It has always been the Jesuit way to reflect on our past and work toward a better future. Gonzaga founder Father Joseph Cataldo began his mission in the area bringing the message of the Gospel to the local Native Americans. When the college and high school opened in 1887, it welcomed Spokane’s Catholic emigrants. The all-boys high school moved to its current campus on Spokane’s near north side in 1954. Twenty years later, in 1975, the school became co-educational, adding young women who had attended Marycliff and Holy Names schools.
The progression of our history gives us pride in our predecessors who understood the importance of a Jesuit education, but it also motivates us to examine ways to grow as we strive to love God and neighbor, and accompany those at the margins of society.
PREVIOUS AND ONGOING EFFORTS:
In the 1990s, the school began several programs designed to support diversity, including the creation of a faculty diversity committee, which organized student-focused diversity initiatives. Some examples of student programs included: Diversity Week, Lunchtime Speaker Series, and an expansion of Christian service opportunities to Native American and African American communities.
In the 2000s, diversity initiatives were expanded and a member of the faculty served as a part-time Diversity Director, with responsibilities for organizing student programs and professional development for faculty and staff. During this time, diversity efforts among Jesuit schools were expanding, which led to student summit affinity gatherings in which students would travel from various Jesuit schools to discuss their experiences and diversity issues. The Jesuit Province began gathering Diversity Directors from schools to support professional development and the sharing of best practices. At Prep, the Diversity Club and the People Including People Club (LGBTQ) were launched.
In 2015, the school began work to institutionalize its work for diversity through the creation of an Office for Equity and Inclusion. The discernment which led to this decision was motivated by a desire to increase support for students of color, increase retention of students of color, and better prepare white students for the world beyond Spokane. At the same time, the Society of Jesus was encouraging schools to implement programs to promote equity, and Prep was learning from the example of other Jesuit schools that had already established an institutional office to support diversity initiatives. Gonzaga Prep’s first Director of Equity and Inclusion was hired in Spring 2017.
In 2021, Prep named Tefi Ma'ake the new Director of Equity and Inclusion. She draws from a wealth of experience in Catholic secondary education. Before moving to the Pacific Northwest in 2019, she was Director of Campus Ministry and Assistant Head of School for Mission at Notre Dame Academy in Los Angeles and Resident Minister at Loyola Marymount University.