Student Life » Traditions


Mission Pioneers truly feel the spirit of our school when we celebrate our traditions.  Whether its decorating hallways or competing for spirit points, our longstanding traditions play a major role in the fabric of Mission. At SGMHS, he hold our traditions dear as they keep us connected to our alumni and allow us to stay true to our roots. 
Class Identity
From Elite Jaguars to Radiant Phoenixes, each year the freshman class is tasked with creating their own class identity.  They choose their class colors, class mascot, and class song.  This identity will stay with them all four years at Mission and beyond, forever uniting them as one.  Their identity is kept secret all year and only revealed at the end of spring semester on Class Day.
Big Sister/Little Sister
Mission girls embrace their motto “Come as strangers, leave as sisters.”  Each freshman is assigned a big sister in the senior class.  The older students serve as their little sister’s mentor and help them in their high school journey.
Welcome Day Picnic
The first week of school is always time for welcoming students back to Mission and for welcoming our new freshman sisters.  On the first Friday of the school year, the entire school walks to Smith Park and has a potluck picnic.  ASB hosts various games and there is always an impromptu dance party!
School Dances
In addition to Senior Prom, there are 2 dances that occur each year: Winter formal in January, and the spring dance.
Spirit Week
All year long classes participate in various activities to raise spirit points.  Spirit week is held during the spring semester and is designed to have a different theme each day.  Students can participate in each activity to help their class earn points. 
Dominican Day 
On this day we come together with other schools in our area that were also founded by the Dominican Sisters of the Mission San Jose. The 6th, 7th and 8th grade classes of these schools are invited to SGMHS for a celebration of our heritage. The day begins with a lively and energetic prayer service and continues with a walk-a-thon around the San Gabriel Mission district. Following our walk-a-thon, everyone is welcomed to continue the celebration on our school field to dance, play, and enjoy delicious food and snacks.
Freshman Retreat 
The freshmen have one retreat during the school year that is lead by Veritas. This retreat takes place at our high school. 
Sophomore Retreat 
The sophomores have one retreat during the school year lead by Veritas. Their retreat is a full day retreat that takes place off campus at a nearby retreat center.
Junior Retreat 
The juniors have one retreat during the school year lead by Veritas. Their retreat is an overnight retreat away from campus.
Kairos is an important and unforgettable retreat for the seniors. This retreat is in the fall and is a four- day long retreat away from campus. Kairos is the most in- depth retreat for our students because it is touches different areas of their life before they end their high school journey and prepare for their next chapter.
Sophomore Ring Ceremony
Sophomores receive their class ring in the second semester signifying that they are becoming an upper class woman.  The event is held in the evening and is hosted by the sophomore class. 
Living Rosary 
In October, the senior class comes together to form a living rosary around the student body. Each senior recites one prayer and presents a rose to our Blessed Mother Mary.  
Senior Privileges
Each year the senior class is able to propose privileges that only they can enjoy.  Their list is submitted to the Dean of Student Life and approved by the Administrative Council.  Some privileges have been casual dress Fridays, earlier lunch dismissal, decorated lockers,  and use of the senior balcony.
Koins for Kids
As a school founded by the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose, we believe in community, study, prayer and ministry.  Each year our VERITAS members host monthly Koins for Kids events to raise money for tuition assistance at Dominican elementary schools.  Students pay $1- $2 to wear free dress. 
College Trips 
During the fall semster, the College and Career Center plans a college trip for our students in which each grade travels to a different university campus. The students are given a tour and spend an entire day on campus allowing them to explore the school and learn about what they might look for in the future when applying for college. Aside from our class college trips we also host other college trips during our school breaks. These trips can range from one day to one week. In the past we have hosted a Northern California College trip visiting universities on the west coast.  We have taken our students to schools such as the University of Southern California, University of California Riverside,University of California Irvine , University of California Santa Barbara, San Francisco State University. California Polytechnic San Luis Obispo, University of California Berkeley,  Dominican University, Claremont Colleges, Santa Clara University and Stanford University.  
Film Fest
Film Fest is an exciting day for all students of SGMHS. On this day the entire student body comes together to watch the films that their fellow Pioneers have created. Films that are submitted are placed into different categories for review such as Music Videos, Short Films, Best of Show. Submissions are created by the media classes, however, everyone at Mission as well as junior high students from local schools are invited to submit their work.The Film Fest ends with an award show recognizing amazing and unforgettable films.
Play Day
This is a day in which students show their class and school spirit. A theme is chosen by the Associated Student Body (ASB) and the classes compete in games and other activities to help raise the spirit of the school community.  Each class uses their theme to decorate a corner of the Auditorium from top to bottom.   This is also the culmination of spirit points for the year and the winning class is announced and earns the spirit stick, as well as, bragging rights!
Senior Sweaters
As Mission girls progress from one year to the next, they inch closer to the coveted senior sweater.  As juniors, the class designs the sweater to display their class identity chosen in their freshman year.  It is finally revealed on Class Day when they become the new seniors.
Class Day
This is one of the most special days on campus.  It is held at the end of the school year and is sponsored by the junior class. It consists of the “moving up” ceremony of the classes to their new grade level.  As their class is announced the, they recite their pledge to accept the responsibilities of the next grade.  The freshman class reveals their class identity, sophomores become upper class women, and the juniors unveil their senior sweaters.  Seniors are inducted into the Alumni Association at this time.  This is also the student body’s farewell to the seniors as they sing special songs to remind them of their bond. 
Students at SGMHS graduate on the first Friday of June.  Donned in their white gowns the ceremony is held at the beautiful Mission Playhouse located one block from the high school.  The two weeks leading up to graduation are filled with many events such as Class Day, Grad Night, Senior Awards Ceremony, and Baccalaureate Mass.  Tickets are issued by the school to each graduating student.  The commencement speaker is traditionally a Mission alumnus.  The senior class portraits are always kept at the school beginning with the first graduating class of 1953.