Catholic Schools Week at San Gabriel Mission High School began with a Catholic identity Assembly and the dynamic guest speaker, Sister Helen Prejean. She is the author of Dead Man Walking, her most talked about book that was made into a play, an opera, and a major motion picture starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn.
As part of a service project at SGMHS, the entire student body including Religion and English teachers had read Sister Prejean’s book. Students were able to discuss the death penalty and write essays about the book.
The faculty and staff were able to speak with Sister Helen before her speech. Once she heard that the Journalism Club was meeting during lunchtime, she so kindly asked to attend their meeting and speak to them as well. The students were grateful and listened intently as Sister Helen offered them some great writing tips for the school’s newspaper.
During the assembly not a sound was heard but Sister Helen’s voice. The entire student body and guests listened attentively as she spoke of her experiences with death-row inmates, their families and the victim’s families. The most astounding fact to learn was that the majority of convicted death-row inmates are innocent. As she spoke, Sister Helen’s faith and compassion for mankind was not only inspirational but very moving.
When sister finished her presentation, she answered questions from the audience. After the assembly she signed books and autographs.
Sister Helen Prejean definitely made a lasting impression on the students, faculty and staff of San Gabriel Mission High School. What a memorable day!