News & Posts



ASB Choir Performance

Our choir has been working hard these past few months for their performance at this year’s Annual Scholarship Benefit! They have 3 songs lined up and 5 solo performances. They will be singing songs from the Peanut’s soundtrack, Moana soundtrack, and Stevie Wonder, with lyrics arranged by Choir Director Benjamin Mertz. They have been practicing twice a week, under the radar, so it will be a surprise to us all when we see the final product. Can’t wait! RSVP HERE


Posted on: February 24th, 2017



6th Graders Walk to Asian Art Museum for Social Studies Lesson

On Wednesday, January 25, the 6th grade walked around the corner and down the street to the Asian Art Museum on 200 Larkin Street.  6th Grade Teacher, Ms. Mary Gerlomes, explained, “The students were excited to walk to the museum and have exposure to cultural and religious practices in India…Buddhism in particular.  They learned about the life and moral teachings of the Buddha, and it allowed them to connect moral teachings that they are learning about at De Marillac Academy with an ancient civilization.  Students were so intrigued about the stories behind the statues of the deities.  This field trip is linked to our Schoolwide Learning Expectations because this is an opportunity to, ‘display gratitude by respecting the diversity of individuals of all cultures and backgrounds.'”


Posted on: January 25th, 2017



Save The Date – 11th Annual Scholarship Benefit

The 11th Annual Scholarship Benefit, themed  “It Begins With a Dream”, is on March 16, 2017 at the Westin St. Francis Hotel on Union Square.  The event started eleven years ago and was known as, “A Gift of a Day.” In this event’s initial year, a group of supporters hosted a cocktail reception in our school hall to sponsor the gift of a day’s education for the students of De Marillac Academy. Over the years, the Gift of a Day event evolved into the Annual Scholarship Benefit. This event has grown from 150 attendees to over 750 individuals who celebrate De Marillac Academy’s mission each year.

Join us for this special evening where the community comes together to celebrate the success and future of our unique school.  More information to come, with registration beginning in early February.

Posted on: January 25th, 2017



5th Graders Create Air Cannon to Launch a Pom-Pom

De Marillac Academy 5th graders took on a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Challenge in Science class.  Students worked in small groups to create their very own “Pom-Pom Blaster.”  The blaster had to launch a pom-pom into the air and had to travel at least two feet to qualify.  The groups could only use the materials that were given to them, which included:

  • 3-4 pom-poms
  • cardstock paper
  • 5 straws
  • 5 craft sticks
  • 5 rubber bands
  • 2 Styrofoam cups
  • scissors and tape

Students had to brainstorm, design, and build their contraptions in less than fifty minutes.  Students created Pom-Pom Blasters that ranged in style from catapults to sling-shots.  The room was filled with lots of laughter, excited discussion, and not to mention, flying pom-poms!  It was truly incredible to see the creativity, teamwork, and engineering minds of fifth graders!  As Ms. Meaghan Osborne, 5th Grade Teacher, shared, “There are definitely future engineers in the fifth grade class!”  Click here to watch a video of one pom-pom blaster in action!

Posted on: January 12th, 2017



De Marillac Academy President Theresa Flynn Houghton Meets Bianca Rojo ’04

When was the last time you were in awe of someone or something?  Since joining De Marillac Academy in July, I have experienced an overwhelming feeling of admiration for the students, graduates,  families, faculty, staff and partners of De Marillac. I am truly in awe.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Bianca Rojo ’04, who shared how she overcame challenges beyond her socio-economic status, including being separated from her parents since her junior year of high school due to immigration issues. Working full-time throughout high school and college to help support herself and her younger sibling, Bianca has persevered and triumphed. As a college graduate, Bianca now works downtown as a legal assistant and is also applying to law school!  Bianca is an inspiration, not only for her gritty resolve, but because she recently made a commitment to supporting future generations of De Marillac Academy students—with an unprompted donation to De Marillac!  When I asked Bianca, the first alum to donate, why she decided to give, she replied that she wants to pay forward the gift she received as a student at De Marillac Academy.  Incredible!

I hope you will be inspired by Bianca’s first gift and make yours by December 31, 2016.

Theresa Flynn Houghton
President & CEO




Posted on: November 17th, 2016



Feature Article About De Marillac Academy in Saint Mary’s College Annual Report

The success of De Marillac Academy students and graduates is the subject of Lasallian research conducted by a Saint Mary’s College team, led by Educational Leadership Professor Rebecca Proehl.  In an 80-page paper, “De Marillac Academy: Perseverance, Purpose, and Promise,” the researchers document the school’s use of the concept of grit, measured by student traits like curiosity, character, perseverance, and interest in long-term goals. The two most outstanding factors, said Proehl, are the school’s focus on perseverance and the student’s tendency to persevere.  Proehl plans to continue her research, and will write a book about the school that is known as “a miracle in the Tenderloin.”

Click here to read more about this story on the Saint Mary’s College of California website.


Posted on: October 24th, 2016



Corporate Volunteer Day Ends with a Culturally Significant Gift


One Zendesk volunteer, software engineer Carl Goldberg, was so moved and inspired at the conclusion of the program, that he made a gift of $108….108 is a significant number in various backgrounds.  In Jewish culture, charitable donations are often made in multiples of the number 18, associated with the Hebrew word ‘chai(חי)’, meaning ‘alive’, ‘living’, or ‘life’.  In Hinduism and Buddhism, there are 108 prayer beads on a mala.


On Friday, September 30, four employees from De Marillac Academy’s neighbor and Corporate Partner, Zendesk, arrived to participate in De Marillac Academy’s “Corporate Day of Service”.  Through this volunteer program, De Marillac Academy hopes to educate individuals from local corporations about the neighborhood in which they work, to grow their awareness of the transformative education De Marillac  provides to low-income families in the Tenderloin/Central Market/SoMa, and to identify long-term volunteers and donors.

The day begins with an orientation that exposes volunteers to the challenges the students and families face while living in the neighborhood.  This is followed by the most exciting part of the day for our volunteers–an hour of getting to know our amazing students!  The first activity is 1-on-1 reading with a student during “DEAR” time (Drop Everything And Read).  This encounter usually begins with an anxious volunteer being introduced to a welcoming, engaging and inquisitive student.  By the time the activity concludes, there is always an enthusiastic “high-five!” and best wishes in the hopes of seeing one another again.   Volunteers are then proudly paraded around the school by two Student Ambassadors who have earned the privilege to showcase their school to visitors.  During the tour, in between meeting students and seeing our dynamic teachers in action, the ambassadors highlight important historical events in school history and walk by walls festooned with incredible artwork created by the students.

On this particular day, one Zendesk volunteer, software engineer Carl Goldberg, was so moved at the conclusion of the program, that he made a gift of $108.  The gift amount was significant, not only because all gifts to De Marillac Academy are significant, but because, as Carl shared, “I was truly inspired walking through the halls and meeting students; I felt I ought to give…. 108 is a significant number from various backgrounds.  In Judaism, it is a traditional charitable donation.”  According to wikipedia, in Jewish culture, charitable donations are often made in multiples of the number 18, associated with the Hebrew word ‘chai(חי)’, meaning ‘alive’, ‘living’, or ‘life’.  A Japa mala or mala (Sanskrit:माला; mālā) is a string of prayer beads commonly used by Hindus, Buddhists and some Sikhs for the spiritual practice known in Sanskrit as japa. It is usually made from 108 beads.”  Additionally, as Carl shared, “I like this derivation: 11 * 22 * 33 = 108.”  I am sure our 8th grade math students would enjoy that, too!

Thank you, Carl, for your thoughtful and benevolent gift. And thank you, Zendesk, for your responsible hiring of mission-minded employees like Carl that highlight the power of our partnership!



– Hebrew symbol for “chai”… when giving gifts and donations in multiples of 18, which is called “giving chai”


– 108 Hindu mala prayer beads


Posted on: October 19th, 2016



De Marillac Academy Students on National Newscast – NBC Nightly News

On Sunday, October 16, the national newscast for NBC, The NBC Nightly News, featured a vignette about a unique marketing campaign, “Save our Stories”, for our neighbor, 826 Valencia Tenderloin Center.  Our partners in after-school language arts programming are trying to build awareness for their organization and identify new volunteers.  To accomplish this, they are using messages written by students in bottles placed around San Francisco.  Click on the link above to see footage of De Marillac Academy students.  We are grateful for our partnership with our neighbors, 826 Valencia!

nbc-news-5 nbc-news-4 nbc-news-3 nbc-news-2 nbc-news-1


Posted on: October 16th, 2016



5th Grade Competes in Sandcastle Competition at Ocean Beach

On October 15, the 5th graders participated in Northern California’s largest sandcastle building event, the 34th annual Leap Sandcastle Contest.

2016 Leap Sandcastle Contest | Ocean Beach

This is a spirited competition between teams of architects, engineers, contractors, designers and local elementary school students at Ocean Beach.  De Marillac Academy 5th graders had a great time building their “Taco Truck” sandcastle with Turner Construction. The kids worked SO hard, as you can see from the pictures. Their jobs ranged from collecting water in buckets, carrying heavy buckets of water to our site, jumping on sand mounds (to pack it down), to carefully designing our sandcastles (while eating pizza). They were very focused and determined for hours. Thankfully, it did not storm while we were at the beach (it only drizzled in the morning).

Click here to see more photos of the event.




Posted on: October 16th, 2016



New Banner Installations by the TLCBD

“For those looking from the outside, the messages highlight existing traits not visible beneath the pervasive issues most associated with the neighborhood. For those looking at the banners from within, the hope is they reinforce and redouble an already existing pride.” -Epicenter SF

72 new banners were installed this past month in the Tenderloin to highlight the neighborhood’s “tender tendencies”. This project was led by the Tenderloin Community Benefit District (TLCBD) in collaboration with Mucho, a global boutique design studio. Along with several other neighborhood organizations, De Marillac wrote a letter of support for the grant itself when the TLCBD applied and was interviewed by the marketing company, Mucho, as part of the neighborhood input process during the design phase.


The TLCBD focuses on creating positive change in the Tenderloin neighborhood through their organization services and neighborhood projects such as Synthesia – a new light art project coming to Larkin street; and The Tenderloin Safe Passage. This banner installation has incited a “groundswell of positivity”.  For more info on the banner project, check out the Epicenter’s blog post.






Posted on: October 11th, 2016