In the 1960s and the first half of the 1970s, girls schools sent candidates to SI to compete to be Homecoming Queen. In the fall of 1973, Convent of the Sacred Heart decided not to send candidates to the three boys’ schools. “We felt as if it were a meat market,” said Lola Giusti, who was a senior at Convent then and who was originally selected to represent her school in the competition. Giusti was familiar with SI both because her father, Bob Giusti ’48, was a graduate and her brother, Bob ’76, was a sophomore. She also studied physics with Fr. Spohn in the mornings. She met with several teachers and seniors to tell them that Convent would no longer participate. “Some students reacted with incredulity, others with derision and still others with quiet respect.”
Giusti had a fondness for SI, but also wanted the school “to be better for those who followed. SI could be a harsh place, with whistles and derogatory comments as I walked from my car to class.” She even found herself parodied on the cover of the December 1973 Inside SI for her involvement in Convent’s withdrawal from the contest.
In September 1975, the administration ended that contest because of the reaction from Convent and partly because “the contest is a humiliating experience for the girls involved,” said Chuck Murphy, then the assistant principal for student activities.”9
Giusti, whose children are Mia Kosmas ’04 and Matthew Kosmas ’07, is pleased the school has come so far. “My daughter, who was a part of the dance and drill team as a freshman, asked one priest why SI didn’t have cheerleaders. The priest told her that the school doesn’t have cheerleaders for the same reason we no longer have homecoming queens — it’s not keeping within the school’s mission.”
Now a professor at UOP’s dental school in San Francisco, Giusti has carried on the legacy of Fr. Spohn by teaching several SI grads, including Catherine and Michael Vista, Kevin Growney and Claire Roberts. “Because I had such an inspirational mentor in Fr. Spohn, I am able to give back to the SI community as well as to my profession.”