Weekly Letter (June 3, ’19)

As we celebrated the Feast of the Ascension on Sunday morning, Catholics were reminded that before Jesus ascended into Heaven, he visited the apostles and made a promise that he would always be with us. I am reminded of that promise every day in my duties as principal at Star of the Sea. Jesus’ goodness shines through in the smiles of our students and even in their tears. He is present when they show me their ability to persist through the issues we have dealt with this school year. He is present when they follow directions, when they perform acts of service and when they resolve conflicts. He is present when they raise their voices in song at graduation mass and even when they are telling me that they are having a hard day. Throughout it all, we have been there for each other this year.

Summer is fast approaching. The students are already talking about upcoming adventures: hiking, biking, traveling, and summer camps. It is a great time for them to try a new sport, develop a new hobby and meet new friends. Summer days are long, so there is more time to read and maintain math skills that sometimes regress over the summer. Even though the excitement of vacation is in the air, we still have a full week of school ahead.

Monday is a 2:30 dismissal. Tuesday is our last full day of school, with Wednesday and Thursday being 12:30 dismissals and Friday, 10:30. The students are still in uniform on Monday and Tuesday and should dress nicely on the final day of school for our prayer service and awards ceremony in the church.

Our final graduation ceremony took place last Friday. Congratulations and good luck to the Class of 2019. Thank you to Mrs. Dharmer and Mr. Gresens for helping to put together a memorable ceremony.

My final words to our graduates, and to all of our students, come from author and weekly Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, “Keep your faith. If you lose it, get it back. It is the thing you will need most, the thing without which nothing is real. Everything good in your life will spring from it.”

Have a great summer and God bless,


Mr. David Gallagher
Principal

Weekly Letter (May 28, ’19)

Dear Parents and Students,

Congratulations to our 8th graders who were confirmed at a beautiful ceremony in our church led by Archbishop Cordileone last Saturday. Thank you to our Parish School of Religion Director, Clarisse Siu, who helped to make it an afternoon to remember with decorations and plenty of delicious Italian food for the reception which followed Confirmation.

We also had a very spirited and active Field Day last Friday. Much gratitude goes to Miss Skoblick, our first grade teacher, for her leadership, organization, and hard work in planning another successful Field Day event. Thank you as well to all of our teachers, students, and volunteers who also played a major part in making Field Day special.

A final thank you goes to everyone in the Star of the Sea Community. We are still very much a vibrant and active school because of the positive attitude that exists here. It was evident at the Spring Concert, at Field Day and each morning and afternoon when I speak to parents and grandparents in the schoolyard. We all have many new and exciting changes coming in the next school year. The biggest change will be moving to an unfamiliar school. Regardless of the changes that will come, what I have taken away from this year is a sense the Star of the Sea Catholic School families and alumni are committed and dedicated to Catholic education.

It is my sincere hope to always be a faith-filled leader who helps facilitate a school environment which supports students to meet the mission and vision of a Catholic School. I look forward to the 2019-2020 school year with great anticipation of what is to come and can truly say I have been blessed to be the principal at Star of the Sea Catholic School. Thank you all for finishing strong this year. Star of the Sea is a very spirited and lively school because of your positive attitude, dedication and support.

Take Care and God Bless,


Mr. David Gallagher
Principal

Weekly Letter (May 13, ’19)

Dear Parents and Students,

I am not sure about you but for me, the older I get, the faster time seems to pass by. This makes sense on one level. When we are young, we have a lot of firsts: the first day of school, the first day of summer vacation, the first paid job. Life is full of firsts when we are young and time seems to pass more slowly because everything about those moment is fresh and new. As you read this, there are 19 days left to the school year, fewer for our graduating 8th graders.

We say farewell to our graduates at the graduation liturgy on Wednesday, May 29th at 9am and the graduation ceremony on May 31st at 5pm. The graduation mass and ceremony have long been my favorite traditions here at Star of the Sea School. To me, it truly is the most fitting way to end our students’ experience. Reverently, graduates, their families, faculty and staff gather for this final liturgy and ceremony while we take time to recognize our graduates’ accomplishments and hard work. It is a very special time, one that you are welcome to join us for and one that I will truly miss being a part of.

The next four weeks will be extremely busy so I encourage you to visit the calendar on our school’s website to stay abreast of the many activities we have scheduled. However, the short list for May and June includes the following:

* May 15th – All School Field Trip to SF Giant’s Game.
* May 21st – Spring Concert @ 6:30 pm in the auditorium.
* May 24th – Field Day, 12:00 dismissal.
* May 25th – 8th Grade Confirmation @ 11:00 am.
* May 29th – Graduation Mass @ 9:00 am.
* May 31st – Graduation Ceremony @ 5 pm
(10 am dismissal for 8th grade).
* June 5th and 6th – 12:30 dismissals.
* June 7th – Last day of school. 10:30 dismissal.

Take Care and God Bless,


Mr. David Gallagher
Principal

Weekly Letter (May 6, ’19)

Dear Parents and Students,

Thank you to everyone who volunteered and/or attended our Farewell Event on Saturday. It was a fun day for all and a good way to meet and greet with parents, students, faculty, staff and the many alumni who attended as well. It was very fulfilling for me to meet so many people who attended the school in decades past and tour them through their old school. I heard so many great stories of Star of the Sea’s past and got to tell a few stories myself. Thank you to all who volunteered and helped to organize this very fun event. Special thank yous to Parent Club co-presidents Leah McClean and Ruth Callanan, Athletic Directors Brenda an Crichton Kittredge, and Tracy Lee who all helped to run and organized the day.

On May 15th the entire student body of the school will be attending the San Francisco Giants game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Students will travel by chartered busses and will sit with their field day families. First pitch is at 12:45 but we will leave school at 9:30. We will not be back to school until about 4:00 PM. If your student cannot attend the game, they come to school and teachers will prepare work for them for the day. Progress Reports for the final quarter will go out on Monday the 13th. Any student receiving a progress report for behavioral expectations will not be allowed to attend the game. Students who are attending the game will have free dress but must wear a Star of the Sea themed Giant’s t-shirt which the school will provide. Go Giants.

Take Care and God Bless,


Mr. David Gallagher
Principal

Weekly Letter (Apr 29, ’19)

Dear Parents and Students,

As we come to the end of Easter Vacation, I want to personally to thank you for all your support. This has been a very busy time for many of us, but one in which the spirit of the Star of the Sea community continues to grow. About a year ago, when I was first named principal, I wrote about how much I love being at Star of the Sea, and how I believe I have the best job in the world. Well, I feel both of these emotions even more strongly now – I believe our wonderful young people are capable of great achievements, and we should never rest in that quest for self-improvement. It is my absolute honor and privilege to continue to serve the very best students in San Francisco.

Sadly, at the end of the fourth quarter, it will be a time when we say farewell to our students and families, some of whom have been with us for many years. To help ease this potentially stressful transition, on Saturday, May 4th, we will hold our farewell event which will include the annual 8th grade vs. Coaches and Alumni basketball and volleyball games. As much as we have enjoyed this year at Star of the Sea, we have to prepare for the next step when our students will be enrolled at other schools. This event will also give alumni and current families the opportunity to gather, share memories, and have some fun.

In St. Paul’s final letter to the Corinthians, he finished with some final encouragements that seem appropriate here: “And now, my brothers, goodbye! Strive for perfection, listen to my appeals, agree with one another, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” (2 Corinthians 13:11).

To which we all say, “Amen.”

Take Care and God Bless,

Mr. David Gallagher
Principal

Weekly Letter (Apr 15, ’19)

Dear Parents and Students,

It is hard to believe that is already the middle of April. As we spring forward toward the middle of the fourth quarter, I would like to commend all of the students who continue to work hard in their academic coursework and implement Catholic Identity into their everyday lives.

Thanks to all of you who attended the Catholic School Information Fair last Wednesday. About eight Catholic schools were on hand to give information and answer questions. It was a great night to gather as a community and support those parents who are interested in continuing their children’s education in our Archdiocesan schools. Special thanks to our former third grade teacher, Leila Stoner, for helping to organize the event. Thank you also to Parent Club co-president, Leah McLean, for her dedication and creativity in making this night so successful.

When we begin classes again after Easter vacation (April 19-28), there are many exciting and important events on the agenda. On Saturday, May 4th, we will hold our farewell event which will include the annual 8th grade vs. Coaches and Alumni basketball and volleyball games. It will also give alumni and current families the opportunity to gather, share memories, and have some fun. More details will be coming shortly about this event. On May 5th, our second graders will be making their First Holy Communion. God bless them on this sacred sacrament. Also, on May 6th our 8th grade class will be heading to our nation’s capital for five days to learn about American history and government and see some of the most iconic sights in the country.

I hope all of you have the opportunity to spend time with family and friends during Easter vacation. May you be filled with peace and joy this Easter season.

Take care and God bless,

Mr. David Gallagher
Principal

Weekly Letter (Apr 8, ’19)

April 8, 2019

Dear Parents and Students,

It is with great sadness that I must inform you of the Archdiocese of San Francisco’s decision to close Star of the School at the end of the 2018-2019 academic year with the intention of restarting some classes at the start of the 2020-2021 school year. Be assured we have the needs of our students, as well as parents and our dedicated faculty and staff, at the center of the school’s planning for the remainder of the year. We will continue to provide exceptional spiritual, academic, and enrichment programs for our students, as we have done since 1909 through the end of the school year.

Last week, Archdiocesan leadership evaluated whether Star of the Sea had a viable and sustainable future, particularly from an operational standpoint. Beginning at the end of the 2017-2018 school year enrollment has been on a downturn with a 60 percent decline since then. Despite optimizing expenditures and the promise of a generous subsidy from the parish, we could not ignore the enrollment trend. Nor did we want to raise tuition to a cost prohibitive level to maintain the quality of education with significantly fewer students, which made the decision unfortunate, but clear.

I know that many of us were filled with hope at the positive momentum that we generated this fall and winter. Know that I am grateful for the overwhelming support and dedication among faculty, parents, students, our many committees, the Parent Club, and all of the efforts to promote the school. We need our entire Star community to come together to help our students, who are at the heart of our mission, and each other.

In an effort to make the transition to a new school as smooth as possible, Star of the Sea will host an event this Wednesday evening, April 10, from 5:45-6:45 pm in our cafeteria. We have invited several representatives from nearby Catholic schools to give enrollment information and be available for questions. Current Star of the Sea parents are welcome to join us for this event and stay for our April Parent Club meeting which begins at 7 pm.

We recognize that there have been rumors of Star closing over the last few months. However, the decision to suspend the school did not happen until the middle of last week. As disappointed as we all are, we must look toward the future and support our students during this unsettling transition, relying on the Holy Spirit’s guidance and strength.

Take care and God bless,

Mr. David Gallagher
Principal

Weekly Letter (Apr 1, ’19)

April 1, 2019

Dear Parents and Students,

We live in a world where we will surely have worries and distress. Jesus tells us this in John’s gospel, “In the world you will have hardship but be courageous: I have conquered the world” (John 16:33). Some of these troubles and sufferings come from simply living our lives and are common to everyone. Others are unique to our specific circumstances. Some of our trials and tribulations are internal while others are caused by forces outside of our immediate control. Whatever the struggles are that we face in life, we know that we need hope in order to persevere and live a life of grace and dignity.

In the Book of Hebrews, hope is referred to as “the anchor our souls have, as sure as it is firm, reaching right through inside the curtain” (Hebrews 6:19). What a wonderful image that is for our lives, an anchor giving us certainty and stability in the middle of a storm. But that is what hope does for us and it does more. We can remain faithful by trusting in God through our hardships and pains. Our hope is rooted in our faith in God and helps us to weather the storms of life. This feeling that the events in our lives will turn out for the best enables us to persevere, not only in isolated situations, but also over a lifetime. Without hope, people will give up. As Catholics, we must not only live a life of faith but also live a life sustained by hope.

Take care and God bless,

Mr. David Gallagher
Principal

Weekly Letter (Mar 25, ’19)

Dear Parents and Students,

Star of the Sea School has been educating students in San Francisco for 110 years. As we have grown and changed through the years, our focus has not. Jesus has been and will continue to be the focus of all that we do.  The mission of Star of the Sea School is to inspire all students to become devoted to Christ through an engaging, nurturing, and exemplary classical curriculum.  Our students participate in weekly Mass, daily prayer, Eucharistic adoration, a sacred music program, and daily religion classes, all to deepen their relationship with Jesus and follow his teachings.

Our academic programming is rigorous, allowing each student to develop to his or her full potential.  Our curriculum standards prepare the students for success in our ever-changing world.  We have a state of the art Science Lab, where students engage in collaborative, hands-on, inquiry-based learning. Technology, our iPads in the computer lab and Chromebook mobile labs in the classrooms, is integrated into daily lessons. Star of the Sea students are well prepared for high school and beyond when they graduate 8th grade.

In fact, high school acceptance notifications went out last Friday and this year three of our students were accepted into Mercy High School in San Francisco and four were accepted at both Riordan High School and Lowell. 12 of our students were accepted at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory and 11 were accepted at St. Ignatius. Congratulations to all of our 8th graders and their families. It is a continuing source of pride for both our parish and our school to see so many of our students matriculate to the finest high schools in San Francisco.

And finally, thank you to our highly qualified and dedicated faculty who work tirelessly to ensure that the needs of each of our students are met. Our teachers get to know all of our students and help them grow spiritually and academically.

Take care and God bless,

Mr. David Gallagher
Principal

Weekly Letter (Mar 18, ’19)

Dear Parents and Students,

The Parent and Child First Reconciliation for our second grade students was last  Saturday, March 8. It was a beautiful ceremony organized by our second grade teacher, Cindy Conway, and our Parish School of Religion Director, Clarisse Siu. Congratulations to our second graders for receiving this, the first of the two, sacraments of healing.

This Tuesday, March 19th there will be a 6 PM mass in honor of both St. Joseph and St. Patrick. Following the mass the Knights of Columbus will be graciously hosting a corned beef and cabbage dinner in our auditorium.

Stations of the Cross will begin on Friday, March 22, 2019, at 2:30 in our church for the students in grades 3-8. We welcome you to join us each Friday during Lent.

Thank you for your help and continued commitment to Star of the Sea School.

Take care and God bless,

Mr. David Gallagher
Principal