Friday, November 22, 2013

Determination Is Key

Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing six seniors from San Juan Diego Catholic High School. When interviewing them, I asked them questions such as why they decided to come to SJDCHS and what their plans were after graduation. These students have worked hard and are incredibly determined young individuals. While I was in high school I don’t recall being this ambitious or having such big aspirations for my college career or even after my college career for that matter. However, these students know what they want and are determined to have it for not only themselves, but the ones that have always supported and encouraged them, their families.

The first student I interviewed was senior Andres. Andres has been at SJDCHS since his freshman year and has served on the varsity soccer team all four years. He has also been part of the varsity basketball team for the past two years and is a very polite young adult who has big dreams after he graduates. When speaking with Andres, he spoke of how he was the oldest of five siblings who all look up to him, and how he feels a sense of pride being a role model to his younger siblings.

Andres spoke of how it was ultimately his decision to come to San Juan Diego Catholic High School, “I told my parents about the CIP (corporate internship program) program, and while they were initially a little skeptical about the transportation, they ultimately knew it was a great idea for me to attend.” While in the CIP program, Andres has worked at Dell in the acoustics engineering lab, explaining that he tests hard-drives and exposes them to different frequencies that could potentially damage the hard drive. This is great experience for the career path he wants to pursue - engineering. “The school has helped me want to pursue an engineering degree, thanks to the CIP program and the experience I’ve had at Dell.”

Not only has the CIP program helped him choose his career path, Andres credits his choice of colleges to college counselor Alison Liu. “Ms. Liu has been extremely helpful in assisting with college applications and finding the right schools that fit us,” Andres says about the senior seminar class. The senior seminar class is unique to SJDCHS in that senior students spend the entire fall semester learning about the college application process, scholarship opportunities, and resume writing.

Because of his GPA, Andres has already been accepted to The University of Texas at Austin and The University of Texas at San Antonio. He is awaiting responses from Rice and Stanford University and hopes to, after graduating from college, travel to California or any major city that has a major engineering need. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

School Spirit

SJD Athletics started off the 2013/2014 school year with some amazing accomplishments. SJD Cross Country qualified for the state competition in October and they did not come back disappointed. Mado, a junior at SJDCHS, placed 11th out of 113 girls, the boys’ team placed 11th out of 23 teams, and the girls’ team placed 9th out of 24 teams. This was such an amazing accomplishment for the SJD Cross Country Team and we could not be more proud. In other athletics news, the boys’ basketball team had their first victory of the season against Sterling Classical School, 70-27!  

When an athletic team comes back with a major victory or accomplishment the entire school knows and is there to support them; the same goes for any individual student. If a student accomplishes something or needs support from his/her fellow students, he/she will receive it. The entire school will be there cheering them on and spreading their great news.

This school spirit and support comes in handy, especially when the SJDCHS seniors are beginning to receive their college acceptance letters. Already several of our students have received their acceptance letters to colleges such as The University of Mary-Hardin Baylor (UMHB), Concordia University, Lamar University and Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi (TAMU).  The support from your friends and family can sometimes be under-estimated by the amount of stress that we go through at our busiest times. A simple pat on the back or a few simple words of encouragement can make all the difference. It can remind you that background support, although you may not always notice it, will always be there. 

Remember at this time, during finals, college applications, work struggles, or any bump in life that you may be going through, that you are not in it alone. You can rely on those closest to you for encouragement or even a venting session. Take time to sit and talk with your friends and hear them out, on whatever may be going on in their lives at this moment. Hearing them out can let them know someone cares, and in turn, let you know that you can have someone to turn to when needed. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Inspiration Behind San Juan Diego Catholic High School

When I first started at San Juan Diego Catholic High School, I expected it to be just another job that would give me experience. I was proven wrong. I was asked to come on as SJDCHS’s Communications Coordinator, a position that I believed to not be directly involved with the students. I’ve learned during my short time here at SJDCHS that there is no way you cannot be involved with the students.

The work ethic these students possess is beyond anything I’ve ever seen, and it inspires me to do more than what I was hired to do. These students have the opportunity to earn a Catholic, college preparatory education, all while participating in a corporate internship program that helps pay for part of their tuition. No other school in Central Texas can claim their school does the same for their students, which is what makes SJDCHS so unique.

By the time our students graduate from high school, they’ll be accepted to a college or university and have four years of work experience on their resume. Recently, an alumna, who is now attending Barnard College in New York City, sent us an e-mail stating that she received a paid internship at MTV. In her email she explained that she received the internship with MTV because of her experience at the Austin-based advertising firm GSD&M as an SJDCHS student. To hear that a student who attended our institution received a highly sought after, paid internship because of the Corporate Internship Program was beyond thrilling to the teachers and staff here. We were so blessed to receive such amazing news from a former student!

We believe that these stories should be shared with the community, so the people can see what truly unique young people attend this school. Each week, a new blog will be posted, featuring our students, faculty and staff, and the Corporate Internship Program. The hope for this blog is for people to recognize the school and its achievements, but to also get to know the people who get the most out of the school: the students. It is these amazing students along with a great faculty, staff, internship supervisors, and support from the Austin community that make SJDCHS “The School That Works!”