Thursday, September 30, 2010

Carondelet--Much more than the "school across the street"

My blog has been relegated to the back burner due to the fact it is “back to school time.” My fellow workers in the vineyard are always excited that we finish the school year in late May/early June. Come August 1, however, we are singing a different song, my favorite being “shouldn’t school start after Labor Day?!” Here here! Regardless, a new school year brings the excitement of new students, school supplies, challenges and opportunities. It also brings back memories and as a high school teacher, most of those memories are a compare and contrast of what I studied and learned at Carondelet High school in Concord, California.
I think it’s fair to say that many a Carondelet cougar is familiar with the following dialogue.
“What high school did you go to?”
“Carondelet.”
“Carondelet? Is that the all girls’ high school across the street from De La Salle?”
As a sports fan, I understand this question is not without merit. As “Spartanhood.com”a website dedicated to De La Salle football reports, “The Spartans are perhaps the greatest dynasty in sports history, having amassed a 151-game winning streak that spanned more than a decade.” Their success is legitimate; their fame deserved. But, those same Spartans are literally and figuratively the brothers of a number of tremendous athletes at a school that may be “across the street” but isn’t totally separate.The infrastructure as well as the dynamic of the two schools is unique. According to the “History” of Carondelet “In September 1969 Carondelet also established a cooperative program with De La Salle High School whereby juniors and seniors attend selected classes on either campus. This cooperation also extends to a common calendar and schedule, joint faculty committees, student activities, and a sharing of facilities.” It is true; CHS and DLS share a great deal but reputation is not one of them. I wonder how many Spartans have been asked if their alma mater is the school "across the street" from Carondelet. I hope they have—for such a question is well deserved, as the most recent edition of the Carondeletter, the alumnae magazine of Carondelet proves is true.

The theme of the Summer 2010 Carondeletter is “Woman of Heart, Woman of Faith, Woman of Courage. Celebrating the women of the Carondelet community, especially the class of 2010." It features fourteen athletes including Jayne Appel ’06, a recent Stanford graduate who now plays in the WNBA, Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak ’95, a member of the first gold medal women’s soccer team in the 1996 Olympics and eleven time gold medalist, Natalie Coughlin ’00. Coughlin is training for the 2012 Olympics in London and may become the most decorated American female swimmer of all time. Fifteen graduates from the Class of 2010 will be collegiate athletes.

Carondelet’s athletic achievements can be further appreciated in the context of what is a "seismic shift" in women's sports. According to the article “A Sporting Chance” "In 1971, fewer than 300,000 high school girls participated in athletics. Today that number is close to three million, with almost half of all female high school students on a team. In 1972 about 16,000 young women participated in college athletics, a number that has grown to over 180,000. The number of women’s teams per campus has increased from an average of 2.5 before 1972 to 8.5 in 2006."

From its beginning in 1965, Carondelet has itself committed to providing athletic opportunities for young women, often ahead of the curve. The trend continues today. Carondelet has twelve varsity sports teams, two of which have been added since I graduated in 1992—Lacrosse and Golf. (Dance and Cheer are listed as year round sports which makes the total fourteen sports programs) To its credit, De La Salle has fifteen, two of which have been added—Lacrosse and Rugby.

Then as now, sports are a microcosm of society and it isn’t difficult to realize that opportunities for women, especially in athletics, have come a long way. The Carondeletter is a testimony to that truth. Reading “Carondelet Athletes Hit Great Heights” helped me appreciate that Carondelet has always been bringing young women to the starting line. And these are athletes who live up to the theme of the issue; they are women of heart, faith and courage. Athletics demands all three whether or not you are a Spartan or a Cougar.

Carondelet’s motto is “God, my light!” and De La Salle’s is “Hommes de Foi”—Men of Faith. I look at my brother, Mark ’89, and I know what a profound influence his experience as a student and an athlete at De La Salle had on him and the same is true for me. I strive to be a "woman of faith" and be in a deepening relationship with "God, my light." I appreciated running on De La Salle’s track, seeing my friends compete in De La Salle’s pool, I had some great teachers and made good friends “across the street.” I don’t, however, appreciate being in De La Salle’s shadow. We brought our own spirit and grit to the hardwood, our own flair for victory and class in defeat. We are more than the school "across the street"—we are the BVAL, NCS, NorCal and State Champions; champions with heart, faith and courage! Ever onward alma mater, with our colors red and white!

Photo Credits
Carondelet
DLS Football
Natalie Coughlin
CHS on the DLS track
DLS Logo
CHS Logo

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