Through her love of Catholic education, Mrs. Cerati left her mark on Jesuit
May 8, 2020
Since attending high school at Marymount International School, a Catholic institution in Rome, Italy, Mrs.Victoria Cerati never lost her “profound respect and love for Catholic education.”
After arriving in the United States from Italy, Mrs. Cerati began her teaching career in 1978. She would work at several schools before coming to Jesuit High School Sacramento.
She taught French and Italian at UC Davis as a teaching assistant, but soon left university teaching for a job at St. James, a K-8 school in Davis. She would teach English, history, theology, and French at St. James for 20 years. At St. James, she even taught Mr. Michael Wood ’99 who would become the principal of Jesuit High School in 2015. She also taught Italian at Solano Community College as an evening instructor.
Mrs. Cerati would get what she calls her “big chance” in 1992 when Mr. Hank Meyer, vice principal and basketball coach at Jesuit for more than 20 years, was looking for a teacher to teach U.S History in summer school.
“I jumped at the opportunity and more than ever after that summer, I wanted to be at Jesuit as a full-time teacher,” Mrs. Cerati said.
Mrs. Cerati taught at Jesuit for several summers before an opening in the English department became available in 1999 and she was hired.
After more than 20 years as a full-time Jesuit teacher, Mrs. Cerati will be retiring at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
During her time at Jesuit, Mrs. Cerati taught many different classes and grade levels.
“I have taught freshmen, sophomores, and currently seniors,” Mrs. Cerati said. “I taught Global Studies for two years, English 1A, English 1, English 2, and now also Detective Fiction.”
Mrs. Cerati has gained the esteem of her colleagues, including fellow English teacher and Head Freshman Football Coach Mr. Philip Nuxoll ’83.
“Mrs. Cerati is a consummate teacher,” Mr. Nuxoll said. “She has always been exceptionally generous with her time and her talents, whether it’s been working with our students after school, or sharing her expertise with her fellow teachers. For many years I taught in a classroom right next door to Mrs. Cerati, and it amazed me how easily she was able to get her classes engaged in her lessons as the sound of their enthusiasm came through our shared wall.”
Another English teacher who praised Mrs. Cerati’s teaching skills was Mr. Ted Hornback ’83.
“For all but one of my twenty-two years at Jesuit High School, I have had the good fortune to work alongside Vicki Cerati, a talented and dedicated Ignatian educator, a respected colleague, and valued friend,” Mr. Hornback said. “Vicki is a reading specialist by training who brings to her teaching the very simple, but profound, understanding that students can only write as well as they can read.”
Mr. Hornback also recognized Mrs. Cerati’s desire to help those who needed extra assistance.
“As a result of this foundational understanding and her systematic approach, Vicki has frequently been asked to work with students at risk academically,” Mr. Hornback said. “It’s hard work — for the student and the teacher. But graduates often tell me that the skills they have used most in college and in their professional lives are the ones they learned from Mrs. Cerati. I’ll miss working with Vicki, but I’m grateful for her service to Jesuit High School and the English Department.”
As her career comes to a close, Mrs. Cerati reflects on her time at Jesuit.
“My experience at Jesuit has been fulfilling and beautiful, everything that I ever expected it to be and more,” Mrs. Cerati said. “One of my most profound experiences was to complete the [Jesuit Secondary Education Association Leadership] Seminar program in 2005. This left me with an indelible mark as an Ignatian educator, one that will stay with me forever. I was hired by Fr. John McGarry when he was principal, a time I will always cherish. I leave Jesuit with him as president, grateful for his leadership and spiritual guidance. My time at Jesuit is full of memories and I am grateful for them — of camaraderie with my fellow teachers, the fellowship of our Jesuit community, the joy of teaching the young men we serve! It has been a blast and the honor of a lifetime and a career well-lived.”
Through her passion for Catholic education and her desire to help students in ways that impact them inside and outside the classroom, Mrs. Cerati has left her mark on me and so many others who have attended Jesuit. She made me a better writer by teaching me the importance of good grammar and encouraging me to savor the pleasure of a good book. One of my all-time favorite books is Pat Conroy’s, “The Lords of Discipline,” a book she recommended to me when I was a freshman.
Along with the rest of the Jesuit community, I wish Mrs. Cerati the best of luck and a happy retirement; she’s earned it.