News & Posts
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.
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!
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
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.
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
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!
On October 15, the 5th graders participated in Northern California’s largest sandcastle building event, the 34th annual Leap Sandcastle Contest.
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.
“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.
De Marillac Academy’s educational model and the Graduate Support Program (GSP) are deeply rooted in the NativityMiguel school movement, with a unique commitment to support our graduates through high school and into post-secondary life. We take great pride in our programs that carry out this commitment every day, providing social, emotional and academic support beyond the classroom.
“To identify passion, purpose and academic/professional goals for future endeavors” is the first objective of the Graduate Support Program. “We want our graduates to have options in life.”
De Marillac’s devoted team of two, Lauren Stevens and Evan Vaughan, have put together a comprehensive College and Career Access Initiative (CCAI) to help implement effective programming that will serve our graduates in the most effective and impactful way.
“Over the years we have determined there are many gaps and disconnects among students when it comes to identifying their skill sets and personality traits that might lead to certain careers.”
This initiative, formalized 4 years ago, partners with community organizations such as G.R.O.W., Students Rising Above, JUMA Ventures, Making Waves, ScoreBeyond & First Graduate to facilitate workshops scheduled throughout the academic year. The CCAI focuses on educating students, graduates and families on various post-secondary educational options, familiarizing them with the process of application and placement and identifying and addressing the many barriers that hinder the process of attending post-secondary institutions. It also aims to reduce the financial burden placed on graduates and their families associated with the cost of continued education with guidance through the financial aid application process. Most importantly, the goal is to plant the seeds early – to start thinking about life purpose and passion, personality traits, various skill sets and career paths.
“Our programming/CCAI efforts have strategically become a priority in GSP, as they are directly responding to the greatest needs presented by our graduates and are built specifically around working towards De Marillac’s institutional outcomes.”
In addition to year-round programming, the Director, Lauren Stevens and Program Coordinator, Evan Vaughan actively go out into the community to check up on alumni, visiting high schools, community agencies, CPMC’s Child Development Center and various college campuses, to collaborate and make sure their emotional and academic needs are met. This is something you don’t see often, if at all, from middle school or high school counselors. As stated by the US census Bureau, “in order to ensure that the next generation is aptly prepared to navigate an increasingly competitive global economic environment, the U.S. must broaden our focus from getting students “into” college to getting students “through” college.” Getting students into high school or college is usually where the support stops. At De Marillac, we make sure to continue our support until a post-secondary degree has been completed.
Being a small private school with a class average of 24 students, De Marillac has the advantage of fostering a solid mentor-like relationship with the students, which is why so many alumni come back to the De Marillac Academy for support, events and community service. High school counselors are busy with large caseloads, making it difficult for our alumni to get the unique support they need. On average, the Graduate Support Program sees 25-30 alumni a week.
After our last results from a survey sent out to high school seniors and college freshman, our DMA alumni said:
“As of now, all they (GSP) have provided me through my high school experience is enough (more than enough), and I know that it will be equally so upon entering college.”
“De Marillac became a family to me. My classmates were the brothers and sisters I never asked for but was yet given. DMA really helped me get a different paradigm shift about education and who I want to be.”
This past summer, GSP had a 95% participation rate in the first annual Summer Support Workshop (a new addition this year to the CCAI), which focuses on preventing “Summer Melt” and increasing college and post-secondary persistence. This term “Summer Melt”, comes from research on low-income, college-intending seniors and found that 33% of them reconsider college plans or changed their intending college in the fall, and 20% decided not to begin college at all. This is due to lack of guidance and support, cultural differences and difficulty in financial literacy and admission support when applying to college. The Summer Support Workshop is a significant intervention and program aimed at reducing the college dropout rate and summer melt among our graduates, and helps in preparing them for success in life. The workshop includes sessions on stress reduction and mindfulness, financial wellness, challenges faced by first-generation students, resume building, determining life values and purpose, and navigating campus life.
The Graduate Support Program plays a very critical role in carrying out our mission and vision here at the De Marillac Academy. We encourage you to follow us on Facebook and Instagram where we post updates on our alumni and posts featuring the amazing work of the Graduate Support Program.
Also coming up is our Back to School Night on September 21st , each fall at De Marillac Academy, we open our doors to friends, supporters and new visitors to showcase our transformative work with the children, youth and families of the Tenderloin at our Back-to-School Reception. This year, in De Marillac’s 16th year of service, we will be highlighting stories of the “journey” of our students and graduates. Our Reception’s program will include the debut of the video, “At Promise“, produced by Heist, followed by a panel of graduates responding to questions from our students about their journey. Please join us to build community, enjoy refreshments, tour the school, and meet students, graduates, faculty and staff.
De Marillac Academy offers a unique educational experience focused on meeting the needs of a community’s underserved children. This is accomplished through an advanced network of partnerships–with parents, nonprofits, corporations, benefactors, volunteers and the local government. As evidenced in the 2015-16 Honor Roll of Donors, these partnerships are not only helping students achieve greater levels of wellness and success, but they are also revitalizing a community long marked by economic hardship and blight.