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? 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.
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.
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.