Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory, San Francisco, CA – October 28, 2019

by George J Elbaum

Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory (SHCP) is an innovative Catholic high school with enrollment of 1300 students and a dynamic blend of liberal arts, scientific inquiry, and 21st-century pedagogy which develops resourceful, independent thinkers.   The school prides itself on its commitment to its educational philosophy, Enter to Learn, Leave to Serve, and it offers an array of courses, from college preparatory through honors and advanced placement curriculum.  SHCP’s commitment to rigorous academics and social justice helps mold students into hardworking, thoughtful and altruistic adults.

Incoming students are assigned a school counselor with whom they will continue to consult until graduation.  In junior year, students are also assigned a college advisor who will guide them through the college research, application and financial aid process.  SHCP’s Counseling and Advising Program provides parents and students the academic guidance they need to navigate a challenging college prep curriculum commensurate with the individual student’s talents and aspirations, making the transition from SHCP to college as seamless as possible.

Because SHCP lies in the heart of San Francisco’s technology center and near Silicon Valley, plus it has an active network of alumni, parents and professional partners, it established the Student Launch Initiative (SLI) as the area’s preeminent high school entrepreneurship program.  This program teaches students to identify problems and design solutions that positively impact the lives of their peers, their families, and their community.  Through SLI’s workshops and speakers’ series, industry innovators and entrepreneurs introduce students to entrepreneurial concepts including ideation, project development and business model development.  SLI goes beyond the classroom to provide hands-on experience, practical learning, direct mentorship, and seed funding to help launch student projects.

Today was my 3rd visit to SHCP since 2017, and once again the students asked some very perceptive questions during the Q&A, including two that have never been asked of me in the 240 talks I’ve given till now.  I’m always pleased when that happens, as it shows me that the students are thinking and it makes me think.  Attending my talk were four groups of students: 12th grade World Religions taught by Ish Ruiz, who organized this talk as he also organized the previous two; 12th grade Living & Dying taught by Kathy Lorentz; 9th grade Scripture taught by Rachel Bundang, and 9th grade World History taught by Jeff & Chris Juelsgaard.  Attending the talk were Ish Ruiz, Kathy Lorentz, Chris Juelsgaard, and SHCP President Melinda Lawlor Skrade, who made me aware of a fascinating study of the effects of the Holocaust on the now-grown children and grandchildren of the survivors.  Arrangements for the talk were made by Penny Savryn, JFCS Holocaust Center’s Program Coordinator.

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