Catholic San Francisco

On the Street

Dorothy and John Shea, founders of Shea Family Charities, are pictured with St. Anthony-Immaculate Conception School students Elizabeth Soriano and Michael Ortega-Portillo on a recent visit by the generous couple to the school. 

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St. Dunstan teacher takes the ‘Wheel’
September 20th, 2016
By Tom Burke

It’s been exciting and fun speaking on email with St. Dunstan School math and science teacher Charlene Calaunan who just won $3,200 during Teachers Week on “Wheel of Fortune.” The show aired Sept. 13 but “I won’t get the prizes for a while,” she told me. When she does get the dough though it will “help start a robotics club at St. Dunstan,” where she has been a faculty member for 12 years, and “the rest will be for a nice trip for me and my husband, Howard.”

Our talks until the show aired had been under the radar as Charlene was bound not to reveal any outcomes until it was shown on TV. Now with the show in the can and on the screen, it is no longer secret. It took Charlene until the show’s final round to get at any money. “It was such a relief to win the last puzzle before the bonus round after hitting bankrupt and lose a turn all night,” she said. The puzzle she solved was ADD IT TO MY WISH LIST.

Charlene watched the show with family and friends. “My family is so supportive and were very excited to see me on the show. I’m so happy that we got together and they were just cheering me on the entire time.” Others watched too: “My family on the East Coast and West Coast and pretty much all of St. Dunstan watched. I got some pretty nice text messages and social media messages from family and friends that watched the show.”

Did she like seeing herself on TV? “It was fun watching myself play. I laughed at all my reactions to getting the bankrupt on the wheel.” Charlene was impressed with the treatment she received from producers and others all the way through the process that began at a tryout at Graton Casino and ended with the taping in Culver City months later. They even let her know that her winnings are taxable income, she said.

“We have three generations of family who love ‘Wheel of Fortune,’” Charlene said. “My best experience was meeting Vanna White and Pat Sajak. Vanna was just a joy when she came in to welcome us. She’s so down to earth. Pat Sajak is a sweetheart as well. He called me adorable, which I will take with me forever.”

The money is great but another prize, Charlene said, is perspective: “I guess that the experience taught me not to take myself seriously and to enjoy the moment. I like playing games with my students so I think I would like to add more games to the learning experience.”

WELCOME ABOARD: Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton has welcomed Nasreen Hussain as director for its preschool and kindergarten. Her last post was K-4 literacy specialist with Whitby School in Greenwich, Connecticut. Nasree holds a graduate degree in curriculum and instruction from George Mason University. “More than excellent credentials, however, she is clearly a person of great strength, warmth, and integrity, universally praised for her nurturing approach and genuine care for the children and families she serves,” said Sacred Heart schools director Richard Dioli in a statement.

EX MARKS THE SPOT: Getting underway Sept. 26 and subsequent second and fourth Mondays is a new separated and divorced Catholics group at St. Dominic Church, San Francisco. Heading up the outreach is Diana Wild, (415) 340-3355; Thanks to Diana and Jesuit Father Al Grosskopf, whose ministry to the divorced and separated has spanned decades, for this good work. Diana calls Father Al “the godfather of all this” and said she worked with him in the ministry as early as 1990. “There is not enough of this care,” Diana told me. Prayers please for Father Al as he recuperates from a fall.

Email items and electronic pictures – jpegs at no less than 300 dpi to 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.

From September 22, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.


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