Welcome to the ninth edition of 
Panther Press ,  
a biweekly electronic newsletter sent to families and friends of 
San Joaquin Memorial High School
Dear Memorial Family and Friends,

The holy season of celebrating our Lord’s birth is upon us and we send our warmest blessings of peace, love and hope to our SJM community!

These last six months as your new Head of School have been both enlightening and invigorating as we move forward with exciting ideas and plans for enhancing student programs and experiences at Memorial. We have a strong foundation -- I like to refer to it as “good bones”-- on which to build and flourish.

I am continually amazed by the love and commitment shown by this community of staff, students, parents, alumni, board members and friends. Right now, we are in the midst of developing a comprehensive Campus Master Plan of needed improvements, a Board-driven Strategic Plan that addresses both current and future needs, and strengthening those critical relationships with our partner schools and the Fresno area community. With all of us working together toward common goals for the betterment of our students’ experience, there is no stopping us!

My monthly lunches with small student groups have been so much fun and informative. I love to hear what our students think about their school and suggestions for improvement. They are never at a loss for words or ideas and I am grateful to have these one-on-one sessions with them!

To put it simply, we have an impressive student body at Memorial. From young entrepreneurs and critical thinkers developing apps to service-minded individuals racking up unbelievable service hours to help others in the community…..it is truly remarkable what they are accomplishing as young, caring and intelligent people. Their potential to change the world is limitless.

A strong faith-filled community at Memorial fortifies their education and encourages our students to think beyond themselves and about others, a trait we are in such desperate need of today in this “what about me?” world.

Then we have our SJM alumni who are in a class of their own serving in so many respectable careers throughout the community and beyond….we could write a story each week and never run out of “newsworthy” alumni to highlight in our publications.

As I mentioned earlier, we “have good bones” at Memorial. So, let’s all strive toward building on this strong foundation and take our school to the next level of excellence that it deserves.

May God bless you and your loved ones during this most holy of seasons!

Yours in Christ,
Michael C. Burke
Head of School
Gwyneth May commits to Fullerton College

Congratulations to senior Gwyneth May for committing to play volleyball at Fullerton college next year. " She was always taking in my coaching and making corrections to her game. She is a great player and overall athlete," says SJM head volleyball coach, Martina Gregusova. "We created a special relationship during her four years at SJM. I'm really proud of her and the work she puts into every practice and game." May plays opposite hitter and looks to continue blocking at a high level in college.
Devon Van Loon keeps brother's memory
alive through
St. Baldrick's Foundation

Through their involvement in the annual St. Baldrick’s Foundation event at Valley Children’s Hospital, Memorial sophomore Devon Van Loon and his family are keeping his brother’s memory alive. Devon’s older brother lost his fight to cancer in 2012 at the age of 13.

St. Baldrick’s Foundation, formerly created in 2004 following several years of successful volunteer driven events, raises awareness and money for childhood cancer research. Many people, groups, and organizations from across the country join forces to raise funds for the foundation through donation drives, shaving or cutting hair, and other creative endeavors. 

“My involvement with St. Baldrick’s began when my brother was diagnosed back in 2008. Even though I was young at the time, I did my part; whether it was playing with patients who needed a buddy or helping to run an activity. As I got older though, I was able to do more to help out my mother,” Devon explained.

Italian language students win video contest

Four students in Italian3 are winners of the 2019 K-12 Italian Language Video Contest sponsored by the Italian Foundation, according to SJM Italian teacher Emanuela De Rosa.

“One month ago, all Italian2 and Italian3 students created a video to take part in a fun video contest in Italian,” Ms. DeRosa explained. “This competition, organized by "Fondazione Italia" (Institute of Italian and Culture), in collaboration with the Italian Consulate of Los Angeles has been held for the last three years to celebrate Italian Language Week throughout the world. All students of the Italian language in California took part in this competition.”  
Winning in the grade 9-12 category, “Cena all’Italiana” was created by students Kenneth Beaston, Luca Fanucchi, Gianna Triplett and Giovanni Sciacqua. “BRAVISSIMI RAGAZZI!” exclaimed Ms. DeRosa. “Keep it up, your Italian teacher is very proud of you!”
Hilary Stone, Executive Director of Fondazione Italia said, “Congratulations and thank you for submitting your wonderful videos. They were all really great! The videos will be posted on our website and social media in the next coming days. 
December's Fill the Bus Service Project

SJM's December Fill the Bus Event was held at the Fresno Nazareth House. Eight SJM students engaged in several service projects while visiting the Catholic assisted living community. They helped decorate the activity center for Christmas and also helped set up for their posadas by decorating walkers while socializing with residents.

Fill the Bus is a monthly SJM service project initiative where students jump in the bus after school to help an organization in need.
Winter Sports Kickoff

Winter sports are officially underway and SJM wishes each of its teams the best of luck this season. Here is how every team has started their season so far.

Girls Basketball: 4-2

Girls Soccer: 4-7

Boys Basketball: 4-3

Boys Soccer: 6-2-2
Football season has come to an end

The Valley champions concluded their season with a loss in the state semifinals to Serra 14-7. It was an outstanding season for the Panthers and they will have three players committing to division 1 schools. They will be working hard during the offseason as they have their eyes on another Valley championship next year.
SJM named best private high school in the Fresno Area
Niche, commonly referred to as the Yelp of education, is an online platform that provides rankings and reviews to schools around the nation. To learn more about Niche or to view our ranking, click here.
Los Posadas Wrap Up
We'd like to extend a special note of recognition to all parents/guardians who contributed to make this year's posadas run smoothly by volunteering your valuable time and donating to our event. This event takes a community effort and those who stepped up are not taken for granted. A special thanks to our sponsors Xtreme Auto Collision, Mariachi Honor de Mexico and Valley Remnants and Rolls.
SJM Scholarship Application process change!
Applications are now open.

Applications will be due February 1st.

For more information, click here .
Upcoming Events
Thursday Dec. 19, 2019
Last day of the semester

Friday Dec. 20, 2019
Grades due

Wednesday Dec. 25, 2019
Wednesday Jan. 1, 2020
New Years

Monday Jan. 6, 2020
School Resumes

Wednesday Jan. 8, 2019
Prayer at the Fountain - 8:40am

Boosters Club

Boosters members take pride in raising money for our student-athletes through fun-filled, casual fundraisers - Holy Bowling in the fall; Crab Feed in February - concession sales and memberships.  For volunteer  opportunities and information, email sjmboostersclub@gmail.com.
Career Day
San Joaquin Memorial High School's Career Day will be taking place on  Friday, February 28, 2020 . If you are interested in sharing your career with our students, please fill out the participation form.
Alumni Contact Update

Panther Alums, even though your time here at Memorial has passed, this is still your home! Please stay connected with us so that you can be part of our exciting engagement opportunities such as our sporting event tailgates, alumni mixers and so much more! To stay connected  please  fill out this form .

San Joaquin Memorial High School | sjmhs.org