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The Legacies of Carondelet High School

Oct 20, 2015 08:45PM ● By Jennifer Neys

Carondelet High School welcomed 11 new legacy students this year.

By Jaki Jones

On September 7, 1965, three Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and three lay women opened their doors to 120 freshman students. For 50 years, Carondelet High School in Concord has continued to educate women of heart, faith and courage. 

Carondelet is innovative while providing a faith-based, college prep education. The school also prides itself on the population of legacy students who walk down the same hallways and cross the thresholds into classrooms once occupied by their mothers.  Although chalkboards and textbooks are replaced by iPads, whiteboards and Google Docs, a testament to the strength of the comprehensive educational program lies in the former and current legacy students.

Lindy Dallimonti Sullivan, class of ’02, Religious Studies Teacher and Community Relations Coordinator said, “We currently have 57 alumnae mothers who have a daughter at Carondelet High School (CHS), three of those mothers have two daughters who are current students.  In addition we have one grandmother (Class of ’71) whose granddaughter is a student.  Of the legacies, nine are current freshman and one sophomore legacy began this fall.” 

Carondelet fosters sisterhood and excellence in all areas of life, education, spirit, and community and the alumnae are proud to have their daughters share in the experience.  Joanne McGuire Giorgi, class of ’86, explains. “We knew Carondelet was the best choice for our daughter when we moved back to the area. We felt the strong sense of community that I experienced would be the perfect choice for her.  Not only will she have a strong academic education but we know Carondelet will also provide her with the opportunity to be part of a large faith community that works to serve others.”

Barbara Hockel Lopez, class of ’81, has four daughters: a junior, a graduate (’13) and two more daughters she plans to send. She looks back on her time at Carondelet and says, “I recall being in my geometry class and suddenly realizing, hey, I'm actually pretty smart.  I can get an A!  It was all because of my great teacher and the way he challenged me and believed in my abilities. From that point on, I pretty much had nothing but A's. The caring, challenging environment unlocked my potential, and this same environment of excellence exists today. What sets Carondelet apart is the desire to infuse human excellence with an eternal perspective.”  

The sisterhood and female-led organizations made an impression on Amparo Sevilla-Merryfield, class of ’84, and it’s why she sent her daughter, now a sophomore. “Women can achieve anything they choose to. We had female-led student government, female-led social clubs, etc. It was a matter of how much we chose to do. We had no gender-imposed limitations. It was important to see that reality,” she said.

Carondelet asks that students see beyond their close-knit environment by serving the community. And the emphasis on community service is significant to alumnae parents as well. “I loved Carondelet's focus on developing young women. The emphasis on personal achievement, combined with the development of dedication to community service is unparalleled. I wanted my daughter to have the same environment of high expectations and incredible support as she navigated through her high school years,” said Erika Parlog, class of ’91. 

“The most valuable life lesson that I cherish to this day is that Carondelet guided me to be true and honest to myself and to God and gave me the courage and strong education to enter college with confidence,” said Ruth de Borja Duque, class of ’90. The supportive community allows students to discover their strengths, accomplish their goals and enter college well prepared.

In commemoration of a half century in education, the high school celebrated this milestone along with De La Salle High School, also celebrating 50 years as a Catholic boys high school, with a Grand Reunion for alumni the weekend of September 12. In addition, an on-campus "Celebrating Five Decades of Sisterhood" rally was held September 11.

Carondelet currently has 800 students and is the only all-girls school in Contra Costa County. For more information you can visit their website