Not every kid raised in Cambria chooses to attend Coast Union. For various reasons, some Cambria youths decide to attend high school in San Luis Obispo. Max Basile, for example, opted to attend Mission College Prep.
Basile was a year old when his family moved to Cambria from his birthplace, San Diego. Basile attended Cambria Grammar School and Santa Lucia Middle School, but when it came to his high school career, he chose Mission Prep, a private Roman Catholic school.
The 6-foot-2 high school junior, a starting forward for the Royals basketball team, was interviewed Jan. 6 at a picnic table at Leffingwell Landing. He explained the decision-making process his family embraced vis-a-vis choosing a high school.
“Growing up in Cambria was great. I loved it. I still have all my friends that I hang out with on weekends,” he said.
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And why did he and his family choose Mission Prep over Coast Union?
“It was always kind of intriguing to us,” Basile explained. “We knew (Mission) was really good in basketball and sports. Mission Prep seemed cool to us. We wanted to explore all our options for high school and noticed that Mission was really good academically.
“Graduates from Mission were attending (colleges) all over the country. So when it came down to it, we decided Mission was the best place for me. I would say it was more sports than academics for me, but my parents will tell you academics,” Basile admitted with a smile.
As far as travel — a round trip from Cambria to Mission Prep is 71.2 miles, and the school is in session 180 days — the Basile family circumvented driving (or carpooling) the 51,264 miles that four years in high school would have entailed.
“Halfway through my freshman year, we ended up getting a little condo that’s a block away from Mission,” Basile explained. “Usually my mom or dad will stay down there with me during the week, and I come home on weekends.”
As to his career plans, Basile is interested in communications and added, “I might do something related to sports. I really love sports.”
He isn’t certain where he would like to pursue a college education, but he has researched schools in Oregon, and he has interest in Syracuse University as well.
Mission Prep is a Catholic school, but Basile, whose family is Catholic, said, “They don’t overwhelm you with religion. They don’t force prayer on everyone. I know other students who don’t agree with Catholicism but they like being at Mission.”
Basile said even though tuition at Mission is $11,000 per school year, there are scholarships and other ways for students to attend even though they might not have the financial means.
Asked what he needs to work on as a high school basketball player, Basile immediately responded, “I need to work on being more aggressive. Everybody has been telling me that. Parents and others tell me, ‘Go to the basket.’
“I get a lot of assists. I pass a lot and get rebounds. But just last night after the game, a parent came up to me and said, ‘Max, you could be the best player on the team if you take the ball to the hoop every time.’ I do need to be more aggressive.”
CUSD leader weighs in
Coast Unified Superintendent Victoria Schumacher is taking a progressive approach to thoughtfully upgrading the curricula at Coast Union. When Schumacher was interviewed in the Cambrian shortly after her arrival in the summer, one of her goals was to increase enrollment at Coast Union.
She hopes to do that by opening the door to relevant new “linked learning” dynamics: Students will gain knowledge in and out of the classroom, with an emphasis on hands-on learning that will prepare them for college and careers, she explained in her district office Jan. 22.
There are 222 studetns enrolled in the school, down from the recent high mark of 375 in 1998.
Schumacher enthusiastically launched into great detail about the “Pathways” multimillion-dollar creative educational proposal, a collaborative project involving Coast Union and a number of other schools in the county.
The funding, if it is forthcoming, would provide Coast Union with the technologies and tools to provide students with greater real world technical skills and work-based learning through internships with county businesses and social organizations.
“The pathway we’re exploring for Coast Union is for all students, not just elite students; it embraces the fields of engineering, computing and visual arts. And even if we don’t get the grant, we will continue discussing ongoing pathway development,” she said.
“We need to be building on our strong high school — we have a strong high school — so students have the skills to compete in the global marketplace.”
At the close of the interview, the superintendent stressed: “One of the tremendous assets of our district is how much confidence our students develop because they have close relationships with adults. Because of their relationship with adults our students are able to assert who they are and have confidence as they pursue their dreams.”