Forty-seven seniors from St. Mary’s Academy received diplomas from St. Mary’s Academy assistant principal Cheryl Ross Brown, in ceremonies marking the 134th graduation of St. Mary’s Academy on May 16 at Austin Gymnasium. Father Daniel H. Green, pastor of Blessed Trinity Catholic Church was the principal celebrant and homilist of the Baccalaureate Mass that preceded the graduation ceremonies.
St. Mary’s Academy alumna Dr. Rayanne L. House, a general Pediatrician at Daughters of Charity Health Centers and a newborn nursery attending physician at Touro Infirmary served as the commencement speaker.
The members of the Class of 2019 have been accepted to more than 62 colleges and universities around the country and earned more than $6.1 million in scholarships and awards.
Armani Travis, daughter of Nedra Bell and Eric Travis of New Orleans, was valedictorian. Throughout her years at St. Mary’s Academy she has maintained both President’s Honor Roll and Renaissance Star status. Travis, a TOPS Scholar, earned the highest-average awards in science, English, social studies and physical education. She was a member of several extracurricular activities, including the National Honor Society, SMA Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, cheerleaders, Resurrection Singers, chorus, Mu Alpha Theta, SMA World Language Club, Science Club, SMA Ambassadors, Retreat Team, Pre-Alumnae, softball, archery and SMA Garden Club. She plans to attend the University of Louisiana at Lafayette majoring in mechanical engineering.
Salutatorians of the class were Dominique Hagans and DaJah Lawson.
Dominique Hagans is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Hagans of New Orleans. Hagans, a TOPS scholar, earned the highest average awards in physical education and art. She consistently maintained Principal’s Honor Roll and Renaissance Star status throughout her years at SMA. Additionally, Hagans was an active member of both the National and SMA Honor Societies, Mu Alpha Theta, video club, Resurrection Singers, chorus, SMA World Language Club, Science Club, Key Club, SMA Ambassadors, archery and SMA Garden Club. She will attend Fisk University majoring in Chemistry/Pre-Med.
DaJah Lawson is the daughter of Shawanda Jones of New Orleans. Throughout her years at St. Mary’s Academy she maintained both President’s Honor Roll and Renaissance Star status. Lawson, a TOPS Scholar, earned the highest average award in French. An Extraordinary Minister, she was actively involved in several extracurricular activities, including the National Honor Society, SMA Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, video club, Resurrection Singers, chorus, SMA World Language Club, Science Club, SMA Ambassadors, archery and SMA Garden Club. Lawson will attend Fisk University in Nashville, TN majoring in psychology/pre-med.
Earning the distinction of honor students were Daria Ball, Bria Sylvester, Arletta Colar, Harmony Bienemy, Kirsten Jones, Penni Ajala, Kaylor Hughes, Taylor Hughes, Serenity Jackson, Makayla Thibodeaux, Chidinma Emukah, Demi Bowens, Jemajha Wilson, Domonique Brown, Dominique Finch, DeShanaya Nelson, Jalana Butler and Alexis Cook.
Other graduates were Diamond Bartholomew, Keyell Bentley, Armour Brutus, Victoria Carrie, Ronaisha Cavalier, Tajanaya Charles, Raesia Deal, Danielle DeGree, Ronnesha Ewing, Kaylia Henry, Kayla Higgins, Tori Knight, Keirslynn Lawless, Rodnae Lee, Donya Marioneaux, Kaci Penn, Camryn Pittman, MeToki Randle, Jari Sherman, Dymen Slaughter, Layla Sterling, A’Lia Thomas, Calviana Thomas and Tionne Warren.Read More
St. Mary’s Academy recently inducted 20 students into the National Honor Society at a program held in Austin Gymnasium. Students who are inducted into the National Society are required to have a minimum 3.5 GPA. They must also have leadership roles in both school and community, inspire positive behavior in others, serve at least 75 hours (juniors) or 100 hours (seniors) of community service and consistently demonstrate respect, responsibility, trustworthiness, fairness, caring and good citizenship. Membership is offered to juniors and seniors who meet the criteria established by the National Association of Secondary School Principals in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service and character. Candidate members are selected through a comprehensive application for admission and once accepted, are expected to uphold the criteria of excellence in all four areas.
In addition to the National Honor Society inductees, fifty-four students were installed in the SMA Honor Society and fourteen were inducted into the Mu Alpha Theta Society. Students must maintain a “B” average to be invited to join the SMA Honor Society while Mu Alpha Theta members must have completed the equivalent of two years of college preparatory mathematics, including algebra and/or geometry, and have completed or are enrolled in a third year of college preparatory mathematics. On the 4-point grading scale, members must have at least a 3.0 math grade point average.
Alexis Cooks, a senior at St. Mary’s Academy, was selected to represent SMA in the Eighth Annual Swirly Scholarship Contest. Chosen for her high energy, passion and respectful nature, Alexis has created new flavor combination to be sold at Pinkberry stores over the next few weeks.
She calls it Cougar Crunch and it consists of original flavor, cheesecake bites, strawberries and waffle cookie. Points are accumulated through purchases. The student with the most points wins a $1,250 scholarship and free Pinkberry for the entire school. The contest runs through the middle of January.
Try out the Cougar Crunch at Pinkberry between now and February 1 to help Alexis and SMA win!Read More
Class of 2019
Early Acceptances – As of January 1, 2019
Alabama A & M University
Alcorn State University
Bethune Cookman University
Clark Atlanta University
Cedar Crest College
Centenary College of Louisiana
Full Sail University
Grambling State University
Jackson State University
Mississippi State University
Mary Baldwin University
Philander Smith College
Prairie View University
Spring Hill College
Southern University A & M
Southeastern Louisiana University
The University of Alabama Huntsville
The University of Southern Mississippi
University of Louisiana Lafayette
University of Holy Cross
University of Memphis
University of Kansas
As part of its continuing efforts to encourage literacy, the St. Mary’s Academy elementary division has partnered with The Kiwanis Club of Pontchartrain (KCP) to implement a new program that incentivizes reading. On Wednesday, January 16, members of the KCP will be on campus to kick off the Books for Bikes program which will run through May. Students in grades 2, 3 and 4 will participate in the initiative and will receive a free book and book report form at the B4B kick off.
When students complete their book reports, they return them to the teachers. Proper grammar and spelling are encouraged. One week prior to the end of the B4B session, KCP members collect the completed book reports, tabulate the results, and then let notify the school.
Each student who completes at least five book reports receives a certificate of participation. Students who complete at least ten book reports also receive a $5 McDonald’s gift card. In each grade, the student who reads the most books wins a new bicycle, bike helmet, and bike lock. Students must complete at least 15 book reports to be eligible to win the bike. In the past, the total completed book reports for the winner ranged from 18 to 68 books.
KCP awards certificates and the bike at an awards ceremony hosted by the school. All students from the competing grades attend the awards ceremony and parents are also encouraged to attend. KCP announces the bike winner at the awards ceremony.Read More
Developing the underlying cognitive abilities through an intensive individualized program is the goal of the BrainPower for Reading Program (BPR) at St. Mary’s Academy. Led by Sr. Mary Ellen Schroder, BPR represents the best practices in education, a result of the Sisters of Notre Dame’s 163 years of educational excellence and experience.
Conducted three times a week in the elementary division, BPR strengthens foundational cognitive skills such as attention, long and short term memory, auditory and visual processing and logic and reasoning, all required as a foundation for learning.
Growing up in New Orleans, Natalia Veronica developed an appreciation for art and culture at an early age. The daughter of a seamstress and an architect, she spent countless hours at either a sewing machine or drafting table learning how to sketch and fashion garments. Recognizing their daughter’s tremendous gifts, Natalia’s parents encouraged her artistic development.
In 1994, Natalia enrolled as a freshmen at St. Mary’s Academy where she participated in the Journalism Club and created artwork for class events and competitions. Following her graduation in 1997, she moved to Dallas to study fashion design at The Art Institute of Dallas. Upon earning a degree in fashion design, Natalia continued to create artwork and designs and worked for luxury based companies including Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Prada.
After a lifetime of sketching and painting, she decided to start exhibiting her artwork in various art shows. “As I began showing my paintings in galleries, I realized I wanted more people to be able to appreciate and attain my work,” said Natalia who also started creating limited edition prints of her original works. “I also wanted to find a way to incorporate my love of fashion design, that is when Natalia Veronica was established.”
All of Natalia’s merchandise is named for a personally significant street or moment. She even designed a hand painted handbag called the “Maryite” as a nod to her alma mater. The collection has been featured in many publications and selected for the Kimbell Museum of Art in Fort Worth, Texas.
A true trendsetter, Natalia designs products for both women and men. She is especially proud to say that her customers come in a mix of ages and genders. “Whether it’s a customer shopping for original art or well-designed merchandise, the customer is drawn to my items because they stand out from other mainstream products,” said Natalia. “I design with the idea that each piece is unique, and all customers can appreciate that concept.”
As the artist and owner of NV, Natalia is her own designer and patternmaker. She chooses fabrics, hand paints select items and cuts all fabrics for construction. Additionally she finishes products once they are constructed by local female contractors, and prints her own limited edition prints. In this way, she can be efficient while maintaining full control over the company.
So far, some favorite pieces she’s made include the Elysian Convertible Bag and the Delery Minibag, both of which are uniquely crated and multi-functional. And she never sells products she wouldn’t want to use herself — like the Maryite Crossbody Bag that she never leaves home without.
Regarding her education at St. Mary’s Academy, Natalia says “SMA gives young women the gift of being able to focus on their own path. I never had to compromise being creative while learning the necessary fundamentals which I also appreciated.”
Customers can expect to see a full assortment of her art-infused merchandise, including handbags, accessories, home décor and stationery goods, at her pop-up shop in the Shops at Willow Bend in Plano, Texas.
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana recently announced the selection of Dana Marie Douglas as Magistrate Judge for the District, . A 1993 graduate of St. Mary’s Academy, Ms. Douglas has litigated cases in Louisiana state and federal court for almost twenty years, primarily in the areas of commercial, energy, and intellectual property law. While at Loyola Law School, she served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Loyola University Public Interest Law Journal. After graduating law school, Ms. Douglas clerked for the Honorable Ivan L.R. Lemelle, United States District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
Ms. Douglas comes from the Liskow & Lewis firm, where she has worked for 17 years, first as an associate and then as a shareholder. She currently serves as the President of the New Orleans Bar Association and is also Past President of the Greater New Orleans Louis A. Martinet Society and a Board Member of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts Institute. She additionally served as a Vice-Chair and Commissioner of the New Orleans Civil Service Commission 2000-2013.
Ms. Douglas was the recipient of the distinguished Louisiana State Bar Association President’s Award in 2008 and was twice selected as one of the top 50 “Leaders in Law” in New Orleans. She was also most recently named to New Orleans CityBusiness’ ‘Women of the Year’ 2017.
St. Mary’s Academy elementary students now have the opportunity to learn the game of tennis plus a whole lot more thanks to A’s & Ace’s, a non-profit founded in New Orleans in 2008. Students in grades 1-4 are given free tennis classes, life skills and academic assistance twice a week during their physical education class period.
According to organizers, tennis is more than “just a game” and is the least important component of A’s & Aces’ tripartite mission. While character developing life-skills and academic support are critical to having successful, productive lives, the sport of tennis also provides the ability to build social, academic and career networks through playing a fun, life-long, global, non-contact, co-ed, team and individual sport.
Founded in 2008 by David Schumacher, a tennis pro, tennis teacher and former women’s tennis coach at Tulane University; and Anna Monhartova, a nationally ranked college player at Tulane, A’s & Ace’s also conducts after school programs, weekend and summer literacy and tennis programs across the city.
St. Mary’s Academy will host young leaders from the Water Environment Federation (WEF) for a special event called Water Palooza on Friday, September 28 from 9am to 2:30pm at St. Mary’s Academy Elementary, 6905 Chef Menteur Blvd, in New Orleans East.
Water Palooza will feature hands-on activities and demonstrations designed to connect the next generation with water, how essential it is to everything, and how we are all responsible for taking care of it.
Organized by WEF’s Students & Young Professionals Committee (SYPC), as part WEFTEC 2018 – WEF’s 91st annual technical exhibition and conference, the event is designed to promote participation, foster networking and knowledge exchange, and encourage involvement in the cause of clean water within the water profession and the local community.
Nearly 300 elementary students from the school will enjoy a program of fun and educational water awareness activities. Activities will include a game about wastewater treatment, learning what you can and cannot flush down a toilet, a hands-on activity about Louisiana’s lines of defense from storm surge, and a demonstration on storm water and infiltration.
Students at SMA wishing to assume a leadership position at school took part in the 3rd annual Project LEAD workshop today. The workshop featured presentations on effective communication, proper presentation and leadership attributes led by alumnae Kathy Taylor, Alexis Doss and Ayanna Fultz.
St. Mary’s Academy will begin its first full day of classes on Monday, August 13 but students can catch the Maryite spirit even before starting class. The Weeks of Welcome “WOW,” is a series of events and informative seminars geared specifically to getting new and returning students involved and excited about SMA from day one.
The WOW festivities will kick off on Tuesday, August 7 with a Family Bash. The picnic-style event will take place from 5:00-8:00pm on the grounds of the school’s campus located at 6905 Chef Menteur Blvd.
Three gourmet food trucks will participate including Cocoa and Cream Mobile Foods and Catering, Kenny’s Cajun & Creole Food Truck and Valerie’s Snow-Balls and Ice Cream. Additionally, the event will feature kiddie train rides, music, parent/student look-alike contest, manicures, pedicures, facials and other goodies by Spoil Me Rott’n Day Spa.
Admission to the event is free and is open to all SMA students and their families, faculty, staff and alumnae of the school. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs, tables and blankets. Food truck items will be sold with costs ranging from $2 to $15. Menu items include chicken and waffles, fish, shrimp, crawfish and oyster po’boys; jerk shrimp tacos, gourmet pretzel burgers, hot sausage po-boys, ya-ka-mein, authentic lamb/beef gyro, hot dogs, ice cream, and snowballs. No outside food and drink will be allowed on campus.
SMA will also host its Welcome Convocation at 8:00AM on Thursday, August 9 in Austin Gymnasium. Signaling the formal beginning of the student academic experience, the Convocation will include messages from the school’s president and principal, keynote address by survivor, evangelist and alumna Anthonise McMorris Davenport and a performance by noted author, educator and alumna Arianne Craig Jolla.
Following the Convocation, students will be treated to a Sister to Sister Dialogue, offering alumnae perspectives on the SMA experience. Rounding out the day will be a Pinning Ceremony for the freshman class, officially signaling their arrival into the high school division.
On Friday, August 10, all students will take part in the Academic B.A.S.H. (Be a Success Here,) featuring seminars on topics such as time management, stress management, testing skills, improving concentration and reading effectively for academic success.
Additional highlights of WOW include a Project LEAD workshop for all students who plan on assuming a leadership role at SMA.
“WOW” is a collaborative, introductory effort to welcome, educate and transition our students to life at St. Mary’s Academy,” says director of Student Affairs Lisa Ross, adding that the events also serve as a vehicle to emphasize expectations, resources and traditions of the school. “Our ultimate goal is to equip all of our students with the necessary resources to navigate the school year with ease and academic success.”
To say that Jasmin Bindom is an amazing young woman is an understatement. Defying what seemed to be insurmountable odds, this dynamic dynamo continues to inspire and astound people every day.
Bindom was a high school junior at St. Mary’s Academy in 2011 when she suddenly became ill. She spent weeks in a burn unit at a local hospital before being diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS). The debilitating disease is caused by a severe reaction to both over the counter and prescription medication, and can be fatal if not properly and promptly diagnosed and treated.
Following many surgeries and painstaking recovery, Bindom is a survivor in every sense of the word. Presently a senior at Dillard University in New Orleans majoring in public health, she also works tirelessly to promote awareness and raise money for Stevens-Johnson syndrome through her Team Jasmin SJS Awareness Walk. Additionally, she also supports St. Mary’s Academy each year by generously giving a $2000 scholarship to a deserving senior.
“I graduated from SMA and wanted to be able to give back to my alma mater,” said Bindom adding that senior year can be especially trying in terms of financial obligations. “A little extra money can go a long way when buying books and other needed materials for college.”
For Deja Crayton, the scholarship was awarded following her submission of a moving essay on SJS to Bindom. “This scholarship afforded me a wonderful opportunity to not only further my education but learn more about Stevens-Johnson syndrome,” said Crayton who will study nursing in the fall at Southern University in Baton Rouge.
“I am so grateful to Ms. Bindom for this most generous award.”
A wide range of science concepts may be learned through cooking, but the logistics can make it difficult to cook in a classroom. Not a problem for kindergarten teacher Theresa Barnhizer who recently taught her preschoolers how to make ice cream using milk, sugar, ice and zip lock bags.
According to experts, making ice cream with preschoolers teaches about how properties of matter can change without having to deal with the potential dangers associated with cooking with a group of children. While an ice cream maker can be an effective tool, making individual portions in a bag is both fun and educational.
Photos courtesy of NOLA.com and the Advocate.com
For the first time since 2001, St. Mary’s Academy is headed to the Final Four. The Cougars cinched a seat in the Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Girls Marsh Madness with a stunning victory over reigning Division III state championship Northlake Christian. Now they are just two wins away from hanging another state championship banner in the gym beside the coveted championship won in 1998.
St. Mary’s Academy plays Riverside in Wednesday’s semifinal in Alexandria. A win there and they would advance to the championship game to play either St. Thomas Aquinas or rival St. Katharine Drexel Prep in what would most certainly be an all-New Orleans showdown.
Profiles in Black
Every morning during announcements, a student will profile a significant event or icon in
Black History Month Quiz Bowl
Thursday, February 22, 2018
In honor of Black History Month we will be hosting a Black History Quiz Bowl. Each grade level is asked to form a team of four people to represent them. Study guides for all students and teachers are available on RenWeb. The quiz bowl will take place in the gym on Thursday, February 22 at 1:30PM. The following teams will face off against each other:
5th grade and 6th
7th and 8th
9th and 10th
11th and 12th
Homeroom Decorating Contest
Judging on Thursday, February 22, 2018
Every middle and high school homeroom is asked to decorate their classroom by depicting the theme, Remembering Our Heritage While Shaping Our Future. Classroom judging will take place on Thursday, February 22nd at 3:30PM. Winning classes will be notified on Friday, February 23rd during the Black History Talent Showcase.
Prizes: Classes placing first, second and third will receive a trophy. The first place winners will also receive a pizza party and the homeroom teacher will receive a $50 gift card.
- Do Not use any supplies/materials that will damage school property. Examples include, but are not limited to super glue, hot glue, duct tape, electrical tape, and markings directly on the doors or walls.
- Students should arrange a time with the teacher as to the best times to decorate the classroom
- All decorations must be completed by 3:00PM on February 22nd.
Classes will be judged on Originality, Neatness, Creativity and Theme Adherence.
My Black is Beautiful Day
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
On Tuesday, February 20 is proclaimed My Black is Beautiful Day. On this day students may wear the school’s My Black is Beautiful Shirt that is available for $10. Every homeroom teacher will receive an envelope and order form for their class. All orders must be placed no later than Friday morning, February 9, 2018.
Black History Talent Showcase
Friday, February 23, 2018
Friday, February 23 is African American Heritage Celebration. Students who pay $1 may dress in African inspired outfits and we will have an extended lunch 11:30-1:15 PM. We will have face painting, vendors and food trucks. At 1:30PM there will be a Talent Showcase in the gymnasium.Read More
It’s been 71 years since Elaine Romain Vallot graduated from St. Mary’s Academy but time never diminished her desire to give back to her alma mater. That dream recently became a reality, when the 1946 graduate presented the school with a check for $25,000.
Designated to fund multiple merit and need-based scholarships for the students of St. Mary’s Academy, the generous donation was made in memory of former SMA principal Mother Mary Francis Borgia, SSF, who was instrumental in Vallot’s life while a student at St. Mary’s Academy.
“Mother Borgia saw to it that I got my diploma and she didn’t ask for a penny,” said Vallot adding that her family had been experiencing tremendous financial hardship. “When someone extends a hand to help you its important to give back.”
Born in New Orleans in 1930 to John and Leda LeVasseur Romain, Vallot grew up with her five siblings in the 7th ward. She attended elementary school at Valena C. Jones, and then went on to attend St. Mary’s Academy, where she graduated in 1946 at the age of 16. With the help of Mother Mary Francis Borgia, Vallot became a teacher for a small community school near Port Sulfur, LA. There she became acquainted with a couple who later introduced her to William Vallot, a sugar cane farmer from Vermilion Parish. She and William wed in 1952 and settled in a farming community called Grosse Isle, outside of Abbeville, LA, where they have spent the past 64 years. They were blessed with six children, three sons and three daughters. She lost a son to cancer in 1993, and most recently, William was laid to rest. Elaine devoted her life to raising her children and being a strong support to William, as he and the family grew what has become a substantial sugar cane operation. Her sons currently cultivate over 3000 acres of sugar cane annually.
Throughout the years, Vallot regaled her children with stories of her early life, including those of her years as a student at St. Mary’s Academy. Her fondest memory is of Mother Mary Francis Borgia, who helped her by forgiving the tuition debt her family couldn’t pay, thus allowing her to graduate. Elaine always vowed that she would someday return the kindness shown to her by Mother Borgia. That promise was fulfilled on December 2, 2017 at the 150th Anniversary Gala, when Vallot and her family presented a gift of $25,000 to SMA president Sr. Clare of Assisi Pierre, SSF.
Beautiful Lawson, the New Orleans City Queen for the National All-American Miss Teen Pageant recently represented the Big Easy in Anaheim, Calif. by competing in the Teen division of the nationwide pageant.
Lawson is a 17-year-old graduating senior at St. Mary’s Academy. Her first pageant, the National American Miss Louisiana, which took place in June, qualified her to advance to the National All-American Miss Teen pageant where she was the voice and face of New Orleans.
While Lawson did not clinch a national title in the pageant, she represented her city well and is appreciative for the opportunity. Being able to represent the city where my actual heart is, was pretty cool, Lawson said adding that her participation was a great stepping stone to her future endeavor of becoming an actress.
Inspired by former Disney Channel star, China Anne McClain and Golden Globe award-winning actress Taraji P. Henson, Lawson said she hopes to be as influential as those two strong Black women.Read More
The Department of Defense has partnered with St. Mary’s Academy to offer a dynamic program aimed at cultivating the next generation of engineers and scientists.
STARBASE 2.0 is a three year creative immersion into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts through hands-on science and engineering activities and projects. The 2.0 curriculum is a continuation of the original STARBASE program, which provides fifth grade students with an exciting 25-hour hands-on, STEM course.
Twenty-five Male Academy students in grades six and seven are currently taking part in the program this semester. The curriculum covers bridge building, Bristol Bot robots and robotics.
According to Lisa Calabresi, director of the local STARBASE academy, STARBASE 2.0 combines STEM activities with a relationship-rich, school-based environment that provides the missing link for youth making the transition from elementary to middle school.
These type of hands-on activities really excite and challenge students,” Calabresi said. “It really opens doors for students who don’t believe it is possible for them to make achievements in the subjects of science, technology, engineering, and math.”
STARBASE Jackson Barracks 2.0 Program has been operating since 2015. This is the first year that they have partnered with St. Mary Academy. In January, the program will be extended to St. Mary’s Academy middle school girls.
Raising awareness in the sciences was the focus of a recent workshop hosted by Xavier University’s Physics Department. SMA students who have taken physics within the last three years spent a full-day on Xavier’s campus learning the science behind everyday items such as cellular devices and computers. They also toured the department, had lunch and built their own roller coasters from items that were present in the classroom.
According to Sr. Judith Therese Barial who heads the Science department at St. Mary’s Academy, the workshop demonstrated to the students the relevancy of Math to their daily lives, the world around them and their future careers. “Math and Science teachers strive to provide a real-world context for the skills that they teach as well as the rationale behind the concept they are teaching,” said Sr. Judith. “This workshop took them out of the realm of the classroom and gave them practical, real-world applications of the sciences.”
On Friday, October 6, 2017, the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family continued their 175th anniversary celebration with a Youth Mass, 10:00AM at
St. Mary’s Academy. New Orleans Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond served as celebrant of the Mass with concelebrants Father Daniel Green and Father Howard Byrd and homilist Father Tony Ricard.
More than 500 students representing schools throughout the Archdiocese of New Orleans were in attendance as well as a host of priests, deacons, Sisters of the Holy Family and invited guests. Schools present at the Mass included St. Mary’s Academy, St. Augustine High School, Katharine Drexel Prep, St. Peter Claver, Jesuit, Holy Cross, Archbishop Rummel, De la Salle High School, St. Leo the Great, St. Joan of Arc, Archbishop Chapelle, St. Rita and St. Michael School.
Twenty years before the Civil War of the United States, and before it was legal for such a congregation to exist, the Sisters of the Holy Family were founded in New Orleans by Venerable Henriette Delille, a free woman of color and co-founders Juliette Gaudin and Josephine Charles. The congregation dedicated their lives to teaching the slaves, caring for the elderly and the most abject of society.
Since their founding in 1842, the Sisters have been the faces of love, mercy and compassion to people all over the world including the United States, Belize, Central America, and Africa. Additionally, they have faithfully ministered in schools, parishes, nursing homes, prisons and housing for the elderly.
The Sisters of the Holy Family have a rich legacy of caring and sharing with and for the people of God, said SMA president and alumna Sr. Clare of Assisi Pierre, SSF who served for 13 years in Belize. This Mass, dedicated to our youth, is a great way to acknowledge and celebrate the commitment that the Sisters made 175 years ago.
Those sentiments were echoed by St. Mary’s Academy principal Sr. Jennie Jones, SSF, a 1970 alumna of the Academy.
As one of the oldest private Catholic schools in the nation, we are exceedingly grateful to the Sisters of the Holy Family and foundress Venerable Henriette Delille for their foresight, perseverance and continued guidance, said Sr. Jennie Jones, SSF. This celebration is an opportunity for our youth in the city to come together and reflect on the blessings of our past, recognize the many opportunities of our present and work toward an even brighter future.
You may download a copy of the Youth Mass Program by clicking the link below;
St. Mary’s Academy will host its annual Debutante Ball on Friday,
April 27, 2018, 8PM at the Pontchartrain Center. At that time, the 39 members of the senior class will be formally presented to society.
Highlighting the ball will be the presentation of the queen and her Royal Court. In order to secure a place in the court, there are guidelines that must be met. Contestants must raise a minimum of $1000 to secure a place in the court. The contestant raising the most money will be crowned queen. If a contestant plans to sell food items on campus, they must first sign a permission form and place a non-refundable deposit of $300. To obtain a copy of the permission form, please click the link below:
Seven SMA students have been selected to participate in the Teen Ambassadors Against Crime program sponsored by Crimestoppers of New Orleans. They are Demi Bowens, Caitlyn Banks, Tori Knight, Donya Marioneaux, Rodnae’ Lee, Kaci Penn and Dymen Slaughter.
The TAAC program teaches youth how to examine violence and law-related issues in the context of their schools and communities and how to apply what they learn to real-life circumstances. Students learn about the different types of crime, the costs and consequences of crime, conflict management strategies, how crime affects communities, and what community prevention programs and services are available to them. The program also increases social responsibility in teens, educates them about the law, reduces their potential for victimization, and engages them in making their homes, schools, and communities safer.
Teen Ambassadors selected for 2017-2018 will have the opportunity to participate in:
ROPES Leadership Course
Youth Peace Congress featuring professional speakers and community leaders.
Engaging with Community Resources: Listen to and interact with guest speakers who are prominent members of the local crime prevention and criminal justice community
Tour of Orleans Parish Prison and conversation with rehabilitated parolees.
Networking for student internships and the opportunity to compete for a possible scholarship.
Service learning projects where teens will apply what they have learned to help inform and inspire their peers to be involved in crime prevention
Congratulations to the following middle school students who have earned the title of Student of the Month for September. These outstanding students exemplify great moral character, good citizenship and are hard workers academically.
Since she was a young girl growing up in New Orleans, LA, Lakiesha Claude Williams dreamed of becoming a physician. She always had an aptitude for science and loved caring for others in need.
Yet her plans to work as a medical doctor changed during her senior year of high school at St. Mary’s Academy, when a teacher introduced her to the world of mathematics.
Fast-forward to present day, Dr. Lakiesha N. Williams is an associate professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Mississippi State University. She was the first African-American to get a graduate degree in biological engineering from Louisiana State University , the first African-American to earn a doctorate in biomedical engineering from Mississippi State University, and the first female faculty member in her current department.
Williams also contributes to several outreach programs geared to female engineers in the Mississippi State area and is one of the co-advisors to the Society of Women Engineers at MSU.
Her research focuses on the biomechanics of traumatic brain and leg injuries and how tissues and organs are damaged while developing measures to protect tissues and organs. She and her team then use that data to create safety gear for soldiers and athletes to help them prevent those types of injuries in the future.
Williams credits the preparation that she received at St. Mary’s Academy as a contributing factor to her success as an engineer.
The faculty at SMA preached excellence to us in a loving way and many of them would not accept anything less than our best, said Williams adding that she spent countless late nights awake triple checking her Calculus homework. I believe our teachers were showing us that in real life we will not always get do-overs or partial credit. SMA taught me to never slack on my achievements and when I commit to anything to dive in and go for the gold!