St. Mary’s an exemplary blend of academics, athletics
St. Mary’s High School in Stockton is making waves for its brand-new hockey program, but the school is much more than what happens on the ice.
Kathy Smith is the school’s principal and Genesta Jackson serves as the vice principal at the home of the Rams. Both continually find ways to utilize the school’s mission statement, which shows how St. Mary’s is a “college preparatory high school that provides opportunities for spiritual growth, strives for academic excellence and empowers students with the skills and compassion necessary to thrive in an ever-changing global society.”
“We are proud to say that out of our 800 students, approximately 250 are enrolled in at least one AP class and our graduation rate is 100 percent,” said Smith. “Our AP scholars consistently exceed state and national averages on the college board exams and our students also exceed state and national averages on the ACT, PSAT and SAT exams.”
“Our safe and comfortable learning environment nurtures and strengthens the whole student, including their spiritual, physical, mental and emotional well-being,” noted Jackson.
The school is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and by the Western Catholic Education Association. St. Mary’s has a student-to-faculty ratio of 18-to-1 and the average classroom size is 24. In addition, the students in the graduating class of 2018 earned $16,067,877 in college scholarships.
Being a religious institution and being that society can be a bit negative for today’s youth, religion and faith play a major role in each student’s daily life at St. Mary’s.
“We are first and foremost a Catholic school that promotes Gospel values,” Smith said. “Each student takes four years of religion classes and our faculty includes the religious order of The Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. Each event and class are centered on the theme from St. Francis de Sales, which is ‘Be Who You Are and Be That Well.’ Students attend Mass on a monthly basis, including Holy Days of Obligation and they visit the Chapel monthly for Eucharistic Adoration. Students have access to a priest every day for spiritual guidance and we as a school are under the guidance of the Diocese of Stockton and Bishop Myron Cotta.”
St. Mary’s also offers unique classes and activities that make the school stand out from other institutions.
“Among our robust core departments of Math, English, Social Studies, Science, World Languages, Vocational Arts, Fine Arts, Computer Science and Student-Service Leadership, our Religious Studies program, which is approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, houses classes such as Social Justice, Sacraments and Morality and Church History,” explained Jackson.
Students can also take Fine Arts classes in Art, Design Exploration, Studio Art, Guitar, Drum Line, Symphonic Band, Concert Choir, Prima Voice Choir, Music Appreciation, various Drama classes, the award-winning Broadcasting class and Publication Design. There are also Vocational Arts classes in Foods and Nutrition and Life Skills.
St. Mary’s also offers all levels of Spanish, Italian and American Sign Language and additional classes in the sciences, such as Anatomy and Physiology, Sports Medicine and multiple levels of Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The Social Studies Department offers Geography, World History, U.S. Government, Economics, Psychology, Model United Nations, Administration of Justice and Mass Media, while the English Department offers college prep and honors classes at each level and AP classes beginning at the junior year along with classes such as Practicum in Journalism and Rhetoric.
Through all that, athletics are a major cog at St. Mary’s.
“Approximately three quarters of our students are athletes, which makes for a very active and involved student body,” said Smith. “That being said, our students are students first, and academics is their priority. The teachers work with students very closely to ensure that students stay on track and achieve their best level of success.”
“St. Mary’s is very excited to have the only hockey program in the area,” added Jackson. “We hope to grow to become the premier high school hockey program in Northern California. The players who are attending have immediately become part of our close-knit community and are received by the students with open arms.”
— Matt Mackinder
(Nov. 30, 2018)