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Posted 02/11/2016 08:29AM
Intricate art project inspires students

Happiness, brightness, devotion...those are just three words of many illustrated in Serra art students' Chinese New Year drawings. The Padres worked with India ink, tissue paper, wood dowels and black yarn.

Visual and Performing arts Chair Peggy Farrell said that in addition to honoring Chinese New Year, she wanted to embrace the vibrant culture of the international students.

"It's a way to learn about a culture that might not be familiar to many Serra boys, but it is now and it seems to make the Chinese students proud to show off a little of their culture in class," she explained. "I hope to inspire a respect in the art forms of other countries. Many students commented on how hard this assignment is, and I always tell them that to do these characters correctly, it takes more than 10 years of constant practice! They are amazed."

"It was hard at first, but once I got the hang of the brush, it was very fun," said senior Luis Melendrez.

Sophomore Nicky Black chose the words "courage, leadership and tranquility." He said they are attributes he hopes to adopt during his high school years.

"The symbolism is usually very deep," Farrell said. "We use different sources for the words, and I am very impressed by the depth of the chosen words by the students. They can choose words that either describe them now or how they want to become, which is very inspiring."

Posted 02/10/2016 12:23PM
Jordan Kenison '16 shares special student reflection

Serra senior Jordan Kenison shared a wonderful student reflection during Ash Wednesday Mass:

“I’ll do it later.”

“Not right now.”

“I’m too busy.”

As a student here at Serra, these are a few phrases I find myself saying more often than I would like to. My name is Jordan Kenison...and I can be a huge procrastinator.

I wouldn’t say that procrastinators are lazy, but rather we create schedules for ourselves that can be overwhelming. It really is a struggle to find the necessary time to complete homework assignments, compete well on the field or in the gym, and meet social commitments. And so, we put things off, and all of a sudden - our calendars are packed.

There are some important things, however, that I slowly learned are not worth putting off; developing my relationship with God.

The second semester of junior year was an especially difficult time for me. I managed to survive all of my finals in the fall, but my busy schedule began to consume me. With three AP classes and track practice or meets nearly every day, I had little time left to focus on my faith. I would convince myself that I would have more time in the upcoming weeks to have Bible study with my family, talk to the Lord, and pray.  

But I continued to put things off and slowly began to lose sight of who God was for me, what God had done for me, and where God was calling me.

Before I knew it, the stress I experienced became overwhelming. It got to a point where I was never able to appreciate the moment. I was constantly preparing for the next essay Mr. Stapleton would assign, the next track meet I was competing in, or the next student council meeting I had to attend. I came to realize that I had no real answer for coping with my anxiety.

It was around April when my stress reached its apex. AP tests were a mere month away and finals weren’t far behind. Not to mention WCAL and CCS Finals were quickly approaching. One day, while sitting in my room, I decided that I could no longer live my life the way I had been. As I struggled to think of some way to release my burdens, I finally realized what was missing: Jesus.

It took me a while to catch on, but I finally was able to understand that developing my relationship with God was not just another “assignment,” it was the answer to many of my problems. Things became easier when I began to interact with God throughout my day. Whether I asked Him to help me focus while taking a test or to inspire me to run my best race possible, talking with God whenever I needed Him allowed me to finally feel at peace.

I had taken for granted possibly the biggest gift I had been given: a loving God who seeks a relationship with me, and invites me to conversation. I knew that if I did not take the initiative to make the time for God I would never get to know Him, or the blessings He has in store for me.

As the second reading stated, God does not want us to “receive grace in vain.” Developing a stable and lasting relationship with God should be the top priority in our lives. It just took me a while to see that “now is the day of salvation,” as the reading stated.

Today, our challenge is to take advantage of the upcoming Lenten season and really reflect on our own relationship with Jesus. While I often stumble and make mistakes, the effort I have made to take a step back and seek God first in all things has really helped me improve my life. Lent is a time for prayer, fasting and almsgiving. I hope my experiences serve as examples that we should not be so caught up in our own tasks that we do not take the time to appreciate God’s work and see how we can help others in need.

Let Ash Wednesday serve as a reminder to dedicate a portion of our everyday lives to getting to know Jesus and, through that, understand just how much He loves us and is waiting and willing to guide us through even the toughest times. The time to embrace God’s blessings is now. May we, as the prophet Joel proclaimed, “return to [God] with our whole heart.”

Take His hand when you are in need. And don’t put it off like I did.

Thank you and God bless!

Posted 02/10/2016 09:09AM
Students meet their pen pals, sample Cajun food

Tri-School students from Serra and Mercy celebrated Mardi Gras with a special party. The pen pals were given "passports" to fill out with their pen pals' information. Students rotated through four stations: la danse, pictionnaire, téléphone and café.

The stations and groups were led by third and fourth-year French Club students and officers from Mercy and Serra. The Serra officers were in charge of cooking the meal - Cajun chicken tenders, dirty rice, salade verte, crêpes, chocolate fondue with fruit, marshmallows, and fleur de lys cookies.

"It was lots of fun and it was a great friendship building event," noted Serra French teacher Madame Dowden.

The day ended with a "spectale de talent," where all French classes performed a French song for the group. This year's Serra selections were "Aux Champs Elysées" by Joe Dassin (Grant Holmes solo), "Tous les garçons et les filles" by Françoise Hardy (French 2), "Papaoutai" by Stromae (French 4) and "Qui va garder mon crocodile cet été" (French 6-8 and Officers).


Posted 02/03/2016 03:42PM
Football players recognized for outstanding achievements in the classroom and on the field

Three Serra student-athletes signed letters of intent in Morton Family Gymnasium on February 3, college football’s National Signing Day. The students were joined by their families, friends and coaches for a special celebration that included Principal Barry Thornton, Ed.D., Athletic Director Dean Ayoob ’92 and Head Football Coach Patrick Walsh. Approximately 100 supporters were in attendance. 

"National Signing Day is always bittersweet," said Walsh. "Three great players, who have all started on varsity since their sophomore years, are leaving our program. On the other hand, it’s wonderful to see these Padres achieve their dreams. As a program, we exist as a conduit for this day.”

 Committed Athletes:

* Kelepi Lataimua – Football (RB/CB) – Cal Poly

* Brandon Monroe – Football (CB/WR) – Idaho State

* Billy Tuitavake – Football (DL/FB) – Sacramento State


Posted 02/02/2016 08:11AM
Senator Dianne Feinstein recognizes almost 100 students who earned straight A's
We are delighted to share a special announcement from Senator Dianne Feinstein's Office. Senator Feinstein commended almost 100 Serra students on January 26 for their outstanding report cards. 

"It is a great pleasure for me to have this opportunity to congratulate the families, students, administrators and teachers who have contributed to the success of the young men at Serra High School," Senator Feinstein said. "These students have obtained no grade lower than an A- on their report cards for the first semester. They have distinguished themselves as students who have the determination to reach a goal that they have set and now achieved. They should be very proud of the hard work and dedication they have invested to achieve such outstanding records."

The following students achieved straight A's for the fall semester:

Leland Bove, Brendan Callagy, Marco Cornelio, Cory Endo, Ryan Fatemi, Padraig Fournier, Liam Friel, Dustin Healy, Aidan Herrera, Ethan Holloway, Benjamin Hora, Pranav Kalra, Randall Lewis, Nicholas Lochrie, Dominic Love, William Malone, Christopher Mok, Lee Moyer, Rami Muhawieh, Aaron Murphy, Keelan O'Riordan, Nicholas Peters, Benjamin Pucel, Andrew Robertson, Juliano Rodriguez, Enson Su, Patrick Takla and Dominic Ulrich.

Mitchell Alandt, Christian Aquino, Tyler Baumann, Keane Blundell, Joseph Buljan, Perry Carter, Arjay Cordero, Henry Delavan, Jake Dorais, Griffin Eger, Abhijeeth Erra, Allan Feller, Christopher Fellowes, Eric Gai, Grant Grech, Lucas Hackett-Provenzano, William Healy, Rami Hijab, Kyler Jerome, Randy Lauron, Rishabh Manu, Colin McCarthy, Matthew Mercurio, Tucker Mills, Sean O'Brien, Kyle Pagnotta, Riley Scanlan, Mitchell Scott, Christopher Severino, Ryan Sutter, Youssef Tawfik, Eric Terada, Frank Wang, Tyler Wang, Adam Weaver and Louis Whittle.

Matthew Chu, Chad Crews, Jake Einsiedl, Trevor Farella, James Halpin, Ali Jafri, Ryan Knoble, Richard Padilla, William Petersen, Devin Rojo-Cagadoc, Christopher Sparks, Spencer Wedel and Kyle Wilson.

Andrew Black, Sean Edmiston, Ryan Fitzgerald, Alex Kost, Andrew Lin, Cyrus Morrison, Frederick Mueller, Matthew Penner, Kyle Roux, Benjamin Ruggiero, Jose Sandoval, Zachary Silverman, Alexander Slone, Michael Takla, Ian Tighe and Miles Todzo.
Posted 01/22/2016 04:45PM
Luncheon honors special grads

It was an exciting afternoon last Friday, when approximately 60 alumni returned to Serra to share updates and reminisce about their high school days.

The 11th annual 50-Year-Club Luncheon honored alumni who graduated in 1948 to 1966. The delicious feast was catered by Serra alumnus Kevin Weir '70.

"I come here to see if I recognize anyone," joked Gregg Williams '64, who was the track team's most valuable player in 1964. "At Serra, I learned good values and a sense of responsibility."

"My class was the first to graduate from the current campus," noted Stuart Mackenzie '56. "I had great classmates and got a great education here." 

Pete Cocconi '60 said that he enjoys seeing Padres from his class, as well as those from the tight-knit Class of 1959. 

"This is the highest turnout we have ever had," noted Serra Alumni Director Bob Greene '85. "We started this luncheon six years ago and it grows every year. We love seeing all of you and hearing what you've been up to. We hope that you'll come back soon for our upcoming alumni events."

Click here for pics!

Posted 01/22/2016 10:58AM
The energy was high in the Serra gym last week, when the seniors took on faculty and staff members during a special rally in preparation for upcoming basketball games. The crowd cheered furiously down to the final minutes. The faculty team beat the seniors 36 to 34. It was an amazing time for all, and the Padres were great sports!
Posted 01/19/2016 09:21AM
Students learn of early acceptances

Serra High School Seniors were recently informed of their admission into some of the country's most prestigious colleges and universities.

So far, our students have received acceptances from 73 different institutions in the United States, including Boston College, Cal Poly, Columbia University, Cornell University, Creighton University, Duke University, Gonzaga University, Loyola Marymount University, Purdue University, Saint Mary's College of California, Santa Clara University, Seattle University, Southern Methodist University, The Ohio State University, Tulane University, University of Michigan, University of Notre Dame, University of Pennsylvania, University of Portland, University of San Francisco, University of Washington, Xavier University and Yale University.

Serra continues to be an extremely well-respected school in the eyes of college admission officers all across the United States, from East Coast Ivy League schools to our own outstanding flagship universities in the state of California. It is inspiring to the entire Serra community to see colleges and universities of every kind - from technological to research to liberal arts - admitting our students. This validates what Serra students can bring to their respective campuses, a well as Serra's ability to prepare students to succeed.

Posted 01/04/2016 03:30PM
A little girl's dream comes true

New England Patriots quarterback and Serra alumnus Tom Brady '95 made the holiday season extra special for a little girl who is battling leukemia in Maine. This heartwarming story, written by KTVU's Frank Somerville, is a must-read for our Tom Brady fans. CLICK HERE to read the story. A special thank you to Frank Somerville!

Posted 12/16/2015 01:54PM
Serra helps 16 families in need

Serra Padres made the holidays a little brighter this week for 16 local families in need.

On Monday afternoon, students took a break from finals to bring warm blankets, clothing, toys, diapers, bicycles, gift cards and a live Christmas tree to Redwood City Catholic Worker.

"I went to Kmart to buy gifts for families who couldn't afford presents this year so they could have a merry Christmas," said Junior Class Spirit Officer Joseph Villar. "We also delivered the presents to Catholic Worker. It is very important for our Serra community to get involved. We are very fortunate to have what we have, and so we should give back." 

"I'm grateful to the various groups of adults and students who participated in and helped to support Adopt-a-Family this year," said Campus Ministry Director Billy Byrnes. "The outpouring of generosity is always amazing. I know that there will be many families at Catholic Worker who will benefit from Serra's generosity. Times are tough for a lot of people."

Byrnes pointed out that the gift cards alone totaled more than $4,000. 

"We will serve about 150 families this year," noted Redwood City Catholic Worker Executive Director Larry Purcell. "We sleep 25 people a night in different places. We have a house for teens in trouble and we assist veterans, women and children, and day laborers."

In addition, the organization offers a language school, tutoring, and feeds people every Friday. This year, Purcell said Catholic Worker is in desperate need of bicycles.

"Bikes are the number one form of transportation for many of these people," he explained. "After housing and food, transportation is the next priority."

Purcell was impressed by the Padres' commitment to Adopt-a-Family, and he appreciated their enthusiasm and compassion.

"The Serra students brought a lot of energy on Monday," he said. "The goal at Serra is to form these guys' hearts and minds. To me, the heart of being a human being is to become one with others and serve them. Through programs like Adopt-a-Family, these high school students' hearts are becoming softer and more grateful. And we are very grateful to the Serra community."  

To learn more about Redwood City Catholic Worker or to donate this year, please call 650-366-4415 or CLICK HERE

A special shout-out to the following groups:

  • Colleen Burson-Ryan and her Spanish class
  • Ted Morton and four of his English classes
  • Coach McMillan, Coach Gianinno and the baseball team
  • Coach Walsh and the football families
  • Coach Panos and the entire soccer program 
  • Coach Jones and the crew team
  • Padre government and Campus Ministry students for each adopting a family
  • Jane Zoucha, Karen Ghidossi and the students of NHS 
  • The staff at Serra 
  • PLT
  • The Lee Family
  • Ed Taylor and his students for canned goods
  • Sheila Scafine for donating bows, wrapping paper and other gift items for the families
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