Hybrid of two cultures.
Like nearly 20 percent of OLP students, Natalia Castellanos Gonzalez ’17 crossed the US-Mexico border every day to attend the Academy of Our Lady of Peace (OLP). A self-proclaimed “hybrid of two cultures,” Natalia, who lives in Tijuana, made sacrifices each and every day to wake up before dawn and travel the 1.5 hour trip to OLP’s campus in the Normal Heights neighborhood of San Diego. Her parents knew in their hearts that with an OLP education, Natalia and her sisters, Daniela ’20 and Maria ’18, would have limitless opportunities upon graduation. “My parents always say that the best thing you can pass down to your children is an education,” Natalia shares with Giving Back Magazine. “They felt strongly that OLP would open doors for my future.”
Natalia will head to Yale University this fall with a $218,000 merit-based scholarship to study Neuroscience with a pre-med track. “It fascinates me how little we know about the brain,” Natalia said. “I’m interested in medicine and psychology, but most of all, I’m excited to find my rhythm in college, meet new people and get to know the Yale community.”
This year, 67 percent of OLP’s Class of 2017 received at least one merit-based scholarship to colleges and universities worldwide, totalling more than $27 million. In a class of 177 students, the class received 897 acceptances to 236 unique institutions. And proudly, 21 percent of the Class of 2017 will be the first in their families to attend college.
Founded in 1882, OLP is the oldest high school in San Diego and its only all-girls school, educating 750 young women each year in grades 9-12. The school is committed to the spirit of the founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, which inspires a faith-filled environment where girls become women of faith, women of courage, women of heart and women of excellence.