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Star of the Sea Presents “An Evening of Stars” Centennial Fashion Show


Celebrating 100 years of academic excellence, teaching life values and looking good while doing so

San Francisco, CA (November 17, 2009) – In 1909, when Star of the Sea School in San Francisco was formed, the City was well on its way to recovery after the disastrous 1906 earthquake. All around the City, residents and institutions like the Cliff House and the Palace Hotel were celebrating their rebirth. Fashion, too, was having a rebirth, with a new silhouette emerging from the fashion houses of Paris: the pigeon-breast shapes popular at the turn of the century were giving way to a narrower, straighter silhouette. Amidst this backdrop, Star of the Sea School was established by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, and their legacy lives on in this thriving inner Richmond school turning out many of this city’s finest and most fashionable students.

To celebrate its centennial, Star of the Sea is presenting “An Evening of Stars”, a centennial fashion show modeled by Star of the Sea alumni and families on December 6, 2009. The event takes place from 4:30-5:30 at the school gymnasium on 8th Avenue between Geary and Clement in San Francisco, followed by a boutique with proceeds benefitting the school.

After leaving behind the traditional navy blue and white uniforms of Star of the Sea, alumni have donned clothing as varied as furs, football helmets and vestments, although to our knowledge none have worn all those items at the same time. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, we present some notable Star of the Sea alumni and reflect on their fashion choices.

Perhaps the best-known of all Star alumni is Grace Ethel Cecilia Rosalie Allen, better known as Gracie Allen, who according to her bio loved to shop and had a fondness for furs, beautiful clothes and ¾ length sleeves. Although early records are murky, due in part to birth certificates and documentation being lost in the 1906 earthquake, and also in part to Gracie’s coyness, she was born in the late 1890s and graduated from Star of the Sea in 1914. She’s best known as the zany partner to George Burns, and was a gifted comedienne beloved by many. She passed away in 1964. Today Star of the Sea’s computer lab bears her name, from a gift given by her estate.

John Talesfore graduated from the Star of the Sea grammar school in 1974. His fond memories of Star include “Hot Dog Day” once a month, and endless fights with seagulls for scraps left unguarded. A fashion plate who “never met a mirror he didn’t like”, according to his father, Talesfore was widely known for his platform shoes, cow bells and silky polyester shirts on the rare and much-anticipated free dress day. He went on to study architecture for two years at Cal, before realizing he might have a vocation to the priesthood. He was ordained a priest in 1989, and now serves as pastor at St. Mary’s Cathedral. “When I found out that black is always in style, that’s when I made the logical choice of profession,” says Father Talesfore. He also claims the snazzy Star of the Sea uniform got him hooked on fashion, but we think he’s just humoring us.

“I can honestly and proudly say that anything I have been given spiritually and academically is founded in my Star of the Sea education,” said Father Talesfore.

Another Star alumnus favors shoulder pads and a football helmet. He is Zac Lee, starting quarterback for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Lee, the son of an NFL quarterback, graduated from Star of the Sea in 2001. He was a standout in Star athletics and continued his prowess at St. Ignatius, where he was a 3 year starter in both football and baseball, and the first SI player in 23 years to be named offensive player of the year in the West Catholic Athletic Conference. He went on to star in both football and baseball for one year at City College before making his big Midwest move.

Classic clothes of the 20s, 30s and 40s will be featured in the Star of the Sea Fashion Show, and perhaps none wears them better today than cabaret singer Mary Cleere Haran. Haran, whose performances were lovingly covered in Entertainment Weekly in 1999, is another alumna that Star is proud to call its own. She covers the great American songbook, and has performed in prestigious clubs from coast to coast, including the Algonquin in New York.

Star of the Sea joins with all of its alumni to celebrate 100 years of academic excellence, teaching life values and looking good while doing so. To learn more about the centennial celebration and the fashion show, contact Star of the Sea:

Telephone: 415-221-3399 (Centennial Hotline for information and messages)

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About Star of the Sea
Founded in 1909 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Star of the Sea Schools include the preschool and elementary school under the authority of the parish, serving a diverse population of girls and boys. Our schools are nurturing, dynamic, and constantly evolving environments that support academic achievement, develop moral and spiritual character, and encourage students to be globally aware and become lifelong learners and problem solvers. Star’s graduates are consistently accepted to and excel in San Francisco’s top Catholic, public and private high schools, including Sacred Heart Cathedral, Saint Ignatius, Riordan, Mercy, ICA, Lowell, and University. Star of the Sea is located at 360 9th Avenue in San Francisco’s inner Richmond neighborhood.


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