–The Dominican Debs proudly celebrate their national ranking at the Universal Dance Association National Dance Team Championship. The competition took place from Feb. 1-3 in Orlando, Fl.
Ranked ninth in the nation, the Debs ended their season in the top ten in the country for their Game Day choreography. After winning multiple first place titles in January’s American All-Star Louisiana State Dance Competition, the squad traveled to Orlando for the UDA Nationals competition and placed ninth overall for their three best routines. The competition proved to be a success and acted as the grand finale to their 2018-2019 season.
See their Game Day performance here.
“UDA Nationals was a great opportunity for our team to showcase its talents up against competitors from across the country. Normally, the Debs only compete against 5 teams, who tend to be the same at every competition, so to be nationally ranked out of 88 teams was a huge accomplishment,” said Mrs. Fran Gandolfi Moran (’87), Debs coach. “Nationals also allowed us to see what other teams are doing. We got to see how we stood up to them competition wise, which helps us to progress in the future.”
UDA Nationals competition was a proud moment for all team members and reinforced
their season mottos, “Earned Not Given” and “Hard Work Pays Off.”
“I’ve been on this team since I was in eighth grade,
but I’ve never been prouder of my Debs,” said senior Virginia Babin, Deb
co-captain. “When I’m sitting and waiting to hear the results of a competition,
I just think of all the hard work and all the practices we’ve put in as a team,
but when they announce a win, none of it matters. We finally know we did
From the grocery store shelf to Dominican’s donation pile, tens of thousands of cans made their journey from the hands of DHS students to the home of the hungry.
This year, Dominican collected
over 15,000 cans for Second Harvest Food Bank at Dominican’s 20th
Annual Canned Food Drive held on Feb. 5-13.
“As a Dominican school,
it is important to collectively act on the pillar of service,” said Mrs. Jill
Cabes (’87), Vice President, Dominican Catholic Identity. “I love the spirit
and excitement that build throughout the week.”
Second Harvest provides
food and support to 700+ community partners and programs across 23 parishes. Dominican’s
annual food drive is the largest food drive in the Greater New Orleans Area.
“Hunger is an everyday
emergency,” said Ms. Emily Slazer, Second Harvest Food Sourcing Specialist. “In
Louisiana, one in five households is at risk of hunger.”
With an exact total of
15,186 cans collected, Dominican provided 11,150 meals to the hungry.
“The canned food drive brought
the whole school together and showed that even a small act of donating can make
a great impact on the community,” said senior Isabella Purpura, treasurer of
CLC. “Our main focus is service to our community, and this is one of our
biggest projects for which we advocate.”
To kick off the canned food drive, Dominican hosted the Justice Awareness Mass on Feb. 5 and welcomed over 200 students from pre-k through grade 7 from neighboring St. Rita Catholic School to celebrate. Led by Celebrant Fr. Peter Finney, III, Pastor of St. Rita Catholic Church, the mass was all about bringing peace and justice to the community.
This year was Dominican’s first annual Peace Mass and the start of a yearly collaboration with St. Rita students, and even their choir.
“The mass is about cultivating
peace,” said Mrs. Cabes. “This drive is our largest campus-wide service
project, so it fits perfectly with our Justice Awareness Mass.”
“I love seeing the magnitude we are able to accomplish,” said Ms. Claire Gallagher (’04), campus minister. “On an individual bases, someone bringing in a few cans doesn’t seem like a lot, but when we all contribute, it’s exciting to see what we can do when we put all of our efforts together.”
beauty of the world lies in the diversity of its people”- Unknown
The diversity of Dominican’s school community is an
important feature of life on Walmsley. To celebrate this diversity, the DHS
Multicultural Club hosted its annual Multicultural Festival on Mar. 14 to
showcase and celebrate the culture and backgrounds of the students. With
performances by both students and guests, this popular event filled the Sr. Ambrose
Reggio Gym with the songs, dances and languages of different cultures from
across the globe.
This year, the student-organized festival included thirty
participants from all grade levels. Performances ranged from a fashion show of
traditional dresses from ten countries to vocal performances and poetry. Additionally,
two guest dancers from Crescent Lotus Dance Studio in New Orleans performed
“The students played a big part in organizing the
festival this year,” said Mr. Randy Duplantis, club moderator “I’m really proud
of them for stepping up and taking ownership of such a successful event this
Each year, students perform at Multicultural Festival
to share their cultural backgrounds. “We encourage students to embrace their own
culture,” said junior Amanda Bolden, president of the Multicultural Club.
Bolden also stressed the importance of exposing DHS students to a variety of
During the festival, students enjoyed a fashion show
of fifteen students who strutted through the SARG in colorful dresses and
garments. The authentic costumes represented countries such as Vietnam, China,
Spain, Colombia, Mexico, Ankara and Western Africa.
The event traveled from Africa to Europe as eighth
grader Isabella Bagnetto performed a traditional Irish step dance while wearing
an Irish dress and shoes called ghillies. Representing the Far East, eighth
graders Nicole Tran, Emma Plaisance and Samantha Phillips performed a
traditional Chinese lion dance featuring a homemade dragon costume.
Special guests from Crescent Lotus Dance Studio transported
the SARG to the Middle East as they performed traditional belly dances,
featuring a cane called an assaya and small hand cymbals called zills.
Back in Europe, French students freshman Alexandra
Amato, sophomore Sydney Raymond, and junior Myriel Green performed an original
short story in French called “L’Histoire
De Jerry Broyer.” The story, written for a creative writing contest at the
French Convention, tells the adventures of a grave robber who robs a cemetery
in New Orleans. The story “was inspired by several images of New Orleans,”
according to Raymond.
Though the festival features many cultures from around
the world, senior Holly Fraychineaud represented a culture in society that people
often misunderstand. Fraychineaud sang “Rise Up” by Andra Day in American Sign
Language, a language that gives a voice to the population of Americans who are
unable to use their own voices to communicate. “A lot of people think that deaf
people aren’t as capable and that their deafness is a disability,” said
Fraychineaud. “Almost one hundred percent of deaf people will prove them wrong.
Deaf people can do anything a hearing person can, except hear.”
The Multicultural Festival serves to educate students and promote the beauty and diversity of the cultures at Dominican. “The Multicultural Club has extended my previous knowledge of other cultures and has stumped common misconceptions about them,” said Bolden. “It is a way of learning about cultures different from my own in a fun and interesting way. We should all have the desire to learn about our differences because that is what makes us all so unique.”
the Girl Scout Gold Award is a big accomplishment for seniors Anne Marie Licata
and Kalani Briggs. This award is the most prestigious awards a Girl Scout can obtain.
To achieve the Gold Award, a young woman in high school must identify an issue
and take action in finding a solution in her own unique way.
To earn the Gold Award, Girl Scouts identify and find a solution to an issue important to her. The seven-step process begins in the planning process and ends with carrying out the solution. As her final project, Licata sewed 100 heating pads for breast-feeding mothers at Ochsner Hospital to help alleviate their pain.
a Girl Scout for twelve years has taught Licata the importance of giving to
others. She has also learned the value
of being a leader in her community. “It has taught me how to speak out in my
community and address what needs to be changed,” said Licata.
To accomplish her Gold Award goal, Briggs is collecting prom dresses to distribute to high schoolers who cannot afford to buy such a garment. She will receive her award this spring
From a young age, many think that they are unable to make changes in their community but being a Girl Scout has helped Briggs think differently. “No matter how small we think something is, it can mean the world to someone else,” said Briggs. “So, don’t get discouraged and stop because you aren’t making an impact because even if it is only to one person you are making a difference.”
With a regular season record of 23-6, the Dominican
Basketball Team reached the Division I state semifinals in Alexandria for the
third year in a row. Following their 40-24 win against Byrd in the state quarter
finals, Dominican faced Mount Carmel and ended the season with pride.
The team’s Feb. 28 game against the Cubs ended their run but
undoubtedly showed the determination and grit the players showcased throughout
“I’m so proud of this team and all they’ve accomplished.
Getting to know and work with these players is such an honor,” said Mr. Ryan
Reuter, head basketball coach.
The team began the season the same way they finished – strong.
Dominican’s performance earned the team a “high power rating” from the Louisiana
High School Athletic Association heading into the post season.
The 2018-2019 season, while a success for the team, was by no
means an easy lay-up.
Two varsity players suffered major knee injuries, benching
them for the season.
Sophomore starter Grace Hamblin, center, tore her meniscus in mid-November, forcing her to undergo surgery early in the season. Hamblin’s teammate freshman Allison Tullier, forward, tore her ACL in January, which ended her season.
Without two key players, the team fought to earn every win.
“After losing two teammates, everyone’s definitely had to
step up,” said Ahjah Yunusah, varsity captain.
“A lot of people had to fill those starter positions and just go with
Yunusah, a senior and starting forward, led the team on and
off the court, playing in all 29 games this season and motivating her fellow
athletes to play for something bigger than themselves.
“We’ve had to work harder in practice and games, and the bond that comes from that work is what has made us this successful,” said Yunusah. “We try to play for Grace and Allison because we know they’re counting on us.”
In her final season, Yunusah scored a total of 177 points and was named to the All-Tournament Team at the Allstate Sugar Bowl National Prep Classic held at the Alario Center in January.
With strong leadership and staunch determination, Dominican
basketball showed dedication and nerve, slam dunking tournament after
The Sugarbowl, De La Salle and Episcopal tournaments all ended
in black and white victory, and the team’s unremitting efforts helped players
to keep their heads in the game even on the hardest days.
Freshman Sydney Sherman, forward, led the team in scoring
with 187 season points. As a varsity starter, Sherman was also named to the
Allstate Sugarbowl All-Tournament Team, helping the team to victory time and
Junior Kylie Barre, guard, also had a notable season with 47
steals and 70 assists as an upperclassmen starter. Barre was named as the
Allstate Sugarbowl Tournament’s Most Valuable Player and sees a bright future
for the upcoming season.
Two underclassmen also rebounded the season by stepping up to the hoop and holding their own. Guard Kate Baker along with forward Sherman were both played as Varsity starters and slam-dunked their freshmen season on the team.
In the post season, the team’s accolades kept coming. Captain Ahjah Yunusah was named to the LHSAA All-Academic Basketball Team; Freshman Sydney Sherman was named to the All-District Basketball Team; and Junior Kylie Barre was named to the All-District Basketball Team, the Clarion Herald Girls Elite Basketball Team, and awarded with an All-Metro Honorable Mention.
“They work hard. They’re scrappy,” said head coach Ryan
Reuter. “I feel fortunate to coach good players and good kids. Not everybody has
The team may have wrapped up their season, but Mr. Reuter is
already looking to next year.
“We have a fairly young team, but the players are experienced
and not overwhelmed by the game,” said Mr. Reuter. “I’m excited to see what
next season holds for our up and comers.”
Barre agrees. “I’m really excited to see what next season
holds for us,” she said. “I think the seniors this year definitely set the tone,
and I just hope we can lead this team as the past seniors have led me, passing down
what they’ve taught us season after
“I can’t wait to be back and on the court with my favorite group of people,” she added. “Our hopes for next year are to bring home a state title and show everyone what Dominican basketball is all about.”
is defined as differences among people
with respect to age, class, ethnicity, gender, physical and mental ability,
race, spiritual practice, and other human characteristics.
What is diversity at Dominican? Diversity is looking around the classroom and seeing girls of different races and cultures. Diversity is feeling safe surrounded by the girls in the Dominican community. Diversity is uniting and accepting everyone, no matter their differences.
One way Dominican promotes diversity is through the Students for Human Dignity and Diversity in Action student organization. This organization, introduced in 2018, spreads the message and importance of diversity at Dominican. Moderated by Ms. Vallerie Maurice (‘78) and Dr. Maureen Wright, the organization educates and empowers students to embrace the differences in the Dominican community.
To help spread its message, the organization has student diversity trainers who assist the Unity in Diversity Initiative by conducting diversity seminars for each grade. During these seminars, diversity trainers teach important skills such as how to be allies to fellow students and how to embrace and encourage diversity in the Dominican community as well as the larger community. “We want all students to possess the skill set to maneuver different environments,” said Ms. Maurice. “We want to teach them how to have a true and calm dialogue about diversity issues.”
The organization leaders chose to
hold the seminars in small sessions; students work together within their
homeroom groups. “The smaller sessions create a safer space and make girls
comfortable in discussion,” said sophomore Elana Perriott, president of
Students for Human Dignity and Diversity in Action.
Discussion is an important part of learning
to embrace diversity. According to Ms. Maurice, a goal for this program is to
teach students to have authentic and calm dialogues where people take time to
understand each other.
“Learning how to have these
dialogues helps the girls become leaders and navigate conversations in the future,”
Ms. Maurice added.
Using discussions, student leaders communicate what they
wish for their classmates to learn. According to senior Emilee Chubb, chaplain
of this student organization, students want to feel that they are connected, and
not just going through Dominican. She wants her fellow classmates to know that “under
our skin, we are all the same.”
Chubb said that it is not always
easy to stand up for what is right, but in the end, it is rewarding to be doing
what is right to benefit the Dominican community.
Dominican’s diversity program helps
to promote peace not only in the Dominican community, but the surrounding neighborhoods,
also. “As a school sponsored by the Dominican Sisters of Peace, we have an
obligation to work for peace, especially in our community,” said Dr. Cynthia
Thomas, president of Dominican. “Dominican is dedicated to devoting the time
necessary for effective dialogue and better understanding in our community.”
The program aims to teach Dominican
girls important skill sets, such as the correct language in conversations and how
to be allies. These are skills students can take with them to college and into
the world outside of Dominican. As part of shaping young women to the profile
of a Dominican graduate, Students for Human Dignity and Diversity in Action want
to shape their emotional intelligence, too.
Emotional intelligence allows for understanding
between people. It gives people the ability to communicate with others to help
deescalate potentially-volatile situations and accept others despite their
differences. “I’ve learned how to have better conversations with girls in the
Dominican community and even people outside of Dominican,” said junior Zoee
Hunter. “It has helped my conversation skills and understanding of people
According to Dr. Wright, emotional
intelligence is just as important as academic intelligence. “You can have the
technical intelligence, but you have to be able to work with others,” said Dr. Wright.
“The more you can look for something of value in a conversation, that’s when
informed dialogue happens.”
Dominican is a place for everyone, no matter her race, culture, ethnicity or social economic background. Dominican is already diverse and will continue to celebrate differences in this program as it continues to grow. Through diversity, Dominican is unified into one body because in God’s eyes, everyone is valued, regardless of differences.
her father, Mr. Jeff Young, senior Jeanne Marie Young gives a royal, New
Orleans-style wave to party goers in Washington, D.C, in February. Young is a princess in the royal court of the
Mystick Krewe of Louisianians, the host of the annual Washington Mardi Gras celebration.
As a member of the
court, Young traveled with the Mystick Krewe of Louisiana to bring Mardi Gras
to Washington, D.C. According to the Mystick Krewe of Louisianians’ website,
the group “has brought the pageantry, revelry and mystery of Mardi Gras to our
nation’s capital” for more than sixty years.
Young was one of
twenty-six young women selected by the Louisiana Congressional Delegation to
represent Louisiana in this annual event. Young’s district representative,
Congressman Steve Scalise, was also the krewe captain.
Young, her favorite part of the event was “the cheering from the people who
came to support them.” She said that she was thrilled to bring part of her
culture to Washington, D.C., while representing Dominican at the same time.
“It was such an amazing experience,” said Young. “I have always enjoyed Mardi Gras, but this is a Mardi Gras that I will always remember. I made so many new wonderful friends, and I will never forget that experience.”
Freshmen Taelor Foret, Janelle Ulloa, Olivia Perry, Elizabeth Prince and eighth grader Kaitlyn Rapp of Veritas Volunteers serve food to patrons at the Chefs’ Charity for Children on Jan. 28. This annual event, held at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, benefits the children of St. Michael’s Special School.
Fifteen members of Dominican’s Veritas Volunteers club served at the event. For eight years, Dominican has volunteered at the Chefs’ Charity, where celebrity chefs such as Emeril Legasse, Leah Chase and Alon Shaya cook signature dishes as a fundraiser for St. Michael’s Special School. As a service organization, Veritas Volunteers is dedicated to serve Dominican and the city of New Orleans through projects such as the Chefs’ Charity.
“I really enjoyed volunteering for an organization that is close to my heart,” said junior Morgan Muscarello. “I look forward to doing this again next year.”
STREAMTM explores the relationship between faith and reason, continuing Dominican’s role in the formation of students as believing thinkers and thinking believers. The components of STREAMTM – science, technology, religion, engineering, arts and math – are the foundations of what St. Mary’s Dominican High School offers to its students.
Dominican High School launched a new course, Introduction to Engineering. Taught
by Mr. Kenneth Lannes, an engineer and an adjunct professor at the University
of New Orleans, the class offers the basics of engineering to juniors and
seniors. “By introducing students to engineering at this level,” said Mr.
Lannes, “they may decide to pursue engineering as a career.”
“If becoming an engineer is in their path, they’re ahead of the game” by taking this college-preparatory course, added Mr. Lannes.
The course introduces various types of engineering, including electrical, mechanical and civil engineering. Intro to Engineering incorporates God into the course because it correlates what early scientists studied with the advances science has made.
“If we look at STREAMTM as God as the center of math, engineering and science, this is how we would see the language of God,” said Mrs. Jennifer Drouant (‘93), academic assistant principal.
was excited to introduce the course because there is “a huge need for female
voices in the engineering industry,” added Mrs. Drouant.
As a woman in this male-dominated field, chemical engineer Ms. Danica Nguyen (’06), currently working at ExxonMobil, said being a woman in a in engineering comes with obstacles. “The main challenge is overcoming gender bias,” said Ms. Nguyen.
Shannon Newkirk (’94), chemical engineer with Shell in Deer Park, Texas,
agrees. “There are times that when I
feel I have to work slightly harder to prove myself,” said Ms. Newkirk. However,
Ms. Newkirk adds that she has seen “a growth in the female population” in the industry
these past years.
Intro to Engineering students were challenged with a project of their own this quarter. Applying a civil engineering lesson, students built bridges solely out of popsicle sticks. Their bridges – consisting of no more than 50 sticks – had to be at least two feet long and support at least 500 grams. “Through this project, the course has taught me how engineering applies to daily life,” said junior Adele Hoth.
this class seemed like the perfect transition into college engineering
courses,” said junior Hallie Matherne. “It’s important to me to have a strong
foundation in engineering before the college classroom experience.”
As a Dominican alum and traffic engineer at Vectura, Ms. Bridget Robicheaux (’03) said that she would have loved learning more about engineering during high school. Becoming an engineer “took a lot of hard work and a lot of late-night studying,” said Ms. Robicheaux. “I encourage Dominican students to learn as much as they can from everyone around and to go where God leads them,” she added.
From experience, Ms. Nguyen has advice to the young women looking to enter in this field. “Don’t let these challenges discourage you from joining the field,” said Ms. Nguyen. “It is up to our future generation to enable capable women to also participate in the engineering field and share their knowledge and talent.”