Jack Bernabei ’15: Addicted to Service

One purpose of SI Voice is to sing the praises of SI’s unsung heroes: our students, faculty and staff who go above and beyond and who are exemplars of our values. We presented to you senior Jacqueline Monetta’s story in first post; this time, we have the story of Jack Bernabei ’15, who, as you will see, merits praise for his combination of generosity and intellectual pursuits. – John Knight

JackBernabeiSM2Jack Bernabei ’15 readily admits his addiction to service. He has travelled to Mexico with his church group for the past five years to do construction at a day care and orphanage just south of Tijuana, and he is now collecting money to buy uniforms for children there who can’t attend school without them.

A Larkspur resident, he raises funds by appealing to local church groups and by working part time in order to donate his funds, and he tutors students who live in a low-income community near his home.

On top of all of this, he is preparing himself for a medical career by shadowing neonatal surgeons, neurologists and dentists and by watching brain surgeries at UCSF. He just landed a two-week internship this summer at UCSF to assist a neurosurgeon.

“When I came to SI, I heard the phrase ‘Ignite the fire within.’ That has always resonated with me, and I now strive to live by these words. After I heard what my fellow students were doing, I tried to reach out and give more to my community.”

In his spare time, he hopes to study the Java programming language to add to the computer languages he learned last summer at a two-week programming camp.

“I’ve always been into math and science in middle school,” said Bernabei. “But I didn’t get into service until I came to SI. That’s when I saw the students with the blue Service Club blazers and asked how I could be involved.”

Next year, he plans to continue pursuing his other passion: competing in water polo. He has swam for SI for three years, and last fall, he helped the varsity to its best season in school history, earning the team a spot in sectional play. He also swims for his club water polo team, the Sleepy Hollow Acquatics, and he has earned a spot at the Junior Olympics three times thus far.


The SI Community


The past few weeks have been filled with moments of great joy, celebration, sorrow, reflection and hope for the future. All of these emotions are part of everyday life for each one of us, albeit to different degrees and in different situations. Just as each one of us experiences these various emotions in our daily life, so too does our school community also experience these various emotions.

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Tuition for 2014-15


This morning, I sent the letter, below, to parents of current students. Many thanks for reading this. — John Knight

Dear SI Family,

Recently our Board of Regents and our Board of Trustees unanimously approved a 4.1 percent tuition increase for the 2014–2015 academic year. A key priority for our boards and for all of us at SI is the long-term affordability and sustainability of our Jesuit mission. I am most grateful to our Regents, Trustees and my colleagues on the school Leadership Team for their support of this modest tuition increase.

The tuition for the 2014–2015 academic year will be $19,100, which includes registration. While this number represents a significant sum of money, it also speaks to our commitment to control our costs. If you should have any questions about the tuition increase, including any questions related to our tuition or any other financial issue at the school, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I also want to announce a change to our iPad Program; if not for this change, our tuition increase, as well as costs to the school, would have been even higher. We are transitioning this year from the school lease to a model where parents will purchase an appropriate iPad for their student. We are calling this program BYOi – Bring Your Own iPad. Current students need either to purchase their existing iPad for $204 (the price includes sales tax) or return it. Go to http://www.siprep.org/byoi for details.

On behalf of our Regents, Trustees, faculty, staff and administration, I thank you for entrusting us to partner with you in the formation of your child. My prayers and those of the entire SI community are with you.

In Christ,

John M. Knight
President, St. Ignatius College Preparatory

“The budget is the conscience of a school”


In my last post, I mentioned that the February meeting of the combined Boards of Trustees and Regents would be an important one. And it was. The two groups met last week and unanimously passed our budget for the 2014–15 academic year. That vote, to me, showed tremendous faith by these leaders in our school, in our direction and in our vision for SI.

To most people, budgets may seem like the nuts and bolts of doing business, but they are much more. At a gathering of Jesuit high school presidents in New Orleans, Rev. José Alberto Mesa, S.J., the education secretary for the Society of Jesus in Rome, said this about budgets: “They are the conscience of their schools.” In other words, we put our money where our mouths and hearts are. We fund the programs we believe to be valuable, and we trim wherever we can to ensure that SI continues to be as affordable as possible. Read More

John Knight on SI Voice

Welcome to SI Voice! Over my past year and a half as president of SI, I have had the pleasure of meeting so many members of our community. Regardless of whether it was a small dinner party, a large parent program or an alumni/nae event, everyone has spoken to me of his or her deep love for our school. I have heard countless stories about how a certain faculty or staff member made all the difference in a student’s life at SI. I have heard numerous stories about the deep sense of community that is such a large part of our school. Clearly God has blessed our school!

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Welcome to SI Voice

Welcome to SI Voice, a new way of sharing all that is good about St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco. We hope you enjoy our opening video.

Jacqueline Monetta ’14 bridges Catholic, Jewish and Muslim divides

JacquelineMonettaSMJacqueline Monetta ’14 is a poster-child for dialogue and health. She has grandparents who are Jewish, Roman Catholic and Muslim, and she brings a little of each of those religious traditions with her when she participates in the school’s Dialogue Club, which seeks to build bridges between Jewish and Arab students at the school.

She also works for healing dialogue through another venture to help stem the tide of teen suicides. She is in the midst of producing and directing a documentary film on the topic and is working with the school’s Sources of Strength club to give teens a chance to speak directly to their peers.

Jacqueline was also featured in September in the San Francisco Chronicle for her work on a new program that would offer teens a chance to seek help via text messages in addition to phone hotlines.

On her mother’s side, Jacqueline has a grandfather, Dr. Assad Aram, who is both Muslim and an immigrant from Iran; her grandmother, Helen Backus, is a Catholic from Minnesota. They raised their daughter, Lisa, as a Catholic first in Iran and later in the U.S. following the political turmoil of the fall of the Shah.

Her grandfather, a physician and a member of the Shah’s cabinet, was made into a scapegoat by the Shah and jailed (like many other high level government officials) shortly before the revolution. Monetta’s grandmother, mother, aunt and uncle escaped Iran just days before the Iranian revolution and the Shah’s fall.

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