A SCHOOL FOR ALL NEIGHBORHOODS
We acknowledge that not everyone in our society has been afforded the same opportunities. Understanding this reality, Pacifica aspires to be a school for all neighborhoods. Since its inception, Pacifica was founded on the strength of a broad and diverse school community. Our desire is to provide a high-quality education to students from all neighborhoods reflecting the beauty and diversity of the kingdom of God. We believe such education is good for all and opens up opportunities for many who have not traditionally been able to take part in private education.
Tackling many of the challenges of a fragmented world, the Pacifica community seeks to strengthen the bonds we hold in common. Acknowledging and celebrating difference is an essential part of that approach. We recognize the conversation about difference has not always been easy—not for our world, not for our nation, and not for our Pacifica community. We also know that God has made each of us different and unique; He made us that way in His image. So here at Pacifica, we understand that to love someone who looks different is truly to love God.
We seek to actively love, appreciate, and understand the unique contributions of each individual that makes up our community in the world around us as Christ would have us do. While we strive for God’s perfect kingdom here on earth, we are human, and we will stumble. It is God’s example of love through the sacrifice of His son that will be our guide, so we will not walk away from a conversation that is hard but will instead come together as a family to uplift and seek to understand one another. We are a better community when we engage and understand differences among us. We are dedicated to diversity in our student programs, parent programs, admissions and hiring practices.
Since its founding in 2005, Pacifica has been committed to being a school for all neighborhoods. That commitment has resulted in a diverse student body, and Pacifica is composed of students from varying religious, socio-economic, academic, and ethnic backgrounds. As such, fifty percent of our students receive financial assistance, half of our students come from religious homes and a half from secular homes, and each year students of color comprise fifty percent of our student body. While this eclecticism can have its challenges, the growth through empathy and shared experiences is what we believe God intends for Pacifica. We remain committed not only to be a school for all neighborhoods but to better serving and loving our students fairly and equitably each day of their high school lives.
Forming Hearts and Minds
Pacifica seeks the formation of students, made in the image of God, for the purpose of God’s glory, their own joy, and for the good of others. No one expects perfection, yet it is something that we should long for. The process isn’t easy; in fact, it is often painful. But it is necessary.
The standard is expressed in the “Greatest Commandment.” In Matthew 22:37, 38, Jesus says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
If you walk down the upper hallway at Pacifica, you will see Matthew 22:37-39 inscribed above the lockers. These verses are foundational: our mission and vision statements are wrapped in them; they are part of the very DNA of who we are and why we do what we do. These verses are not optional—they are commands holding us to the highest standards. They also give us a lens for why diversity is so important for Pacifica. The work of diversity is part of the formation process as it allows us to love and serve more fully.
Created in the Image of God
When we enter the school gate each day and engage in crowded hallways, academic pursuits, sports competitions, casual conversation, and more, we are not simply engaging another student, a teacher or a parent. We are interacting with those who are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). Our identity and personhood are founded on this reality. Each one has a soul, each one is eternal, and each one is valuable in the sight of God. We are called to see others as God sees them – as image-bearers, not just as Ava, Henry or Rachael. We are not simply engaging someone’s DNA, GPA, list of accomplishments, list of failures, or personality, but the very image of God. As such, the highest standard of care must be taken in our interactions with ourselves and each other. Since God displayed His care for His creation, in that he emptied himself, becoming a human and giving His life on a cross for our salvation and transformation, we are expected to follow His example in the way we treat others. Philippians Chapter 2 paints the picture for us:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.5 In your relationships with one another have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
It is clear we are not called to simply value others, but to value others above ourselves. This can only be done with God’s help. At Pacifica, Matthew 22, Genesis 1:27, and Philippians 2 serve as our lens and inform our actions. Everyone is included, all are welcome, and all are valuable. We are to love as God loves.
Unified in Christ, Uniquely Created
Scripture is clear—as Christians, we are all part of God’s family, His kingdom. It is a precious gift. It is the singular work of the cross that transforms and guides our life. It is at the cross that we find meaning, purpose, and our common identity. It is this reality that brings us together and makes us one. Christ calls for each of us to identify with His work on the cross. It is our starting point and our foundation.
The foundational truth of our unity in Christ is integrated with the truth of our diversity. Each one of us in the family of God has been made and gifted uniquely. We are not all the same. These differences are part of God’s plan. Revelation 5:9 tells us that every tribe, tongue, and nation will worship God together. Because God’s family is composed of all nations, we are called to recognize and celebrate this beauty.
We must hold our common identity as image-bearers valued by God together with our uniqueness at creation. It is this integration that makes the most of each person at Pacifica and causes the community to flourish. These two truths cannot be separated. When they do, each of us, as well as our community, ceases to function in the ways God intended.
It is a mistake to pursue unity while ignoring diversity. It is like saying we love God but not our neighbor. It is also a mistake to pursue diversity while ignoring the central fact of our unity. Scripture is clear about the problems that come from relying on our own distinctiveness. It is like saying we love our neighbor but not God. Our calling is much higher. God has given us a vision that holds unity and diversity together and that allows for each of us to flourish together. He has set the highest standard from which to view and treat others. It is this standard we aspire to. It is from this place that Pacifica pursues diversity.