Sena Mughannam is the setter — one of the most important positions in volleyball — for the St. Vincent de Paul High School. The setter is the player responsible for providing a well-positioned and timed ball to the hitters, but is also aware of their surroundings at all times. It is their decisions and effort that, to a large extent, will determine the success of the team.
The Head Varsity Volleyball Coach Cassie Taylor contributed that, “she is our leader, who is at the right spot, at the right time where the whole team is counting on her. She is a star on the court, and off the court.” She continued, “through Covid Sena continued to improve her skills. She also took a role as an assistant coach, to help her learn more about the game which added to her love and passion for the game. Her continued improvement has led her to be a starter and team leader when she transferred to St. Vincent’s. Sena has a love of the game and something to prove. She is exactly the kind of player a coach wants; her ability and work ethic may provide her the opportunity to play at the next level.”
In addition to being an integral part of the Mughannam family and volleyball team, she also helps coach at volleyball camps and works part-time. She is an exceptional student and her leadership & teamwork skills are also being utilized on the Yearbook staff and leadership club. She shared that, “she loves that we have student-driven clubs where all students need to participate. The environment is more like a close-knit family. To me family is very important, my parents and extended family taught me that.” She continued, “I transferred from a public school because I felt St. Vincent’s would better prepare me for a university and my future. I knew that it would be academically more challenging; the level of expectations and effort are much higher but our teachers provide more support including regular office hours.”
In the off season, Sena plays on a competitive travel club volleyball team. Academics are her highest priority where as a junior, she is taking Advanced Placement classes in Biology, US History and Language/Composition. In her senior year, she will be taking AP Literature and AP Government/Economics. What many people may not know is that she also fosters dogs through a few different rescues; Dogma animal rescue, Weimaraner rescue, and the Petaluma animal shelter.
Sena’s mother Sumaya has a unique perspective because Sena went to Petaluma High School for two years. Sumaya shared, “we have seen both sides of the coin; a large public school versus a smaller private school. The support she now receives from teachers, staff and faculty is second to none. They know our child. The school works closely with parents and encourages us to be as involved as possible in the life of the school.” She continued, “Many children get lost in the system at public schools. St. Vincent’s gives them a sense of security and control over their own lives. Our child lights up every time we are on campus.”
A SUPPORTIVE LEADER
Sena’s AP US History teacher Samantha Coale spoke glowingly about Sena. “She transferred into our school but you would never know it. She is an excellent student — patient, confident and friendly.” The compliments continued as she declared, “She is very focused and assertive in all the right ways. It’s hard to come in, join the team and be a leader. Sena lifts people up because she is so supportive.”
The feeling is mutual. Sena shared that Ms. Coale has been her most impactful teacher. “She is pushing me to be ready for the AP exam, provides me practice exams and shows me how I can receive college credit. I believe in her to get me prepared; it is clear that here the students are the focus. Ms. Coale and the entire staff are invested in each student. St. Vincent’s allows teachers to focus on each student more individually, receiving that one-on-one time has helped me so much.”
Sena felt strongly about sharing her sentiments for the staff. “Since I transferred to St. Vincent’s, there is great support for getting ready for college. I have not felt nervous to begin this process because of all the support from the staff walking with us step-by-step. They are always there to help if you are falling behind and are open to giving extra help even after class.”
Principal Patrick Daly contributed that “Sena is very smart, has a strong work ethic, is kind and always has a smile on her face. She’s very likable and fit right in when she transferred. Most importantly, she inspires those around her through her actions.”
Sumaya expressed her support for the experience her daughter is enjoying. “The community at St. Vincent de Paul High School is unlike other schools. The commitment and investment into each child is unusual. Sena feels part of the community which brings out her smile. This community is on and off the court, in and out of the classroom and through the halls. It has helped Sena become more vocal and willing to be a leader. She is able to lean on other students, teachers and staff in times of need, and to be there to help others. It has strengthened her sense of faith, her responsibility to her community and her love of education. This community is giving my daughter the confidence to make good decisions.”
IT TAKES A VILLAGE…
She continued, “My husband Omar graduated from St. Vincent’s in 1992. It is just now that we are beginning to realize how each and every teacher is a mentor. Each one is invested in every student. We learned how they really do set your child up to take responsibility and be successful. We can honestly say that we feel like better parents and we have done good for our children by choosing St. Vincent’s. As Sena’s parents we are so proud of her, of her accomplishments, of her passion to learn, to continue forward and to be that leader, not just for her brothers but for others.”
The Mughannam family is currently hosting three exchange students who are enrolled at St. Vincent’s for a 6-8 week program for international students (pictured) — Julie (Germany), Andrea (Paraguay) and Emilie (France). Also, pictured a full-time exchange student Nora (Taiwan), and Sena Mughannam, the four have become very close. St. Vincent de Paul High School also has a relationship with a consortium of St. Vincent de Paul schools in France and with a particular school in Avignon, France. This program allows students from their school to spend three-weeks at St. Vincent’s in Petaluma every April.
We are honore that Sena Mughannam represents St. Vincent de Paul High School. She is a great example of what is possible when transferring to a new school. We are proud to recognize her as one of our unique and accomplished students from the Class of 2023. Also, next year St. Vincent de Paul High school will be welcoming her brother Omar Mughannam Jr. to the Class of 2026.