Weekly Letter (Feb 25, ’19)

Dear Parents and Students,

Star of the Sea School was founded in 1909 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. While the Sisters have not been teaching here since 2005, their presence and legacy remains with us in many ways. One of those ways is through our annual Stella Maris award, presented each year to a member of the Star of the Sea School and Parish community who, like the Sisters of St. Joseph, has given outstanding service to our community. The award was established in 2013 by former principal, Terry Hanley, and has been bestowed in the past to teachers, parents, administrators, clergy and sisters. This year the award was presented to Diane and her late-husband Fred Meiswinkel.

Diane and Fred Meiswinkel are both native San Franciscans. Diane grew up in the Bayview District and was part of the first graduating class of St. Elizabeth’s Elementary School. She later graduated from Presentation High School. Fred Meiswinkel attended St. Boniface Elementary School in the city’s Tenderloin District and later graduated from Saint Ignatius College Preparatory. After Diane and Fred married in the late 1960s, they settled in the city’s Richmond District where they raised five children (Lorraine, Carl, Debbie, Kenny, and Jay) and sent them all to Star of the Sea Elementary School.

During the 1970s and ’80s when their children attended Star of the Sea School, Diane and Fred were very active parents. They were both very involved in running the Boy Scout program at Star of the Sea and their son Carl achieved the level of Eagle Scout. Fred and the school’s Fathers Club built the snack bar and kitchen on the second level of the gymnasium which is still used by the school’s sports program. After their children graduated from Star of the Sea, Diane and Fred continued to support the school and parish. The Meiswinkel’s family company, which specialized in plaster and drywall, repaired damage to Star of the Sea Church caused by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Fred and Diane were also hands-on during the Spring Festival, which was the major fundraiser for the school and parish. Whatever needed to be done for the school or parish, Fred and Diane Meiswinkel stepped-up to the plate and ensured it got done.

It is families such as the Meiswinkels, and individuals such as Diane and Fred, who are the foundation of what we do at Star of the Sea School. They, along with many other families, are the bedrock upon which the legacy of our school has been built. Last Saturday, we had the perfect chance to balance both our legacy and our present as we gathered for fun with friends and family at our Stella Maris CrabFest. This was a fun and well-attended fundraiser. Thank you to all who were present, entered our luxury car raffle or purchased items from the silent auction. A big THANK YOU! to our 8th grade student servers and our many parent volunteers. But a special thank you to our chairperson for the event, Lisa Franzia, for organizing such a stunning event. Way to go, Lisa!

Take care and God bless,

Mr. David Gallagher

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