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Passing the Torch

Transitions are bittersweet. As we bid a fond farewell to the highly accomplished Class of 2016, we welcome the newest members of our community, the Class of 2020.

The talented members of this class – 333 students selected from among more than 800 freshman applicants to O’Dowd – are leaders, thespians, artists, debaters, environmentalists, social justice activists and athletes, and bring a remarkable diversity of socioeconomic, ethnic and geographic backgrounds.

The Class of 2020 is also one of O’Dowd’s most academically accomplished entering classes ever, with more than a third of the class designated as Honors Program students.

“I am thrilled that we have such an accomplished and diverse group of incoming freshmen who have a real breadth of interests and talents. These newest O’Dowd students have demonstrated through the application process that they are eager to learn and grow, taking advantage of the many opportunities O’Dowd offers,” Principal J.D. Childs said. “We are all thrilled to witness them begin to ‘speak with their own voices’ and practice making their lives a gift for the betterment of our world.”

Prospective families were carefully stewarded through the admissions experience and were exposed to the distinct benefits of an O’Dowd education at numerous touch points. “The admissions messaging and stewardship process illuminated the academic strengths of an O’Dowd education as well as the expansive array of co-curricular opportunities and the deep support that help ensure a highly successful college preparatory experience,” Admissions Director Kerryn Pincus said.

Over 900 prospective students experienced the campus in person, touring the campus and visiting classrooms. Many noted that they felt at home in our diverse and accepting community, and that they could see themselves taking advantage of the phenomenal opportunities in both academics and extracurriculars, said Pincus.

“When students and parents toured the campus, we heard them say that they could see the O’Dowd values alive on campus. If you peek into classrooms you’ll see focused and engaged students, caring teachers, a genuine joy and positivity around campus and a respectful community of teenagers. Our students are eager to help, they are involved, hold a strong moral compass and have varied interests,” Pincus said. 

President Steve Phelps says that all O’Dowd students receive an academically excellent and spiritually nourishing education that equals or surpasses that of the best independent and public schools, while providing so much more. “O’Dowd’s unique combination of academic excellence, authentic diversity, student support, and the quality and breadth of programs arise from our inclusive Catholic Charism.  I know of no other school in America that combines these traits with the excellence of our performing and visual arts, athletics, campus ministry and service, debate, and experiential sciences intertwined with one of the best sustainability programs in the world.  Our graduates’ values and joyful achievement result in superb college preparation, while enriching their families, friends, and our society,” he said.

A Closer Look at the CLASS OF 2020

 → The students come to O’Dowd from more than 80 different feeder schools, across 20 Bay Area regions

→ Approximately 1/3 are from Catholic schools; 1/3 are from independent/private schools; and 1/3 from public schools

→ Ethnic composition of the class is 22% African American, 15% Asian /Pacific Islander,   11% Latino, 43% White and 9% other

 → There is an equal number of male and female students

→ Student religious affiliation is 70% Catholic and Christian, 5% Jewish and   25% other religions or no affiliation.

→ 45% of the students have an alumni connection


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