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Re: Catholic high school for child with out gay parents?
Holy Names High School - all girls, small classes, outstanding academics, and incredibly diverse for the size (economically, racially, religiously and socially).
We are a Jewish family and have been incredibly supported, do not feel awkward at all and think it is a great educational environment (nurturing but challenging). There are a number of LGBT families as well as girls who seem comfortable expressing their sexuality as it works for them.. maggie
We are in the process of considering high school options for our middle school daughter and would love to get recent feedback on Holy Names High School in Oakland. Of particular interest is the academic standards and college preparation. Is Holy Names as rigorous as 'college prepatory' schools in the area? What colleges do the girls get accepted to after attending Holy Names? Are the religious/spirituality classes a big part of the curriculum? Is there 'mean girl' behavior and is it sufficiently addressed by the school? We are an open-minded and not terribly religious Catholic family. We place a strong emphasis on academics in our household and are looking for a school that will allow our daughter to grow academically, socially, and spiritually. Thanks for any help you can provide! mom of middle schooler
My daughter is very high achieving and is getting everything she needs academically in an incredibly nurturing environment. Her classes push her appropriately without making her feel constantly stressed and there is no sense of competition between the students - there is room for everyone to be successful and for girls to be successful in different ways. She has a great group of friends and while the girls don't necessarily love everyone else there, they are kind, respectful and supportive of each other. It is small, but it means there is a great sense of collaboration and an opportunity to build relationships between classes. Religion is a big part of the school in the sense that they are building a sense of spirituality in the students - we are not catholic and my daughter has been encouraged to share experiences from her own faith practice and to question what she is learning.
The school does not have the shiny new facility that others have, and they do not have technology in every classroom - something that I actually appreciate - but they have an academically challenging environment without the stress of other high achieving schools. College placement depends on how your student has done - the top 10% are going to top schools (like anywhere), it's just a smaller number because there are fewer girls. There is a 100% college attendance rate and they helped their 37 graduating seniors get over 250k in scholarships this year! Maggie
We are considering enrolling our 13 year old daughter at Holy Names High School. What have you heard/experienced, both positive and negative, about Holy Names? jlh
Re: Violin Lessons
Holy Names College has an excellent preparatory music program (private and group lessons). My daughter is studying Suzuki violin from Wendy Reid, who is calm and understanding, and who relates very well to our 8 year old and her quirks. Another good teacher is Dorothy Lee. I also believe Holy Names provides lessons for other instruments. Holy Names Prep Music dept. can be reached at 436-1224. Trish
I am a graduate of Holy Names High School in the Oakland hills, and both of my brothers are graduates of St Mary's high School in Berkeley (one before it went co-ed and one since.) In addition, I have been volunteering with the high school students at church and so I have been keeping up on Salesian as well as O'Dowd.
It seems from the schools you listed that you are mostly interested in a co-ed school, but I would really encourage you to consider Holy Names if you have a daughter. In fact my family feels a great sense of loss that the closest single sex school for boys is out at De La Salle in Concord. I really enjoyed my time at Holy Names, my older brother was very relieved that St Mary's didn't go co-ed until after he was graduated, and my younger brother as well as some of the current students I know all feel a real sense of loss now that the school is mixed.
I know that there are a lot of girls that think that they will never meet guys if they are in an all girls school, but that is not true. In fact many of the girls I started Holy Names with had made deals with heir parents that if they were unhappy after the first year they could transfer out, and none did. High school was a more laid back experience socially for us because we didn't "have to worry about boys all day". In addition Holy Names and St Joseph Notre Dame in Alameda are the only High schools that require uniforms (I think) which eliminates the clothing and social status problem that so many high school students face. (It is also a lot cheaper because we didn't "have to worry about boys all day". In addition Holy Names and St Joseph Notre Dame in Alameda are the only High schools that require uniforms (I think) which eliminates the clothing and social status problem that so many high school students face. (It is also a lot cheaper for the parent of a teen.) I felt that the single sex environment really helped us all feel more confident and free to speak out in class and to achieve academically. I encourage all girls to really consider Holy Names. The school has a very academic program. All students take 4 years of English and religion, 2-3 years of lab science, 3-4 years of math, 4 years of history/government and econ., 2-4 years of music or art, 3-4 years of foreign language and 2 year of PE as well as a semester of computers with a top computer lab. In addition the school has many sports teams and extra curricular clubs. most schools no longer offer 7 subjects, but holy names does. They have several Open Houses a year, and I really encourage parents and students to check it out..
From my experience ant the conversations that I have with current students I think that the most academically challenging catholic schools right now are Holy Names and O'Dowd. Holy names has a lot of diversity. O'Dowd has more of a prep school feel to it. There is a lot more money at O'Dowd so the kids tend to dress really expensively and a lot have cars. St Mary's and Salesian are also pretty diverse although St Marys has become less diverse since it went co-ed.
St Marys is improving its academics, but there have been constant changes in the administration since the school went co-ed, and there is just not the same wholesome attitude that there was at the school. We have been quite unhappy that the school seems much more interested in academic achievement (although they only offer 6 subjects now), at the expense of their previous emphasis on educating the whole student. In addition, in the past the school used to give preference to applicants from catholic schools and to siblings of current students, and they pretty much gave that up when they went co-ed so that they could attract more Berkeley prep school students.
It seems to me that it is a long process for a school to go from single sex to co-ed, and Salesian and St Marys are still working on it. Since Salesian went co-ed a while ago, they are a little further along.
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