On May 22nd, Sacred Heart Preparatory (SHP) graduated 155 students at its 123rd commencement ceremony. Graduates from the Class of 2021 will attend at least 74 different institutions: at least 48 students will study in California, and at least 105 will study out of state; three of those students will study out of the country.
Twenty-one students earned recognition by the National Merit Scholarship program (three were finalists and 18 were commended); and one student was recognized as both a National African American Scholar and a National Hispanic Scholar. Twenty-nine students have committed to play intercollegiate athletics; one will attend the U.S. Naval Academy.
Thirty-two members of the graduating class have been on the preschool – grade 12 Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton (SHS) campus for 13 or more years.
This year’s event was held at SHS's football field, taking place under very specific allowances and conditions per the San Mateo County Office of Education guidance for commencement and graduation ceremonies. It was a formal ceremony in front of families, with the delivery of diplomas to graduates, and the traditional reading of each graduate’s name aloud.
At the ceremony, diplomas were presented by Shami Ravi and Gary Kirkham, co-chairs of the Board of Trustees; Richard A. Dioli, director of schools; Jorge Reyes, assistant principal, curriculum and academics; and Brian Bell, assistant principal, community life. Dioli gave remarks along with SHP Principal Dr. Jennie Whitcomb; Valedictorian Jacqueline Chin; Salutatorian Joey Guardino; and faculty speaker Jake Moffat, SHP English department co-chair and creative inquiry teacher.
Following a century-old school tradition, “Blue Ribbons” were awarded to select students, nominated and elected by the faculty and ratified by the administration. Blue Ribbons are the highest honor given by SHS to graduating seniors, and reflect outstanding achievement in academics and standards of character in the fulfillment of one or more of the school’s guiding Goals & Criteria.
Graduates receiving a Light Blue Ribbon, for embodiment of a particular Goal and its criteria, were awarded to:
Luci Illnicki-Lambert and Connor Fitzpatrick for Goal I: A personal and active faith in God;
Zoe Schneider, Axel de Vernou, and Anisha Menath for Goal II: A deep respect for intellectual values;
Juliette Barragan, Aanya Kapoor, Carter Sun, and Sheyla Aguilar for Goal III: A social awareness which impels to action;
Ava Borchers, and Joseph Guardino for Goal IV: The building of community as a Christian value;
Alekos Kapur, Anne-Sophie Lacombe, and Jonathan Martinez for Goal V: Personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom;
Graduates Kathryn Sweeney, Brandon Felix, and Tiffany Sanchez Ramirez each received a Dark Blue Ribbon, for embodiment of the values implicit in a Sacred Heart education.
For 15 consecutive years, SHP’s athletics program has sent at least 10 percent of each year’s graduating class to play athletics at the intercollegiate level. The Class of 2021 will send 29 athletes, the most in the school’s history, in 11 different sports; of that number, nearly 60 percent will compete for NCAA Division I teams.
With the class of 2021’s college choices ranging from public and private institutions large and small, with sectarian and non-sectarian among the mix, the student body shows a similar breadth of interests in their future academic goals. Students plan to pursue educational programs as wide ranging as STEM, visual and performing arts, humanities, social studies, and more.
As Valedictorian Jacquelin Chin said in her address, the class of 2021 established itself as “one of the most unique classes in SHP history,” having navigated the COVID-19 pandemic. “That is a testament to our strength, our resilience, our power. With these same qualities, we formed long-lasting friendships, deepened or discovered our passions, and created beautiful memories,” said Chin.