Students with different talents and hobbies walk the halls of Dominican, but when it comes to the Chevalier sisters, they’re not horsing around. These two sisters – senior Brigette Chevalier and freshman Gabby Chevalier – have taken their love of horses to the next level by training and competing as equestrians.
The sisters specialize in eventing, which is a category of equestrianism that consists of three categories – dressage, show jumping and cross country. Brigette’s favorite event is stadium, which takes place in an enclosed arena. The fast paced, timed course makes the vigorous event a nail-biter for everyone watching- including the rider.
Cross-country is Gabby’s favorite event because it is outdoors. Gabby’s love for all things nature is evident as she and her horse compete in the woods and fields, splashing through the water complexes to compete for the title of Event Champion.
“My passion for horses has been there ever since I was a little girl,” Gabby said. “It’s what pushes me to keep riding.”
It all started on a family trip to Tennessee. Both girls say that they had always loved horses, but a trail ride through the vast Smoky Mountains of Tennessee sparked their interest. Brigette and Gabby, 11 and 8 at the time, immediately enrolled in horse camp at Equest Farms and the rest is history.
“It’s not all about the riding”
Brigette and Gabby enjoy their weekends training and free-riding horses at Over the Moon Farm in Covington. “It’s not all about the riding,” Brigette explained. “I want to learn more about the horses.”
She recalls one of her greatest accomplishments throughout her career as not a physical one, but a mental feat. “It is a mental sport just as much as it is a physical sport. You have to form a bond of trust between you and your horse,” Brigette said. When the horse Brigette had been training went lame two days before a competition, she took on the challenge of nursing it back to health herself. Even though the duo had to miss the first day of competition, Brigette and her horse persevered and continued to compete for the rest of the weekend.
Gabby says that her love of horses and the hard work she puts into the sport motivates her to perform her best. She regards her greatest accomplishment as winning third place out of 62 individual riders at the Horse Riding Championships in North Carolina last year.
Two is Better Than One
Ever since the Chevalier sisters began riding together, they have been inseparable. Both girls compete in approximately six competitions each year with the Pony Club, which is a youth organization that strives to encourage young people to ride and care for horses.
“Having a sister who shares the same passion as you is really cool because it’s like a friend you can talk about it with 24/7,” Brigette said. Gabby agreed because “it is also super helpful to have someone to critique your skills so that you both can progress faster.”
Both girls hope to continue this career in different ways. Brigette’s love of horses inspires her to be an equine vet so that she can help horses and continue to ride them. Gabby wants to be a horse trainer when she grows up. The sport of equestrianism is one that takes dedication, passion and perseverance. Both sisters agree that “even though this sport can be time consuming, it is worth it in the end.”
Rally Day is a long-held tradition at Dominican. Many faculty and staff members are DHS alumnae who have fond memories of their Rally moments as students. Here are a few:
You don’t think you use math in the real world? Well, the Algebra I Honors students will prove you wrong.
These students have taken graphing and writing equations to new levels by showing that math is used on a daily basis, especially when determining such things as safety regulations, construction and population growth. Math teacher and department chair Mrs. Ashley Reso’s students completed a project in early February that required modern technology to solve equations and graph lines.
In order to complete the project, the Algebra I Honors students first downloaded a picture from the computer onto their calculators and then wrote equations for several lines in the picture. By writing linear equations for real-life objects, they gained a deeper understanding of how steep a roof or a slide should be and what kind of slopes would be acceptable to meet safety regulations, according to Mrs. Reso.
Next, the students adjusted the slope and y-intercept to make the lines fit perfectly with the picture. This exercise required that the students understand the roles the slope and the y-intercept each in play in a linear equation and how adjusting each one can change the look of the graph.
This project was part of a chapter on graphing lines using slope and y-intercept. In addition to the project, the students discussed other real-life applications of slope and y-intercept. In everyday life, the y-intercept can show the start of a population, while the slope will show how it grows.
Finally, the Algebra I Honors students placed the equations and pictures in a Word document. The graphing in the picture gave them a visual representation of how much the slope had changed. For example, they saw how steep a ramp would actually be.
Since Dominican has incorporated modern technology into the curriculum via the STREAM TM initiative, teachers and students now have a new outlook on their classes and assignments. “Using more technology in class helped the students have a better understanding on writing and graphing equations of lines,” said Mrs. Reso. “I am very pleased with the outcome of their projects.”
With this Algebra I Honors project, students learned a lot about how math is used in the real world while working with others. “It was fun to work with my partner Abby Morris,” said fellow eighth grader Isabelle Fitzmorris. “I really enjoyed the project because this was the first time I used technology to solve math problems.”
– Morgan Forshag
On Jan.30, DHS’s Science Club hosted the Wind in My Feathers event for students to get a close look at a few of Louisiana’s native birds. Raptor rehabilitator and educator Ms. Sally Farrell gave the forty-five-minute presentation in the D.A. Ms. Farrell visits schools across the state to educate students about native birds and the importance of protecting them.
Throughout the event, Ms. Farrell presented live raptors, along with preserved feathers, castings, skulls and feet. She discussed the role of raptors in the food chain and the importance of protecting them and their habitats. Many species of raptors are endangered and in need of protection. Ms. Farrell discussed how students can work toward protecting the overall environment for all species.
“It was a great opportunity to learn from expert who is dedicated to rehabilitating and protecting these animals,” said Mrs. Karen Plauche, moderator of the Science Club. “These birds have a specific role in nature, and it’s important that we learn about this role to appreciate them.”
– Lauren Nguyen
Upon entering the Sister Ambrose Reggio Gym, students are immediately transported to Spain, Ireland, Africa- without leaving Walmsley Avenue.
On Nov. 10, the Multicultural Club hosted its annual showcase. This year, Dominican welcomed special guests, St. Augustine High School Brass Band, as part of the performance lineup. In addition, students from Lafayette Academy traveled with Dominican by dancing hip-hop and an African style dance the festival.
The performances ranged from parading in cultural dresses, to Irish dancing around the center of gym floor. Club President, senior Nanami Okawauchi, demonstrated martial arts by fiercely kicking boards by representing the country of Asia. Seniors Andrea Garces and Samantha Silizear invited the audience to dance with them in a Salsa dance while representing the Latin American culture.
“I think the festival is unique and in a way that we were able to celebrate not only different cultures from around the world, but New Orleans cultures as well,” says Okawauchi. “It is so nice to see the student body get together and participate in a festival that celebrates a variety of different cultures and traditions that are outside of Dominican.”
With forty Dominican students involved, the performances this year took Dominican around the globe. “The purpose of the festival is to celebrate the different cultural expressions, not necessarily having a foreign background,” says club moderator, Ms. Claudia Vallejo.
“The multicultural festival was so much fun,” said eighth grader Camille Vincent. “It was my favorite lunchtime event because we all ate together and watched these cultural presentations.”
Both the students and faculty greatly enjoyed the diverse performances, and are anticipating next year’s showcase.
– Brogan Hausknecht