St. Francis Investigates Racist Comments During Virtual Mass

St. Francis High School officials said they continue to investigate hate-filled, racist posts that were anonymously sent during the school’s livestreamed Mass last Thursday, noting that the administration is “heartbroken and embarrassed” and committed to identifying those responsible.
The school is engaged in addressing racism-related issues and raising awareness among all its constituents, officials added, though they said SFHS students are not believed to be responsible for the comments.
Staff, students and community members expressed dismay when, during the school’s worship, a stream of racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic comments flooded the online chat function and were visible to participants in the virtual Mass.
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For Those Who Can’t Shop, These Youths Deliver

Photos courtesy Shannon Petersen
Ryan Purdy, an LCF resident and senior at St. Francis, was inspired by neighboring youth leaders and helped start the Six Feet Supplies
La Cañada branch.

As coronavirus cases increased throughout the nation in March, officials took widespread action to close schools, and students here and elsewhere missed out on important, enjoyable life events.
Carly Petersen was ready to go to snowshoeing in Idaho with her classmates, but Westridge School in Pasadena canceled the trip due to the pandemic.
“At the time, I was mostly just upset because I was supposed to go on a school trip,” said Petersen, a La Cañada Flintridge resident who will be a junior at La Cañada High School after transferring from Westridge. “I was so focused on what I was missing out on instead of what was to come.”
Her friend Ryan Purdy also went through a rough period as a member of the St. Francis High School varsity boys’ basketball team. The Golden Knights punched their ticket to Sacramento to play in the CIF State Division II championship but never got the opportunity to compete. The biggest game in the history of the program was canceled by the state’s governing board for high school athletics.
“We were all packed up and ready to leave at lunchtime,” he said. “CIF made the announcement at 9:30 a.m. We were shocked, and it was a very sad thing for us.”
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Local Basketball Star Wins Player of the Year Award

Andre Henry was one of 14 basketball players to earn the prestigious John R. Wooden award.

The legend of La Cañada Flintridge resident Andre Henry continues to grow as the recent St. Francis High School graduate earned one of the most prestigious high school basketball awards.
The UC Irvine-bound standout is now associated with an honor named for another legend after being selected as the John R. Wooden CIF Southern Section Division II Player of the Year last Friday. Other notable winners include Chatsworth Sierra Canyon’s Ziaire Williams, who committed to play at Stanford, and Lakewood Mayfair’s Josh Christopher, who will continue his career at Arizona State. Both were considered five-star recruits.
“I feel like I was recognized with future pros,” he said. “Those guys are future NBA players. I would say it is one of the biggest highlights of my high school career.
“Honestly, this is huge for me. I just feel like all the hard work I put in finally paid off and I got the recognition. It’s a huge honor to have my name in the same sentence as [John Wooden]. Some would argue he’s the greatest coach ever in any sport. It’s a dream come true. I’m truly speechless.
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Swimmer Nogueira Keeps His Olympic Dream Alive

Photos courtesy UCSB Athletics
Former St. Francis standout Douglas Nogueira missed out on the Olympic Trials last month but plans to train over the next year to accomplish his dream of swimming in the Tokyo Summer Games.

Swimmer Douglas Nogueira is no stranger to adversity, in or out of the pool.
The former UC Santa Barbara competitor dealt with fires and mudslides when he lived near campus and, most recently, joined others in enduring a pandemic that forced schools throughout the state to cancel in-person commencement ceremonies — including his, which was held virtually.
“It was definitely bittersweet,” Nogueira, a St. Francis High School alumnus who graduated from UCSB as one of the best in the swimming program, said of the shutdown. “I remember that weekend in March when it all went down. I wasn’t really sure how it would go. Some people were cool and many were upset. I was indifferent. I go with the flow.”
Those challenges prepared Nogueira for his biggest one yet — the postponement of the Olympic Team Trials. The event, expected to feature more than 1,200 swimmers, was supposed to take place in Omaha, Nebraska, last month but was rescheduled for June 13-20, 2021.
The former Gaucho had qualified in the 100-meter backstroke and 200 individual medley and really hoped to accomplish his dream of competing in the Tokyo Summer Games, which will now take place in 2021 instead of this year.
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Local Basketball Star Recognized as State Divisional Player of Year

Outlook Photo
Local resident Andre Henry was named the Cal-Hi Sports Division II player of the year after leading St. Francis to a CIF Southern Regional basketball championship.

The boys’ basketball season came to an end two months ago but St. Francis High School standout Andre Henry is still garnering accolades from his impressive senior campaign.
The La Cañada Flintridge resident, who earned All-CIF Division 2 first-team honors, was recently named the state’s Division II player of the year by Cal-Hi Sports, an online publication that covers high school athletics in California.
“When you have him on your team, it makes your heart rate go down a bit,” Golden Knights head coach Todd Wolfson praised after clinching the CIF State Southern Regional championship with a 53-44 victory over Eastvale Roosevelt on March 17. “I trust him. He’s been here four years and built this thing with us.”
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Knights’ Tale: Bonds Marks 2 Decades as Head Coach

Jim Bonds
Photo courtesy UCLA Athletics
After winning a CIF title with Newhall Hart, Jim Bonds went on to play quarterback at UCLA.

Much has changed in the area since 2000, with local football programs having their ups and downs and coaches on the move. The sport of football and its players have certainly evolved in the past two decades, but there remains one constant in St. Francis High School football.
The Golden Knights are a consistent power in the football world, with 18 CIF Southern Section playoff appearances in the last 19 years — a remarkable feat for Jim Bonds, who is entering his 20th season as St. Francis’ head coach.
“A few people had asked me about how many years, and I had to go back and do the math,” he said. “I saw that it’s going to be 20. I can’t believe it.”
That kind of loyalty to one school is rare nowadays, and Principal Tom Moran is glad Bonds chose St. Francis in 2000.
“It’s remarkable,” Moran said. “I’m sure he has had opportunities and will continue to have them. We’re very blessed he’s decided to make St. Francis his home.” Continue reading “Knights’ Tale: Bonds Marks 2 Decades as Head Coach”

New Fall Playoff Divisions Affect Local Programs

La Cañada High School varsity football team
Photo courtesy Eric Danielson
The La Cañada High School varsity football team was placed in Division 14, the lowest in CIF.

The CIF Southern Section recently released its new playoff divisions for football, girls’ volleyball, boys’ water polo and girls’ tennis, affecting several local programs.
CIF uses a formula to develop a ranking that is based on regular season record, strength of schedule and playoff performances the past two seasons. The La Cañada High School varsity football program has struggled to win games the last few seasons, placing the team in Division 14, which includes 70 squads. St. Francis was moved down to Division 3 this year. Continue reading “New Fall Playoff Divisions Affect Local Programs”

Local Tennis Standout to Play for Prestigious College Program

Ian Freer
Ian Freer

Ian Freer concluded his final year at St. Francis the best way he possibly could. The Golden Knight defeated Tyler Pham of Newport Beach Corona del Mar, 6-2, 6-3, to win the CIF Southern Section Individual Singles Championship, and he looks to gain more accolades over the next four years as he begins playing tennis for Claremont McKenna College in the fall.
“It was definitely special for me,” said Freer. “It was big because tennis is such an individual sport. I’ve played tournaments my whole life, but what made this special was having the support of all my friends, family and St. Francis community.”
Members of the St. Francis community reached out to Freer prior to his accomplishment, including alumni and SFHS President Father Tony Marti, who traveled to Seal Beach to watch the tennis standout play. Continue reading “Local Tennis Standout to Play for Prestigious College Program”