News & Posts
De Marillac Academy staff and students mourn the passing of Sylvia Chase, a news anchor, award-winning journalist, and longtime champion of De Marillac Academy.
Sylvia was an extraordinary trailblazer in the journalistic world, but De Marillac will remember her most for her strong commitment to our students. She modeled courage, sought truth in the world, and advocated wholeheartedly for justice – especially for children. Her kindness, clever storytelling and positive attitude made a huge impact on our students.
“Ms. Chase made it fun to learn about different topics. As a reporter, she knew how to make us understand any topic,” recalled 7th grade student Katia. “She also showed me that if you work hard, you can achieve many things.”
Sylvia embodied this year’s school theme, “The Work is Ours”. Her life demonstrated for our students the very definition of life-long learning and service. “Ms. Chase taught me many useful lessons that I surely won’t forget. She was full of wisdom and was a great person to be around,” said Jonathan, a 7th grade De Marillac student who worked with her.
Sylvia first walked through the school’s gate in 2010, and in her own words was dazzled by what she discovered, “a sparkling jewel in a worn-out setting”. From that day on, she has been one of our most loyal and valuable volunteers and benefactors.
“When I first came to De Marillac Academy as a teacher, Sylvia quickly became one of my own most valuable teachers,” said Katherine Corio, 4th grade lead teacher. “Her love of learning radiated through our hallways, and the students and I could never get enough of her storytelling.”
Her admiration for De Marillac can be seen in a film she wrote and produced titled A Dream Come True, which features one De Marillac family. Sylvia was also featured in the Stories of De Marillac video campaign, which highlighted stories of our vibrant community.
In Sylvia’s presence was such a wonderful place to be. She will be greatly missed.
Precious Listana ’11
College: University of California, Berkeley
Major: Cognitive Science
Precious will graduate this spring and plans to enter education as an educator, or a practitioner developing STEM opportunities for underrepresented communities. In her time at Berkeley, Precious co-founded the Invention Corps of Berkeley, a student-led organization that teaches and applies human-centered design.
Tell us a bit about your college experience and career path, and what you find most fulfilling about your work with Invention Corps.
My college experience can easily be summed up in the word, exploration. I switched majors two times and have lived in four different types of housing communities: the dorms, Greek housing, the Berkeley Co-op system and now in my own room in a 5-bedroom house. I also took college as an opportunity to get involved in diverse communities. Through my exploration, my proudest collegiate accomplishment is co-founding the Invention Corps of Berkeley.
The Invention Corps of Berkeley is one of the most multidisciplinary student-led organizations on campus that teaches and applies human-centered design. We work with companies, nonprofits, startups and academics that have existing solutions around poverty, health, environment and society. Through our collaboration, we ideate and iterate on user feedback, market research, app development and so much more to scale our impact. I’m proud to say that we have grown from a team of 4 to 33 inventors that are committed to learning and making a tangible impact with their skills and diverse teams.
I believe that bridging theory and practice is essential in developing innovative solutions to tough problems. And, with equal importance, it’s essential to build teams from all types of backgrounds (both lived and practical experiences) while providing them the opportunity to grow their skills that invigorate their passions. And, with the Invention Corps, we’re committed in both developing our community and our impact.
Can you share how your time at De Marillac shaped you as a person and shaped your career.
De Marillac shaped my curiosity and passion for service. I remember how engaging and inquisitive my math class with Mr. Orozco, and how it greatly influenced me to major in applied math. His learning style also gave me a head-start in high school math, and I started my freshman year with trigonometry (typically a junior class). There were also numerous friendly competitions that excited me to learn and apply my learnings. Being a part of the Academic Decathlon team also developed my curiosity. Every year, I learned numerous topics and pushed myself to do my best in every competition.
Above all, De Marillac did a terrific job in fostering my passion for service. We participated in the Gubbio Project with Saint Anthony’s Foundation and made sandwiches for those in need. We also organized countless drives from basic hygiene supplies to canned food. There was always an opportunity for reflection in our “Family Time”, a time for us to work with various grades to discuss how we can be better leaders in our community. I’m proud to have graduated from a place that is so invested in how we create impact.
You graduate from UC Berkeley this spring, what’s next?
I’m looking forward to working in education either as an educator, or a practitioner developing STEM opportunities for underrepresented communities. My work with the Kapor Center, an Oakland-based organization that is leveling the playing field for underrepresented communities in education and entrepreneurship, has inspired me to see the challenges and opportunities in the education field. If I become an educator, I’d love to teach computer science to high school students from low-income communities. If I become a practitioner, I’d like to improve and advocate for STEM-exposure opportunities. Whatever I do, I’d like to make an impact in creating inclusive and accessible STEM opportunities for underrepresented communities.
Each month, 826 Valencia – a nonprofit dedicated to supporting under-resourced students with their writing skills – selects a writer of the month from its various programs. We are proud to announce that Jabari, an eight grade student at De Marillac, was selected as September’s writer of the month.
“Jabari is an incredible part of our writing program,” said Jill Waskick, Tenderloin programs director at 826 Valencia. “He models positivity, effort and creative thinking. Jabari is a strong leader and helpful team player.”
The writer of the month receives a free book of their choosing and will have their picture taken for a poster that is displayed in the 826 Valencia lab. Jabari has been involved with 826 Valencia since sixth grade and was very excited to be selected.
“My writing class at 826 Valencia is really cool,” says Jabari. “I’ve learned how to better express myself through writing.” Way to go, Jabari!
Enjoy Jabari’s poem, “All I Want”, which was written during an 826 Valencia lesson on blues music and poetry.
CC ’17 | Saint Mary’s College High School
At De Marillac Academy (DMA), our relationship with our students continue throughout high school and college. As the 2017-2018 school year wrapped up, our Graduate Support Program met with alumni and their families to check in on their experience and prepare for the next school year. Graduate CC took the time to share with us her experience as a freshman at Saint Mary’s College High School.
Now that you’re done with your freshman year, can you look back and reflect on what that transition was like coming from DMA? Did you have any fellow DMA friends with you at St. Mary’s College?
No one from my class had applied so I was alone, it was kind of boring for the first two weeks, because I didn’t know anyone. I did go to the summer school so it did help me meet people. It was still boring because I didn’t have the people I was used to or that I had known for a long time. Everyone was very nice though, we were polite and shy to each other in the beginning but now we are closer and mess around, and joke and stuff.
Do you have to wear a uniforms at school?
No, but we have a very strict dress code. – no ripped jeans, minimal arms and neck showing.
How did you adjust to free dress in high school?
It was kind of hard for me, having to create an identity through clothes. I didn’t know how to do that because for many years I had to wear a uniform. My friends and I laugh about it sometimes with the outfits I come up with.
Did you feel like going to summer school you were prepared academically? And What classes did you take in summer school?
Yes, I felt prepared for high school. In summer school I took mechanics and math.
Did you notice anything different in yourself as a student from eighth grade to freshman year? Did you feel like you grew or saw school differently?
I definitely started to pay more attention because I realized how important education was. In 8th grade I was kind of slacking on my homework and I realized that if I did that in high school, it gets me off track and at the end of the trimester I’m trying to get my grades back up and it’s already too late. That’s a lesson I learned, or that was reinforced in high school.
In addition to that, is there anything you would tell the incoming 8th graders as food for thought? Whether it’s something about checking yourself personally, academics, or making friends?
So, if a teacher assigns a reading homework, it doesn’t mean there is no homework, you should actually do the reading! And it’s gonna be your first year in high school so you will want to push back the drama out of the classroom so you can focus.
What are some things you missed or didn’t miss when comparing middle school vs. high school?
I do miss having uniforms, some mornings it can be a struggle to have to put an outfit together. A pro and a con is that we have different start times. We start later than DMA, but it’s not consistent, sometimes we start at 8 sometimes we start at 9…so that was kind of confusing; but I don’t miss starting school at 7, that was kind of rough. But it has made me a morning person, and it’s still a habit to wake up early.
Last year for our Annual Scholarship Benefit, you were apart of our DREAM project where you wrote about what you wanted to be when you grow up. Has your career choice changed with the influence of your new school and or classes?
Yes, last year, I originally wanted to be a police officer but then changed it to a movie director because for the DREAM project we had to bring in a prop and I didn’t have any props for a police officer so I just chose a director on a whim. Now, I still want to be a director, and I’m excited to join the theater class, so that should be fun.
Great! Any other elective classes you enjoy or classes that you are looking forward to as a sophomore?
I’m looking forward to taking classes with older students, or having mixed classes. Next year I’ll be in an advanced Spanish class, so that should be fun. Also, like I mentioned, I am looking forward to joining the Theater class. I am also playing volleyball and softball.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience?
I enjoyed the diversity of the school… and I guess that’s it.
Awesome. Thank you for your time and hope you have a great sophomore year!
Thank you! I look forward to being a sophomore.
On December 15, right before De Marillac students and teachers left for winter break, our school was selected to receive new DMA branded science lab coats, goggles, and science career books.
Project SCIFI (Scientific Coat Initiative for Future Innovators) is a nonprofit whose mission is to promote scientific passion for higher education by providing teachers and educators the necessary tools for hands-on scientific instruction. Additionally, their hope is that this will spark a supportive, mentor-mentee community of like-minded, young scientists.
Led by an all-volunteer organization of students and scientists whose personal experiences led them to pursue careers in science, this idea of “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” inspired this lab coat initiative of providing students the opportunity to realize that a career in science is a tangible path.
As Project SCIFI’s team member Michael Leone puts it:
” My feelings towards science changed in 10th grade when my chemistry teacher gave me the opportunity to go to the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine at UCLA. Still not strongly considering science or medicine at the time, I opted to go, reasoning that two weeks away from home would be two weeks well spent. Little did I know that within those two weeks, my feelings towards science would change, largely due to the fact that I couldn’t get the feeling of wearing a white lab coat during some hospital/laboratory field trips out of my mind. Strangely, the simple act of wearing a lab coat gave me the feeling that a career in something that I thought was so out of reach was actually more attainable than I had originally thought.”
If you have ever visited De Marillac Academy and taken our student- led tour, then you should know that one of the consistent praises we hear from our students is that science with Mr. Lee is their favorite class. Students are always eager to share their latest science experiment. So when these fresh coats arrived, both staff and students were excited to try them on and get to work!
Thanks again Project SCIFI! Thank you for passing on the dream to our students, valuing their efforts and passions; and taking the time to get to know our students.
First week of school is in full effect!
It’s so nice to hear the buzz, chatter, and laughter of children on campus after a quiet summer. 4th grade lead teacher, Ms. Dzida, took our newest Saints around school to show them the ins and outs of De Marillac via scavenger hunt. Two of our newest Saints, Sergio and Mia, gave us a little insight as to what their first day felt like.
How was your first day? What was the best part?
S: It was great! I was kind of nervous. The best part was meeting my teacher.
M: My first day was good. The best part was meeting my new friends and teacher.
If anything could be different what would you change?
M: I wouldn’t change anything.
S: Me neither!
How was the food yesterday? I heard you guys had chicken and waffles…are you the type to eat them together or separately?
M: I like mine separate..
S: Yea, Separate…
What do you like so far?
S: I like the science room!
M: I like..uhhhh.. everything!
What are you still unsure or nervous about?
S: Hmmm.. nothing.
M: *nodding in agreement*
Is there anything you’re most excited about?
S: Doing science stuff.
M: I’m excited about going into 5th grade…
Did you have a uniform at your last school? How do you like wearing one everyday?
M: Yea, we wore a uniform at my last school. I like it because it makes it easy to get ready in the morning. And you don’t have to wash more and more or go shopping.
S: Umm, it’s like my everyday uniform, but my shirt is white not red.
So you’re saying you wear clothes like your uniform on a regular basis?
S: Yea. *nods head proudly*
I remember when I was going back to school, shopping for supplies was my favorite part…are there any supplies you get really excited about?
M: Every time we go shopping for school supplies, my mom gets me a slime kit so I can make slime. I also like when we get led pencils.
S: I like slime too and I like led pencils too. I really like this one *shows me his led pencil*
And finally, What is your favorite school subject?
S: I love science.
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We were blessed to have Ms. Hyland, Tyven Gabriner (son of longtime DMA supporters), Christine Nash (ROAR volunteer), and eight DMA grads ranging from freshmen in high school to college graduates (pictured: Lilie Hau, Chris Gomez, Kim Bustos, Ed Hagape, Alexis Mojica, Miguel Molinero, Lizeth Ramos, and Henry Soto).
Special thanks to our Graduate Support Program for securing these talented leaders. They were phenomenal, helping to lead assemblies and prayer and working closely with small groups of students.
The students were superb as well. Many took their learning to new heights; one student read over 1,200 pages of novels in one week, some forged new friendships and co-authored their own stories together, and others pushed themselves in math to learn division for the first time with the help of grads. Volunteer teachers continued to implement Personalized Learning. Here’s a snapshot:
AGENCY: Morning and afternoon time to create playlists and complete written and oral reflection upon learning.
PEOPLE: 1:5 student to teacher ratio and flexibility with whom to work.
PACE: Five periods or “choices” during the day including reading and creative writing.
PATH: Choice of Ed Tech tools for playlist creation.
PLACE: Flexibility in terms of learning environment; classrooms, lab, studio, library, etc.
All students persevered in fitness as well. They were challenged to complete push ups, sit ups, and jumping jacks according to their age, and run laps in Boeddeker according to what grade they are entering in the fall. Needless to say, Monday was tough for many of them, but by mid week many of the students were volunteering to exercise as soon as they arrived in the morning. A new record was set for sit ups; 83 in a row! A rising 7th grader still holds the record for push ups; 63. The fastest lap in Boeddeker is now 11 seconds.
Meanwhile, one mile up the road, a handful of our rising 5th-8th grade students were at Sacred Heart Cathedral for summer school as well. Classes included: math games, film making, writing, digital photography, and theater. Students said the SHCP catered lunches were pretty nice too?.
Wednesday, July 5th at 11:00 am, the rising 7th and 8th graders departed for CYO Camp in Occidental. Temperature is expected to be in the high 70s and low 80s. I’m sure the rising 7th graders will enjoy some sunshine this time around. I hear their last experience was pretty wet and damp!
Thanks again to our community for making summer school another great success!
On Monday, June 5, De Marillac Academy hosted its long awaited DMA Saints Hair Donating Rally. Over the past nine months, 14 of students and teachers have been growing out their hair for one single purpose – let their hair and be of service! These 14 donors had eight inches of their hair cut to selflessly provide wigs for women suffering with hair loss from chemotherapy used to treat cancer. The Lasallian tradition fueled these 14 donors; they felt a deep responsibility to improve the lives of women who have been diagnosed with cancer. Please join us in congratulating these 14 Saints who have given so generously!
Friday May 12th, our eighth grade class hosted a very special guest, Leon Rajninger who shared his story as a Holocaust Survivor. Over winter, the eighth grade studied the book Night by Elie Weisel over the course of six weeks. They also had to complete individual book reports on stories they selected covering the Holocaust. A big thanks to the Jewish Family and Children’s Services Speakers Bureau for helping make this experience possible. This is something we (students, faculty, & staff) will never forget.
Leon was born in Bukovina, Romania and was eight years old when the Second World War started. His Holocaust story is one of the Romanian Holocaust, also known as, The Forgotten Cemetery. He shared the extended version of his book, which is pictured below; and answered a few questions in the end.
In the early morning, we were lined up for the march into the Mogilev-Podolsk camp. As we started marching with many armed Romanian soldiers guarding us, our family was the last in line. A young Ukrainian boy passed us polling an empty two-wheeled cart. My mother asked the soldier guarding us if we could put our backpacks on the cart. He agreed. With many packs, the cart was heavy to pull. We dropped behind and soon there was only one soldier guarding us. We were about fifty feet behind the rest of the group. The Mogilev- Podolsk Jews were standing by the roadside, warning us not to continue our journey. My mother gave the soldier some money as a bribe. Bless him, he looked the other way, and we grabbed all the bags from the card and escaped into the crowd.
We lived up on a hill and the only water pump was by the river. It was very hard to get water up in winter. By the time we reached the top of the hill there was very little water left in the bucket. So for most of the winter we just opened the door and scooped up a bucket full of snow. If we had some wood, we would boil whatever we had, like sweet beets or a potato. The first winter of 1941 was the worst for us, sitting in the dark with only one small window that was covered with ice and snow. In addition, we had a big problem with lice in the winter. My parents and I slept on a few boards elevated from the floor. We had only one blanket and my father’s coat, which was warm but had a lot of lice and was difficult to clean. Unfortunately there was no choice, because it was very cold, especially at night.
Leon wanted us to make sure we walked away with three very important lessons:
- Take care of your family, especially your parents when they get older. Do everything you can for them.
- Finish the highest level of education possible.
- Never lose control over your life.
We are excited to announce this year’s featured artist for our 11th Annual Scholarship Benefit – Oliver Chanax, class of 2012. Oliver has circled back to De Marillac as a volunteer assistant teacher for the art enrichment class. He is currently studying Graphic Design at City College of San Francisco and hopes to gain professional experience in a number of arenas, with sights on working in animation for a major company such as Pixar.
At De Marillac, we emphasize this notion of community and family that takes on many forms of support beyond graduating. Being a featured artist is an honor that has helped our Alumni advance their career in the arts; and we are thrilled to have this opportunity to reconnect with them. In the spirit of celebrating another year of partnered success in providing opportunity for De Marillac’s students and families; here are the featured artists from the previous years, and a glimpse of what they are up to now.
Ana Karen, class of 2004, is a studio artist making appearances in art galleries throughout the bay area. Her latest appearance was at the Purple Waves Art Show, a music and art show featuring Silicon Valley Artists. Ana Karen has graced us again with her unique, vibrant art available at this year’s art auction.
Kimberly Pirring, class of 2005 has been pursuing her career as both a free- lance graphic designer and contributor towards big brand names such as Walmart, Benefit Cosmetics, and currently Charlotte Russe. You can catch Kimberly’s portforlio on her website at kimpirring.com.
Josephine Alonzo, Class of 2007, started her own business, Radiant Azaela, which is rooted in her passion for designing children’s clothing and accessories. She is driven by her desire to build an empowering future for her daughter. You can follow her work on Etsy: RadiantAzalea
We hope to see you at this year’s Annual Scholarship Benefit, you won’t want to miss out on the growing talent! RSVP HERE.