By Amabelle Nguyen '25
Last week, the Class of 2026 Stingrays experienced a rite of passage for all Notre Dame San Jose High School students: the Woman’s Place Project (WPP).
A tradition here at Notre Dame, the WPP is an interdisciplinary project through which every freshman represents their assigned woman of impact through an intricate table setting. The weeks leading up to the final event are spent researching the best ways to personify their woman through a decorated ceramic plate, various other place setting components and a written toast intended to reflect the spirit of their woman of honor. The event also features a butterfly wall of honor, where each student includes the name of a woman that has influenced their life personally.
The ceremony begins as a gallery walk, where the families and invitees of students have the chance to browse every table setting. Students are often asked to share information about the woman they are representing. The night concludes with affirmations from faculty members, prayers and poems read by the class council, and songs sung by the entire class.
By creating a table setting for women of impact that have broken barriers in the world, the school community gives them a “seat at the table” — something many of them were never freely offered. Events like the Woman’s Place Project are examples of what makes our Notre Dame’s Catholic learning community special, demonstrating the importance of education for justice.