By MIKE ZINN     3/30/2022

It is widely recognized that the need for leadership at all levels is critical throughout the world – and what better way to address the need for better leadership, than to start with youth within our Diocese of Orange.

St. Cecilia School in Tustin was founded in 1961, by Monsignor John Sammon and is led by Principal Mary Alvarado, with support from pastor Father Bao Thai and chaplain, Father Michael Nguyen. St. Cecilia offers a thriving atmosphere for its students, with the mantra “More Than School.” St. Cecilia School is guided by six distinct benefits, one of which is building character. The commitment to St. Cecilia parents is that their children will learn morals through a dynamic Catholic faith. Parents can expect a program that teaches their children to make wise decisions and grow into that person who will build up the kingdom of Christ and make family life and the world a better place. These precepts provide the very foundation of young students as leaders.

At one time many years ago, a program titled, “Caught Being Good” was used to develop student leadership skills. Fast forward to current day St. Cecilia, “More Than School” and a strong commitment to parents to develop character and leadership skills in all students defines the St. Cecilia mission.

The search to find the one St. Cecilia student who embodies the best leadership traits, began with Principal Mary Alvarado. Alvarado and her staff swiftly named eighth-grade student Patrick Hassett, as their unanimous choice. Hassett has attended St. Cecilia for nine years and has three siblings who have either graduated from or are currently attending the school.

Hassett is involved in student council, National Junior Honor Society and Mock Trail. He is also an altar server and assists with morning announcements. On the sports side, Hassett has been a member of both the flag football and volleyball teams and looks to continue his volleyball and academic pursuits, next year at Servite High School. Being a National Junior Honor Society member, Hassett is a serious and accomplished student, who is most fond of science. Public speaking is also one of his passions. Speaking during morning announcements is an important part of his leadership personality and a skill he intends on honing throughout the school year.

“I want to do more public speaking and speech writing for graduation,” Hassett said.

Long-time St. Cecilia teacher Mike Marshall has known Hassett through his siblings since he arrived on campus in the pre-k program. Selflessness, loyalty, faithfulness, kindness and respectfulness, were just some of the traits used by Marshall to describe Hassett.

According to Marshall, religion is a subject that Hassett also excels in.

“Patrick has a curious desire to know more,” he said.

When asked specifically for examples of Hassett’s leadership on campus, outside the classroom, Marshall explained how Hassett helps his teachers, makes good choices on the playground and assists younger students.

Students like Hassett exemplify the mission of Orange County Catholic schools to help aid in the development of well-rounded students who lead by example.