Darlene Hutchinson was recently named as the new Elementary Coordinator for St. Mary’s Academy. With more than 39 years teaching and leadership experience, Hutchinson, most recently served as a kindergarten teacher, a position she has held since 2006.
Prior to her tenure at SMA, Hutchinson worked at Corpus Christi School for 14 years and Perrault Kiddie Kollege. Additionally, she taught enrichment courses at UNO mini college.
“As a proud graduate of St. Mary’s Academy, I have a vested interest and will do whatever it takes to build a legacy of excellence in this position,” said Hutchinson, a 1977 alumna. “With God’s help and the assistance of administrators I know that all things are possible.”
Hutchinson earned a B.A in Education from the University of New Orleans.and also maintains credentials as a Child Development Associate.
St. Mary’s Academy will begin its first full day of classes on Monday, August 14 but students can catch the Maryite spirit even before starting class. The Weeks of Welcome, affectionately known as “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 Monday, August 7 with a Family Bash from 6:00PM-8:00PM at Fulton Alley, New Orleans’ premiere luxury bowling facility. Open to all SMA middle/high school students, parents, faculty and staff, the Family Bash is designed to bring the Maryite family together for fun, bowling and entertainment.
SMA will also host its Welcome Convocation at 8:00AM on Thursday, August 10 in Austin Gymnasium. The official welcome for all new and returning students, the Convocation will include messages from the school’s president and principal, a keynote speaker, and student performances.
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 Pining Ceremony for the freshman class, officially signaling their arrival into the high school division.
On Friday, August 11, 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. A Mass for Unification of the school, community and world will follow. The day will end with a Welcome Luau for middle/high students hosted by the SMA Alumnae Association.
Additional highlights of WOW include a Project LEAD workshop for all students who plan on assuming a leadership role at SMA. WOW festivities will conclude on Friday, September 1 with an event called Dinner at Sunset featuring food trucks, music and entertainment for the entire family.
“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.”
Michelle Ellis is the Founder & President of The YOU Awards International, co-owner of Ellis Modeling & Talent Agency and a Multimedia Account Executive for the NBC Affiliate in Atlanta, GA. She has had a very successful career in the media industry working for the ABC Affiliate in New Orleans, LA, the CBS Affiliate in New Orleans, LA and Cox Communications in New Orleans, LA.
Over the years Michelle has received several awards in sales & marketing for her hard work and continues to strive to be the best in everything she does. More recently Michelle has found success with the non-profit organization she started called The YOU Awards International by recognizing the outstanding achievements of young people in the community. Although she recognizes young people for their accomplishments she has also garnered recognition for the outstanding job she has done as a leader of this amazing organization. In addition to this, Michelle has been a long standing volunteer with The Trumpet Awards Foundation which is an international awards show known around the world. Even though Michelle has had a lot of success in her career, she acknowledges that her biggest success comes in the form of family as a wife and mother of her two daughters.
If there is one thing to remember about Michelle, it’s that she lives by the saying that she heard a while back from Pastor T.D. Jakes which is “Live your life without limits and let history explain how you did it.” She is one lady to follow in the future!
SMA congratulates our Million Dollar Scholars Raiyon Hunter and Diara Jackson. Both of these dynamic young women earned over $1million each in scholarship offers to over 23 different colleges and universities. Raiyon has chosen to attend Spelman College and Diara will attend Jackson State University.
Raiyon Hunter Diara Jackson
Thirty-nine eighth graders from St. Mary’s Academy received promotional certificates from Sister of the Holy Family Clare of Assisi Pierre, president, St. Mary’s Academy, and Pamela Rogers, assistant principal on May 22, 2017 at Austin Gymnasium.
Rev. Charles Andrus, SSJ, celebrated the Mass that preceded the ceremonies with special awards being presented by middle school coordinator Pamela Greenwood and admissions director Sr. Cynthia Marie Jackson, SSF.
Camryn Vance, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Eric Vance of New Orleans, led the class with the highest average. Throughout her years at St. Mary’s Academy, she has maintained both President’s Honor Roll and Renaissance Star status and was awarded a four-year scholarship.
Earning the highest average awards in the respective subject areas were: Foreign Language-Kamryn Vance; Pre-Algebra-Zariya Toomer; Computer Science-Regan Arceneaux; Algebra1-Kamryn Vance; English Language Arts-Kerrione Hunter; Reading-Regan Arceneaux; Spelling-Regan Arceneaux; LA History-Trinity Jackson, Jailan Magee and Selena Mason; English I-Kamryn Vance; Science-Makenzie Carter; and Physical Education-Jailan Magee.
Promoted to ninth grade were Regan Arceneaux, Laniya Bell, Diamond Blake, Alyssa Brown, Trinity Bullock, Mackenzie Carter, Kyreionna Clark, Quiana Clivens, Cach’e Collins, Salina Easterling, Dylan Ferguson, Tamia Goins, Casey Griggs, Jayla Hale, Aiyant’a Haley, Sidney Haynes, Kerrione Hunter, Ilyana Jackson, Nia Jackson, Trinity Jackson, Kinidy Johns, Nya LaCabe, Jailan Magee, Selena Mason, Kaiya’ Mitchell, Tasia Morris, Korey Robinson, Tharen Robinson, Jamara Smith, Haraji Spadoni, Krysten Taylor, Tomyree Thompson, Zariya Toomer, Kamryn Vance, Larriontae Vaughn, Amaya Weatherspoon, Jaia Yates, Shawndra’ Young, and Demi Youngblood.
Sixty seniors from St. Mary’s Academy received diplomas from Sister of the Holy Family Clare of Assisi Pierre, president, St. Mary’s Academy, and Sister Jennie Jones, principal, in ceremonies marking the 132nd graduation of St. Mary’s Academy May 18 at Dillard University’s Lawless Chapel.
Rev. Charles Andrus, SSJ, celebrated the Baccalaureate Mass that preceded the graduation ceremonies. Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson, served as the commencement speaker.
The members of the Class of 2017 have been accepted at more than 64 colleges and universities and have garnered more than $8.3 million dollars in scholarship awards.
Diara Jackson, daughter of Mr. Felix Jackson and Mrs. Shanel Morgan- Jackson 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.
Jackson, a TOPS Scholar, earned the highest-average awards in religion and science. She was a member of several extracurricular activities, including the cheerleading squad, SMA Ambassadors, science club, National Honor Society and SMA Honor Society.
Jackson was awarded more than $1 million in scholarship offers. She received numerous college acceptances including Baylor University, Bethune Cookman University, Butler University, Clark Atlanta University, Drexel University, Florida Memorial University, Grambling State University, Howard University, Louisiana State University, Mississippi Valley State University, Paul Quinn College, Nicholls College, Southeastern Louisiana University, Southwestern University, Southern University, St. Edwards University, Spring Hill College, Talladega College, Wiley College, Xavier University of Louisiana and Jackson State College. In the fall, she will attend Jackson State University majoring in Forensic Science.
The salutatorian was Halle’ McKey, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Sean McKey, Sr. of New Orleans. McKey, A TOPS scholar, consistently maintained Principal’s Honor Roll and Renaissance Star status throughout her years at SMA. She was an active member of the National and SMA Honor Societies, chorus, Resurrection Singers and Key Club.
McKey was awarded more than $84,000 in scholarship offers. She received acceptance notifications from Florida Memorial University, Spelman College, Spring Hill College, The University of Central Florida and Xavier University of Louisiana. She will attend Xavier University in the fall majoring in pre-med.
Earning the distinction of honor students were Miquel James, Destiny Martin, Audry Loredo, Alysea Colar, Kaeryel Dowl, Barriane Franks, Kali Lewis, Mya Davis, Naya McGill, Lacie Holmes, Caitlin Barnes, Raiyon Hunter, Shania Tyler, Naomi Boyd and Deanna Daggs.
Other graduates included Gabrielle Allen, Destini Alston, Alexy Bateman, Carolyn Bedou, Geraldneka Biagas, Kira Bickham, Maci Broaden, Bailey Brumfield, Jade Clark (posthumous), Colby Cordier, Kion Dangerfield, Evelyn Deal, Mia Felton, Kimani Hamilton, Airelle Harris-Cooper, Lania Harris, Diamond Haynes, Khloe’ Hill, Tai’Lyn Holmes, Kayla Hunter, Ortizia Jackson, Aaiyanna Johnson, Kelsey Jones, Natalie Jones, Jernia London, Seantrell Marrero, Gabriael McCain, Farah McLaughlin, Naya Murray, Jonae Patterson, Eryn Randall, Christy Reine, Danielle Riley, Renae Roberts, Dejon Smith, Raina Smith, Ashlynn Stovall, Diamond Tucker, Taylor Vigee, Ariell Wallace, Jessica Wilson, Ambrosia Woodrich, Tre’Breha Youngblood and Taylar Zeno.
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.