In November, the Dominican Debs celebrated their fiftieth anniversary of sisterhood, dance and tradition.
“The Debs are so much more than just an
extracurricular or a dance team. The Debs represent hard work, dedication and
faithfulness,” said Mrs. Carolyn Favre (’70), principal of St. Mary’s Dominican
The tradition that started fifty years
ago by Dominican P.E. teacher Mrs. Carmen Gaudet continues today under the
leadership of Mrs. Fran Gandolfi Moran (’87). “Mrs. Gaudet was a pioneer in the
dance team world. Everyone had so much respect for her,” said Mrs. Moran. A Deb
alumna herself, Mrs. Moran has coached the Debs for the past seven years.
As part of their fiftieth anniversary
celebration, the Deb alumnae performed with the current Debs at the Brother
Martin High School football game on Nov. 1 in Tad Gormley Stadium. The women
traveled back to their time on the team by dancing in the stands with shakers
and pom poms.
Through the years, hundreds of women
have been part of the sisterhood that is the Debs. On the day of the celebration,
Dominican hosted more than 50 women – alums from the class of 1970 to the class
“Saints’ and sages’ names enrolled” – After adding their names to those in the Veritas Tower, Deb alums gather for a group selfie.Capturing the joy of the Debs 50th anniversary are Mrs. Lorraine Melito Hess (’86), Mrs. Becky Gandolfi Gottsegen (’86), Mrs. Fran Gandolfi Moran (’87), Mrs. Jaimie Gandolfi Majoria (’83), and Mrs. Laura Gandolfi Berrigan (’79).
Celebrating with other Deb alumnae
brought back great memories for Mrs. Jill Curry Cabes (’87), vice president,
Dominican Catholic Identity. “Being on the team gave me the opportunity to become
friends with so many more people than just the girls in my grade. The best part?
We are still friends today,” said Mrs. Cabes.
Mrs. Amy Elmer Calongne (‘08) agrees
with Mrs. Cabes. “Being a Deb allowed me to bond with other girls through dancing,
competing and representing my school,” said Mrs. Calongne.
The Deb alumnae had such a great time at the celebration that they want to do it again. According to Mrs. Moran and Deb Moderator Mrs. Sina Raymond Baldwin (’84), there will be a special game dedicated to Deb alumnae every football season.
Dominican recognizes the time and
talent of Deb alums. With their legacy, Mrs. Moran has high expectations for
the incoming classes. She said talent coming in is very strong.
“The Debs are a highlight of Dominican High School,” said Mrs. Favre “Without them, Dominican would have a void.”
With patriotic flair, Dominican’s Drama Club members entered the dining hall center stage in November, donned in patriotic colors, to perform its annual Instant Theatre review. Hundreds of fans were in attendance for the annual event that showcased singing, dancing and acting. The annual showcase left the crowd saluting the students in this year’s theme, “Instant Theatre Wants You!”
much-anticipated Instant Theatre also premiered the announcement of the 2020 Spring
Musical, Newsies, which will debut in April.
For twenty-one years, Mrs. Rosalie Abadie, Drama Club moderator, has staged Instant Theatre. Mrs. Abadie sees this ensemble performance as an all-inclusive show that exposes drama members to the stage. “Instant Theatre gives students the opportunity to perform and choose the type of act which best shows off their particular talent,” said Mrs. Abadie.
Instant Theatre boasted a range of acts, from a scene from the movie Mean
Girls presented by junior Olivia Olson to a song from the Broadway musical Waitress
performed by junior Camille Vincent. The show also presented original
pieces such as a contemporary dance by junior Emily Dominique and senior Kennedi
Melancon, as well as skits written and performed by Drama Club members.
“We have an
amazing community of talented girls who can put on a great show,” said
senior Olivia Boudreaux, who participated in multiple acts, including a cover of
Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind.”
“And the best part about Instant Theatre
is the love and support each performer gets,” added Boudreaux.
In 1998, Instant
Theatre started as a one-night performance in the Dramatics Assembly room (familiarly
known as the D.A.) in St. Mary’s Hall. Instant Theatre grew to be such a hit
that it had to become a two-night showcase and was moved into the Dining Hall.
Director Mrs. Jessica Sita Couch (’05) participated in some of the first productions
of Instant Theatre. Ms. Couch and her friends became known for doing “coffee
talks” inspired by Saturday Night Live.
“I’m so glad that Instant Theatre has gone so far since then,” said Mrs. Couch,
“and that I have gotten to see the growth of the event and of the Drama Club.”
Theatre’s popularity is evident. The seats were filled for both nights, with a
total , attendance of about 350 people.
Club members had to adjust to performing for such a sizable audience. “Stepping
on stage and seeing the great crowd we brought in was overwhelming at first
glance,” said sophomore Maddie Ascani, who sang “Keepin’ Out of Mischief Now”
from the Broadway musical Ain’t Misbehavin’. “But as soon as I started
to sing, I was confident in myself.”
Senior Iyian Paige,
Drama Club president, holds Instant Theatre very close to her heart. “Instant
Theatre can show you who you really are. I’ve heard club members say that they
surprised themselves when they walk off stage after their first or final
performance,” said Paige. “When you take the stage, it’s truly yours. Everyone
is looking up at you and they’re full of nothing but support for you.”
Theatre is not Broadway, it creates a connection between the students on stage
and the great supporters of the Dominican community.
“Instant Theatre is not just a talent show,” said Paige. “It is a special showcase made by Dominican, for Dominican.”
With a stroke of her brush and a dab of her finger, Ms. Maggie McGovern (’14) transformed sophomore Megan Eisert from a DHS student to a spooky Halloween skeleton.
In October, Dominican alum McGovern visited the Drama Club to speak about her career and show students all the fun tricks she had up her sleeve. The busy makeup artist/elementary school teacher took some time out of her schedule to prove to students that working in the entertainment industry doesn’t stop with performing.
Since leaving Dominican, McGovern has not parted ways with the dramatic arts as she has worked with both New Orleans Opera and Loyola University Opera, ensuring that the opera’s wish was her command.
McGovern has also worked for the well-known company Too Faced Cosmetics along with doing makeup for film. In addition to working on filmes, McGovern has also worked with vocal performers. Her most exciting client yet? “I did make-up for soul singer Kyle Dion, the opening act for (popular R&B singer) Ella Mai,” she said.
The Pro-Life Club adopted babies! Well, sort of.
Members spiritually adopted babies that could possibly be aborted. Everyone prayed for these unborn babies, then each club member received a pin representing the feet of a baby in utero. The club members named their babies as a reminder to keep praying for them.
Club Moderator Mrs. Theresa Maquar (‘70) continues to get the baby feet pins year after year because they serve as a witness to club members and to other people out in the world. “The Dominican Order prays so we, as Dominicans, should live by prayer, too,” said Mrs. Maquar.
Throughout the school year, the club officers will give updates about the stages of development the babies would be progressing.
Students for Human Dignity and Diversity in Action
October was National Hispanic Heritage Month, so Ms. Bianca San Martin (’08) joined the Students for Human Dignity and Diversity in Action and taught them how to dance the salsa, bachata and mernegue.
Ms. San Martin is passionate about dance, and her focus is Latin dance. “I started Latin dancing when I was a sophomore in high school,” Ms. San Martin said. She said loves coming back to Dominican to Hispanic culture and heritage ls over Hispanic culture and heritage through music and dance.
Ms. Bianca San Martin said that she was proud to have been able to represent the New Orleans Hispanic Heritage Foundation, and her own dance instruction business, NOLA Fleaux Productions, LLC.
On Oct. 19, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome became an engineer’s dream for the Dominican Robotics Teams.
Participating in the Saints and Pelicans Stem Fest, both the Valkyrie and Ultraviolet teams shared information about their robots and FTC competitions with the visitors who flocked to their display table.
“It was really cool to interact with people who are interested in the same things we are!” said junior Sydney Raymond, communications officer for the Robotics Team. “I loved telling people about what we are doing at Dominican with robotics.”
While breaking down codes and unraveling the science of DNA, the Biotechnology Club dives deep into the world of genetics.
Club moderator Mrs. Janine Koenig has been formulating a plan for genetic coding in the lab. Members of Biotech did a genetic coding lab to test which of seven “patients” were positive or negative for a disease. They mixed the genetic sample with an antigen, or foreign substance, to see if there were any immune responses. If the sample in the vial turned blue, the sample was positive for the disease.
Senior and President of Biotechnology Club Catherine Zimmerman led her club members in the experiment. Zimmerman said biology class and Mrs. Koenig inspired her to participate in the Biotechnology Club during her freshman year. She specifically enjoys being able to do hands on experiments in the lab, but outside of the actual classroom.
With a cool breeze and serene sounds of nature, getting closer to God is no problem. Relaxation comes easily to DHS juniors in Rosaryville while taking a break from their hectic school routine.
Every year, the junior class
participates in a retreat at Rosaryville Retreat Center in Ponchatoula,
Louisiana. Once per quarter, members of the junior class travel for an
overnight stay where they can commune with God, nature and each other. The pine
trees, freshly cut grass and cool crisp air work together to create a tranquil
environment. Being in this retreat center supports the students’ use of prayer,
group activities and pure fun to grow closer to God and their classmates.
Campus Minister Ms. Claire Gallagher (‘04) and
the 2019 Retreat Team worked together to make retreat a time to connect with
Jesus through prayer and faith-building activities. In order to accomplish this
plan, retreat is two full days long instead of the previous one and a half- day
stay. Students leave Dominican in the morning, allowing a few extra hours for “even
more time for God to remind us of our true purpose,” said Ms. Gallagher.
Retreat Team) recognized a need for more time with God outside of school,” Ms.
Gallagher said. “We found that it’s difficult to disconnect from a school
mindset when you’re spending half the day at school and then going on retreat.”
Ms. Gallagher and the Retreat Team see this important get-away as an outlet for
students to take time to detach from school and spend time with God.
This year’s theme is Jesus is Key, and Retreat Team members want to reinforce the idea to “’waste time’ with God anyway you know how to,” said Ms. Gallagher. “From music to coloring, being in God’s presence extends far beyond getting on your knees and saying a prayer,” Ms. Gallagher said.
While on retreat, juniors practice
faith sharing in an activity called a Cornerstone. Retreat Team members
minister to their peers in a session of faith-sharing to help the juniors find
different ways to pray, read scripture and talk with God. “It opened the
juniors up to different types of prayer and to realize that they can pray in
non-traditional ways,” said senior Grace DiFranco, Retreat Team member.
For some, Junior Retreat can be
intimidating because retreat is off campus and overnight. Being on retreat raised
concerns for some juniors struggling in their faith and prayer life. “I dreaded
the idea of retreat because I felt I should be doing schoolwork instead,” said junior
Bryce Perkins. However, Perkins was surprised to see how retreat heightened her
spiritual senses. “I had enough time to realize the true purpose of retreat: to
get closer to God,” she said.
Junior Ava Rose agreed. “For
me the retreat showed me that yes, Jesus is the answer to everything, but that
phrase is more than a catchy saying,” said Rose. “Retreat taught me that God
can heal all wounds, fix all broken hearts and solve all problems.”
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.
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.”
space the final frontier? Dominican students and perspective students explored
the frontier of science and space at DominiScience Saturday on Mar. 30.
experiments alongside Dominican faculty and students, elementary students from
fourth to sixth grade attended the spaced-themed DominiScience Saturday. The DHS
Robotics Team and science department teachers helped young visitors shine as
bright as the sun while furthering their knowledge and education in STREAMTM.
students and prospective DominiScientists gathered in the Gayle and Tom Benson
Science and Technology Center to enjoy galactic experiments such as finding the
Polaris North Star, creating a star finder, making luminaries, building lunar
finders, and flying geobats, otherwise known as UFO paper airplanes.
Favorite activities included building lunar landers and making luminaries. The girls constructed lunar landers out of straws, plates and other supplies. Then they tested to make sure their “astronauts,” represented by marshmallows, would survive the trip. The landers were dropped from the lab tables, and if the marshmallows stayed in the lunar lander, it was a successful landing.
purpose of DominiScience Saturday is to incorporate STREAMTM into
prospective student events. Mrs. Giacona, moderator of the Robotics Club,
enjoys sharing her love of science with prospective students. Mrs. Giacona
wants to “encourage the next generation of Dominican students to be interested
in science” in preparation for high school.
Kelly Jackson and Indya Taylor helped the future Domini-Scientists with their
experiments. “My favorite part was watching the young girls get excited about
science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” said Jackson.
with Jackson, Taylor enjoyed spending time with the youngsters while expanding
her knowledge of science.
Audrey Wild also helped the girls with their experiments. “These girls may be
the next generation of scientists. They will make the big scientific
discoveries that will expand our knowledge of the world,” said Wild.
“I want these girls to know that they are
amazing,” said Mrs. Giacona, “and they can do anything they set their minds to.”
“We need to move beyond the idea that girls can be leaders and create the expectation that they should be leaders.” – Condoleeza Rice
As up and coming leaders, Dominican students, led by the
professional women around them, will eventually take the reins and lead the
At this year’s annual Career Day, alumnae and other guest
speakers showed students how women in the workplace get the job done.
Dominican alumnae showcased many occupations, aiding
students in deciphering their career paths. On Mar. 27, the Counseling
Department hosted 42 professional women, including 37 Dominican alumnae, to
inspire and embolden the up and comers of the future.
Each speaker spent her time sharing both knowledge and
advice with students, giving them insight into the highly competitive and
exciting job market. Speakers this year ranged from a designer to a death
investigator and showed the broad assortment of opportunities open to young
While Career Day this year showed a diversity of career
paths, it also addressed the reality of a primarily male workforce. Many
speakers acknowledged that they’ve overcome obstacles encountered in the
male-dominated career paths they have chosen.
Mrs. Shelley Mateu (’92), who works as a pilot at Southwest
Airlines, made it very clear that success is earned rather than given.
“In my line of work, sometimes I step into meetings or conventions
made up of rooms of only men,” said Mrs. Mateu. “I think if anything, it’s made
me realize that as a woman, I may have to work harder. At the same time, I truly earn all of my
As a pilot for Southwest, Mrs. Mateu travels all over the
country, safely getting passengers from place to place. Every day, her pilot
duties jetted her from New Orleans to Washington as well as to countries like
Italy and Australia.
For the past two decades, Dominican’s Counseling Department
has sponsored Career Day to bring successful, empowered professionals to the
student audience. This year, Career Day served as a sort of homecoming for both
recent graduates and decade-long alumnae, as well.
Ms. Elise Glueck (’14), an accessory designer and entrepreneur,
came back to Dominican to share her experiences as a young alumna in a fast-paced
“It was really important to me that I come back and share my
experience with current students,” said Ms. Glueck. “Even though I’m fresh out
of college, I wanted to speak at Career Day to show students that Dominican
women can do anything they set their mind to, whatever that may be.”
Ms. Glueck graduated from the Savannah College of Art and
Design last May where she first discovered her love for accessory design. She
currently lives in New Orleans, designing both her own creations and beginning
work as an interior designer around the city.
Year after year, Career Day influences Dominican students’ career
choices, either reinforcing their prior aspirations or turning them onto a
completely unexpected path. For senior Laynie Tierney, this year’s Career Day
did just that.
“This year’s Career Day affected me like none before,” said
Tierney. “As I was watching the civil engineer talk about her job, I felt like
I could see myself doing that. I had found my dream job.”
Before Career Day, Tierney had her heart set on becoming an
architectural student at the University of Southern Mississippi. However, after
seeing Mrs. Emma Hensley Taylor, E.I. (’12) speak about her work in the civil
engineering field, Tierney completely changed her path. After her experience,
she has not only changed her major, but also her choice of college. Because of
Career Day, Tierney now plans on attending the University of New Orleans in the
fall to study civil engineering.
Dominican’s 2019 Career Day served as both a guiding light
for current students and welcome to successful professionals, alumnae and
non-alumnae alike. While informing the next generation of Dominicans, it also
showed the versatility of women in the workplace.
“Career counseling is part of our job as student advocates.
Over students’ four to five years here at Dominican, we try to expose them to
as many opportunities as possible,” said Mrs. Suzanne Ladmirault, guidance
counselor. Over the years of Career Days, students are exposed to as many as 20
professionals in both growing and established fields, helping them to make
informed decisions for their futures.
“Career Day is always exciting because I get to see a wide variety of jobs, including some I did not know existed,” said senior Cameron Wall. “I really got to explore the different occupations with an altered perspective, and the entire day excited me to go out into the world and make my mark.”
Race to the Finish! –
Competing in the First Tech Challenge (FTC), Robotics team members senior Kayla
Nguyen and juniors Mia Nguyen and Anita Whitner race their robot to finish a
series of challenges in the Northshore FTC Qualifier competition in February.
The two Dominican teams, Team Ultra Violet and Team Valkyries, both placed in the competition. Dominican Team Ultra Violet placed first in Innovate, third in Think and third in Connect. Dominican Team Valkyries placed first in Think, second in Control, and third in Inspire, which is the highest award.
Dominican competes in the FTC Qualifier every year, and the teams who win qualify for regional competition. Winning regionals also means the team qualifies for the world competition, which is always a goal for the Dominican Robotics teams. The competition begins with a pre-programmed activity where the girls are not directly controlling the robots. The girls program their robots to complete tasks in a certain amount of time.
Next up, they competed in the tele-op competition where the driver controls the robots. Two teams played together as one and each team worked to get as many points as possible. When they had thirty-seconds left, the drivers had to steer their robots back to their spots, attach to the base in the middle and lift itself off the ground. These different activities teach the girls how to work and communicate as a team. Click here to watch the competition:
“I love robotics because I am able to meet new people,” said junior Mia Nguyen. “Robotics has helped me in deciding a career choice for the future also. Throughout my years on the team, robotics has given me insight and opportunity to experience STREAMTM.”
–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