Former principal, director of the De Paul Scholar Program, and a graduate of Sacred Heart Class of 1966, Dr. Ken Hogarty, sat down to discuss his journey at SHC over the last fifty years.

What are your first memories of your time at Sacred Heart?  I actually took an English class meant to entice students to choose Sacred Heart with Brother Robert in eighth grade. We had great discussions about stories, and I felt grown up taking MUNI to Sacred Heart from the Eureka Valley – now the Castro -- along with others who would be classmates such as Mike Mullan ’66, who was from over the hill in the Noe Valley.

Sacred Heart was very different then. Students were in homerooms marked A-F based on test scores.

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I remember years later when I was Principal stopping to purchase a few items. The owner mentioned he went to Sacred Heart in the 1950s and that he was in the F homeroom. He reminded me that some of those students turned out to be the most successful. He ended up owning the entire commercial block in Montclair Village, an affluent area in the Oakland hills.

During my freshman year, Brother Angelus was far ahead of his time in highlighting Cesar Chavez and other political and social leaders. Earl Hargrove, an institution for many years at Sacred Heart, taught social studies. Latin class wasn’t my favorite, but I remember Brother Malachy very well.

In October of 1962, my dad got me out of school to see the 6th game of the World Series. I might be one of the few people who has seen both complete games the San Francisco Giants have pitched in the fall classic. The World Series was happening at about the same time as the Cuban Missile Crisis. I would wake up in the morning with the sunrise through my Bay window, seeing a flash of light and thinking maybe this was it.

My sophomore year, JFK was assassinated. I was in Biology class with Brother Damian when the announcement from Brother Ignatius came on over the PA. It was a hard time to forget.

Junior year, Brother Arnold took me under his wing, starting with a retreat on my 16th birthday. My father was dying of cancer. Many years later, the time I spent as Principal was in part to show appreciation for Brother Arnold’s nurturing. He also helped me get a scholarship to St. Mary’s College.

Brother John Waller also inspired, teaching a political science class, a first elective I took in my senior year. It had many of the same characteristics of what became seminar classes later on. I also remember the fun times whether painting a SH on Twin Peaks, being in the drama production of “Becket,” or attending great proms, double-dating with Pete Fatooh ’66 as a junior and Dan Whooley ’66 as a senior. Course, I was disappointed if not surprised when Brother Xavier implored me to lip sync at graduation.

What did you do upon graduating from Sacred Heart?

I received a great liberal arts education at St. Mary’s College. We had small classes with the most students in a class being eight during my senior year. I learned how to think critically and to ask questions, and I took that with me during my entire educational career. It is truly about students generating questions and engaging in a world of ideas.

At 22 after college and one year active in the Army Reserves, I started teaching: great memories and memorable students. Brother Maris mentored me to be department chair by my third year. We had some incredible teachers including Tobias Wolff, a Pulitzer Prize winner, for This Boy’s Life, and Mike Holmgren who went on to win a Super Bowl as a coach. A great English Department rocked over the next couple of decades, people like Steve Wilson, Maryanne Berry and Aileen Heidkamp among others. I was active in the Reserves from 1970-76, serving with former faculty member Ned Bennett. We were a committee group teaching military skills. At Fort Ord in April, 1975, when Saigon fell, I was worried they would activate me and keep me there.

Later in the 1980s, Brother Phillip Clark and Sister Audrey were the principle partners in the merger of Cathedral and Sacred Heart in 1987. That is when we started the SHC Scholar Program. When Presentation and St. Rose closed, the latter after the 1989 earthquake, we had great success with those new students. That really helped change and cement the reputation of SHC.

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In the 1980s, there was a paradigm shift in education. My doctoral dissertation focused on reader response theory -- the reader bringing his/her experience to a text. Before that, the discipline was about figuring what the author had in mind. That was a big paradigm shift in English classes and was reflected in education as a whole which shifted from what the teacher was teaching to what the student learned.

Talk to us about your memories from the De Paul Scholar Program. 

The De Paul Scholar Program has included some incredibly bright students. Memories go beyond classes too. I remember Danny Vincenzi ’00 winning the Bruce Mahoney with the clutch hit in baseball as a sophomore in 1998, students acting in the fall plays who later became professional actors, and, of course, some great workshops. The overnight campouts in the Santa Cruz Mountains and the rafting trips were about challenging students and creating a bond to last a lifetime. Which, judging by kids, now adults, I hear from all the time, it has. Mostly, I remember the people – the students, fellow teachers, parents and alums. A truly remarkable cast over the years.

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SHC reflects the City so well. If you take our 1275 students today, all have their own uniqueness. In my recommendations for college, I mention our students look and act the way the world’s workforce will look and act in the future. When you see them in the classroom, it could be a think-tank in 20 years, a diverse group collaborating with a singular purpose. Indeed, we’re blessed, and I’ve been blessed.

Located in the

Heart of the city