Mission Highlight: Our Commissioning Prayers are a part of a series of our Mission Highlights where once a month, we pray for those working in a specific industry, recognizing that all followers of Jesus are sent wherever we go (John 20:21, John 17:18). This week's mission highlight focuses on students. Thank you, Aidan, for taking your time to write and share with us your experience as a student in SF:
"Good morning Christ Church, today I will be sharing about my personal experience as a high school student in San Francisco. Now, I know I cannot speak for every student’s experience when it comes to high school, so I won’t. This is my experience, my story, and my challenges. However, I do hope my fellow students will be able to find some connections to my experiences.
Last time this mission highlight was given it was by Hannah Momsen who was an incoming freshman at the time talking about her hopes for the next four years. This time I am a Senior who will be reflecting on my last three years in high school.
I am currently attending Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep., a private catholic school in the heart of the city. Now when I say that I have usually found that people automatically assume I go to some super religious school where most people are christians. Which is okay, I actually thought that was how it was going to be before I came here. However, that is not the case. While a good amount of SHC students are good Catholics who attend mass on easter and christmas, I am one of very few christians at my school. Whenever I tell people I am christian they automatically assume I’m catholic and often look at me funny whenever I don’t receive the eucharist. When I tell my peers, my father is a pastor they think priest and ask why he was able to have a family. Both of these end in a very thorough conversation on the difference between a Roman Catholic Priest and a Protestant Pastor. We also talk about the differences in rituals, traditions, and customs.
I have been challenged around what I believe and why, but I have also found many places where my faith was strengthened. Most people in our country seem to believe that a kid that goes to high school in a place like San Francisco cannot hold on to their faith. Partying and sex are considered normal activities, especially in this city and with my peers. So there can be some peer pressure there, but I have never experienced bullying and have always felt free to say “That’s not really my thing.” And people have been okay with that and respectful. The reason I share this is because from what I see in the media, it can seem like all these things are inescapable and high schools are just crazy now. This is not the case from my experience. I think high school looks a lot like the rest of our world. There are always a mix of all kinds of people and things going on. I share all this partly to tell you middle schoolers and freshmen, along with your concerned parents, that you don’t need to be afraid of one’s high school years. God is big enough to help you through and you can find friends that support who you are.
It has not always been easy for me to be one of the only Christians, but I have found a group of supportive friends that respect where I am coming from. My time at SHC has been an all around really positive one. Through our Performing Arts department I have found an outlet in Theatre and Choir that lets me express myself and be who I want to be without judgement from others, because we really are a big family. My counselors, teachers, and friends have always been there when I needed them to help me get back up off the ground. Our retreats that the school provides have been truly life-changing, especially this last August when I attended our Senior retreat called Kairos. Kairos was a deeply spiritual experience that I will never forget and it will be something that I will carry with me throughout my life.
I hope my highlight has been able to provide some insight into a high school experience. Some things you can pray for throughout the year are: 1. College applications process, these can be very stressful and time consuming especially on top of a student’s day to day life, 2. Being able to find a balance between school and god, this can become harder especially at a catholic school where we feel like religion class is enough and we don’t need to do personal devotions because “too much Jesus”, and 3. We would be able to show Christ’s love to others, which can be a challenge sometimes when it comes to high school drama etc...
If you have any questions about high school or about my experiences, please feel free to ask!
Let's continue to pray for all the students as they start this new school year!