In the 1970s and ’80s, Dominica (Garcia) Sizar’s parents put all six of their children through Our Lady of Guadalupe School (known at the time as St. Leonard’s), and the strong educational foundation and close-knit network of support she received became a gift she could never repay.
The Garcia family managed to make private school a possibility for all of the children on one income, and Sizar credits the school for blazing a trail for futures full of master’s degrees and career successes.
“I thank my parents from the bottom of my heart for the sacrifices they made,” Sizar said. “The connections I formed … I just don’t know if you get that kind of community from public school.”
One such relationship developed when Sister Janice Therese Wellington began her first teaching year as Sizar’s sixth-grade teacher. As the sixth-grade homeroom teacher and math junior high teacher, Sister Janice – who Sizar still lovingly calls JT – became well known around campus and with the Garcia family.
Sizar later attended Moreau Catholic High School, where she met who would become her husband of 35 years, and went on to land a career with the Golden State Warriors as an executive assistant. And while she could never repay the gift her parents gave her, she decided to pass it along to her two children.
Even though she enrolled her son and daughter at Holy Rosary, the community was so close, people from OLG also knew her children. And it was that closeness that got her through unthinkable tragedy – the death of her 22-year-old son.
“When my son died, everyone (from the Catholic school community) came out to support us,” she said. “And even though my son is deceased, we still hear from his friends, many of them from OLG.”
Now, with an ailing husband, Sizar’s adult daughter has moved home to help with care and the family continues to find comfort in the community that constantly shows up for one another.
“It comes full circle when you see your own kids practicing the compassion (that’s taught in the school),” she said. “I wouldn’t trade all the money I’ve spent on education for the experiences we’ve gained throughout our lives.”