As the class of 2020 has made their way to
their final year of high school, their Little Sisters are just beginning their
journey on Walmsley Avenue.
To welcome these eighth graders, the senior
Big Sisters inducted the class of 2024 on Sept. 19 in the Sr. Ambrose Reggio
Gym. Also inducted in the Dominican family by grade-level buddies were other
new students and transfer students from grades nine through eleven. Together, they
participated in the customary passing of the candle ceremony.
“I felt proud during the induction. It was
like everyone was thrilled to be having me as a new sister, classmate and
student,” said transfer student Claire Garitty, junior.
Mrs. Jill Cabes (’87), vice president, Dominican
Catholic Identity, sees the candle ceremony as a way to show students “passing
the torch” and lighting up the Dominican family.
This year, Dominican welcomed 175 eighth
graders along with sixteen new and transfer students to the Dominican family.
All inductees received a Veritas shield pin and a Dominican pennant.
“It was incredible. I kept on thinking about
my own induction,” said Blake Beaulieu, senior. “I am so happy to be welcoming
a new legacy to Dominican.”
Eighth grader Sarah Herbert shares that excitement. “It feels good to officially be a part of the Dominican sisterhood,” said Herbert, sporting her new pin and pennant.
For over sixty years, Dominican has
welcomed new students and carried on legacies through induction. Sister Dominic
Savio, O.P., (’56) recalls the first induction to have taken place at St.
Mary’s Dominican High School on the St. Charles Avenue campus for the class of
1957. The tradition of Big Sisters guiding their Little Sisters into the Dominican
way of life has been around ever since.
During the next five years, the class of 2024 will be on their journey, preparing to help the class of 2029 on theirs.
a day at Dominican is the best way to see the many faces of Dominican.
Dominican is walking down the hallway and laughing with friends about absolutely nothing. It is debating in English class whether or not Hamlet was truthful when saying, “To be or not to be.”
is a place where young women learn lessons, find truth and gain friends for
life. By spending a day at Dominican, middle school girls learn about the many
opportunities this high school can offer them.
Spend-A-Day Program at St. Mary’s Dominican High School allows prospective
students see what it is like to be a high school student. The visiting girls travel
from class to class with their hosts and learn about the many different things
that DHS has to offer.
Managing this program is Ms. Elyse Harrison (’13), recruitment director. She coordinates visits from the nearly 800 students who will spend a day at Dominican this academic year. Ms. Harrison pairs each Spend-A-Day student with a host who has similar interests. To make the middle schoolers feel special upon arriving on Walmsley Ave., Ms. Harrison gives each girl a bag filled with special Dominican treats and a complimentary lunch pass.
students believe that being a Spend-A-Day host makes Dominican all the better. “Giving
these young girls the true insight on what Dominican is gives me the best
feeling,” said senior Abby Ordoyne. Ordoyne enjoyed spending a normal day at
school with her younger cousin, Alexa Walsh, a fifth grader at St. Rita School in
enjoyed seeing Dominican through her older cousin’s eyes. “Spending the day at
Dominican has helped me make a choice on where I want to go to high school,” Alexa
said. She then told her cousin that she plans on attending Dominican.
DHS student Isabella Totorico, eighth grader, said that after spending the day
as a seventh grader last year, she felt confident in making her decision to
attend Dominican. She said that walking through the schedule helped her decide
on Dominican. “I really liked how the schedule rotates, and I would not be
doing the same thing every day,” said Totorico.
the halls and meeting the teachers gives the students the chance to see what it
is like to be a Dominican girl. Admissions Director Ms. Cathy Rice agrees. She
said that the Spend-A-Day program is the most influential factor for students
who decide to come to Dominican. It is all about the girls feeling comfortable
and at home.
Dominican is truly a second home to all the girls that have walked these halls. And that feeling radiates to the girls that spend a day.
was on the itinerary as three Dominican students traveled to new places and
learned exciting things. Those students brought back their memories and experiences
to share with the rest of Dominican community.
the summer, seniors Tai Sutherland and Amanda Bolden, as well as junior Sara
Sciortino, embarked on journeys all over the country and world – from Michigan
to Australia. Though the girls traveled for unique purposes, they brought back
their knowledge to share with the DHS community.
An Australian Adventure
Have you heard about the Aboriginal Australians? If not, Tai Sutherland has the answers. This summer, Sutherland journeyed across the Atlantic Ocean to the Outback.
With her family, she visited Melbourne, Sydney and Uluru, Australia. While there, she visited many attractions, including an invitation-only Aboriginal Australian island.
trip taught her about Aboriginal culture. Aboriginal Australians have been on
that continent for over 70,000 years.
“It opened my eyes to things I didn’t know about their culture,” said Sutherland.
the knowledge she gained from her trip, Sutherland hopes to bring back insight
about the Aboriginal Australians’ lifestyle. “With what I know now, I can discuss diversity
from a new perspective,” she said.
An Innovative Internship
in the school lab can be fun, but working in a research lab surrounded by paid
professionals is even more fun. Over the course of eight weeks during the
summer, this was senior Amanda Bolden’s life.
earned a research internship at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland. There she
conducted research on cell biology, worked in labs, collected data – all while
taking math and sciences classes.
that was not the only thing that impacted her summer. While in Baltimore,
Bolden lived more independently than she ever had.
had to take the bus every day to my internship, make sure I made it on time and
take care of myself,” said Bolden. Today, Bolden remains independent in many of
the things she does.
hopes to go into a research field in the future. With this experience, “I can
help students who struggle (in math and science) so they will improve.” said
A Preaching Pilgrimage
back knowledge from a trip can be the most fun part of the experience, but for Student
Preacher Sara Sciortino, it was even more. Deciding to embark on this journey
came easily to Sciortino. “I felt myself falling out of my relationship with
God,” said Sciortino. “I felt God was trying to call me back to him, and I felt
that becoming a student preacher was the best way to do that.”
June, Sciortino, along with other new student preachers and Ms. Claire
Gallagher (’04), headed to Adrian, Michigan, for the Dominican High Schools
a day of working with the Salvation Army, Sciortino collaborated with the
Colegio de San Antonio, a school from Puerto Rico, on a prayer service. She
participated in the washing of the feet, and she gave her first reflection
during the service.
the conference, Sciortino experienced new cultures and diverse ways of worship.
She learned to unite people of different backgrounds through prayer and is
bringing back this concept to the DHS community.
year, Sciortino plans to make the students of Dominican feel welcomed into the
activities the preachers have to offer. She hopes everyone will feel
comfortable getting involved with the activities.
adventure continues as these students share their broadened view of the world
with their friends on Walmsley Ave.
Every year, the seniors await the day when they can
triumphantly run through St. Mary’s Hall as their friends excitedly turn their
This day was Ring Day, one of the most highly-anticipated
days of the year. However, the day consisted of so much more than simply
receiving a ring and running down the halls.
The Ring Day Mass and Ceremony was full of excitement and significance to Dominican faculty and students alike. Joined by their families on Sept. 6, seniors celebrated Mass and excitedly received rings in the Sr. Ambrose Reggio, O.P. Gymnasium.
The Dominican community gathered to bless the Class of
2020 during the Ring Mass. Father John Restrepo, O.P., made the day even more
special by delivering a homily about the importance of prayer.
Father John blessed the senior rings, linking each senior
to sisterhood of Dominican. “The ring is one of the nicest symbols of a
connection to high school,” said Mrs. Jill Cabes (’87), vice-president,
Dominican Catholic Identity.
After Mass, Zoee Hunter, Erin Sequiera, Lyndsey Jones,
Bryce Leonhard and Molly Alexander, seniors who have served as class
coordinators, each gave a reflection, reminiscing on the year of their
leadership. Happy tears and laughter filled the SARG as the Class of 2020
revisited their time at Dominican.
In her reflection, E-Board Secretary and 2018-2019 Junior Coordinator Bryce Leonhard focused on the bond the class experienced during last year’s Rally Day.
“Through that Rally Day season, we reached the
pinnacle of sisterhood,” said Leonhard. “I realized why we do Rally Day every
year. We work together with a common goal, and that bonds us.”
She held this message close to her heart as she ran down
the halls in a pair of saddle oxfords painted to tribute the class’s junior
Rally Day— “Juniors Hear a Who.”
Following the reflections was the Ring Ceremony, where
each senior receives her ring. Some seniors continue the sisterhood of the
senior ring and inherit legacy rings from mothers, grandmothers, aunts, or
sisters. Others receive new rings, starting their own chapter.
“The mix of old and new represents Dominican as a whole.
We honor tradition while always looking for ways to keep the school current,”
said Mrs. Jessica Couch (’05), special projects director.
Teachers and alumnae consider the day as one of their
fondest memories of Dominican. “Ring Day was the day my family got to see my
second family — Dominican,” said Mrs. Couch. Ms. Charlene Ford (’01), English
teacher and senior faculty coordinator, added that “standing in the halls as
the seniors are running brings a smile to everyone’s face. It’s just
Both seniors Alexandra Brothers and Abigail Brown
received legacy rings from their mothers who graduated in ’85 and ’91,
respectively. “Receiving my mother’s ring really shows the importance of
family and tradition,” said Brothers.
Brown was very eager for chance to run down the halls and
have all her friends turn her ring. Seeing the seniors run is exciting for both
students and faculty, but what they run in only adds to the experience. Over
the last decade, it has become a tradition for seniors run in fun shoes from
crocs and slippers to boots and painted saddle oxfords.
For their rush down the halls, Jesuit Jayettes Brown and
Brothers donned decorated dance boots. The seniors’ boots, worn during football
game performances, featured their initials and other decorations.
“This is very special to Alexandra and me because we’ve
been on Jayettes together since freshman year, and now we’re best friends,”
said Brown. “so it means a lot to be doing this together on Ring Day.”
The day of tradition brings so much joy and excitement for the year ahead for the entire Dominican community. English teacher Ms. Rachel Moore (’13) sees this day as beautiful because “Ring Day is the day the girls run through the halls and light the world on fire.”
Dominican Golf Team swung into action and placed at the Regional Meet on April
23 after participating in the Metro Tournament on April 10. From the tee to the
green, the team competed well on the links.
the Regional Meet, the three members who competed were freshmen Ada Holmes,
Molly Stavinoha and Olivia Hurley. Holmes placed twelfth with a final score of
93. “I love being on this team,” said Holmes. “Even though we are a very small team,
we always find a way to laugh and have fun. Each time we play golf together, we
in the season at the Metro Tournament, Stavinoha, Hurley, freshman Barbara Algero and senior Saheba
Cuccia focused on the fairway. “I feel both sad and happy that I am finishing
my final season of golf. I have been on this team for five years, and it’ll
definitely be a change next spring when I do not get to play golf a few times a
week,” said Cuccia.
team has learned dedication with the help of the father-daughter coaching duo
Mr. Rick Ciolino and Ms. Ashlyn Ciolino (’07), coach and golf moderator, Coaching
together for five years now, Mr. Ciolino took on the role of head coach last
season. Ms. Ciolino, who also teaches in the P.E. department at DHS, says she enjoys
spending time with her father on the golf course.
something we have done for most of my life, and I don’t think I’ll ever get
tired of it,” said Ms. Ciolino. “He was always coaching me in any sport that I
played, so to see him coach others and see how much he enjoys it is pretty cool.”
far as coaching together goes, Ms. Ciolino said, “It’s fun to make coaching
decisions with him now instead of him making all of the decisions for me. I think
all of that has helped us grow in our relationship.” With the Ciolino duo
coaching the team, the golfers grew closer to one another throughout the
“I’m proud that the team really bonded this year and had a lot of fun while improving each of our own games,” said Cuccia. “We had the team spirit as well as the love of both golf and each other to always cheer each other on.”
the cheers of Dominifans encouraging them, the DHS Track and Field Team raced
through the 2018-2019 season.
since January, the team participated in meets and qualified for the District
and Regional Meets. The Track and Field Team season culminated with six girls
headed to the State Meet on May 4 at LSU.
State, freshman Catherine Kernion placed seventh in the Girls 3200 Meter Run. Additionally,
senior Lizzy Bourg competed in the Girls 1600 Meter Run. Kernion – along with juniors
Molly Alexander, Erin Sequeira and sophomore Izzy Dischner – also participated
in the 4×800 Meter Relay.
Paul Garvey, coach, said that the State Meet was interesting this year because
of the inclement weather conditions and racing format. “The stormy weather
created a situation we had to run the boys and girls events together, said Mr.
Garvey. This challenge was even further complicated by all school divisions
running simultaneously. Although the teams ran together, they were still scored
separately, according to Mr. Garvey.
in the season, the team participated in the Regional Meet held in Thibodaux on
April 25. Bourg placed second in the Girls 1600 Meter
Run with a time of 5:47.21, earing a state meet qualification. In the Girls
3200 Meter Run, Kernion came in third with a finishing time of 12:30.43.
Placing second with a time of 10:59.73 in the Girls 4×800 Meter Relay, yhe team
of Kernion, Alexander, Sequeira and Dischner earned their qualification for the
State Meet along with Bourg.
at April’s District Meet in City Park, the team ran well in the Girls 4×100
Meter Relay, coming in second. Junior Mia Taylor finished second in the 100
Meter Dash and third in the 200 Meter Dash with the times of 12.67 and 26.91.
“The team gave me the determination to try to do well in every meet,” said
Taylor. “We always support each other no matter the obstacle.”
2019 Track and Field Team was large and young, according to Ms. Ashlyn Ciolino
(’07), track coach. “We had a lot of eighth graders and to see them progress
and get better was exciting,” said Ms. Ashlyn Ciolino, track coach.
young members, “this season was a season where we had a lot of rebuilding to do,”
said Mr. Garvey. “We had younger athletes who did a good job by stepping up to
a veteran of the team, Bourg is nostalgic about her final Dominican Track and
Field season. “They’ve become my support system and what I look forward to each
day,” she said. “It’s sad to think about not seeing my teammates after school
“No matter what, I’m proud of what the team has done this season.”
April 27, Dominican defeated John Curtis High School in the LHSAA State
Tournament, capturing its first softball state championship in school history.
the state playoffs as undefeated district champions, Dominican roared through
the state tournament. Running the bases to the final championship game, DHS
emerged as state champs with a 5-3 victory John Curtis.
being state runner-up last year, softball coach Mrs. Dawn Benoit had high hopes
for this year’s team. “From the offense,
to the defense, to the young eighth graders and to everyone that contributed: I
am proud,” said Mrs. Benoit. “I was extremely emotional because my girls are
everything to me.”
the last two years, Dominican was just “excited to be in the finals,” said Athletic
Director Mr. Paul Spitzfaden. “This season, the team had goals, a stronger
mindset and team confidence, which hasn’t been the case in the past. We are now
the number one seed.”
win was the perfect end to senior Elizabeth Crotchet’s season as well as her
Dominican softball career. “It was an honor to play along side 20 other girls
this season and end it the way we did,” said Crotchet, senior. “I was filled
with joy knowing that we made history but sad knowing it was the last time ever
wearing that uniform.”
winning the state championship title, the team had been dominating games left
and right. In March, Dominican defeated Archbishop Chappelle High School 8-2
then Mount Carmel Academy 6-4, clinching the district title with a perfect 6-0
With only two seniors moving on, the team has high hopes for success in 2020. “It’s a great feeling,” said second baseman Alyssa Helwig, junior. “I couldn’t have asked to do it with any other girls.”
The 2019 Dominican Tennis Team served up a successful season. The team took to the court at the Regional Tournament on April 16 at City Park and finished as runner up, with all eight players qualifying for State.
Sophomore Mary Parker Whisnant rallied
to the finals singles match at the tournament and finished as the regional
runner up. “I wanted to get as far as I
could in regionals,” said Whisnant. “Making it to the finals was definitely an
accomplishment.” Whisnant also felt that the team “grew closer together and
definitely learned a lot about each other” during this experience.
As Regional runner up, DHS advanced
to the State Tournament on April 26-27 in Monroe, LA. The eight players who
qualified for state were juniors Annamarie Allen, Lucy Harper, Adele Hoth and
Rachel Schlosser; sophomores Marist Bourg and Mary Parker Whisnant; and eighth
graders Kay Harper and Rachel Natal.
Doubles players Allen and Schlosser
advanced to the second round of the State Tournament. Additionally, singles
player Whisnant also advanced to the second round then to the quarter finals,
where the team’s season ended. “I was really excited to get that far in state
this year,” said Whisnant.
Although the team’s season ended in
the quarter finals round, they still accomplished a team goal. According to
Mrs. Stephanie Bollman, tennis coach, their team goal was to get a full roster at
the State Tournament.
With a successful season on the court, the team is ready for next year. Schlosser is looking forward to spending her last year with her team. “I’m proud of what we accomplished this season,” she said, “and I’m excited to do it again next year.”
With the help of prayer, stories, dancing and songs, Dominicans students preached the good news of the 2019 Spring Musical, Godspell, presented in April in the Sister Ambrose Reggio Gym. The production, directed by Mr. Patrick Cragin, showcased a cast of students portraying Jesus Christ and his disciples.
Godspell follows the story of Jesus, portrayed by senior Zoe Ashley, and his interactions with the disciples. Together, they tell parables using songs and dance. The musical then journeys to the Last Supper and eventually the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
For first-time director Mr. Cragin, directing wasn’t something he wanted to do until recently. He is an actor and has appeared in shows like Law and Order: SVU, Switched at Birth, as well as productions of Hairspray!, Grease and West Side Story. He was in a production of Newsies at the La Mirada Theater in California, and his director for the show inspired him to direct. He chose Godspell for his directorial debut because he wanted to get to know his cast. “I thought Godspell was the perfect show for that since everyone is on stage all the time,” said Mr. Cragin.
The cast consisted of girls and boys that come from different backgrounds and experiences. As a senior, Ashley auditioned in her last Dominican year because she has always loved musical theater and performing. She even took some years off from performing to study musical theater with camps at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy and Oxbridge Academic programs in New York. “I genuinely love performing,” said Ashley. “It felt very surreal to get the lead role.”
Freshman Mia DiGiovanni also auditioned because music (musical theater in particular) is her passion. Being in musicals has also helped her improve her dancing, singing and acting skills. The theater has also taught her many skills like how to lead, how to manage time and how to work with others. “There’s just something enchanting about it that draws you in,” said DiGiovanni. “Being able to make the audience feel genuine emotions from your performances is a crazy feeling.”
The cast auditioned in mid-January and worked non-stop since then to prepare for the show. According to Mrs. Kara Munns, faculty moderator, they practiced six days a week, three to four hours on weekdays and seven to eight hours on Saturdays. Finally, all their hard work paid off when the show was ready to open.
The cast worked together to put on
a successful show and came together to close out the performances. “I’m most proud
of the students for really committing and creating a community for each other,”
said Mr. Cragin. “It was rewarding to watch everyone step up past what we
thought we could do and create something that moved the audience.”
Ashley also loved the community
that the cast created. “The whole premise of the show is Jesus forming a
community, and we did, too,” said Ashley. Similarly, DiGiovanni loved the
experience because “I love getting to do something I love with people who are
equally as passionate as I am.”
The relationship between the cast and the crew is essential to the performance. The crew acts as the secret force of behind-the-scenes workers. “To do their job well, they have to be invisible,” said Ms. Angelle Caffery, scenery and stage crew director. The crew not only transforms the stage; they also run the show. They are in charge of making sure the cast has proper costumes, the proper sets, and a prepared stage. The crew also designs and runs the lights for the show. “The cast relies on the crew,” said Ms. Caffery. “There can’t be a cast without a crew.”
Another unique star of the Dominican musical is the live orchestra. The orchestra, directed by Ms. Brenda Castillo, musical director, is composed of Dominican students and plays the songs live in the show, rather than using a recording.
All of these aspects —cast, crew, orchestra and directors— create a community in the Dominican arts program and help to create a beautiful show, capable of captivating and moving the audience.