Student Journalism at San Rafael High School

Off the Leash

Off the Leash

Off the Leash

Ms. Healy Hopes Students Will Get Passionate about Exercise


It’s 12:40 on a Tuesday, and San Rafael High students are walking to their 6th period class. The northern building holds the freshman physical education classes, potentially the scariest and most stressful class to a 9th grade student. However within the department a confident figure with goals of enhancing student health and mindset stands out, Ms. Catherine Healy. 

Standing on the field in a jersey, athletic shorts, and running shoes, Ms. Healy educates her freshman PE class on different sports from countries all over the world. Today’s lesson: Italy’s Bocce Ball. The goal of these lessons is to develop further understanding of other cultures’ sports rather than just focusing on the four most popular ones like football, basketball, and soccer. 

Students in PE, especially freshmen, tend to curb PE class more than others. There’s no paper work to do, and exercising is uncomfortable, so students might ask themselves, why try? Ms. Healy aims to resolve this issue by getting students to be passionate about their exercise. When a student of hers was about to give up on their mile run, she said “Don’t take on an I don’t care attitude, try!”

Having three kids that went to SR with 2 graduated and one as a current freshman, she has invested herself into the community as both a teacher and a parent. She has a prolific history with sports, playing basketball in high school and college, and each of her kids went on to play Division 1 in college at their respective sports. Mary Healy at the University of North Carolina and Jack Healy at St Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. She aims to bring the lessons she learned from her collegiate career to the classroom.

Ms. Healy describes herself as living a “pretty normal childhood.” She was born and grew up in Toronto, Canada, where she attended a girls-only Catholic school. Growing up she was heavily involved in lots of different sports, but mainly basketball, badminton, and most importantly, sailing.

Sailing became the sport that gave her the most opportunity in her teaching years. As when she started teaching at SR in 1998 the opportunity to take over their sailing program became a possibility.

The sailing program is a unique class that allows students to team-build and work together in other unconventional ways. While not the original founder of the Sailing and Hiking night PE classes, Ms. Healy has carried on the torch and formed the classes into her own vision. With 2023 being her 23rd year of teaching sailing she has brought a new hobby and passion to many students at SR.

The night PE classes and subsequently the sailing class have brought the community together on multiple occasions, through events like the sailing banquet and the end of the year regatta. These events are commonly pointed to when talking about the unique culture at SR.

 “My goal is that my students will have a meaningful experience in my class where they learn about fitness, get in a bit better shape,” Healy says. “Discover something about themselves they didn’t know before and have fun!”

Ms. Healy credits her motivation from her former colleague and mentor, Mr Monty. Monty, a longtime teacher at SR before retiring in 1998, created both the Sailing and Hiking class, as well as the adventure room. Healy would take these programs and improve upon them greatly.  “I feel like my legacy is his legacy, like I have really continued his good work.” Healy says.

Healy’s efforts towards the school have not gone unnoticed. Every year the night PE classes continue to fill up to full capacity, signaling the success of the program. A challenge Healy faces is finding a successor for her position. She says, “I feel responsible for finding someone that will replace me one day.” 

However there is no doubt that Healy’s presence has left an everlasting impact on San Rafael High’s culture. The changed attitude around PE and health will stick with the community forever, and the future teachers of San Rafael will always be aware of the mark that she has left.


View Comments (1)
More to Discover

Comments (1)

All Off the Leash Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • N

    Nico ClarkNov 28, 2023 at 1:44 pm

    Good Job