Because of her dedication to serving others, Camille Claire (C.C.) Truxillo is the Archdiocese of New Orleans Eighth Grader of the Year.
Out of all the nominees, “I was honored and flattered they chose me. This is really cool!” said Truxillo. She understands the importance of being an involved Dominican student because of the example of her mother, Mrs. Theresa Bertucci Truxillo (’97).
always keeps herself busy with school activities and extracurriculars. At
school, Truxillo is an Alpha Honor Roll student and is involved in Campus
Ministry, Academic Games, Discipleship, Student Ambassadors, Dominican’s Band,
Jazz Band, Junior Classical League and the Cross Country team. Outside of
school, she participates in Irish dancing, St. Pius X CYO and altar serves at
St. Pius X Church.
Truxillo came recommended for this honor by numerous teachers to DHS Counselor Mrs. Dione Prince. Because of Truxillo’s involvement, Mrs. Prince knew she was the perfect candidate. “Her character is what stood out to me. She is giving, kind and focused on her faith,” said Mrs. Prince.
journey doesn’t stop here. Since being recognized by the Archdiocese, Truxillo
moves on to the state level, where she may be recognized as the state of
Louisiana’s Eighth Grader of the Year.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans was looking for someone who is a strong, well-rounded and exceptional Catholic eighth grader. They found all these qualities in C.C. Truxillo just down the block at Dominican.
Named to the District IV
Senior Honor Choir, senior Elise Bourg, juniors Ellie Karcher and Kamryn
Gervais, freshman Carol Alley and senior Pelarr Edwards prepare to sing their
next choral piece at a concert on Loyola’s campus.
On Sun. Jan. 26, these Dominican
students donned their black dresses and pearls to perform alongside other honor
choir students in Loyola’s Roussel Hall. The concert showcased honor choir
students from the Jefferson, Orleans and St. Bernard parishes who were all
exclusively selected to be members of the chorus.
Dr. Meg Frasier, the head
of Loyola’s music department and this year’s choral clinician, taught these students
in an advanced setting, giving them a chance to experience how a choir works in
college and beyond. After only a week of rehearsal, these high school voices
blended in a harmonious performance, making the final product even more
Dr. Frasier directed the
chorus in a variety of musical styles. They sang a wide range of songs spanning from the gospel
piece “Ride On, King Jesus” composed by Moses Hogan to a choral edition of
Billy Joel’s “And So It Goes.”
Bourg, who is now a veteran honor choir
member, ended this high school experience on a high note. “This was my fifth and final district
honor choir, and one of my absolute favorites,” said Bourg. “I’m so thankful
for the experiences and friends honor choir has given me.”
Sr. Bea Tiboldi, O.P., vocation outreach minister for the Dominican Sisters of Peace, talks to Mrs. Aline Delgado’s senior Vocations class about discerning whether or not to enter the sisterhood.
In January, Sr. Bea spoke with the students
about discernment and her road to becoming a member of the Dominican Sisters of
Peace. Discernment, the ability to judge
the thoughts and intentions of one’s heart, is an important factor in choosing
a vocation. “Discernment is a process,” said Sr Bea, “and God wants you to be
the best of what He’s given you.”
Sr. Bea’s journey to sisterhood began
when she was fifteen, though she did not enter an order until she was an adult.
As a teen, Sr. Bea was overcome with emotions during Mass one day, knowing how
much God loved her. However, the time for her to enter the sisterhood occurred
much later. She entered an order later in her adult years after being a teacher
and helping underprivileged students.
She looked at 32 congregations and felt her calling after coming across the
Dominican Sisters of Peace.
“Responding to the needs in my community was a big priority,” said Sister Bea, “and choosing the Dominican Sisters of Peace was the best way to start.”
Explaining the challenges with discernment, Sr. Bea discussed what students can do to work through the discernment process. “Practice to serve humbly and learn how to be there for others,” said Sr. Bea. “Work with your feelings and be attentive to your emotions.”
Carefully executing a dissection in
Biology II, seniors Kennedy Payne and Abigail Pratt dig deep to get the dirt on
In January, Mrs. Madelyn Maldonado’s Biology II class got familiar with the inner workings of an earthworm. The students put their goggles on and got their gloves dirty to see the annelid’s organs and learn about the functions of the earthworm’s system.
According to Mrs. Maldonado, labs are beneficial because “they are something other than just listening to a description.” When dissecting, “the students get to take action just like a real biologist would,” said Mrs. Maldonado.
Students were excited to see what they learned on paper come alive – in a dead worm. Junior Jenna Essa found that the most interesting part of the lab was how “an animal can seem so simple, but actually have such complex insides once you get up close and personal.”
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.”
Dominican Debs Dance Their Way to Nationals – The Debs’ competition has been a real kicker this year! Beginning locally and ending by placing nationally, the dancers had a very rewarding season.
dance team competed on Sunday, Jan. 12, at UDA Regionals in Hammond, LA,
against nationally-ranked teams. Not only did they place second in the Hip Hop
and Jazz categories, but the team also won the Sportsmanship Award.
Advancing to the next competition, the girls pirouetted their way to American-All State, Louisiana’s state competition, in Lafayette, LA, during the following week. This competition was another success for the dancers as they won first place in the Hip Hop, Jazz, Pom Dance and Game Day categories. The girls ended their season in Orlando, FL, at UDA Nationals. Their successful performances brought them to the competition’s semi-finals.
Junior Eliza Miller, team captain, felt especially proud of her teammates. “This competition season was definitely one for the books. From the beginning of the season, we have been calling each other family,” said Miller. “I think that mentality has really allowed us to go far.”
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.”