Moreau Catholic High School is located in Hayward, CA. It is a private school that serves 900 students in grades 9-12. Moreau Catholic High School is coed (school has male and female students) and is Roman Catholic in orientation. The school belongs to the National Catholic Educational Association.
Considering I came from a public school education and an agnostic background, MCHS was surprisingly welcoming. My freshman year, I enrolled with some qualms about this school. I expected swarms of rich kids who were religious fanatics trying to coast through a "college prep" -- but with a few exceptions, this isn't the case.
+ Great education. I won't underestimate public school because I know that they have great teachers too, but Moreau has a wide range of opportunities for anyone who wants to succeed in college. There are a lot of AP/honors classes, a laptop program for all the students (although this is also a negative - which I'll explain later), a newly revamped library, and most of all, teachers who are amazingly dedicated. Some teachers will stay until 11 PM if you need help, and they'll work during vacations to finish writing your college recommendations. They're also just great people to know and talk to during your lunch break.
There are exceptions, of course. I've had some "easygoing" teachers who let us goof off in class all day without learning anything, as well as some who gave us a lot of homework without teaching anything. I find the science department especially lacking. However, the social sciences, math, and English departments are very strong.
+ People treat religion very openly. Weekly masses are optional, and there are only a few schoolwide masses during which you can opt out of communion and just listen to the sermons. It's not exactly enlightening, but there isn't any preaching against the evils of Buddhism or anything. Gays and lesbians are accepted. There are required theology classes each year, but the teachers don't force anything down your throat. In fact, I found many of the classes like Moral Theology (under Mikula, who left) and Major Religions (under Steeb, who's still there) to be really helpful in life.
+ Very, very strict rules on cheating, drugs/alcohol, and fighting. Quite a few people in my year were expelled because of these things. For worried parents, there's alcohol education in freshman year (although I question its effectiveness).
+ Athletic programs are pretty accepting. The school football team is iffy, so a lot of people can try out. Moreau has great volleyball, tennis, and soccer program, but a school tradition is joining the cross-country team. Everyone's accepted, and those who join often become part of a "family". I always thought it was a cult, but when I joined, I really did gain a lot of confidence in myself. The coaches are amazing - no matter how fast or slow you are, they're always there to inspire. The XC Varsity are often in state championships.
+ The people are nice on the whole. In my experience, there aren't too many cliques, and bullying is kept to a minimum. There will always be the annoying rich kids or the ghetto wannabes wandering the hallways, but chances are, there's always someone like you to talk to. Even better if you join an extracurricular!
+ There is a school newspaper and TV broadcast. Very high-tech, and students can get involved early on.
- The dress code can be very confining and expensive. No jeans, you must wear collared shirts, and inappropriate Mass attire can land a Saturday detention. Collared shirts are hard to buy, since many people have to buy a whole new (unattractive) wardrobe that they won't wear outside of school. Naturally, freshmen are very timid about breaking the dress code, but by senior year you know which teachers you can avoid when you do wear dark-colored jeans.
- A weak laptop program. It was only integrated last year, but so far it seems to cause more problems than anything else. Servers are painfully slow, students iChat or play Tetris all class, and in rare cases, laptops get stolen. I don't really see any benefit over paper and pencils.
- The school itself is rather small, doesn't have a swimming pool, and is difficult to enter when it's rush hour. (If you're scared of cemeteries, then yes, it has a cemetery right next door.) Leaving the campus involves taking a narrow backroad or doing a complicated U-turn.
- Another bad part of being a small school is that rumors get spread quickly. Everyone knows who's done what, and reputations can get damaged for no reason.
- Expensive. The education is great here, but it's not worth $11k a year, especially since there are a lot of donation requests. That's my personal opinion, however. I wouldn't want to trade my experiences for anything, but dissatisfied students might not agree.
- My worst experiences in class are with the science teachers, with the exception of the AP Biology teacher Ms. Gee (who's retired). They seem to either a) not know the subject, b) have no idea how to communicate their ideas, or c) all of the above. On the plus side, there are quite a few science AP classes, so it's possible to earn college credit if you're ready to study on your own.
- They took out cooking and living classes, which really diminishes the education experience. I understand that they weren't "academic", per se, but offering classes on how to cook your own meals or sew torn clothing is important too.
+/- Some of the classes are hard! It's great college preparation, but if you're one of the overachievers who take a difficult course load, don't expect to sleep often. Even good students will find some challenge in their classes. All I can say is, remember that a good GPA is important, but so is a life outside of school.
+/- Most theology classes, P.E., and some of the electives aren't U.C. eligible, which means they won't be counted in your UC GPA. This is good if you're failing one of those classes, but chances are, they're easy As that won't amount to anything. But still, these classes are usually the most fun as well, so don't hesitate to take them.
+/- You can't go off-campus during school. Great for safety issues, but it's quite restrictive. Seniors barely have any privileges.
by a Current Student
on Dec 27, 2008
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