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The Power of a Catholic Education

Dear Dragons,


Catholic Schools Week is coming up, and I’m more proud than ever to serve as president of O’Dowd, where we just welcomed over 800 applicants for the class of 2028 (our biggest applicant pool ever)!

Bishop O’Dowd High School was established in 1951, almost 75 years ago. And we continue to grow, attracting students from Oakland and across the East Bay because of how powerfully we enact our Catholic mission and charism.


Catholic education is unique. O’Dowd’s charism tells us why. We seek to find God in all things. Here on our campus, students connect to their deepest values, express their voices, explore the subjects that inspire them, stand for justice, serve our communities, compete with pride, and perform with joy. A Catholic education is about the whole person. It’s an education that enriches students spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, physically and socially. It’s an education that empowers students to become a force for the common good, and to lead the next generation.


Here is just one example: Shane Canet ’24 took O’Dowd’s signature class “Science and the Environment” as a 9th grader. The course excited him so much that he went on to take Honors Chemistry, then Advanced Placement Chemistry, and now he is planning for a college major in engineering. Additionally, Shane is President of the Filipino Club, serves on our Campus Ministry Team, participates in Track and Field, and distributes food to Oakland families in need as part of his O’Dowd service learning project. “My education at O’Dowd has encouraged me to embrace what I don’t understand, and to find my own answers,” reflects Shane. “That’s what inspires me.”


Every year, O’Dowd sends hundreds of graduates into the world. Each, like Shane, have found their own passion and their own path. And I cannot be more proud to watch our Dragons go out and fulfill our mission - building a more just, joyful, and sustainable world.


Thank you, Dragons! Here’s to Catholic Schools Week!


Kim Walsh, President

Bishop O’Dowd High School


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