Academics + Service Learning

Service Learning


The students of SHC animate the message of our founders through acts of justice, charity, prayer, community-building and reflection in and out of the classroom. Our service-learning program integrates curriculum-based community outreach and direct service throughout all grade levels. Service-learning develops academically prepared leaders who understand how to be effective agents of change in a complicated world. Through service-learning at SHC, our students critically reflect on the Gospel values of compassion, community and the giving of self. Because Christian service is at the core of SHC’s mission, we do not limit service to a prescribed number of hours. Learn more about service-learning at SHC.

For more information, please contact the Service Learning Coordinator Ms. Julia Rinaldi, MPH.


Ninth Grade: You Can Make a Difference

Ninth grade math students learn about the importance of nutrition, how to read food labels and examine data about food insecurity in our local community. In conjunction with our Social Justice Assembly and schoolwide almsgiving during the Lenten Season, this knowledge allows ninth graders to educate the SHC community about nutrition and food insecurity. They also spearhead a canned food drive to assist St. Teresa’s Pantry. All ninth grade math classes also participate in reflection and prayer for all of those who rely on charity and public assistance programs to supplement their monthly food budgets. Students collect, sort and display the food collected in the drive to help educate our community about the importance of this project.

This year, math students gathered more than 3,000 cans to fill St. Teresa’s Pantry.

Tenth Grade: Understanding Community

Using novels, short stories, essays and poetry as a foundation, all sophomore students have an opportunity to participate in a full-day service learning immersion experience at St. Anthony’s Foundation, a local nonprofit agency in the Tenderloin. Students explore literary and personal themes and experiences of poverty, racism, sexism, relationships and faith as they serve others and stand in solidarity in a soup kitchen line, where thousands have stood before. The retreat-format of the day allows students to learn about local politics and history as they “walk the walk” for a brief moment in time. All participants are challenged to follow the example of Mother Teresa and to look in the face of any man, woman or child and see the face of God. Academic connections are made throughout the curriculum as teachers and students explore literature, writing and creative expressions in response to a neighborhood so close and yet seemingly so distant from our own.

Eleventh Grade: Good News in the City

Our beloved founders call our students to be young women and men for others. Good News in the City requires students to live the gospel message in simple, powerful and profound ways. In the spring of their junior year, all students are asked to commit to 10 hours of service responding to real needs in their neighborhood and/or in the larger global community. Ideally, students engage with communities and with projects that allow them to utilize their target language skills. Time is designated throughout the semester in each Language class to process and respond to student experiences through written, oral and spiritual expression.

Twelfth Grade: Leave to Serve

“Leave to Serve” is the culmination of our four-year service learning program and requires students to work collectively to use their beauty and brilliance to contribute to the good of our society, with the hope that they will see their power to make changes today and in the future. As an extension of their civics courses, all senior students work collectively as a class to create a project that responds to a real need. Classes are encouraged to respond to an environmental, economic, political and/or social issue of their choice. Working with their instructors, students explore how to step beyond direct service to address issues of social justice at a structural level. Exploring key concepts of civic duty and responsibility, students are called to be innovative as they address challenging and complex realities in our communities. Prayer is the foundation of this experience, as all students are called to live what Margaret Mead proclaimed, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Service Learning Schoolwide Projects


Venaver (meaning “come and see”) service immersion trips partner juniors and seniors with community members at sites like the De La Salle Blackfeet Reservation School in Montana, Dorothy’s Place in Salinas, Catholic Charities in New Orleans, Homeboy Industries in East Los Angeles and various social service agencies in the San Francisco Tenderloin neighborhood. Venaver allows students to spend a week experiencing firsthand the realities of injustice, oppression and poverty. Rooted in the tenets of faith, simplicity, community and social justice, these immersion trips promote cultural awareness, living in service to communities and reflecting upon the role that faith plays in the various aspects of our students’ lives.

Sports in Action

Sports in Action further integrates community service, prayer, faith development and community building into the life of the school. The program invites boys and girls athletic teams to create and sponsor service projects. Our student-athletes learn to use their gifts and talents for others in meaningful ways.

Family Service Day

The Parents Association partners with the Community Life Team to sponsor a team of 30-60 community members for a day of rebuilding and learning in connection with National Rebuilding Day during the last weekend in April. San Francisco’s own Rebuilding Day is a citywide renovation effort that is the culmination of a year’s worth of planning and coordination. Thousands of volunteers renovate nonprofit facilities and schools and repair the homes of low-income, disabled and elderly San Franciscans.

Schoolwide Initiatives

Each year our school supports a variety of projects and people both locally and globally. We aim to create a calendar that is flexible enough to respond to crisis and need (e.g., the earthquakes, floods, wildfires), while allowing students and families the opportunity to give through prayer, specific goods and time. The Walkathon is our only schoolwide fundraiser specifically for the SHC community, therefore these other schoolwide initiatives allow all members of our school to respond to our greater community.