Traveling to France this past June to walk in the footsteps of our founders revealed a profound message describing how we as a Carondelet community are being called by our Sisters of St. Joseph history to go out, reach out, and act courageously in our works today.Read the full story
How do you say it?
Through the twists and turns of time and history, an American Congregation with French roots bears the name of a Catalan nobleman—“CarondeLET.”
Because the Congregation was founded in France, some mistakenly believe that it’s a French word and mis-pronounce it “Caronde-lay.”
But Carondelet is not French. The name is derived from the site of the Congregation’s first foundation in the United States, near what is now St. Louis, Missouri. This settlement was named for Francisco Luis Hector, Baron de Carondelet who, though born in Flanders during the Spanish presence in the Lowlands, was neither Flemish nor Spanish but Catalan.
History of Carondelet High School
Carondelet High School was founded in 1965 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet at the request of Bishop Floyd Begin, first bishop of Oakland. In the tradition of their congregation, the Sisters responded to the needs of the Church by establishing the only Catholic secondary school for young women in Contra Costa County.
The school’s spacious campus, brick buildings, and gracious columns and balconies suggest the Spanish origin of the word CARONDELET, a settlement outside St. Louis, the first home of the Sisters when they came from France.
Opening in September 1965 with only six classrooms available for use, the school’s original faculty/staff comprised three Sisters and three lay women, with a freshman class of 115. On October 22, 1966, with all buildings completed, the school was formally dedicated by Bishop Begin, a close friend and supporter of Carondelet.
Because of the small size of the student body, a tradition of Christian community, innovation, and pursuit of excellence was established. The tradition has grown with the enrollment. By June 1969 Carondelet had not only graduated its first class of 100 students, but had also established a Student Body Constitution, earned National Honor Society and California Scholarship Federation charters, and received accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, as well as the Western Catholic Educational Association.
Over the years, Carondelet’s innovations have included a rotating block schedule and a midsession program. In September 1977, Carondelet adopted a phase scheduling plan. The phase scheduling program was designed to offer a variety of options concerning the length, depth, and extent of courses depending upon course content and individual student need. Phase scheduling also allowed students time for activities, athletics, special interest classes and projects during the regular school day. In the fall of 1995, both schools effected yet another schedule change whereby classes meet four times weekly, including one extended period. This schedule allows students to prep for fewer classes each night, which has a demonstrated impact on student stress levels and overall wellbeing.
Carondelet and De La Salle partnership
In September 1969, Carondelet also established a cooperative program with De La Salle High School whereby juniors and seniors attend selected classes on either campus. This cooperation also extends to a common calendar and schedule, joint faculty committees, student activities, and a sharing of facilities. Our collaboration offers a unique approach that combines the extraordinary benefits of a single sex educational environment in the initial high school years with co-ed opportunities in the upper grades. In addition, our students develop a deep bond with each other, and this “sisterhood” continues well beyond their four years of high school.
The Carondelet High School legacy
From the beginning Carondelet High School faculty has educated, challenged, and enabled young women to integrate Gospel values, to intelligently apply these values to their lives, to reflect these values through leadership and service to the greater community. We strive for excellence in all we do to educate the whole person—mind, body, and spirit—but we also educate to serve a world in need.
As you visit the various sections of our website, we hope you will catch the reality of this extraordinary school, as well as the spirit that lies at the heart of Carondelet High School.