Click the link and take the quiz! Build your Thanksgiving menu to find out which Dominican Faculty member you are most like.
- original artwork by senior Rebecca Triche, member of the National Art Honor Society
- quiz designed by Jade Nguyen
Click the link and take the quiz! Build your Thanksgiving menu to find out which Dominican Faculty member you are most like.
The woman behind the SynDaver isn’t Ms. Guitroz. It’s Barbie! Ms. Guitroz is an avid collector of special edition Barbie dolls. Her collection began fifteen years ago with a set of Barbie dolls inspired by her favorite movie, Gone with the Wind. Her collection includes dolls from famous movies and TV shows such as That’s So Raven and I Love Lucy.
Her two favorite dolls are her special 40th Anniversary Barbie that was made in 1999, the year her daughter Anya was born, and her sorority’s specially-made Alpha Kappa Alpha doll that was created to commemorate the first all-black sorority in the United States.
“I’ve always loved dolls ever since I was little,” says Guitroz. “I love the stories behind them and the people they represent.”
Not only is Mrs. Kirkwood a math teacher, she also has a hidden talent. She can name all the presidents of the United States in under 25 seconds. She learned how to do this impressive talent in the 5th grade through a song. She can name them all with their first and last names. She used to recite this fascinating skill to her past classes.
Dominican welcomes a new cast member to the stage, Mr. Hahne, as he performs in his new roles as French and religion teacher. Behind the scenes, however, Mr. Hahne is passionate about all things theater. He is a member of the ensemble of The Music Man at Rivertown Theaters for Performing Arts and has performed in musicals throughout high school and college.
In addition, he takes gymnastics classes, dance classes and voice lessons to help strengthen his skills for theater. “I enjoy having an outlet for my creative energy,” Mr. Hahne.
Believe it or not, Sister Pam had a career before settling in to Room 109 at Dominican. A former teacher and a rock enthusiast, Sister Pam Weathersby, M.S.C., loves all things science. For 40 years, Sister Pam was a science teacher in the Archdiocese of New Orleans school system. She taught biology, microbiology, earth science and physical science. In fact, rocks of the earth are some her favorite things. “Rocks remind me that we are still on the brink of creation,” said Sister Pam.
The maintainance staff’s Mr. Kwantrell has a hidden talent of his own: he plays the saxophone like no one else. Mr. Kwantrell Rideau been playing saxophone since he was eight years old. He fell in love with instrument because of its smooth, flowing sound. He keeps up with playing as a hobby and in a jazz group. His favorite genres to play are traditional jazz, blues and contemporary jazz. He said he especially loves to play in Mardi Gras Second Lines. “I’ve always enjoyed the sound of the saxophone, ever since I first started playing,” said Mr. Kwantrell.
Ms. Ford loves baking honey buns as much as she loves teaching Hamlet. She began baking when she was a student at LSU, but she does remember baking with her mom when she was little. Her bookshelves are full of cookbooks even though she’s not the best at following the recipes. Because Ms. Ford lives a vegan lifestyle, she said her biggest challenge is to modify recipes to make them vegan.
“My Instagram is all food,” said Ms. Ford. “My favorite recipe I’ve made has to be the Classic Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies.”
While Coach Ciolino spends most of her time teaching P.E. in the SARG or coaching the Stunnah Runnahs of the Dominican Cross Country Team, woodwork is something that she also enjoys. Ms. Ciolino first discovered her love for building things when, at age 12, she built a wooden halfpipe with her cousins for skateboarding.
She calls this event her “intro to woodwork,” and since then, she has built many different things, including a door for her house, shelving, and even a trophy for the Cross Country team after a race win. “I’ve come a long way. I don’t make as many mistakes anymore,” said Ms. Ciolino.
Sr. Angeline has a knack for bringing an African violet plant back. She has such as green thumb that she has a nursery for sick violets in the in the back of the library. Those African violet plants displayed in the library have all been brought back to health by Sr. Angeline.
She said she waters them once a week, removes the dead flowers and leaves, “and I talk to them nicely.” She loves seeing them grow and has some at her house. “I liked watching the flowers grow and sometimes the plants would grow shoots. So I learned how to transplant the shoots,” said Sr. Angeline.
Mr. Foss’s hidden talent, besides being a physics aficionado, is that he devloped a method to his “frog tie Friday” madness. Mr. Foss has a specific algorithm for organizing his outfits for the week.
The system begins with the shoes (either black or brown), then follows with the pants, shirt and, of course, the tie. Each week, he alternates a few color choices of articles of clothing, which then establishes his ensemble for the day. “If it’s the right time and the right day, then it’ll be a Frog Tie Friday!” said Mr. Foss.
She’s a master of Scripture, student council and of marital arts. Ms. Bordelon practices the art of Krav Maga at Triumph Self Defense School. She’s been attending classes 2-3 times each week since October. “I wanted to learn self-defense,” said Ms. Bordelon. “It is good practice being assertive, and I love the community there!”
Mrs. Frick has always been an animal lover. Even though her mother wasn’t fond of animals, Mrs. Frick had two dogs during her childhood years. When she became an adult, she had several pets which were a part of her family.
After those beloved pets died, she knew she didn’t want to deal with that pain again, so she and her family started fostering dogs. Her latest and greatest endeavor was fostering three puppies this past summer.
“And the boy loved the tree…….very much. And the tree was happy.”
― Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree
After the long summer break, DHS students were eager to start their new classes and return to their second home on Walmsley Ave. However, students noticed that one special part of Dominican was missing. The iconic water oak tree, which has been shading Dominican students for decades, was put to rest. Because it was stricken with fungi and disease, the beloved tree had to be taken down.
Even though many mourn the loss of this tree, the removal was in the best interest of the Dominican community, according to Mrs. Catherine Thomson, Vice President, Finance/CF. The administration called a tree surgeon to examine the sick tree, and it was indeed rotting from the inside out, dropping large branches one by one. “It was a sad day,” said Mrs. Thomson. “Many friendships were made under that tree.”
For years, students made many memories under this tree: gathering for lunch, studying during free period and talking with friends after school. “After school I’d sit under the tree and do homework,” said senior class coordinator Camryn Wizniewski. “It was a peaceful and beautiful spot where I could relax.”
Even in class, the tree played a role. “The tree was home to our end-of-the-year Spanish fiesta, where we feasted on chips and guac and delicious Spanish cuisine,” said junior Tai Sutherland. “It was a great area to spend time with my classmates.”
The tree was popular spot to take pictures on many Dominican occasions. “My favorite memory of the tree was on the first day of eighth grade,” said senior Alexandra Minnard. “It was under this tree on orientation day where I met many good friends.” Each Dominican student associates the tree with a specific memory she holds close to her heart.
Current students and alumnae alike mourn the passing of the tree. “It was such a beautiful tree, and it represented the history of DHS,” said Ms. Kathryn Engro (’15). “I cannot even picture campus without the tree there, and I know the first time I see it gone, I will get a little choked up.”
According to Mrs. Thomson, the school is unable to plant another tree in the area where the water oak had been because of the existing fungi. However, plans are in the works to implement another source of shade for students.
Dominican seniors Hannah McGowan and Sarah Wild were honored with the All-State Volleyball Award in January. McGowan and Wild join select volleyball players nominated by coaches from across the state.
This unique title is given to seniors in high school who exhibit an extraordinary talent in volleyball. Member of the Louisiana Volleyball Coaches Association select which students will win the award, choosing only fifty players in the state.
“Sarah and Hannah were not only leaders of our team, but they were both able to bring key elements to the court for us” said Mrs. Jessica Chatellier, volleyball coach. Both players’ statistics contributed to the team’s successful season.
McGowan had an amazing season. She was this year’s ace leader and racked up 319 digs for the season. Her athletic abilities led the volleyball team to many victories against tough competitors.
Additionally, McGowan has made her mark throughout her volleyball career. Her performance earned her the title of Ms. Louisiana Volleyball for 2017. Also, She was inducted into the Dominican 1,000 Kills Club. In volleyball, kills are attacks that are not returnable. McGowan secured her spot on the 1,000 Kills Club with a total of 1,294 career kills.
McGowan considers winning the All-State award a huge honor because “most players in my position are 6’0 ft or taller, and I’m only 5’9.” She believes that winning the award helped to boost her confidence in her skills and abilities on and off the court. McGowan will continue her volleyball career at Bethel University, where she received an athletic scholarship.
Just as McGowan led the team, alongside her was Wild, who was both a team leader and versatile player on the team. Wild began playing volleyball at the age of 6, so her love for the game began when she was quite young.
She displayed her passion for the sport through her active role on the team. “Sarah played many roles for our team. She was able to play multiple positions for us along the front row, as well as setting for us while she was in the back row,” said Mrs. Chatellier.
Wild was this year’s assist leader, contributing 538 assists and 304 kills for the season. Her talents were a tremendous aid in many of the games. Having the ability to play multiple positions while leading the team made her the perfect candidate for the All-State award. In addtion, Wild was named to the All-Metro team.
Both girls demonstrate a true talent and love for the sport. McGowan is thankful for volleyball’s life lessons. “I learned a lot from playing volleyball that will help me throughout life,” she said. “Team work, hard work and dedication.”
– In’ziya Magee
The sounds of mistletones and jingle bells are resounding through the halls at DHS this holiday season. From frolicking in the first snow in New Orleans since 2008 to pictures with Santa in Alumnae Hall, students are preparing for a jolly Christmas.
For many, the Christmas season brings treasured memories and traditions to life. From watching their favorite Christmas movies to baking cookies with their families, the faculty and students of Dominican shared some of their favorite aspects of Christmas.
“Every seven minutes and fourteen seconds, someone is injured due to a car crash, and every twelve hours, someone dies due to a car crash injury.”– Sudden Impact.
These facts were brought to life in the Sudden Impact program, which focuses on teen injury prevention. Executed by University Medical Center’s Level 1 Trauma Center and the Louisiana State Police, this powerful program focuses on motor vehicle safety while illustrating the consequences of distracting driving.
Learning how to be safe on the road is vital. It’s especially relevant for new drivers – such as Dominican sophomores – who are learning to master the rules of the road.
Each Dominican sophomore participates in Sudden Impact by spending a day immersed in the program. Throughout the first semester, sophomore homerooms traveled to University Medical Center and Touro Hospital to participate in this 7-hour long program.
The entirety of the Sudden Impact program includes the day-long presentation once a year as well as a mock crash and a mock trial every three years. Dominican began participating in this program in 2009. According to Dean of Students Ms. Sheri Salvagio (’84), Sudden Impact at DHS has been very effective.
“I believe we should be proactive in giving the students the knowledge they deserve to have in order to make smart decisions,” said Ms. Salvagio.
During the Sudden Impact presentation, students learned about current state laws as well as ways to avoid distractions while driving. To emphasize the importance of auto safety, the presentation also included real life scenarios of Louisiana students injured in automobile crashes due to distracted or drunk driving. They also heard the stories of victims of fatal car crashes who did not live to tell their stories.
One victim who did live to share her story was Ms. Ashlee Stokes. In 2008, Ms. Stokes was severely injured in a car crash caused by a drunk driver. Ms. Stokes suffered a serious brain injury due to the collision. Ashlee, along with her father Mr. David Stokes, made a surprise appearance at the UMC Sudden Impact program. Together, they shared Ashlee’s story to teach others about the consequences of drunk and distracted driving.
Mr. Stokes shared his daughter’s thoughts and told the students to “make a difference.” He stressed the importance that even in a bad situation, there’s always a positive outcome that can be made.
The Stokes family put these words into action when they began a program called Ashlee’s Angels Designated Driver Service. This non-profit organization, with the help of family, friends and volunteers, picks up people who need a safe, sober ride home. The Stokes family continues to make a difference by sharing Ashlee’s story to inform others on how important it is to stay safe on the road.
The sophomores were astonished at the consequences of impaired driving. “We always think something like that can’t happen to us,” said Tai Sutherland. “It was really eye opening to see that bad things can happen to anyone.”
Ms. Bridget Gardner, RN, began the Sudden Impact program 19 years ago, and it has been successful ever since. The program has now reached 17 hospitals and over 100 schools throughout Louisiana.
“As presenters, our goal is that each teen learns a significant message to change a current high-risk behavior and reinforce a healthy decision when driving,” said Ms. Gardner.
“I was struck by how often these incidents happen,” said Sutherland. “Participating in this program definitely enlightened how I view road safety.”
The presenters at Sudden Impact emphasized the word “prevention.” They emphasized that it’s all about preventing bad things from happening. Sudden Impact is one of the best ways students can be informed on how to stay safe and prevent injuries.
“What Was Your First Concert?”
Inquiring minds want to know more about DHS teachers’ initiation into the School of Rock. The Star staff did some investigative reporting to bring you the facts about the faculty’s first concerts.
Prom. Ring Day. Induction. Graduation – so many events run through the minds of seniors as they approach the “beginning of the end” of their high school journey.
However, seniors Alex Williams, and Sophie Ondrusek have additional events on their minds. They, along with six other DHS students, are Dominican Student Preachers. As Student Preachers, this team is tasked with inspiring creative initiatives within the school to lead others into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.
Veteran preachers Ondrusek and Williams have the important role of leading their fellow preachers; seniors Caroline Bickerton, Molly Derbes, Abby Haydel, Meghan Rotolo; and juniors Ella Cheramie and Cappy Elvir.
As part of their commitment, the Dominican Student Preachers take on the responsibilities of teaching, preaching and spreading the word of God to the DHS community. The girls incorporate the four pillars of Dominican life – prayer, study, community and service – throughout their daily actions.
According to Mrs. Jill Cabes (’87), vice resident of Dominican Catholic Identity, the preachers have a very important role at Dominican. They must possess specific qualifications to obtain the special position. A preacher must be Catholic, a junior or senior and interested in deepening her Catholic faith. With these qualifications, preachers must also be dedicated to put hard work and time into their prayers and reflections.
Though the Student Preachers may be heard only once each day during afternoon prayer, the work they do behind the scenes is vital and continuous. The job of the student preachers is to incorporate prayer and study into their lives while teaching others to do the same. “The Student Preachers have the job of uniting the school through prayer and keep Dominican focused on God,” said Ondrusek.
While being a preacher is an honor, both Ondrusek and Williams agree it is still comes with everyday challenges. This past August, Ondrusek reflected on her challenges with public speaking at the Mass of the Holy Spirit. She explained to the student body how becoming a preacher has helped her to face that fear and conquer it completely.
The students also take what they learn as preachers and incorporate it into their everyday lives. “Before I became a Student Preacher, I could tell a part of me was missing,” said Williams. “Now, two parts of me – faith and individuality – come together, making me the person I am today.”
The role of the student preacher surpasses what the student body sees on the day to day basis. However, according to Derbes, the hard work is worth the effort.
“I recommend being a student preacher to others because you can share your faith and lead people closer to God,” said Derbes.
Preachers must incorporate a great amount of time and effort to prayer and study into their busy schedules. Over the summer, the girls attended the Dominican Preaching Conference in Adrian, Michigan. There, they met students from various Dominican schools and learned about the history of the Dominican Order of Preachers.
Throughout the school year, Student Preachers share their faith at multiple Dominican gatherings. At events such as Black & White Friday Night and Open House, the Student Preachers lead prayer and explain their role in the school. In early March, they will assist with the formation St. Joseph’s altar, and throughout the year, they write and share reflections with the Dominican community at Mass.
Keep an eye out for the preachers at Open House on October 19 in the Siena Center Gym.
And now ladies and gentlemen, Louisiana State University proudly presents the Golden Band from Tiger Land!
This is the que for the 325 members of the LSU Marching Band to process out to the football field in their faultless lines to perform their carefully choreographed half time routine. This is the dream for many but achieved only by a few. For Julia Giacona (‘17), the path to LSU Band began when she first picked up a trumpet in fourth grade and was mentored in the Dominican Band.
Giacona’s passion for music and her Dominican Band background produced the perfect melody for her to earn a spot in the LSU Marching Band, but it took much hard work to get there. “I couldn’t be where I am today without Ms. Castillo and Dominican’s Band,” Giacona said. “By being in Dominican’s band, I was able to learn how to play trumpet, read music and march.”
With the guidance of Ms. Brenda Castillo, band director, Julia practiced tirelessly for her LSU Band audition. Ms. Castillo teaches her students “that if you work hard and smart you can do it.” Both Giacona and her mother, Dominican science teacher Mrs. Crissy Giacona, cite Ms. Castillo as having a “huge impact” on Giacona’s success.
This past summer, Giacona began the process of trying out to join the LSU Marching Band. The tryout consisted of an initial audition and then attending Tiger Band Camp. All of Giacona’s hard work finally paid off when she saw her name on the final list on the last day of LSU Band Camp. “I was proud of myself for accomplishing my goal.” said Giacona. “It wasn’t easy. I understood this was a college marching band and that not everyone who tried out would make it.
“So, when I heard that I had made the cut, I was ecstatic,” she added.
Making the team was just the first step in Giacona’s LSU Band experience. From that time on, the tempo picked up because she had her first practice within thirty minutes of finding out she had made the cut!
For the band, game day does not just start when the game does; it starts early in the morning. The Golden Band from Tigerland starts the day at the indoor football facility to rehearse pregame and halftime one last time. From there, per the LSU Game Day tradition, the band marches down Victory Hill to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center and then to the stadium. Although Giacona thinks halftime is “amazing,” her favorite part of game days is pregame. “When we do the stadium salute, the crowd’s cheering echoes throughout the stadium, and it is an electrifying and incredible feeling,” Giacona said.
As if one Dominican Band alum in LSU Band was not great enough, there are two. Mallory DeLanzac (‘15) is also a member of the band. Upon hearing Giacona was planning to try out for band, DeLanzac became Giacona’s biggest cheerleader. This included introducing Giacona to the band director and teaching her the five basic marching steps. “Mallory taught me fundamentals for LSU’s marching,” said Giacona. “She also informed me about what I had to work on for the audition and was an amazing supporter.”
Ms. Castillo, Giacona’s and DeLanzac’s mentor, describes her former students as “persistent, determined and courageous.” In fact, Ms. Castillo gets emotional as she reflects on their accomplishments. “When they play, it gets to you,” said Ms. Castillo. “It’s very touching and rewarding.”