Mission Statement

Mission Statement

MaryIn the great tradition of Catholic education, Mary Star of the Sea High School challenges students to reach their full human potential through a living faith in God.  In the context of a small community environment based on mutual respect, the school prepares students for this world and the next by nourishing the soul, cultivating personal integrity, challenging the mind, and fostering social responsibility.

Philosophy Statement - Principles

A. The Fundamental Purpose of a Catholic Education
Two thousand years ago a young man approached Jesus and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”[1]  Participating in the mission of Christ the Teacher, Mary Star of the Sea High School is committed to helping the young men and women of today answer this fundamental question.  The school prepares its students for what they are called to be and do in this world, in order to attain the wonderful end for which they were created.[2]
B. The Teacher-Student Relationship in a Small School Environment
Jesus Christ often chose to teach His disciples in the context of a small, intimate circle of instruction and mutual exchange.  Following the example of its Master Teacher, Mary Star of the Sea High School emphasizes the fundamental importance of the teacher-student relationship in education[3].  By limiting enrollment and class size, the school is able to enhance the quality of daily, personal interaction between teachers and students. The school believes that its small size is a significant advantage to the student in developing his/her spiritual, personal, and academic self.
C. Teachers as Role Models and Guides

“Prime responsibility for creating the unique Christian school climate rests with the teachers, as individuals and as a community.”[4]  Mary Star of the Sea High School teachers, both lay and religious, treat their students with the dignity and respect due any child of God.  Teachers challenge students to reach their full potential, generously sharing their time and presence to offer the best hope of student success.  Mary Star of the Sea High School teachers recognize they have been called by God to teach. They are active members of their own parish communities and strive to live their vocation in a manner pleasing to the Lord.  Working together as one, they join their talents, energy and vision to build the kingdom of God in the hearts of the students entrusted to their care.

D. The Pivotal Role of Parents in Partnership with the School

“Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children,”[5] especially in the areas of faith and morals.  Parents exercise this role in a special way through active involvement in their own parish community. In seeking assistance with their role, it is crucial that parents choose a school which shares their vision of education.  Mary Star of the Sea High School believes cooperation and unity of purpose between home and school are essential to student growth and development. Regular dialogue and open communication allows parents, guardians, and teachers to work in harmony, forming a visible and united partnership which keeps students properly focused.  Mary Star of the Sea High School parents share their time and talent with the school community to enhance the overall quality of their children’s education.


E. Parish High School Sharing the Universal Church’s Mission of Education

Mary Star of the Sea High School is a ministry sponsored by Mary Star of the Sea Parish in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.  As such, it participates in the universal Church’s ongoing mission of education. “The fulfillment of that mission and its authentic interpretation rests primarily on the successor of Peter and, in a more direct way, upon the bishop.”[6]  While remaining in communion with the universal Church, the school reflects the local community, serving a wide variety of academic, economic and cultural backgrounds. The school expresses fidelity to its identity as a parish ministry through the close collaboration of the administration, faculty and staff with the pastor, priests and staff of the parish. 

F. The Presence of the Norbertine Fathers

Under the direction of the Pastor of Mary Star of the Sea Parish, the Norbertine Fathers serve as administrators and members of the teaching staff.  Enriching the school community with the witness of their consecrated life and their nine century tradition of education, the Norbertines provide a sense of continuity, stability, evangelization and a culture of learning[7] which gives greater definition to the school’s Catholic identity.

G. Educating the Whole Student

A “school must begin from the principle that its educational program is intentionally directed to the growth of the whole person.”[8]  Keeping this   fundamental tenet of Catholic education in mind, Mary Star of the Sea High school aims to educate the whole student.  The school focuses its attention on four principal goals for each student: nourishing the soul (Catholicism), cultivating personal integrity (Character), challenging the mind (Curriculum) and fostering social responsibility (Community).  None of these goals can be viewed in isolation from the others; without any one of them, the end result of a truly Catholic education cannot be attained.


[1]cf. Mt 19:16, Mk 10:17, Lk 18-18

[2]cf. Christian Education of Youth, Pius XI, Rome, 1929 (Paulist Press, New York, 1940), p 38-39

[3]The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, Congregation for Catholic Education, Rome, 1988, 26


[5]The Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2223

[6]Administrative Handbook: Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Department of Catholic Schools,Secondary Schools,Section 2, p 1

[7]Cardinal Roger Mahony, (cf. The Tidings, 2/25/2000, p. 3) speaking of the potential benefits that a religious presence can bring to a high school community

[8]The Catholic School, Congregation for Catholic Education, Rome, 1977, 29

Integral Student Outcomes (ISOs) - Schoolwide Goals

A. Catholicism

“From the first moment that a student sets foot in a Catholic school, he or she ought to have the impression of entering a new environment, one illumined by the light of faith, and having its own unique characteristics.”[1]  Mary Star of the Sea High School believes nourishing the soul has primacy over every other value. The school provides an environment permeated with the teachings and values of Jesus Christ and the Roman Catholic faith. 

Mary Star of the Sea High School students are Christ-centered individuals who:

§ Know and love Jesus Christ through an understanding and respect for the Catholic Faith.
§ Participate in the life of the Church through prayer, worship and the sacramental life.
§ Live their faith through Christ-like charity, service, and advocacy for a culture of life.


B. Character

The product of Catholic education is “the true and finished man of character.”[2]  Strength of character enables students to accept the life-giving challenges of the Ten Commandments and the Gospel of Christ each day.  Mary Star of the Sea High School places strong emphasis on the building of character in its students by providing an educational environment imbued with respect.

Mary Star of the Sea High School students are individuals of strong character who:

§ Make moral decisions in accord with the teachings of the Church.
§ Respect themselves and others.
§ Accept responsibility for their actions.

C. Curriculum

Throughout the centuries of her existence, the Catholic Church has sponsored institutions of learning to challenge the human mind in the pursuit of knowledge, truth and wisdom.  While serving a wide variety of academic abilities and gifts, Mary Star of the Sea High School challenges every student in a focused and disciplined educational environment which includes the integration of the Catholic faith and its traditions across the curriculum.

Mary Star of the Sea High School students are genuine thinkers who:

§ Possess a solid foundation in standards-based curriculum.
§ Analyze critically, evaluate thoughtfully, and communicate effectively.
§ Are prepared for technological advances and the challenges of higher education and the workplace.

D. Community

Mary Star of the Sea High School instructs students in their “duty to work for the advancement of the common good and the well-being of all, especially the poor and weak.”[3]  Rooted in the teachings of the Catholic Church, the school fosters in its students a tolerant and compassionate attitude toward those whose ideas, race or creed are different from their own. Throughout the school’s programs, students are challenged to integrate individual interests with care and concern for all life.

Mary Star of the Sea High School students are socially responsible individuals who:

§ Work with others for the common good.
§ Respect authority in the family, Church and society.
§ Act as faithful stewards of God’s creation.

Star of the Sea

Guided by the Light of a Heavenly Star

Since the school’s inception it has been dedicated to the heavenly patronage of Mary under her ancient title “Star of the Sea”.[4]  Just as the stars of old guided vessels safely into port, the Virgin Mary’s example of perfect love for Jesus is a bright beacon for the students of Mary Star of the Sea High School today. Her life is a flawless mirror in which the high ideals espoused by the school can be found in their perfection.  May she whom the students invoke daily as their heavenly star, “show herself to be their mother”[5] and guide them to the ultimate end for which they were created: the harbor of eternal life.


“[A Catholic educational institution] must remind the world of culture that while it is surely true that men and women can organize the world without God, without God it will, in the last analysis, be organized against humanity.”  

(Pope John Paul II)


[1]The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, Congregation for Catholic Education, Rome, 1988, 25

[2]Christian Education of Youth, Pius XI, Rome, 1929 (Paulist Press, New York, 1940), p 65

[3]cf. Faithful Citizenship: Civic Responsibility for a New Millennium, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, 10/20/1999

[4]The Latin designation Stella Maris was first used in reference to the Mother of Christ by St. Jerome in the 4th century A.D.

[5]Based on the school’s Latin motto Monstra te esse matrem (“show yourself to be our mother”)