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
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.”
students flocked to the D.A. in January to visit with a few feathery friends
during a presentation hosted by the Science Club. Raptor rehabilitator Ms. Sally Farrell turned
DHS into a bird sanctuary with her presentation of Wind in My Feathers.
Known for her great speed and keen vision, Yeshua the Saker falcon flaunts beauty in the D.A. during the Science Club’s presentation of Wind in My Feathers in January.
Guest speaker Ms. Sally Farrell shares her knowledge of raptors and ecology to educates students about the important role these bird play in the environment.
Farrell introduced five raptors, including a red-tailed hawk, a Saker falcon
and a vulture, to the audience. She
enlightened students about the birds’ feathers, habits, and routines and
emphasized the important ecological role of raptors in the environment. Her presentation stressed the importance of
protecting these animals and taught students that they have the power to work
towards a better environment, as well.
Science Club fosters an awareness of science and learning, encompassing all
different branches of science. “Science Club
offers a more fun and interactive way to learn about science outside of a
regular classroom setting,” said senior Lauren Richards, club president. By bringing
in the raptors, the club recognized the work Ms. Farrell does in name of rescuing and caring for the raptors.
Science Club brings in members of the local community who can foster a greater
understanding of the role that different areas of science play in our lives,”
said Mrs. Karen Plauche, Science Club moderator.
Farrell began her career in the avian field when she volunteered at the Wild
Bird Rehab Center at the Audubon Zoo. At
the time, she knew very little about birds and didn’t even know what the word
“raptor” meant. Getting to know the
raptors persuaded her to pursue her current position as an occupation. Over time, Ms. Farrell began inviting rescued
birds into her home to take care of them.
about the birds was extremely eye opening,” said senior Josie Wood. “Until Ms.
Farrell started speaking about rescuing the birds, I didn’t notice the
importance of these animals in our environment.”
Ms. Farrell encouraged the DHS audience to work for better world for humans and animals alike. “You are going to be the creators and designers of the environment,” said Ms. Farrell concluding her presentation. “You can be anything you want, but make sure it’s good for the environment.”
The dangerous trend of vaping has recently
spread across the nation. Nearly 21% of high school students vaped in 2018,
which is a 10% rise since 2017, according to Journalist’s Resource.
Dominican saw the need to discuss this growing problem with students and took action.
“This presentation was necessary to the health
of our students,” said Mrs. Katey Alexander (’91), Dean of Student Services.
“It’s all about giving them the information they need.”
On Jan 30, students attended an assembly on
the consequences of vaping and e-cigarettes. Presented by Mrs. Bridget Gardner,
R.N., Director of the Sudden Impact Program at University Medical Center, the seminar
informed students about the consequences of and solutions to nicotine
“As a Trauma Center leading the path to
prevention for the state, UMC recognized the increase use of middle and high
school students vaping,” said Mrs. Gardner. “From there, we reached out to the
Sudden Impact schools (such as Dominican) to do a needs assessment. Many
schools embraced the opportunity.”
The presentation began with the basics: what
is a vape? When inhaling a vape, the user is breathing in a heated liquid and
releasing it into an aerosol. The hazardous feature is that this liquid
contains nicotine from tobacco and dangerous flavoring and chemicals, according
the UMC vaping presentation.
vaping safer than smoking?
One of the many misconceptions about vaping is
that it’s safer than smoking; however, it is even more unsafe, according to
Mrs. Gardner. Linked to other types of substance abuse, the ingredients in a
vape are addictive and affect a teenager’s brain development. Health risks
include blood clots, atherosclerosis, peptic ulcers, enlarged aorta, popcorn
lung and many more.
“I saw a need to present the dangers of vaping in the community because teens are making poor decisions due to lack of knowledge,” said Mrs. Gardner. “By the time the teen realizes the consequences of vaping, her health is at risk and she is addicted.”
Since vaping is relatively new, little
research has been conducted on effects over a span of years, which poses a high
concern for users and makes teenagers even more vulnerable to health risks.
decided to drive the discussion…
importance of this presentation was to bring awareness to the vaping epidemic
that has manifested in schools everywhere,” said senior Anne Marie Wherritt.
“It was a great reminder to tell teenagers to stop vaping.”
that it’s very accessible for teenagers to get their hands on a vape,” said
sophomore Emily Adams. “That’s why it was so important for Dominican students
to learn this information.”
Although the federal law states that
purchasing vapes and e-cigarettes is illegal for those under the age of 21,
Louisiana has set the age at 18, which makes these substances easily accessible
to high school students. Recently, brands such as Juul have been advertising to
According to the data Mrs. Gardner shared,
teens are gambling with their lives when they inhale this hazardous drug.
“If this presentation helped even one student,” said Mrs. Alexander, “then we’ve done our job.”