Congratulations to SMA sophomore Penny Ajala who was named Most Valuable Player in the St. Mary’s Academy Marching Band. Terry Davis of Cumulus Radio presented Penny with an Iphone and the marching unit with a trophy. Kudos to band director Ray Johnson and Assistant band director Kurt Brunus on a great season! (pictured below from left to right are Ray Johnson, Penny Ajala and Terry Davis.)
In celebration of the achievements of African Americans this month, St.Mary’s Academy will host an art exhibit of one of its most promising students. Barriane Franks, a senior, has loved art for as long as she can remember. Upon enrolling at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA), she was ecstatic to receive professional art instruction and decided to utilize the opportunity to hone her skills visually and conceptually. During her first years at NOCCA and SMA, she was inspired to develop a body of work that illustrated modern social injustice issues while paralleling past historical events. Her pieces “Inner Strength through Tribulations” and “Genocide of Peaceful Innocents” are both members of this series. Barriane intends to continue adding pieces to make a massive series of work dedicated to this subject.
The exhibition can be viewed on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 in the Austin Gymnasium foyer from 10:00AM-3:00PM. Barriane will be on hand to offer insight into her collection as well as encouragement for others interested in becoming an artist.
“Throughout my career as an artist, I want to inspire my viewers, convey to them my emotions, and give them a new outlook on life,” says Barriane.
Christal Keller was born and raised in the 7th ward of New Orleans, Louisiana, a product of the Archdiocesan elementary school system. A graduate of the St. Mary’s Academy class of 1993, she finished in the top 10 of her class.
Following graduation from SMA, and after several major of study changes, Christal went on to earn a Bachelor’s of Science Degree from the University of New Orleans in General Studies – Health Sciences in 2002. While earning her degree from the University of New Orleans, she began working for Walmart Pharmacy in June of 1998 as a stock associate. The Pharmacy Manager recognized her potential and work ethic and encouraged her to train for a Pharmacy Technician position. After studying and passing the test, Christal became a Licensed Certified Pharmacy Technician in January of 1999, remaining in that position for the next ten years.
In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city, forcing Christal to evacuate to Baton Rouge. Fortunately, she was able to continue working as a Pharmacy Technician at one of the Baton Rouge Walmart stores. In 2006, knowing that she was not content to remain a Technician for the rest her career, Christal re-applied to Xavier University’s College of Pharmacy. Because she was deficient in some required science related courses, she was initially denied entrance and hence advised to return once these courses were completed. While still working as a Pharmacy Tech, Christal completed the appropriate study, reapplied for entrance into Xavier University’s College of Pharmacy program and was accepted in 2009.
After three years of rigorous coursework and one year of clinical rotation, this dynamic young woman graduated from Xavier University’s College of Pharmacy with a Doctorate of Pharmacy Degree in May 2013. She sat for her licensure in July 2013 and was triple-state certified (Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas) by August of that same year. Christal began working as a Walmart rotational Pharmacist, traveling to different stores in the New Orleans area. In January 2014, she accepted a position as a Staff Pharmacist for Walmart in Kenner. In November 2014, she moved to Slidell and was instrumental in opening a Walmart Neighborhood Pharmacy and promoted to Pharmacy Manager in October 2015.
“Carrying through on one of the most important life lessons learned while at St. Mary’s, I strongly agree that perseverance is the key, said Christal who credits the support from family and friends for her ultimate success. “Due to my Catholic education, the interaction with numerous mentors at Epiphany Elementary School and St. Mary’s Academy and the support of my family that I know the value of never giving up.”
St. Mary’s Academy proudly announces the kickoff of its “150th Anniversary Walk of Fame Campaign.” All alumnae of St. Mary’s Academy are invited to show their school spirit and acknowledge their achievements by sponsoring a pole banner. The banners will be prominently and proudly displayed along the drive/walkway leading to St. Mary’s Academy starting April 15, 2017. The cost for a single-sided banner is $500 and includes a high resolution photo of the alum, her occupation or company name and year of graduation from St. Mary’s Academy. There are a limited number of poles available and are on a first come basis. All orders and monies must be received no later than February 28, 2017. To download and order form, click the link: sma-pole-banner-orderform*Note St. Mary’s Academy reserves the right to refuse payment, pictures and/or sponsorship from any individual that does not support the mission and philosophy of the Academy.
On December 2, 1867, St. Mary’s Academy opened its doors on Chartres Street in New Orleans, LA under the leadership of Mother Josephine Charles. In June 1878, Victoria Jourdan became the first graduate.
In 2017, 150 years later, St. Mary’s Academy is celebrating its sesquicentennial by hosting a number of events that commemorate the school’s rich legacy. We invite you to join us for the celebration of our school and foundress Venerable Henriette Delille.
150th Anniversary Calendar
January 19, 2017
Maryite Banner Campaign (Kickoff)
150 Maryite Challenge (Kickoff)
February 19, 2017
Sisters of the Holy Family Ride in Femme Fatale
March 11, 2017
St. Mary’s Academy 150th Anniversary Mass
Mother House 1:00 PM
March 11, 2017
St. Mary’s Academy Anniversary Reception
March 18, 2017
SMA Alumnae Association Crawfish Boil and Scholarship Fundraiser
Maria Hall 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM
March 24-26, 2017
St. Mary’s Academy Fair – “A Family Affair”
April 28, 2017
St. Mary’s Academy Debutante Ball
Pontchartrain Center 8:00 PM
May 2, 2017
Give NOLA Day Scholarship Fundraiser
May 17, 2017
St. Mary’s Academy Baccalaureate Mass
Austin Gymnasium 5:00 PM
May 18, 2017
St. Mary’s Academy Commencement and Legacy Walk
Dillard University – Lawless Memorial Chapel – 4:00 PM
May 28, 2017
Gospel Concert and Scholarship Fundraiser
St. Raymond & St. Leo The Great Catholic Church – 4:00 PM
September 2017 (TBA)
Women and Girls Who Empower – Speaker Series
October 24, 2017
St. Mary’s Academy Open House 7:00 PM
November 2-5, 2017
St. Mary’s Academy Homecoming & Reunion Week
November 2, 2017
Day of Service
November 3, 2017
St. Mary’s Academy Homecoming Parade 10:00 AM
November 3, 2017
Blue and Gold Day Celebration 1:00 PM
November 3, 2017
Alumnae Paint N’ Toast 7:00 PM
November 4, 2017
Alumnae Blue & Gold Queen’s Party 8:00 PM
November 4, 2017
St. Mary’s Academy Homecoming Dance
8:00 PM – Place TBA
November 5, 2017
Alumnae Homecoming Mass 10:00 AM
St. Raymond & St. Leo The Great Church
November 5, 2017
Alumnae Homecoming “Big Hat Brunch”
LACE the Grand Ball Room 12:00 Noon
November 20th – 22nd
Sr. Mary Demetria Williams Basketball Tournament
December 2, 2017
150th Anniversary Closing Mass
St. Louis Cathedral
150th Anniversary Gala – Exhibition and Poster Unveiling
Messina’s at the Terminal
6:00 PM Patron Party,
7:00 PM Gala
Teaching students to be global citizens and agents of change is always at the forefront of Alandrus David’s classes. A social studies/speech educator at St. Mary’s Academy and 2006 alum, David endeavors to be a catalyst to help youth change the world for the better.
So it came as no surprise that her fifth graders came up with a project to help women this holiday season. Understanding the health needs of homeless women, they initiated a drive to collect feminine hygiene products that would be donated to the New Orleans Women and Children’s Shelter.
“People tend to forget that feminine hygiene products are expensive and there are many women who cannot afford them,” said David adding that places such as homeless shelters and food pantries often run low on these.” “My students are hoping to change that this Christmas season.”
Following the flood that devastated parts of Baton Rouge in August, David looked for a way to help women in need. She created a drive to collect feminine hygiene products for flood victims. Receiving donations both locally and nationally, she assembled Fem Care packages that were ultimately delivered to women in Baton Rouge.
Likewise, David’s fifth graders’ drive was very successful following a plea for donations from students, parents, teachers and the community at large. The collection netted more than 2000 items for donation.
St. Mary’s Academy recently received a gift of $6000 to fund scholarships for its students courtesy of 1999 alumna Brittany Eason. Since 2012, Eason has provided the school with $6000-$8000 in scholarships per year.
A native New Orleanian, Eason graduated from St. Mary’s Academy in 1999. After high school, she enrolled at Louisiana State University and was very active on campus and served as a leader in several organizations including Advocates for Better Body Image, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, and Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity. She graduated with a B.S. in Management Information Systems from LSU and a Master’s in Technology, Innovation, and Education from Harvard University.
Harris joined Accenture in 2004. She designed innovative IT systems and solutions for Fortune 100 companies in the Oil and Gas, Chemicals, Aerospace and Defense, and Government industries. While at Accenture, Britt also started a web design and database company that served small businesses and non-profits. She has continued to work at several companies in the technology industry.
Civic-minded, Eason is a social entrepreneur actively promotes social and economic initiatives. After hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, she started Cultivate Our Minds, a program that helps students learn to be enterprising and resourceful in a business and technology. She currently resides in Mountain View, CA.
Sharing their passion for STEM, employees of the local Nielsen company recently visited St. Mary’s Academy Elementary classes. In honor of National Education Week, the Nielsen employees led an educational outreach program at SMA to heighten awareness for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
“No matter what your educational path is, STEM applications will be utilized,” said Nielsen field representative Brad Bradford, who helped to coordinate the grassroots initiative at SMA. “What better way to encourage student participation than by exposing them at an early age to real-life situations from employers who have a passion and experience within STEM fields?”
According to Bradford, Nielsen is a global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy. Nielsen employees plan to form collaborations with the school to engage students and help them see connections between their
St. Mary’s Academy presented its 15th annual Social Savvy Day on Friday, December 2, 2016 at Morton’s the Steakhouse on Canal Street. Smartly attired in business suits, the 61 members of the senior class participated in a host of etiquette and protocol workshops that included fine dining, effective communication, poise and presentation and business etiquette. Additionally, participants were treated to a continental breakfast and fine dining experience at the restaurant.
“In our ever-evolving society, it is vitally important that our youth are equipped with the skills to present themselves both professionally and socially,” said SMA Student Affairs director Lisa Ross, who designed the program to give participants a competitive edge. Events such as this ensure that our students possess the skills to enter any arena with confidence, grace and business acumen.”
LaKesha Mosley of the Etiquette Training Center of Louisiana, an Etiquette and Protocol Agency based in Shreveport, facilitated the workshops. Ms. Mosley is known and respected as a leader in the etiquette and protocol industry and regularly appears on television as a TV Personality and entertainment show host for stations KTAL NBC-Studio6 and FOX 33-Morning Showcase.
A sea of blue and gold filled Chef Menteur Blvd as St. Mary’s Academy held its annual Homecoming parade. Highlighting the festivities was the royal court which included:
Queen Raina Smith
King: Damico Davis
|12||Seantrell Marrero, Colby Cordier||Raymond Williams, Breland Sebatier|
|11||Edwenia Foster, Kelsie Watson||Donniel Ward-MaGee, Ryan Frazier|
|10||Dominique Finch, Jemajha Wilson||Roderick Howard, Armando Williams|
|9th||Marissa Aguillard, DejaNae Tolbert||Kamden Buggage, Damon McFarland, Jr.|
St. Mary’s Academy elementary opened its doors to parents, grandparents and other family members for a holiday lunch in advance of Thanksgiving. A time to gather and fellowship together, the luncheon included a feast of turkey, cornbread dressing, sweet potatoes, green beans and mandarin oranges.
According to SMA elementary coordinator Sr. Angela Smith, SSF, the much-anticipated luncheon was well attended and appreciated by the parents, students and teachers. “Our Thanksgiving luncheon is a great community builder and the children love to have their family join them on campus,” said Sr. Angela.
Special thanks were extended to Deidra and Linda Hence, mother and grandmother of 2nd grader Deleah Mathis for volunteering to decorate the cafeteria tables and chairs.
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.”
Hello SMA Parents, Students, and Faculty,
St. Mary’s Academy has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (now AdvancED) since 1947. The school undergoes accreditation review every five years, with our next review scheduled for March 13-15, 2017.
In order to ensure continuous school improvement we must undergo careful, honest self-assessment. Your feedback will assist us with providing the best educational experience for our students.
- For SMA Parents: please click on the links below to complete the Surveys:
Parents Survey #1 link: http://eprovesurveys.advanc-ed.org/surveys/#/action/9490/13801
Parents Survey #2 link: http://eprovesurveys.advanc-ed.org/surveys/#/action/11665/13801
- For SMA Elementary School Students: please click on the links below to complete the Survey:
Elementary Students Survey link: http://eprovesurveys.advanc-ed.org/surveys/#/action/9421/13801
- For SMA Middle&High School Students: please click on the links below to complete the Surveys:
MS/HS Students Survey #1 link: http://eprovesurveys.advanc-ed.org/surveys/#/action/9413/13801
MS/HS Students Survey #2 link: http://eprovesurveys.advanc-ed.org/surveys/#/action/11665/13801
- For SMA Faculty : please click on the link below to complete the Surveys:
Faculty Survey #1 Link : http://eprovesurveys.advanc-ed.org/surveys/#/action/9258/13801
Faculty Survey #2 Link: http://eprovesurveys.advanc-ed.org/surveys/#/action/11665/13801
The survey session will close on Friday November 18, 2016.
Ms. Cheryl Ross Brown
The SMA Alumnae Association will host its annual Alumnae Homecoming festivities November 4-6. Featured events include Alumnae Day at SMA, a Toast N’ Paint Party, Blue and Gold Ball, Homecoming Mass and Big Hat Brunch. Tickets for events can be purchased via the Alumnae Office at SMA or online.
Homecoming 2016 honors the classes of 1936, 1941, 1946, 1951, 1956, 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011.
Below is the schedule of events:
Friday, November 4, 2016 – Alumnae Day at SMA 10am: Come out to SMA on this day to meet, mix and mingle. There will be tours of the campus, get a chance to purchase some SMA Paraphernalia, and chat with the students.
Friday, November 4, 2016 – Toast N’ Paint 7pm-9pm: Find the inner artist in you while toasting to a good weekend with your Maryite Sisters. Event will be held in Maria Hall. Tickets must be purchased in advance, before October 21, 2016.
Saturday, November 5, 2016 – Blue & Gold Ball 8pm-1am: Enjoy an evening of elegance and royalty as we crown our Homecoming Blue & Gold Ball Queen. After 5 or Evening Attire / Black Tie Optional
Sunday, November 6, 2016 – Alumnae Homecoming Mass 9am: Join us for a Gospel Mass of praise and thanksgiving at St. Peter Claver Church. All Alumnae, Family and Friends are invited to attend.
Sunday, November 6, 2016 – Big Hat Brunch 12 Noon: Meet and Greet our Blue & Gold Ball Queen and the new Honor Recipient of the Prestigious Henriette Delille Medal.
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.
Congratulations to St. Mary’s Academy mental health counselor Cathy Green-Miner on her recent nomination for the Athena Award. Nominees for the 2016 Athena Leadership Award were recognized during a reception hosted Aug. 19 by former recipients of the leadership award. Athena nominees were nominated for demonstrating excellence, creativity and initiative in their business or profession; providing valuable service to improve the quality of life for others in their community; and actively assisting women in achieving their full leadership potential.
Miner and the other nominees will be recognized on October 12 at the East St. Tammany luncheon at the Northshore Harbor Center. The winner of the award will be announced at that time.
Additional nominees for the 2016 award are Stephanie Berault, executive director of the Louisiana chapter of the HeartGift Foundation; marketer Kim Bergeron; Brenda Bertus, CEO of the St. Tammany Economic Development Foundation; educator Ellen Ellinwood Lamarque; and banker Kelly Rodriguez.
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.