January 12, 2018 | Newsletter

Greetings from Dr. Brenot


Dear Parents,


Happy new year! With the start of 2018, let us pause to reflect upon the last year—to think of the big news stories that made headlines as well as the lessons learned and the many blessings that have come out of them. From terrorist attacks, shootings, and culture wars, to hurricanes, fires, and a total solar eclipse, from the inauguration of a new president at the beginning of the year to the explosion of stories of sexual harassment and assault and the rise of the #MeToo movement at the end, there has never been a more important time to educate young people. Teaching them to be strong self-advocates, to never be silent bystanders to wrongdoings, to quickly render aid to those in need, and to develop courage, resilience, and empathy is our awesome job as parents and educators.

These skills and character traits are not learned through a single class, workshop, or presentation but rather through a long process that begins in early childhood. (Our Lower and Middle School Head Christy Pollacci is often heard quoting J.C. Watts: "Do the right thing when no one is looking.") To be courageous, resilient, and empathetic requires practice through which one experiences failure and success. It is learned through countless teachable moments with the loving support of parents, teachers, and adults. And perhaps most importantly, it is learned through the meaningful and appropriate relationships young people have with persons of experience, knowledge … and power. If we focus on this with unflagging determination, our world will become a better place for both men and women—one in which our girls can truly thrive and become the persons they are meant to be. This is our work—and what a bright, inspiring, and incredible thing! During the total eclipse of 2017, the skies grew dark but the sun reappeared, reminding us metaphorically that light does overcome darkness.

We have much to celebrate and look forward to as we embark on this new semester: fantastic news from our college counseling center (and more to come!), the ongoing development of our health and wellness initiative, and the beautiful growth of your daughters in mind, body, and spirit so they can truly thrive.

May the new year be filled for each and every one of you with joy, good health, and prosperity.




Kassandra T. Brenot '87, Ph.D.

Head of Upper School

News and Notes

Around Campus

Marine Ecology Research Program gets real-world opportunity

Students in the Marine Ecology Research Program are about to have an exciting opportunity to participate in a real-world research project. Scientists from Stanford University and Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove received a three-year grant to identify "safe spaces" where marine species, like abalone, may be less susceptible to changing ocean conditions. As part of the grant, Santa Catalina students will be able to participate in lab work at Hopkins, and the Hopkins researchers will come to campus to talk to our students. This will be a unique opportunity for our girls! Stay tuned for more details as the project progresses.


The season of giving

Students wrap presents

Santa Catalina students are in the habit of giving—service is part of the fabric of our school, after all. But their generosity is felt especially warmly during the holidays. Before break, students contributed $475 to the Children's Fund and donated items to the Family Resource Center and other homeless families. Safe Space is currently holding a toiletry drive, and we're collecting stuffed animals for the girls at the Family Resource Center ahead of our service trip to Monterey Zoo on January 20. We're always so touched by our students' generosity and warmth of spirit!

Report Card Assembly honors academics, character

This annual tradition, held on January 9, recognized students who made honor roll, who had the highest GPAs in their class, and who received the Courtesy Award, an honor based in part on a nomination by the students' peers. Read more.


TEDxSCS videos online

The videos from TEDxSantaCatalinaSchool have been posted! Watch now.


'To Kill a Mockingbird': January 19-27

Few perspectives on American society have been as insightful or as poignant as that of young Scout Finch, the heroine of Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Santa Catalina's stirring portrayal of both racial and family relations is a must-see production. Reserve your tickets today!


Open House is this Sunday!

It's not too late to encourage your friends and family to attend our Open House on Sunday, January 14. Here are some ways you can help us get the word out:

You can just copy and paste the following wording, and you're on your way!


Santa Catalina invites you to their Open House on Sunday, January 14, from 10:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. You will meet students and faculty and discover how opportunities at Catalina can pave the way for your daughter's success in the classroom, on the stage, on the field, and in life. Please RSVP here:


Thank you for helping us reach out to prospective families!


Kwon Family Endowment for Unrestricted Support

We are excited to announce that current parents Angela Park and Henry Kwon have committed $100,000 to unrestricted endowment. An unrestricted endowment fund enables the head of school and the board of trustees to direct funds to the school's highest priorities in a given year and will benefit all students at Santa Catalina. The Kwon family's gift is among the first unrestricted endowments in the Legacy Campaign, and we are grateful for  for their support!

Student Life

Boarding highlights

  • Counselor Bonnie Bufkin has been leading professional development sessions for resident faculty on topics that will help them create the best relationships with students. She will lead four additional workshops this spring. Past topics have included healthy boundaries, how to support student leadership, and how to foster trust.
  • Students have been weighing in on a survey of their ideal activities, and the front-runners include a nighttime scavenger hunt on campus, an evening pool party, a bonfire with s'mores at Carmel Beach, and a movie marathon in Mary Johnson Recital Hall.


Weekend activities for boarding and day students

The following activities are offered to students in January. (Subject to change depending on student interest.)

  • Jan. 13 – Glass Fusing, Sophomore Dance (Winter Theme)
  • Jan. 14 – Rock Climbing
  • Jan. 20 – Ice Skating or a Sharks Hockey Game
  • Jan. 20 – Women's March at CSUMB
  • Jan. 27 – Hike in the Captiola Area (Lodato Park maybe) and Gayle's Bakery
  • Jan. 27 and 28 – Cooking Class on Campus

Upcoming Events

Friday - January 12, 2018
9:35 AM - 10:05 AM
Math & Science Center
1:50 PM - 3:15 PM
Saturday - January 13, 2018
7:30 PM - 10:00 PM
Sunday - January 14, 2018
10:30 AM - 1:30 PM
Thursday - January 18, 2018
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Mary Johnson Recital Hall
Friday - January 19, 2018
7:30 PM
Friday - January 26, 2018
9:45 AM - 10:45 AM
Monday - January 29, 2018
Thursday - February 1, 2018

Photo of the Month

The photos are in from our wonderful Christmas Concert, featuring the Chamber Ensemble and Chamber Choir. See the photo gallery on SmugMug.


Santa Catalina School

1500 Mark Thomas Drive, Monterey, CA 93940