St. Mary’s Academy Alumnae Association held its annual Blue and Gold Ball on Saturday, November 5, 2016 in Austin Gymnasium. Reigning as this year’s queen was Cathy Green Miner, a graduate of the class of 1983 and a Mental Health Counselor at St. Mary’s Academy. Cathy was crowned by Sunni Fitch who reigned as the first queen of the Blue and Gold Ball last year.
As adults headed to the polls on Tuesday, November 8, SMA’s elementary students stood in line to cast their vote for the candidate of their choice. Organized by 2nd grade teacher Melanie Giardina, the mock election afforded the young students the opportunity to select whom they felt should serve as the 45th President of the United States.
“We wanted our students to know the importance of being active participants in the election process,” said Giardina adding that the idea to hold a mock election grew out of a social studies lesson on civic involvement. “As the election grew nearer, I wanted to make the voting process come alive for them and be as realistic as possible.”
Each elementary student cast their vote by checking off their candidate’s name on the ballot. Pre-K students were paired with 2nd graders who helped them understand the process.
Giardina hopes that students better understand that the right to vote is a privilege that every citizen should take seriously. “It is important for them to know that their vote does matter despite the outcome of the election, ” said Giardina. “”This is what our country is all about. Today should not be the last time that they cast their vote.”
For as long as he can remember, Remy Jones has possessed a keen interest in the development of youth spirituality. Volunteering in various diocesan youth ministry programs, he has also served in several capacities including that of religion teacher and workshop presenter.
That spiritual journey has led Jones to embark on yet another chapter in his life, becoming the new campus minister at St. Mary’s Academy. With an emphasis on nurturing the faith life of the school, Jones hopes to bring a new energy and vision to the department.
I am pleased to be a part of the SMA family and look forward to building a faith community that responds to the spiritual needs of everyone, said Jones, adding that student-led initiatives will be a major priority. Students are being trained to accept leadership positions of service including that of Eucharistic ministers, retreat team facilitators and peer ministers.
The SMA Campus Ministry office offers a variety of prayer experiences, provides opportunities for students and faculty to celebrate the Sacraments, coordinates liturgical celebrations, organizes retreats and empowers work for justice and service.
Jones is a graduate of St. Augustine High School and Dillard University where he earned a B.S. in Accounting. He is presently pursuing a Masters in Pastoral Studies at Loyola University in New Orleans, LA.
The choice of a college or university can be a daunting task and is arguably one of the most important decisions a student will make regarding their future. Recognizing this fact, the counseling department of St. Mary’s Academy endeavors to give students a competitive edge by taking them on college tours.
Beginning in the freshmen year, students tour locally, including Dillard University and Xavier University while sophomores visit Tuskegee University, Huntingdon College and Alabama State University.
The junior experience is even more extensive with visits that include Spelman College, Clark-Atlanta, Vanderbilt University, Tennessee State University, Fisk University, Bethune-Cookman University and the University of Central Florida.
By the time the senior year arrives, students have visited a myriad of colleges and universities however, the experience is enhanced with visits to Jackson State University, University of Southern Mississippi, Southern University
A& M, Louisiana State University, University of Louisiana Lafayette and Southeastern Louisiana University.
“There are several ways to evaluate a college, from brochures to videos however, nothing beats seeing a college campus for yourself,” said SMA assistant principal and senior academic advisor Pamela Rogers who coordinates the tours each year. “Our students have firsthand exposure to each campus setting, the college’s curriculum and overall advantages so they can make informed decisions.”
U.S. News and Princeton Review have noted that college tours and campus visits are “an absolute necessity” for college bound students adding it is very important that students visit a variety of college campuses in order to determine which type of higher education institution is better fitted (large or small, private or public, urban or rural, etc.) for them.
SMA academic advisor Tamiko Massey-Haynes concurs with that assessment and works tirelessly to encourage students to take full advantage of the program. “Our students have the opportunity to visit HBCU’s, Ivy League, public and private universities so they can determine what setting is right for them,” said Massey-Haynes who says that learning the admission requirements of the colleges is critical to student success. “Once students understand the requirements they are able to set academic and personal goals early in high school, which in turn increases their chances of being accepted to the institution of their choice.”
Senior Raiyon Hunter has been exploring her options and appreciates the opportunity to visit so many colleges. “Visiting the campuses has really opened my eyes and given me a chance to see where I will spend the next four years of my life,’ said Hunter. “I am truly grateful to SMA for giving us the chance to tour so many colleges and universities.”
Bethune-Cookman Concert Chorale students and the Office of Admissions recently visited SMA as part of their annual fall tour to Alabama and Louisiana. The purpose of the fall tour, according to organizers, is to bring the complete Bethune-Cookman University experience to high schools and churches. While at SMA, the chorale performed for the senior class and the members of the SMA chorus. Additionally, they presented scholarships to three SMA seniors to the university.
Raiyon Hunter, received a full tuition scholarship and Airelle Harris and Shania Tyler received partial scholarship offers.
B-CU has over 3,500 students, boasting 40 undergraduate and graduate programs. The institution is known for its important place in U.S. history because of its founder, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune.
St. Mary’s Academy offers many opportunities for students to grow in their faith, including daily prayer, religion classes, monthly Masses, Sacrament of Reconciliation and retreats.
Recently, the sixty-one members of the Class of 2017 had their very own retreat in Bay St. Louis, MS at the Society of the Divine Word Retreat Center. Coordinated by SMA campus minister Mr. Remy Jones, the retreat afforded students an opportunity for renewal, reflection and reaffirmation of their faith.
Making the transition from middle to high school can be a little intimidating for some, but not for the 47 members of the SMA Class of 2020 who recently took part in Freshmen Initiation. Held on Friday, September 30th in Austin Gymnasium , the event featured the pairing of the each freshman with a senior big sister(s).
According to SMA Student Affairs director, Lisa Ross, Freshmen Initiation is a time-honored tradition of the academy that fosters friendship, support and sisterhood. “Freshmen Initiation continues to be one of the most anticipated events of the school year as it has been for decades,” said Ross. “It is our hope that the bonds that are formed between our students will be empowering and last a lifetime.”
This year’s theme was “Meant to Bee Sisters,” with the seniors leading the way as the “Queen Bees,” and the freshmen being the “Honey-Queen to Bees.” The day included games, dancing, crafts and dining provided by the Class of 2017.
The senior moderator is Ms. Dana Atkins and the freshmen moderator is Mrs. Latoyia Cains Evans.
St. Mary’s Academy Elementary and Male Academy students showed their appreciation to the New Orleans Police Department recently as part of Geaux Blue Day at SMA. Officers from the Seventh District visited the school, spoke with students and enjoyed a luncheon in their honor.
Five years ago, when Miquel James was an eighth grader, she declared to her English teacher and Student Council moderator Latoyia Cains Evans that one day she would lead the student body as its president. So it came as no surprise to anyone that when she became a senior, she would do just that.
“Miquel is a natural-born leader who always had that vision for herself,” said Evans adding that James would reaffirm her intentions every year. “She set a goal for herself and worked exceedingly hard to make that dream come to fruition.”
James was recently elected president of the Student Council running on a platform that touted what she believes are best assets. “I am kind, open-minded, responsible and conscientious,” said James who was elected by a landslide vote. “I want the students to know that they can come to me and trust that I will be their voice here on campus.”
Likewise, Naomi Boyd began to see herself in a leadership position last year as a junior. Now a member of the Class of 2017, Boyd has assumed the role of vice-president of the Student Council. “I notice that a lot of girls look up to me as a leader and come to me for advice,” said Boyd who has attended SMA for the past four years. “I get along with people very well and always want to be a source of motivation and positivity,” said Boyd.
James and Boyd are joined by two equally qualified and enthusiastic student officers. Maci Broaden, a senior, is the secretary and senior Diamond Haynes will serve as the treasurer. Broaden, a self-confessed “shy person by nature,” hopes that her humble spirit and desire to step out of her comfort zone to serve others will make her a successful leader. Haynes, who has been at SMA since the second grade, has considerable experience working as the treasurer of her church’s youth ministry and treasurer of the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc Rhoer’s Club. She credits her mother Fay Haynes with giving her the impetus to run for office at St. Mary’s Academy. “I can be a little shy at times but my mother has always been a take charge type of person,” said Haynes. “She assured me that I had the ability and know-how to do the job.”
Collectively, the officers hope to lead by example and make school spirit a high priority. They also would like to see more opportunities for middle school students to be included in the decision making policies of the school as well as have greater access to clubs and events.
From the tropical island of Jamaica to New Orleans, LA, 16 year-old Britany Haye has always set her sights high. So when she decided to join her mother in the United States, Britany looked for a school that had equally high standards and a solid record of academic achievement for girls.
My mother, sister and I searched the internet and discovered the St. Mary’s Academy web site, adding that it was important to find an educational institution with similarities to her former school, St. Hilda’s Diocesan High of Jamaica. While my other school was Anglican, St. Mary’s is quite the same in terms of academics and the friendly environment.
Likewise, when Army brat Beautiful Lawson was presented with the opportunity to leave Mons, Belgium and live in New Orleans, she knew exactly what school she would attend. Following in the footsteps of her grandmother, Phyllis Randall Jones,’68, Lawson enrolled this year at SMA as a junior. My grandmother always spoke so highly of St. Mary’s Academy and I knew it would be the perfect place for me, said Lawson, adding that like her mother Rhonda Lawson, she has always had an interest in programs that empower young women. I love to learn about aspects of finer womanhood that emphasize morals and proper etiquette.
Lawson is passionate about theater and dreams of one day becoming an actress. Her hobbies also include singing and playing tennis and volleyball.
Haye is also equally talented and excels in Mathematics which is her favorite subject. An avid soccer player, her hobbies also include net ball, dancing and playing the drums.
We are very happy that Britany and Beautiful chose St. Mary’s Academy to further their academic career, said assistant principal Cheryl Ross Brown, adding that both students are proven achievers both in and outside the classroom setting. Both young ladies bring a unique academic perspective to our school and are beginning to develop what we hope will be lifelong friendships with their Maryite sisters.
On January 20, 2016, the fifth and sixth grade boys in the St. Mary’s Male Academy marked a major milestone in their lives with the formal presentation and blessing of their school blazers. Several prominent businessmen were on hand to make the presentation to the boys including State Senator Wesley Bishop who also delivered the keynote address.
One of St. Mary’s Academy’s most beloved teacher and administrator has died. Sr. Joseph Angela, affectionately known to many as “Sr. Joe” passed away on Sunday, December 13th at 6:55pm at the age of 94. She would have turned 95 on December 16th.
A native of New Orleans who grew up in St. Joan of Arc Parish, Sr. Joe was taught by the Sisters of the Holy Family. Her desire grew to serve God in the same manner. Sister taught in both elementary and secondary schools in Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana. She served 33 years as a teacher and administrator at St. Mary’s Academy. Last year she celebrated 75 years as a Sister of the Holy Family.
Funeral arrangements for Sr. Joseph Angela, SSF are as follows:
Motherhouse Chapel, Thursday, December 17, 2015
9:15 AM- Rosary
10:00AM- Mass of Christian Burial
|Vice President||Allison Henry|
|Moderator||Mrs. Latoyia Evans|
In nearly three decades as an educator, coach, athletic director and administrator at St. Mary’s Academy, Keith Haywood has impacted the lives of thousands of people.
On Monday, November 16, the institution he loves will acknowledge his contributions when it formally names the basketball court in his honor.
Coach Haywood represents the commitment, hard work, dedication and loyalty to St. Mary’s Academy that we hope all of our students and faculty bring to our programs, said SMA president Sr. Clare of Assisi Pierre, SSF, adding that the honor is well-deserved. We are exceedingly proud of him and his legacy of greatness.
Haywood began teaching at St. Mary’s Academy in 1988 and became head coach shortly thereafter. The most successful coach in St. Mary’s Academy history, he earned an impressive 592 victories as head coach, winning 71% of his games. Haywood’s varsity teams have made the playoffs an amazing twenty-one times and in 1998, he led the Cougars to a state championship win, becoming the first girls’ team from Orleans parish to earn that honor. Thirty-nine of his players have received college scholarships; two have become pro players, with one WNBA star. Additionally, Haywood has been named Metro Coach of the Year three times, Orleans Parish Coach of the Year six times and District Coach of the Year fifteen times.
“I have always demanded that each player give her personal best,” said Haywood adding it takes hard work to become a basketball player.
We are running in the morning at 6:30AM, conditioning and preparing for the mental aspect of the game.
The Cougars also test their skills nationally by competing in invitational tournaments in other states including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New York, South Carolina, and Texas. This year they will travel to Charleston, SC to play in the Carolina Invitational Tournament.
In addition to serving as head basketball coach, Haywood also oversees the volleyball, softball, track and cross-country teams. He is a social studies teacher and department head and demands the same excellence and hard work from his students in the classroom.
Academics comes first and it is incumbent upon our students to be well-rounded, active participants in today’s society, said Haywood who devotes much of his classroom time to teaching about social justice, African American history and cultural awareness. Our students need to know that they stand on the shoulders of greatness.
A humble man, Coach Haywood is the first to acknowledge that he did not earn this honor alone. I am truly grateful to my family for their sacrifices, the young players and my friends Mr. Myron Angel and Mr. Dedeaux who have volunteered their time and talent daily.
The basketball court will be officially named for Keith Haywood, Sr. during the first home game to be held on Monday, November 16 at 5:00pm.
Keith Haywood is an ordained minister and the father of three children; Kelly, Keith and Kolin Haywood.
New Orleans, LA —St. Mary’s Academy ushered in a new historic era recently opening the doors to its Male Academy. Serving boys in grades 4-7, the school seeks to promote character development, spirituality and academic success in an atmosphere that is supportive and disciplined.
St. Mary’s Male Academy offers a unique opportunity for middle school boys to better prepare themselves for high school and beyond, said Dean of Boys Chad Smith, citing the importance of reaching boys at an early age and providing a holistic education. We offer the perfect balance that supports the development of the entire person; physically, mentally, academically and spiritually.
According to a report by the Schott Foundation for Public Education, Louisiana ranks 43rd in the United States for black male high school graduation rates. In 2012-13, 53 percent of Louisiana black male students completed high school in four years, compared to the national average of 59 percent.
The core principles of the St. Mary’s Male Academy include a challenging college preparatory curriculum that includes theology, science, robotics, history, English, art, reading, music, physical education and technology. ACT Prep, study skills, higher order thinking and testing are also offered.
Externally, the sense of pride is reflected in a host of activities that include soccer, football, basketball, cross country and baseball. Plans are also in the works to provide swimming and golf.
Our school is rooted in the same educational tradition of the Sisters of the Holy Family, who founded both St. Mary’s Academy and St. Mary’s Male Academy, said Smith, a graduate of St. Augustine High School and Dillard University. We expect our boys to develop into men with morals, character and intelligence.
St. Mary’s Academy held its annual Red Carpet Awards on Wednesday, February 4, 2015 in Austin Gymnasium. The program recognized students for stellar achievement in and outside the classroom. Modeled after the Academy Awards student honorees walked a red carpet and were presented with Oscar-like trophies and certificates for their achievements. Students who attained Honor Roll status were presented with certificates and special awards were given for Most School Spirit, Most Cooperative and Most Improved.
On Saturday April 18th, St. Mary’s Academy will host its annual Mother and Daughter Tea for the members of the senior class and their moms. A time-honored tradition at the Academy, the tea is the prelude to the annual debutante Ball that will take place the following Friday April 24th at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner.
This year’s tea will be held at the Windsor Court Hotel, renowned for its excellent service and attention to detail. Featured highlights of the event include the presentation of the Royal Court, Debutantes and their lovely moms. Former Debutante queens are asked to call Ms. Lisa Ross at 504-810-6546 for additional information.Read More
Tiffany Doss, a senior at St. Mary’s Academy recently signed her letter of intent to attend Grambling State University in the Fall. Tiffany is an honor student who has earned a 3.74 GPA and she is the Captain of the Softball Team. She has been a member of the Softball Team since her 6th grade year at St. Mary’s Academy. She intends to play Softball at Grambling State and major in Biology/Pre-Med.
St. Mary’s Academy students and faculty will receive a visit from Zulu King Garren Mims, Sr. and Queen Georgette Mims on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 2:30PM. The royal couple will be accompanied by the famed Zulu Walking Warriors and Zulu Historian Emeritus Clarence A. Becknell, Sr., who will give the history of the club and deliver words of encouragement to the students.
It is truly an honour to welcome Zulu royalty back to our campus, said SMA president Sr. Clare of Assisi Pierre, SSF adding that the royal duo has a long association with the school. The king and queen have a daughter who is a junior at St. Mary’s Academy and the queen is an alumna as well so we are doubly pleased to have the opportunity to share in this momentous occasion.