Admissions answers the bell

Notre Dame Academy eighth-graders excitedly gather at Dons Day, where they enjoy an opportunity to experience their prospective high school with future classmates.

Photo by Megan Janikowski

Notre Dame Academy eighth-graders excitedly gather at Dons Day, where they enjoy an opportunity to experience their prospective high school with future classmates.

Emory Rodriguez ’22, an eighth-grader at Saint John School Encinitas, decided long ago where to spend her high school years.

“The choice became clear early once I learned a little about the high school,” Rodriguez said. “The good teachers and cheer team were the lead contributors to my decision, but the choice had a multitude of factors.”

For Rodriguez and more than 1,500 other prospective applicants, the Cathedral Catholic High School admission process begins in earnest next month when the the CCHS admission process kicks off in full swing.

“The CCHS admission process is unique compared to public schools due to students needing to apply, leading to students being more invested in the process,” CCHS Director of Admissions Ms. Elizabeth Tysor said. “[The students] are more involved in the decision about where they are going to be spending high school.”

On March 15, 2018, CCHS will distribute acceptance letters, which is sure to elate students and parents alike.

Unlike many public high schools, CCHS draws students from a variety of cities and areas. Due to it being a private school, there are none of the location-based attendance restrictions that limit public schools.

“It’s not just a natural progression of ‘Oh, I went to this middle school now I am going to go to this high school’ because they put thought into it,” Ms. Tysor said. “They have to go through a bunch of steps. So, they really have to think about why they want to be at Cathedral and if it is worth the work and investment.”

The decision to attend CCHS  for many families acts as a generational tradition. A considerable amount of University of San Diego high School alumni admire the school, and they ultimately exhibit that fondness by sending their children to CCHS.

“My daughter is a third generation Don,” CCHS science teacher Mr. John Montali said. “Her grandfather [class of ‘63] and both parents [class of ‘88] were Dons. So, she was born bleeding red and gold. She grew up part of the Dons family.”

Along with generational traditions, elder siblings influence the decision-making process.

Currently, 182 families send more than one student to CCHS, which reflects the massive sibling output at CCHS, according to CCHS Registrar Mr. Andrew Viegas.

“My siblings influenced my choice because they always liked the school and were happy with the people, the friends, and the classes they had,” said Carson Duenas ’20 said, the youngest brother of two current and former Dons. “I wanted that high school experience, too.”

Due to CCHS not being a district public school, reasons for attendance vary from the common rationale of convenience to the school’s location.

According to a recent El Cid survey of 60 students, the leading reason for attending CCHS was academics, which garnered 20 votes, followed closely by athletics and religion, which tallied 16 and 13 votes respectively.

“Besides my family attending CCHS, the main reason I went here was the competitive and dominant sports teams,” survey participant Reagan Guthrie ‘20 said. “Obviously, CCHS is a balanced school so having the opportunity to go to a school with few weak points was one I had to take.”

The survey illustrated the surplus of attendance reasons along with the interests CCHS attracts. For every five students who responded to the poll, four of them demonstrated the families allowance of them to spearhead the selection of high school, while one student’s high school fate was determined parentally.

CCHS displays itself as more than a school, spreading the loving community based off a foundation of faith, Ms. Tysor said.

“Our Catholic identity is huge and the Catholic environment we offer is so unique,” Ms. Tysor said. “It offers opportunities for our students to not only be good students and good athletes, but it also gives them an opportunity to develop as people, which they will carry for their whole lives.”

The ability to attend a private school presents an opportunity to receive a faith-based education, which to many families is priceless. Although some students attend CCHS  for its Catholic-based education, many students develop the faith unexpectedly as they mature in their spirituality.

“When I began my Cathedral experience, I was Catholic, but I did not really know the extent of my beliefs,” Andreas Meza ’18 said. “As the years went on, however, I started attending Mass more and paying more attention to my faith.”

Whatever a student’s interest, CCHS balances the spiritual, academic, athletic, and social development of its attendees, which results in a lifelong learner who is ready to live the call and to build the kingdom.

Rodriguez concurs.

“I’m excited to attend CCHS, and I think it will combine the perfect amount of challenge and fun for my high school career,” Rodriguez said.