students to embrace learning and strive for academic excellence.”
She was his mentor, the one who told him reading was not enough; he had to learn how to write, too. Even though he didn’t like writing, she assured him he’d “use it later.” And he has. All through college – “in English, psychology, philosophy classes – everything [he] wrote” he discovered, “followed the same format. The paragraph breakdown is the same,” he pointed out, “even if the layout is different.”
When he learned from the school’s principal, Alejandro Villa, that “Montvue’s culture is one where students are being exposed to the idea of attending college,” he decided to give “every student in [Mrs. O.J.’s] class a shirt.” One of Mrs. O.J.’s co-workers also bought several T-shirts for her class, but she also bought an adult’s T-shirt for her husband, who taught at a different school, and the idea spread.
As sales of the T-shirts increase, Mr. Robinson is learning the business aspects with the help of his roommate, a business major. “Nick is teaching me about copyrights and trademarks,” he explained. Meanwhile marketing continues, and he even has a Facebook fan page. Eventually Mr. Robinson wants to be able to award scholarships to high school graduates to “show them we take them seriously, and they should take college seriously. With a little push,” he insists, “every child is college material. Don’t let your present limit you.”
If you are interested in purchasing a “College Material” T-shirt, contact Mr. Robinson online at <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Ms. English returns to Cathedral on Monday, March 26.
January 9, 2012 § Leave a comment
We’re back! And we have some exciting news about two Cathedral seniors. Last July, while most of us were enjoying a relaxing summer (or sweating through makeup courses in summer school), two young men who had just completed their junior year, Cristian Alegria and Oscar Leong, Jr., along with approximately ten thousand other students nationwide, entered an online competition sponsored by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation.
The Hispanic Heritage Foundation, founded in 1987 and celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2012, is dedicated to identifying role models and enhancing cultural pride “through public awareness campaigns and special events.” In 1998 the Foundation established the Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards, “a national leadership program [that] identifies, inspires, prepares and positions a vetted network of Latino high school seniors who have excelled in the classroom and community.” The competition is spread among the following categories: science, math, education, engineering, healthcare, business & finance, technology, and innovation. Winners are chosen in each of these categories in ten districts across the nation: San Jose/San Francisco-Bay Area; Dallas; Houston; Austin/San Antonio; Los Angeles; Phoenix; Chicago; Miami; Washington, DC; and New York/Philadelphia/New Jersey.
They had to write essays (of course) about issues facing Hispanic youth today and how their own Hispanic heritage has shaped them into the young men they have (and hope to) become. Cristian wrote that the biggest issue Hispanics face is lack of encouragement to pursue higher education. He explained that many of the tools they need – college preparatory courses, practice for standardized tests, role models, and especially, funding, – are scarce or not available at all. To support his statements, he chose to focus on his community involvement: his mission trip, “El Otro Lado,” to Tucson and Nogales between Christmas and New Year’s, 2009 [see Purple Letter of February 7, 2010] and his visit to the United Nations in the spring of 2010 to observe the Year of the Child with Lasallian Youth [see Purple Letter of May 10, 2010]. In addition, he cited his experience tutoring youngsters at Dolores Mission School. He also worked at SEAACA (South East Area Animal Control Authority) in Downey, doing clerical work, animal care, and adoptions, and has an Eco-internship with William C. Velasquez Institute, where he learned about the impact of the Los Angeles River on the city, and the development of Cornfield State Historical Park across Broadway from the school. As President of the Spanish Honor Society, he also makes sandwiches for the hungry and tutors Cathedral students in Spanish. Oscar, whose article on the Junior Ring Mass was published last year [see Purple Letter of February 7, 2011] wrote about the Hispanic stereotype: generally uneducated and particularly under-represented in math and engineering. He described his desire to counter that stereotype by going to college (including graduate school) and focusing on a career that combines science with journalism and education.
Several weeks into the first semester of their senior year, both boys received word that each had won $1,000 in his area of expertise: Cristian in community service and Oscar in engineering and math. On December 1, the day of the senior retreat (which some of you will remember was a day of no school because of the power outage resulting from the windstorm), Oscar and Cristian went to USC (a university partner with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation) to meet other winners from the Los Angeles area and to receive their awards before an audience of business and community leaders, educators and other Foundation supporters.
According to the Foundation’s website, Oscar and Cristian join other young winners who will “be provided with leadership training and [participate in] the Foundation’s other programs.” It will also follow their progress “as they move forward into the workforce and communities beyond college. ” In acknowledging the excellent academic record of its awardees, the site noted with pride that “the median GPA for the Youth Awardees is more than a 3.5, and they are well rounded in terms of service, leadership, and accomplishments.”
Cristian can use his $1000 grant for college expenses or donate it to a community effort. He has applied to a number of universities on the West Coast: Loyola-Marymount, Santa Clara, and University of the Pacific. With a major in business administration, he wants eventually to open his own non-profit company to help the community. Oscar plans to put his $1000 toward his college fund. Having received early admission to Swarthmore College near Philadelphia, he plans to study cognitive science, an interdisciplinary major that includes philosophy, psychology, linguistics, computer science, comparative literature, and a number of liberal arts. He expects to continue his education in graduate school to earn a Ph.D.
What scholarship opportunities are waiting for you? Have you checked with Naviance and Mr. Catlin or looked online at what financial aid you might be qualified to receive? As they say, you can’t win if you don’t play.
August 28, 2011 § Leave a comment
Seniors in the Math Club may remember him as the keynote speaker at the 25th Anniversary Awards ceremony in 2009. At the time he was teaching at LaSalle High School in Pasadena, but even then, he remarked that his heart “bleeds purple and white,” and he is “proud to be a Phantom.”
Easily recognizable by his vest and pocket watch, Ryan Resurreccion, Class of 2003, has returned to work with the Student Council as Associate Director for Activities, teach three classes of religion (to juniors and freshmen), and help Br. Chris Patiño (Class of 2002), as Co- Director for Vocations.
Asked whether he pronounces his name “Resurrección,” as in Spanish, or “Resurrection,” as in English, Mr. Resurreccion smiled. He recalled that his Spanish teacher “always added the accent on the ‘o’ and circled it emphatically.” But the name is “Philippine of Spanish descent” and does not have an accent. When asked which pronunciation he prefers, he said, “I answer to whichever is easier for the boys, and that is the English pronunciation. But students at LaSalle found even that name too long and reduced it to ‘Mr. Rez’ and that’s fine, too.”
His many activities as a student make it easy to understand why he agreed to take on the position of Cathedral’s Associate Director of Student Activities. He was ASB Treasurer and Math Club President in 2002, Senior Class President and Math Club Vice President in 2003. He also received the Archdiocesan Christian Service Award and was chosen class salutatorian. (Wasn’t he also Mathematician of the Year, or was that someone else?)
Although the school did not offer many electives, Mr. Resurreccion acknowledges that Cathedral prepared him well for college. He tested out of freshman English and math requirements because he took the corresponding AP (Advanced Placement) courses. Cathedral, he pointed out, “is a top-notch academic preparatory school.”
After graduation, he enrolled at Mount Angel Seminary in St. Benedict, Oregon, intent on becoming a priest. However, early in his studies he began to feel a lack of experience. “If I had followed the seminary track,” he explained, “I would have been ordained a priest at the age of 26” without any understanding of the world outside of school. “There was A LOT I still needed to learn.”
After two years he transferred to St. Mary’s College of Moraga, graduating in 2007 with a major in philosophy and a minor in religious studies. He went from St. Mary’s to LaSalle High School, where he taught for four years. He is very glad to be back at Cathedral, where he teaches religion to freshmen and juniors.
One of his major responsibilities is Assistant Director of Student Life, helping the student council and class officers organize such activities for the school community as assemblies, rallies, dances, Welcome Week, Homecoming, Prom, Founder’s Week, etc. He would like to re-introduce skits to the rallies, and incorporate videos as well. He would also like to have a designated student area (to be called “The Graveyard”) in the spectator section of the athletic field. Parents, children, alumni would not sit in the same area as the students. Maybe there would be a night-time rally at the gym before a big game. For Founder’s Week, he would like to add a competition like the Olympics, or perhaps a talent show. Key to accomplishing these ideas is finding the appropriate spirited teachers and students who would like to help make it happen. Are you interested? Introduce yourself to him!
Is he getting support from the Student Council? You bet! He noted that “Student Life” at LaSalle is a separate class (with a grade), but Cathedral students had no problem with summer meetings. He is impressed with their openness and willingness to work. Mrs. McNeal has prepared them well!
Mr. Resurreccion has come home to a number of changes at Cathedral, all of them for the better. More women are in positions of authority, and there are “WAY MORE students,” even if their Phantom spirit needs some reviving. He is impressed by the new gymnasium/science complex and the giant steps in technology that occurred after he left. In fact, when he came home for a visit before construction began, he asked Br. John if he could sift through the rubble to look for a souvenir. He salvaged some nails and boards from the walls from the old gym.
Some things are the same, of course. He finds it both inspiring and exciting to be working with his former teachers and such mentors as Mr. Ferrante, Mr. Galaz, Dr. James, Br. John, Br. LaSalle, Mr. Murphy, Mrs. Price, Mrs. Salas, Mr. (M.) Trafecanty, and Mr. Walsh. [Reporter’s note: names are listed alphabetically, not in order of importance. I didn’t ask for a priority list.]
As a student, he liked best the Brotherhood aspect of the Cathedral experience. “You felt like you belonged,” he explained, whether joking with teachers, being goaded (encouraged) by friends, or being mentored (instructed) by either, or both. If Cathedral’s motto is “Phantoms are forever!” that certainly applies to Mr. Resurreccion, who wore a purple shirt and tie to games between LaSalle and Cathedral (even though officially he had to root for LaSalle).
Now, about that vest and pocket watch. Mr. Resurreccion explains that an important part of his formation was seeing the whole school, especially the teachers, dress up for important occasions, such as liturgies, out of respect for God. Then St. LaSalle admonished the Brothers “to see Christ in your students.” To that end, Mr. Resurreccion dresses up out of respect for the presence of God in his students. The pocket watch, he concedes, started out as a way to avoid “watch tan,” but now it’s his trademark.
In his spare time – when he has any – he likes to read, or listen to people – to chat. Drop by and talk about how you would like to help with Student Life, or what you have learned from this article, or just chat about your plans for the future.