Looking back, David Canepa ’93 would say the best decision he ever made was choosing Sacred Heart Cathedral. It was a decision that helped him forge friendships that would endure throughout the years.

David reflected on the Catholic school education he received at SHC. He recalls SHC instilling values of empathy and service in its students. David credits the school’s incredible role models and leaders, such as his Varsity Basketball Coach Tim Burke ’70, Pete Gresh ’72, Janet Shapiro and John Vigo ’81 for instilling service-oriented values in its students and in himself.

One thing that stood out for David–the warm welcome he received from the community when entering SHC. The students embraced him, and he said, “It really spoke to me.” The transformative experience of high school wasn’t just about academics for David; it was about the way SHC taught values and encouraged community closeness. “I think many of us are driven by the same Lasallian spirit. It’s simple. It may be just opening the door for someone, but I think we are lucky.”

David praised Tim Burke for his coaching skills and for the empathy and genuine care he showed his players and those around him. “I think for all of us [on the team], he was a role model. He was a person who really was able to give his talents and passion to bettering people’s lives. I think that’s an important goal.”

David, at the age of 13, knew he wanted to be a politician. Running for Student Body President in the 8th grade and winning, David would not run for office until his senior year at the University of San Francisco, where he would become senior class president. An internship at City Hall and a job as a legislative aide would propel David further into politics, culminating in his first public election for City Council of Daly City in 2008.

He faced a few losses in his political career, but he views them as learning experiences and said,“I think you learn more from your losses than you learn from your wins. The bottom line is through adversity, it may not feel like it at the time, but it makes you stronger.”

When asked how young individuals interested in political activism or politics should start, David advised working on a local campaign to understand the political process. He encourages students to seek out individuals with differing political views--even if they can’t align fully with them. He said taking the initiative to meet people in politics would be a valuable experience.

David praises the vital work that President Dr. Melinda Lawlor Skrade has done in carrying the mission of SHC, which is to have students leave to become service-oriented leaders.

Looking back at his time at SHC, David summarized the most important lesson he learned. “To give back to the community. That service is key to doing your part to better society.” It is a lesson that shaped his life and career and one he has carried with him on his journey from SHC to the world of politics.

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