Families of St. John Vianney Catholic School come from near and far and have what we think are the best diversity stories. A family who truly embodies our school mission, “As a ministry of St. John Vianney Parish, guided by the life of Jesus Christ, we seek to preach the Gospel with our lives through prayer, study, and service”, please meet the Griego family, Mrs. Kay Griego (Captain/Commander), Mr. Daniel Griego (Veteran) and Jaelyn Griego (soon-to-be third grader). The Griego family joined St. John Vianney when Jaylyn was a TK student and has never looked back. Entering their fifth year with the school this fall has provided Mrs. & Mr. Griego opportunity to reflect on the warm and caring environment the school provides, emulating what a family feels like.
We introduce you to this family, specifically Mrs. Griego because of her current vocation as an active military member and mother. Both of these roles carry an immense weight with them and this woman is doing it with grace. Sacramento and more so Rancho Cordova are coincidentally historically military hubs in California. It is by choice we want to acknowledge and give gratitude to those who serve our country in various military roles. Geographically, we cannot ignore what surrounds the area of our school. Rancho Cordova is home to the former Mills Field, later named Mather Filed before becoming Mather Air Force Base and now the current Sacramento Mather Airport. During World War II and the Cold War, Mather Field was used for a variety of critical trainings and departure point for planes heading West into the pacific as well as command for the navigation school for the US Air Force in the 1960’s and on. In September of 1993, Mather Air Force Base was officially decommissioned and closed. The former base continues to service military needs for the region such as the Sacramento Veterans’ Affairs Medical Center among others.
Service is a cornerstone of SJV, as noted in our mission and in the student learning expectations (SLE’s; Pray. Study. Love. Serve.). Kay Griego lives this daily as an Officer in the California Army National Guard, serving as a Company Commander part-time and Battalion Administrative Officer full-time. Mrs. Griego oversees approximately 500 soldiers and 25 full-time staff members across multiple cities; Sacramento, Dublin, Modesto, Fresno, and Visalia. Following her enlistment to the reserves in 2001, Mrs. Griego served in the United States Army from (2001-2008) which was no surprise after participating in her high school ROTC Jr. Navy program. From the early days, she was always motivated by achievement and success, excelling as a female team member regardless of challenges set for her. The foundation for a career in service had been laid. Mrs. Griego’s service to our county included two tours overseas, supporting logistical base operations for soldiers with the basics we may take for granted here at home, clean water. Mrs. Griego, a trained water purification specialist, played a key role in the behind the scene preparations for soldiers overseas. Her work allowed for the US soldiers to have a safe home base between missions, providing nourishment and essential services such showers and laundry service. While this role may not be glamourous or well known, Mrs. Griego quickly learned to appreciate the need and she stepped up to fulfill that need. Upon returning home, Mrs. Griego acquired her college degree, B.A. in Business Administration, through American Intercontinental University (2009). After graduation she obtained a civilian job at a Citibank, serving the company for four years before having the calling to return to her roots, serving the United States through the military. Fort Benning, Georgia is home to the US Army Officer Candidate School (OCS) and where Mrs. Griego went to further her commitment to serve the United States. Without a doubt, she completed OCS in 2012, bringing her leadership and operational preparation skills to her current rank of Captain.
Mrs. Griego’s story is admirable. She has chosen a life of service to others. The work she continues to pursue is for the betterment of soldiers, men and women who will represent the United States in the Army. A job not everyone is able to do. Her story to arrive at this point may not be as traditional as others. This part of her story is what enriches her experience, expands her compassionate heart, shows others that anything is possible. As an immigrant to the United States, Kay Griego’s family came to Texas in 1986 to seek asylum from harsh living conditions in Laos following the fall of the country to then communist North Vietnam control. Mrs. Griego is originally from Laos, a landlocked country between Vietnam and Thailand in South East Asia. In the mid 1900’s, turbulence between the French, United States, Russia (then USSR), Japan and Vietnam impacted how the small, rural county of Laos would fair after World War II and the US-Vietnam War. The experiences her family endured were such that her parents made the courageous decision to relocate to the United States, seeking to provide safety and opportunity. In Texas, Mrs. Griego was introduced to Christianity after being a practicing Buddhist family at home in Laos. The Texas families who supported their newly immigrated family welcomed them into their church, into their community, into their lives. This is where Mrs. Griego began her faith journey. And perhaps this is where her subconscious decision was born, to be of service to those in need.
At home today in the Sacramento region of California, Mr. and Mrs. Griego and Jaelyn live a life around service as active military, as public service professionals and through St. John Vianney School. Much of the intention is driven by Jaelyn, who has soaked up the teachings of virtues that students experience at St. John Vianney. “She is always reminding us to be kind to others,” says Mrs. Griego of Jaelyn’s at-home behavior. When asked about what the school has done for her, Mrs. Griego was quick to reference the virtues program. The pride she feels about her daughter was visible in the moment, providing silence during the interview, to acknowledge the emotion around her love and adoration of Jaelyn. As a young eight-year-old, Jaelyn is walking the road of a Catholic servant, loving and nurturing, just as her mother’s own journey began, serving others.
The community of St. John Vianney is able to thrive in large part because of the support we receive from donors. The generous financial contributions made by donors allow for families like the Greigo’s to enroll their children in our school while we welcome their parents into our community with open hearts. If you feel compelled to further the St. John Vianney Catholic School mission with your own donation we invite you to click on the link below.