Newsletter Spring 2021

Newsletter Spring 2021

What's in
this issue

Twenty years.
Two decades.

At twenty years old, most students are preparing for college graduation and moving forward as adults, ready to take on the world. This year, Nativity Prep Academy of San Diego reaches its own 20-year milestone. “The generosity of our benefactors and the hard work of our volunteers in our community is what makes this possible.” 

– Elijah Bonde, Principal.

A Word from Our President

I am often asked to define our mission at Nativity Prep. When asked, I respond with a request. Do you mind if I talk about the difference between mission and purpose, as I see it? Thankfully, most people will allow me the opportunity to share this perspective. 

I believe the mission of an organization is what you are collectively focused on accomplishing. It is objective, it is measurable, and it must serve the purpose of the organization. The purpose of an organization is why you exist. This is aspirational; it is enduring, and it may be slightly more challenging to assess. 

At Nativity Prep, our purpose is to develop our students’ and families’ ability to live a life of opportunity, choice, and service. This requires faith, grit, compassion, and confidence. The environment where one can develop this ability requires academic support, social-emotional support, mentoring, and a genuine experience of being known, loved, and valued. In addition, the environment must have high expectations. As our Graduate Support Director, Xochitl Alvarez, often says, “We are not preparing our students to be admitted to college; we are preparing them to excel in college.” 

Our mission is college graduation for every student, and the Nativity Prep community has worked incredibly hard over the past 20 years to fulfill this mission. These newsletters provide a chance for us to share our various programs and events and allow the entire community to be reminded that we all are part of this important purpose.

Dr. Gil Brady

Visit Campus: 4463 College Ave San Diego, CA 92115
Mailing Address: 6126 Adelaide Avenue, San Diego CA 92115
T: 619-544-9455 | | E:

Nixon Back Pack Donation:


There is so much meaning here at Nativity Prep, and we know that the world is looking for additional meaning. In many places, you give your money, and you hope that good is done with it, but at Nativity Prep, when donors donate, they become superheroes to a real person. Donations don’t always have to be a check. 

One of our donors had a connection through their family with Nixon, the surf company, and they reached out and asked if we wanted some backpacks. We said yes, not knowing they meant 400 bags. It was such a blessing that we decided to share it; we invited local Catholic school students and our high school students to come by and pick up a backpack. 

“Nativity Prep is an extraordinary place. Our donors’ impact can be seen, and they get to meet the students they are sponsoring. Mentoring and supporting them through an 11-year commitment, ultimately becoming family.” – Kevin Kacvinsky, Director of Development.


We are excited to announce that you will soon be able to sip to our student’s success in a new wine club. Our wine club fundraiser, launching this summer, will give members quarterly shipments of wine, monthly newsletters filled with student stories, pairing recommendations, and recipes, as well as a quarterly Zoom call with a sommelier or wine enthusiast, to explain some of the selections before having time together as a community. For those who have participated in our wine tasting events in the past, we imagine it will be like having a virtual wine tasting every quarter. Information, which will be sent by mail and email, is forthcoming.


Catholic Schools Week


Since 1974, National Catholic Schools Week has been an annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States. The theme for this year’s National Catholic Schools Week was Faith, Excellence, and Service. Thank you to everyone that made it such a memorable week; it was beautiful seeing all of the activities and celebrations. We had a fun and busy week:

  • February1 – COMMUNITY SERVICE – Students wrote thank you cards to first responders – the Covid ICU unit workers at Scripps Mercy, firefighters, and police officers.

  • February 2 – STUDENT APPRECIATION DAY. We distributed the donated Nixon backpacks through a drive-through event. See the previous page for more information on this event.

  • February 3 – PARENT APPRECIATION NIGHT. Students wrote thank you letters to their families, and we hosted a Family Bingo Night via Zoom.

  • February 4 – VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION – Using Picsart Cards, students created virtual cards to show gratitude for mentors.

    families created a short video on Vidhug, an online group
    video maker, to thank the faculty and staff.

Miss. Alyssa Vasquez
CSW 2021



It is our great privilege to announce Joe Bonin as a Magi Circle honoree. Joe has been involved with Nativity Prep for nearly a decade. He served as both a mentor as well as a coach for the middle school football team, where he guided the boys to their first win in recent school history. 

When Joe speaks about Nativity, his heartfelt passion for the students is evident. Joe reflected on the life-changing experience of mentoring a student when he said: 

“If I had not met Isaac and his family, I don’t think I would have been so committed to the program. He changed my life, as they showed me what can happen with faith, family, and hard work. The below picture is when he asked me to walk the field with him for his Homecoming game at Parker. Getting asked to join the Magi Circle is such an honor. Being considered with the greats of this school is special. Thank you so much.” 

That’s just the beginning of Joe’s contributions. He was the brainchild for conceptualizing, locating, and negotiating the new campus’s purchase, and without Joe’s persistence, expertise, and knowledge, this new campus would have never happened. Joe went above and beyond and continued to make the campus project possible as he oversaw the campus renovations and helped us move. His tireless energy in pursuit of this project has resulted in a top-notch facility for our students, faculty, and administration. It has helped put Nativity Prep on a solid path to financial security.

Joe is incredibly detail-oriented, which made his project at our school so successful. He met with Elijah and Gil for over an hour on a super hot day to walk every inch of every garden on the property. Joe shared that he is the son of a florist and that he is always noticing how plants grow in other areas and thinking of ideas for how he’d like landscaping to look. He had lots of ideas for our property, putting in beautiful white roses to offset the blue building and adding xeriscape flowering plants such as bougainvillea and colorful succulents around the edges of the building to make it beautiful but also have low water needs. He was also open to ideas for ways we can create science, mentor, and parent gardens. His attention to detail is making our campus beautiful. 

We are blessed to have Joe on our team. With Joe’s critical contributions, we are strengthened in our ability to propel the Nativity Prep community forward. His impact is far beyond the buildings. With twice the square footage we are excited about how much further we now can grow our impact in providing a college-prep Catholic education to families that otherwise couldn’t afford it. Thank you, Joe, we couldn’t have done this without you.


We are thrilled to induct Jerry Kay as a very worthy member of the Magi Circle. Jerry has been Nativity Prep’s volunteer IT Manager since our inception 20 years ago. He is a quiet disciple who works behind-the-scenes managing the technology for our students, faculty, and administration. Jerry works endless hours making sure our systems work seamlessly. The new campus’ move required multiple networks and upgraded technology to allow our faculty to teach remotely. Jerry got us up and running with little interruption. Additionally, Jerry was instrumental in ensuring all our families could connect when we switched to remote learning. Teacher Cindy JensonElliott shares a touching story about Jerry’s extraordinary willingness to help: One Sunday in late August, on the weekend, my computer went out completely, and I was desperate because school was starting and I needed access to everything on it. I didn’t know what to do, so I contacted Jerry. He asked if I could drop by his house in an hour or so, so I drove out to his home atop a hill in La Mesa. He welcomed me in and showed me the beautiful home he had created for his wife.

He also showed me her awardwinning quilts and the studio with open beams and art everywhere he built for her. He was warm and welcoming and quickly fixed my computer. When I left, I was grateful to have connected with him and amazed that he was willing to help even on the weekend. Two days later, on Monday, when I returned to school with a working computer, I learned that Jerry’s wife had passed away early on the day I had met with him before he took time to meet with me. I was amazed that even then, Jerry took time to help another person with a small problem, even then on what was probably the most challenging day of his life. This story is only one example of the incredible impact that Jerry has had on the Nativity Prep community. Over the twenty years he has volunteered sacrificially to keep us connected and working, Jerry has made a lasting impression on students, faculty, staff, and volunteers; the stories of Jerry being the hero, of him going out of his way, and of the small acts of love are in the hundreds. It is with great affection that we honor Jerry with the highest recognition Nativity can offer.

Stay Tuned

The Magi Circle of Nativity Prep is an annual tradition of recognizing people who have made a meaningful impact. Like the Magi from the Christmas Story, the Circle recognizes those from our community who have selflessly shared their gifts with our students and our school community. We hope you enjoyed reading about Joe and Jerry and look forward to recognizing them in person at the 2022 Magi Circle Celebration.



Like everything else this year, the high school application process for the 22 eighth-grade students at Nativity Prep has been very different. In other years, eighth graders participate in visitation days, open houses, and shadow days to get a feel for the high school experience and help them decide where to apply. This year, those inperson experiences were replaced by virtual information sessions and open houses, and Zoom presentations. “Those experiences are significant to the student in making their decision. It helps them feel confident and comfortable about where they plan to spend the next four years,” says Xochitl Alvarez, Director of Graduate Support, who, along with Bill Sullivan, Director of Admissions and High School Placement, guides the students and families through the application process. Thus far, our eighth graders have earned admission or placement at the following schools: The Academy of Our Lady of Peace, The Bishop’s School, Cathedral Catholic, Cristo Rey San Diego, Francis Parker, Helix Charter, Saint Augustine, Steel Canyon, as well as several other public and charter schools.


This is an exciting time for our school community. Our teachers have recently become eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations, and we have expanded our on-campus learning. With our second trimester coming to an end, we wanted to push our students to make the most significant difference possible in their education. Having more students on campus will hopefully allow us to boost our students’ learning as they end this very different school year.

With double the number of students coming to campus, we had to make some plans to keep everyone safe. We continued our daily screening for all students, staff, and visitors to campus. We also continued our mask-wearing and social distancing protocols. We moved classrooms to keep each student’s desk six feet apart and access the fantastic technology that we have in the school. We also purchased air purifiers for all of our classrooms and meeting spaces. 

We are so excited to have more students learning on campus. The new campus is beautiful with our welcome sign that reminds our students every day that “You are loved.” The chapel was beautifully decorated for Lent and allowed our students to come together while staying in their stable groupings to celebrate the Eucharist.

We hope that numbers continue to drop in the county and that vaccination continues to be administered so that we can welcome the last third of our students to our new and beautiful campus.


I have a dream

“I have a dream The dream that will bring tears into my eyes. The dream that will change everything for me. The dream that will make me smile 100 times but not only 100 infinity times.

The dream that will not only make me happy but my family. The dream that will make me faint and go to the hospital. The dream that will make my face hurt for smiling a lot. 

The dream that will make me be in shock because I can’t believe I did it. The dream that will make me shout out loud and say thank you, God. And this dream is graduating from college and getting my dream job.” 

-Sofia, 7th grade


Although the high school students have not met in person for over a year, the Graduate Support Program has taken advantage of virtual meetings to invite guest speakers to keep them engaged. Guest speakers have shared the following topics: resume and cover letter writing, interviewing skills, social media use, credit scores, stocks and investments, and LinkedIn. 

Nativity Prep graduate Eduardo Garcia, who engaged the 10th and 11th graders with his credit scores and loans presentation, was one of the most special presentations. Eduardo graduated from Nativity Prep in 2008 and from Saint Augustine High School in 2012. After attending the University of San Diego, Eduardo had the opportunity to learn more about finances through various courses, mentors, and research. After a few months, Eduardo started his own company, Real Property Equity, LLC. It is no surprise that Eduardo enjoys learning about money and investing. When he was a high school student, he would often work on complicated math problems on the whiteboard in the Graduate Support room. Even when math problems took him a long time to complete, he maintained his focus until he solved them. 

Eduardo also presented in Spanish to the Family Association of Nativity Prep about credit scores and loans. We love when our graduates give back to the community by returning to visit our school, mentor, or share their education journeys.




Since COVID restrictions haven’t allowed our families to come together to pray, fundraise, or build community, our Family Engagement efforts have been focused on community building and education over Zoom. During Catholic Schools Week, the Family Association of Nativity (FAN) provided a COVID-safe lunch and handmade succulent pot gifts to the faculty and staff. Thanks to the ASB, we enjoyed time together over Zoom playing BINGO for Family Appreciation Day! 

We welcomed Councilmember Raul Campillo of District 7 to speak to our families about the city government and the resources available to them, mainly due to COVID restrictions. Then, Attorney Rory Pendergast spoke to parents about their rights as employees. 

The Family Association of Nativity sponsored a presentation by Life Coach Cecilia de la O Sanchez on the importance of how parents speak to their children to encourage positive self-esteem and confidence. Additionally, we were thrilled to have an opportunity to hear from NPA alum Eduardo Garcia, Class of 2008, who spoke on the importance of understanding credit scores and building credit.

Our Mentors:


The pandemic has presented many challenges for different programs here at Nativity, and our AMIGOS mentorship program is no exception. Still, these individuals could continue sharing valuable time and insight with our students’ thanks to their flexibility and willingness to “hang out” through Zoom once a week since September. 

Though we weren’t able to do our quarterly in-person events that revolve solely around fun, the students could still get the outside perspectives and guidance that make our mentorship program so valuable to them. We are so grateful for our mentors and look forward to seeing them again in person! 

If you are interested in learning more about our mentorship program, please contact Maria Power at