News Detail
(Photo: Jacqueline Ramseyer/SVCN) Laura Macias is the new President of Sacred Heart Nativity Schools.
“It's more happiness than I could ever have imagined. ... My background is in higher education, and I've always been about trying to get kids to college."
Sacred Heart Nativity Schools in San Jose Carry On Unique Model with New President

The Sacred Heart Nativity Schools in San Jose, Calif., take a unique approach to their mission of "breaking the cycle of poverty through education" by keeping students in class for extended days and school years. New Nativity Schools president Laura Macias carries on the mission this fall as founder and former president Jesuit Father Peter Pabst moves on to launch Cristo Rey San Jose Jesuit High School in August 2014.

Sacred Heart Nativity School for boys, which opened in 2001, and Our Lady of Grace Nativity School for girls, which opened in 2006, turn under-achieving children in grades 6-8 into high school and college graduates. The schools’ teaching model features an almost 11-month school year, starting early each day with breakfast at 7:30 a.m., school from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and activities and study hall until 6 p.m.

Describing the school's goals, Macias said, "We take kids not doing so well academically, but in many cases it's just because of their experience. Some are new to the country, or they have never had the attention that would help them do better. Now we have kids succeeding and going on to Bellarmine, Presentation, Notre Dame and Mitty."

Macias also noted the parents’ role in academically supporting their children. "The dedication of the parents is really amazing to me. I think sometimes people don't realize it doesn't matter if you are low or high income; caring parents make all the difference, and that's the kind of parents we have," she said. Though Macias is not a parent herself, she has been happy to have the students under her wing. "I had no children, but now I have 120 kids. It's really cool."

Macias, a third-generation Latina American, grew up in Phoenix and attended Xavier College Preparatory for girls. She holds a master's in organizational development from the University of San Francisco, but first earned a degree in psychology at Regis University in Denver, where she worked in admissions after graduation. From 2005 through January 2013, Macias was on the Mountain View City Council in California, serving as mayor in 2007.

“It's more happiness than I could ever have imagined," Macias said about leading the schools. "My background is in higher education, and I've always been about trying to get kids to college. … For me, seeing the goal of the Nativity Schools, which is directed at academic intervention and getting kids on that path to college, I thought, 'I think I can do this.' "

For more information on the Nativity Schools, visit shnativity.org. [San Jose Mercury News]


Recent News

August 25, 2014 — Jesuit Father Brian Paulson, who first encountered the Society of Jesus in high school, is the new provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits.

August 22, 2014 — Loyola University's Stritch School of Medicine, the first medical school in the U.S. to accept undocumented students, welcomed seven DREAMers this year.

August 20, 2014 — Jesuit Father Pau Vidal of Jesuit Refugee Service offers a glimpse into life at a Kenyan refugee camp.

August 18, 2014 — Today is the feast day of Saint Alberto Hurtado, a Chilean Jesuit priest known for his engagement with Chilean culture and his work with young adults and the poor.

Washington, D.C., August 25, 2014 — This month, the Society of Jesus (also known as the Jesuits), the largest order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church, welcomed 33 men as novices in the U.S.

August 15, 2014 — Jesuit Father Ron Mercier became provincial of the Jesuits' new U.S. Central and Southern Province on July 31.

August 13, 2014 — In remembrance of the 1989 murders of six Jesuits and two lay women in El Salvador, 46 delegates from U.S. Jesuit institutions embarked on a pilgrimage to El Salvador.

view all news

Search news

Publications
Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America - 7/7/14

America - 6/23/14

America - 6/9/14



Jesuit Center
The Jesuit Center in Wernersville, Penn., is a place of natural beauty, welcoming quiet and spiritual sustenance for those who seek peace within.