By Stephanie Callahan     2/7/2019

St. Junipero Serra Catholic School (SJSC) kicked off Catholic Schools Week with its annual CSW Mass and TK/K prayer service. SJSC was honored to have the Most Reverend Thanh Thai Nguyen, Auxiliary Bishop of Orange celebrate his first Mass at St. Serra. As is customary at every Mass, students sat together with their Bear Prayer Partners – a tradition where students in middle school are paired with students in lower grades as part of a mentoring program. Prayer Partners attend Mass and other school events together, forming strong relationships that will last throughout their SJSC journey. 

The Catholic Schools Week celebration continued on Sunday, January 27 as many SJSC current families, along with potential new families, filled the campus for Open House. They visited classrooms, the Book Fair, checked out the school bus program, and more. Visitors were welcomed by the school president and principals, along with student leadership and parents, who were on hand to answer questions and guide visitors around the beautiful 10-acre campus. 

Visitors were also able to visit the new St. Serra Chapel and Rosary Garden. Also new to explore was the Student Creation and Leadership Center, SJSC’s commitment to STEAM education, which houses a production studio with video equipment and green screens; a Think Space with writeable walls for sharing and projecting ideas; a Performance Room to support the school’s music and theater programs; and two SmartLabs from Creative Learning Systems. 

Following Open House, St. Serra held its 6th Annual Seasons Tuition Assistance Luncheon. This heartwarming yearly event not only brings together current and past SJSC families for a delicious luncheon, but also supports the tuition assistance program at St. Serra and urban schools within the Diocese of Orange. Since its inception the luncheon has raised in excess of $470,000, helping families struggling financially to send their children to Catholic schools.  

At the luncheon, Mr. Dave Hanna, owner of Hanna’s Restaurant and Bar, was awarded the 2019 Our Lady of Guadalupe Award of Commitment for his dedication to Catholic education. Dave’s heartfelt acceptance speech was peppered with humorous anecdotes about his own experiences as a Catholic school student, ending with inspirational words he learned as a result, of his Catholic education, “What you are is a gift from God. What you do is a gift to God.”  

During Catholic Schools Week, SJSC students celebrated a week of themed activities, including a boisterous pep rally. Students also demonstrated service (one of the four components of Catholic education) with a Rubber Duck & Bake Sale supporting victims of the recent wildfires, and a toiletries collection for Catholic Charities of Orange County. 

According to SJSC President Angeline Trudell, “St. Junipero Serra Catholic School continues to enrich the spiritual and academic lives of the children we serve…we move forward in joy and hope for the future of Catholic Education.” 

To find out more about St. Junipero Serra Catholic School visit, follow them on Facebook or Instagram, and plan on attending their Family STEAM Night on March 12, 2019 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.