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by Tom Burke

Email items and electronic pictures – jpegs at no less than 300 dpi to burket@sfarchdiocese.org or mail to Street, One Peter Yorke Way, San Francisco 94109. Include a follow-up phone number. Street is toll-free. My phone number is (415) 614-5634.


  • PBS tracks college application process of St. Finn Barr alum

    by Karessa McCartney | Jun 20, 2017

    04 PAGE Nadine.jpegHELPING HANDS: Nadine Calligiuri, founder of the Handicapables, was honored May 23 at Nazareth House in San Rafael where she resides. “Founded in 1965 by Nadine, and supported by the Catholic Charities, Marion Visitors, Knights of Malta and many parishes and community volunteers, the Handicapables organization supports disabled persons to become active members of the community,” Nazareth House said. “There are now chapters worldwide.” Pictured from left around a smiling Nadine are Helen Erceg, Handicapables volunteer; William Terheyden and Marlene DeVoto, Order of Malta, and Marlene Bernardo, Nadine’s cousin. Handicapables next Mass and lunch is June 24, noon, St. Mary’s Cathedral. All disabled people and caregivers invited. Volunteers welcome. Joanne Borodin, (415) 239-4865; www.Handicapables.com.

    June 22, 2017
    Tom Burke

    04 MUG StreetOn a date yet to be named, the Public Broadcasting System will release a documentary film now called “Try Harder” following high school seniors through the college application process. Rachael Schmidt, a 2013 graduate of St. Finn Barr School and a 2017 graduate of Lowell High School, is one of the featured applicants. Though Rachael called the application process “something really new and honestly somewhat jarring” her trying harder has landed her this fall right where she wants to be: Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

    Rachael has been interested in Brown from the beginning. “Their programs and build-your-own curriculum seemed unique compared to other universities. I never really had a first choice - I was pretty open-minded to any of the schools that accepted me.” Rachael applied to 15 schools. Her mom, Donna, has been handling applications up until now, Rachael said.

    “When I was in eighth grade, my mother took the reins in dealing with applications, testing, and deadlines. However, the college application process involves getting hands-on yourself. I felt good having such a role in applying to prospective colleges, though. When I poured my heart out into my essays, the process of applying felt more personal an emotional than it had been for applying to high schools. I poured my heart out to these schools this time - they got to see the real me.”

    Rachael said St. Finn Barr set her up for the advanced scholarship she has known at Lowell and certainly will know at Brown. “Being a student at SFB really prepared me for high school,” Rachael said. “My teachers at SFB encouraged me to find the important information in a text and write notes on the things that matter. That was so valuable so I wasn’t aimlessly writing down the whole textbook in high school classes. And SFB really taught me the importance of studying for tests in advance by studying little pieces day-by-day versus cramming, which a lot of people in high school do.”

    Rachael said developing “a willingness to try something new” might be at the top of her list for benefits of the St. Finn Barr years. The school offered “many extracurricular activities and my teachers and peers always pushed me to go out of my comfort zone to experiment with things I may be interested in. I never would’ve known I was into journalistic writing had I not joined SFB’s journalism club,” Rachael, who went on to become editor-in-chief of Lowell’s school newspaper, said. Rachael is leaving her career path open but likes the feel of biotechnology or business. “I will hopefully minor in creative writing. I love to write,” she said.

    “I think the wait to hear back from the schools was the most nerve-wracking thing,” Rachael said about the college application process. “I had myself prepared for acceptances and rejections; it’s simply a part of life. I wasn’t going to get everything I wanted and I knew that from the beginning. The first rejection was tough, but it’s good practice for dealing with similar situations in the future. Receiving acceptance letters back was the biggest thrill of my life. Knowing top schools were inviting me into their fold gave me a stronger sense of worth.”

    Rachael did a screen-test before being cast in the film but will receive no cash compensation for her time on the project. “Ha-ha, I wish. No monetary compensation, but I think being chosen to be featured in a production of this scale is compensation enough. I’m super lucky to be doing this!”

    04 HALF Luncheon 5-18-17 -25GOOD CAUSE: Comedian Michael Pritchard had them rolling in the aisles as emcee and keynote speaker of St. Vincent de Paul Society of San Francisco’s benefit luncheon May 18 at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco. The more than 100 supporters responded with laughs and cheer and generous donations to SVdP and its help for the homeless. The event highlighted SVdP’s “partnership with De Marillac Academy and their joint anti-bullying program, which is sponsored by both the San Francisco Giants and Kaiser Permanente,” SVdP said.

    Email items and electronic pictures – jpegs at no less than 300 dpi to burket@sfarchdiocese.org or mail to Street, One Peter Yorke Way, San Francisco 94109. Include a follow-up phone number. Street is toll-free. My phone number is (415) 614-5634.

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