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St. Ignatius College Preparatory, San Francisco
  • Rethinking Africa: The staff of the African Advocacy Network includes Joe Sciarrillo, pictured here with Jean Elias Xavier, Director Aboudou Traore, Charles Jackson and Clementine Ntshaykolo outside their office in the Dolores Street Community Services building. They help a growing number of African immigrants to the Bay Area who may number as many as 50,000.
  • Retiring Pillars: SI’s faculty surprised Fr. Sauer in May with applause and flowers after the announcement of his reassignment.
  • The SI boys’ lacrosse team enjoyed what may have been best year since its founding nearly a quarter century ago. The lacrosse press ranked the team among the top 15 in the nation as SI turned in another undefeated season in league play – its fourth undefeated season since it joined the WCAL in 2010.
  • Richard Driscoll ’06, a performance engineer for Oracle Team USA that will defend the America’s Cup in September, is among the few locals hunkering down in Pier 80 off Marin Street, where they work 65-hour weeks to make sure that Ellison’s boat sails twice as fast as the wind and maneuvers with precision and power as it takes on challengers from around the world.
  • Retiring Pillars: Since the 1970s, Mary McCarty made sure Latin was a living language for students in her classes.
  • Rethinking Africa: Ira Shaughnessy ’00 spent two years in Ghana from 2007 to 2009 working with the Bormase helping with the cultivation of the Moringa tree, whose leaves are rich in vitamins.



Type A+ People: The Struggle Is Real

Sarah Mulchand ’14
Contributing Editor


Picture the smartest kid in school. Did you think of someone who never does his or her homework, effortlessly getting As on every test without lifting a finger, understanding concepts instantaneously and executing flawlessly? The rest of us mortals toil and grovel with homework and study guides, asking “obvious” questions and seeing teachers after class, only to receive a worse result. We often regard these struggles as a negative thing. Struggling means someone had issues, a kink in the process. One certainly cannot be as smart because he or she had to work (hard!) for that A.


 Psychologist Jim Stigler at the University of Michigan hypothesizes that the disparity in academic accomplishment between children in the United States and those in Asian countries results partially from a different perception of “struggle.” Rather than regarding struggle as an indicator of weakness, many Asian cultures see struggle as a measure of strength. Struggling is an expected part of the learning process, and the more a student perseveres in overcoming a difficulty, the stronger the student is. The value of an accomplishment stems not from the prestige of the award or accomplishment itself, but in the work that a student puts in to get there.


 At SI, we carry the heavy weight of being the city’s “best and brightest.” Often, this means that we fear struggle even more. To us, showing our struggle would expose our insecurities: maybe we’re not as good as everyone makes us out to be. Maybe we didn’t understand the math lesson on Thursday, but didn’t raise a hand to clarify for fear of looking dumb. Occasionally, we feel the sting of a casual remark: “You have a tutor?” or “I can’t believe you actually studied for this test!” Then, we cop out: “Math is not my thing” or “I don’t care about this class.” We go to extraordinary lengths to avoid showing our struggles. We even give up altogether.


 Cultural change is never simple or easy, and I’m not saying that you should become that kid who asks ten questions every minute of class. However, struggle, once embarrassment is discarded, can be immensely rewarding, like the feeling after running a half-marathon rather than just a mile. Yes, you’re sweaty and ready to collapse, but you know you hit roadblocks and pushed through them. Overcoming challenges gives you an intrinsic feeling of self-worth. You start to know your own strength.

Posted by on Monday February, 24, 2014


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