With a score of 28-6, the DHS Faculty placed another check in the “W” column of this annual face-off. In this Super Bowl of senior moments, Dominican scored the most Fun!
Photos by Natalie Rodriguez-Ema
The Dominican Tennis Team served up a smashing season and reach their goal of participating in this year’s state competition in Monroe, LA on April 23-25.
As the Regional Runner-Up, DHS took on the state competition, making it to the second round of play. Team members who qualified for state included senior Amelia Vallette, sophomores Adele Hoth, Annamarie Allen, Lucy Harper, Rachel Schlosser, freshman Marist Bourg, Mary Parker Whisnant and eighth grader Brooke Couret.
Following round one of the tournament, the doubles team of Vallette and Hoth played advanced to the second round. Also making it to round two were singles players Whisnant and Schlosser. Though their season ended in the second round of the state tournament, tennis coach Ms. Stephanie Blakemore (‘11) is proud of the team’s accomplishment.
“This year’s team is young,” said Ms. Blakemore, “so making it to the state competition was the main goal.” She also noted that as a young yet talented team, the girls can improve their skills for future competitions.
“Playing tennis at Dominican had been such a great experience,” said Vallette. “The team has had a great spirit and has worked well together. This was one of the most fun and memorable seasons I’ve ever had.”
On Apr. 28, Dominican’s Softball Team, a 4th seed entering state tournament play, defeated the Mount Carmel Cubs to move on to play the John Curtis Patriots in the state championship game in Sulfur, LA. Dominican kept the game against the Patriots close and earned the title of State Runner-Up for the 2018 softball season.
During state tournament play, the team hit it out of the park with two victories over teams ranked in the top ten. “I hope this experience will show us as a team that we are competitive and can repeat our success,” said head coach Mrs. Dawn Benoit.
In the semi-final round of the tournament, DHS was nervous about moving onto the next round until senior Meghan Gaubert’s two-run homerun hit. “Once I hit first base, I knew the ball was gone and that our team could win this game,” said Gaubert, left fielder.
Hard-fought games during the season leading up to the state tournament affected the team’s playoff games. “The biggest victory of our season is when we beat Hannan High School because they were a number 2 seed, and by that victory, we secured our position in the state tournament,” said Mrs. Benoit.
Strong performances in the batter’s box as well as on the pitching mound contributed to the team’s success.
“The whole team plays a role in our success,” said Mrs. Benoit. “However, our freshman pitcher Elise Simon held many teams to few runs this season.” Simon, along with freshman catcher Gracee Reeves, held strong batting teams to few runs during key games.
When asked how she felt on the mound in Sulfur, Simon replied that “the team came together a lot for the state tournament, and everyone had my back no matter what happened.” She added, “I knew we would give all we had to win.”
“We really hoped to come back as a strong team and dedicate our season to developing our skills and returning to Sulphur,” said senior right fielder Cole Pittman. And return to Sulphur they did. Finishing in the same position as last year was exciting for the team because they continue to be a competitive force, according to Pittman.
The team set many goals this season and really hoped to “come together and form a strong bond for the incoming players,” said third baseman Bella Brocato, senior.
“I hope that in the future we can bring home a state championship,” said Simon. “Our future team seems to have dedicated girls coming out ready to win.”
Senior Caroline Hensley hits the ball out of the sand bunker during metro play at Timberlane Country Club at the Metro Tournament in April. After a fourth-place finish in Metro, three DHS golfers advanced to regional play where they completed the 2018 season.
Regional players included senior Rene’ Bourdais, who placed seventh overall in the tournament. Additionally, Bourdais was named to the All-Metro Golf Team. Other regional qualifiers included Hensley and eighth grader Molly Stavinoha.
Under the direction of Mr. Rick Ciolino, head coach, and Ms. Ashlyn Ciolino (’07), moderator, the golf team worked to improve their technique and prepare for tournament play.
“I’m glad I got to play golf these past five years,” said Bourdais. “I learned so much and I’m proud of how everyone on the team improved this season.”
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
By signing to continue her soccer career on the collegiate level, senior Abbie Richeson commits to Louisiana Tech University on Feb. 8 in the Siena Center. With Coach Albert Silvas, Principal Mrs. Carolyn Farve (’70) and Athletic Director Mr. Paul Spitzfaden supporting her, Richeson confidently moves on to the next step in her soccer career.
Richeson played right wing for Dominican for four years. She will continue in as a midfielder in that same position at LA Tech.
Richeson has played soccer since she was eight years old, working towards the goal of hopefully making her love of the sport into something special. From playing the Chicago Fire travel teams at eleven to joining the Dominican varsity team in her freshman year, Richeson has all the qualifications of a great teammate. During her 2017-2018 Dominican soccer season, she scored 8 goals and had multiple assists.
Though her high school soccer career is over, Richeson continues to train for her upcoming season with LA Tech in Ruston. “I’ve been working on my fitness and technique these past few weeks,” said Richeson. “I want to be the best I can be when I begin pre-season in August.”
As she moves towards the next chapter of her soccer career, Richeson never forgets the hard work and time she’s put into the sport. “I’ve stuck with soccer for over half my life now,” Richeson said. “It’s become a part of who I am, and I absolutely love it.”
On Nov. 17-18, the Dominican Swim Team dove into the competition at the Division I State Meet in Sulphur, Louisiana. Placing sixth overall out of twenty other schools, the team proudly surpassed many schools in their division. Members of the 2017 DHS Swim Team include (from left to right); top row senior Susan Endom, eighth grader Cecilia Haneman, senior Claire Karcher, senior Miriam Waguespack, junior Ali Lanasa, sophomore Morgan Gunnels, freshman Catalina Torres, (bottom row) sophomore Ashley DuFour, eighth grader Emma Sulivan, junior Hannah Morris, and freshman Emily Helmet.
Additionally, junior Hannah Morris placed first in the Girls 200 Yard Individual Medley (IM) and the Girls 500 Yard Freestyle, making her a state champion. Morris was very surprised at her achievement and very proud because of all the hard work she had exerted in order to win. “I practiced every day and conserve my energy before meets,” she said.
In the Girls 200 Yard Medley Relay, Dominican placed sixth out of 24 schools with a time of 1:56.36. The relay team consisted of juniors Morris, Emma MacMahon, Brie Duhe and Morgan Gunnels.
Relay team member MacMahon also placed fourth in the Girls 100 Yard Breaststroke with a time of 1:11.37. Morris, who has been on the DHS Swim Team since eighth grade, believes “eating well and daily practice” helped her to win the meet.
The swim team cut through the water in October’s Metro Meet, placing 6th overall. In the Girls 200 Yard IM, Morris placed first, and MacMahon placed third in the Girls 200 Yard IM. Their excellent performances in the Metro Meet qualified them for the State Meet.
The entire team made it their season’s goal to qualify for the State Meet. However, making it to the state level was not an easy task. Every race contributed to the all-important qualifying times which swimmers need to race in the finals.
A very diverse group competed this year. Girls from each grade level with different strengths competed this season. This year’s swim team is composed of “a good mix of each grade level,” said swim team moderator Ms. Erin Baker (‘95), “and has had a lot more eighth graders competing this year than previously.”
Both swim team captains Claire Karcher and Lucy Hood, seniors, agree that this year’s team was talented and performed great in the State Meet. “This year’s season was good” said Hood. “As a team, we were able to meet goals and work together really well.”
Everyone performed well at their final meet and are proud of their accomplishments Through hard work, dedication, and perseverance the swim team has had an amazing season and ended it with a meet performance to be proud of.
It all started this past July. Early morning practices- two hours, six days a week. Undeterred by bruised knees and sore muscles, the 2017-2018 Dominican Varsity Volleyball team wasn’t letting anything stop them this season. Finishing with a ranking of fifth out of twenty-four teams in the Catholic League and making it to the state volleyball tournament were among the team’s biggest achievements this past season.
On Thursday, Nov. 9, the Dominican Volleyball team competed against Northshore High School at the Pontchartrain Center in the third round of city playoffs. Unfortunately, after a tough battle on the court, Dominican lost the five-game match to Northshore High School.
However, the team accomplished an important main goal of the season: achieving top eight status in the Catholic League. Due to their number five ranking, the varsity team received a bye in the first round of playoffs. In the second round of playoffs, the team won their ticket to the city playoffs at the Pontchartrain Center by defeating Slidell High School in the quarter-final game in the Siena Center on Saturday, Nov. 4.
“This team accomplished a lot this past season and put us back on the map,” said volleyball coach Mrs. Jessica Chatellier. “This is the first time in four years that we’ve been to the Pontchartrain Center, which is very rewarding.”
The team’s hard work over the duration of the season and commitment to their goal of being in the top eight teams yielded success in games and tournaments leading up to the playoffs. In the Catholic League Tournament held at Dominican on September 15, the team won five out of five games and beat St. Joseph’s Academy- the team who knocked them out of the playoffs last year and took second in the Louisiana State Tournament.
“As a team, we’ve learned that encouraging each other and staying positive helps us to be successful,” said senior setter Alexis Ceravola. “By doing that at the Catholic League tournament, we beat St. Joseph’s, which was a huge achievement.”
Each year, Mrs. Chatellier helps the team choose a quote that will inspire them to keep their heads up and play the best they can throughout the season. “Heart has no limit” was this year’s choice.
Inspired by the words of LSU baseball player Cole Freeman, “Heart has no limit” means that whether a team wins or loses, playing with their whole hearts will bring them further than any record. The Dominican Volleyball team wore this motto on the back of their practice shirts to keep them focused throughout the season on what really matters: playing with heart is most important.
The volleyball team’s hard work and perseverance led to a great final season for eight of the fourteen players – the seniors. “While I am sad that it came to an end, this season was unforgettable,” senior middle hitter Abby Slattery said. “Over the past five years of being on this team, we’ve gotten better every year.”
Everyone involved with the team-the players, coaches, parents- were ecstatic about the successful 2017-2018 season. “Everyone had the opportunity to show heart throughout the season,” said Mrs. Chatellier. “Even though we didn’t win in the end, we had a great season and I’m really proud.”
Dominican’s Cross Country Team blasted past the competition and placed third in the LHSAA State Championship on Nov. 14 in Natchitoches. DHS Cross Country runners secured third place by leading the fourth-place team by 46 points.
“They ran really well. I’m very proud of the way that our team ran. We have a great core group going forward, and we’re excited to compete for a top spot next season,” said coach Ms. Ashlyn Ciolino (’07).
As champions of the Regional Meet, Dominican sent seven runners to compete in the State Meet: eighth graders Kelsey Major, Madison Trauth and Catherine Kernion; sophomores Erin Sequeira and Lizzy Bourg; and seniors Ady Becker and Caroline Hensley.
Major maintained this season’s winning pace by placing fourth overall in State with a time of 19:04. Major approached the state competition with confidence having placed first in both District and Regional Meets as well as clocking a person record of 18:54 for the three-mile run.
Major has set goals that will push her to train even harder. “I want to be the fastest runner Dominican has ever seen,” she said.
The ambition and competitive nature of the team is what led to their success for the season, according to Ms. Ciolino. “Cross country is much more than just running. You have to run at the fastest pace you can and maintain that speed for 3 straight miles,” said Ms. Ciolino.
With three eighth graders on the state roster, Dominican’s Cross Country Team is young. Because of this young team, “it was a learning experience for everyone,” said Ms. Ciolino. “State for the first time is scary, so sending three eighth graders was a bold move.
“They earned this outcome,” Ms. Ciolino said.
Hensley, team captain, believes that despite being a young team, “when we [the seniors] leave, I think the underclassmen will do an amazing job at continuing the successful legacy we have created.” With eighth graders contributing to the team’s third place state finish, many agree with Hensley.
“I’m really proud of how we ran in state,” said Major. “It has inspired me to push myself even harder in the next few years ahead of me and to continue to win.”
One in every four people entering the hospital will need blood. Although an estimated 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood, less than 10 percent of that eligible population actually donates each year.
Each year, St. Mary’s Dominican High School seniors donate blood during the annual Ochsner Blood Drive that takes place here at Dominican. In October, however, an overwhelming number of seniors responded to the blood drive.
This year, 56 seniors donated, and Ochsner collected 45 useful pints of blood, according to Senior Faculty Coordinator Ms. Charlene Ford (’01). Ms. Ford said that this was the largest turnout of seniors in recent memory.
The blood collected by Ochsner will help a tremendous amount of people, said Ochsner Blood Bank Representative Ms. Cassie Havrilla. This blood donation will help 135 patients in need of blood and/or blood products.
Donated blood is used to help cancer patients, transplant patients and trauma victims. Blood is used in surgery, childbirth and blood disorders treatments. Donated blood can be used for patients of all ages, including children and young adults, according to Ms. Havrilla.
Ochsner credits high schools with nearly 20% of all the blood that it collects. Dominican students help save hundreds of lives each year by donating at the annual blood drive.
“We couldn’t do what we do without you,” said Ms. Havrilla. Since blood cannot be synthetically created, Ochsner relies solely on blood donations to provide patients with the blood or blood products they may need.
Ochsner collected blood from 56 donors, which is extremely high compared to other years. “Ochsner is overjoyed, grateful and humbled by the number of people that donated this year,” said Ms. Havrilla. “It’s a true testament to the generosity and kind spirit of the senior class.”
On donation day, senior lined up in the Siena Atrium, eager to donate blood. “First time donors may be nervous at first, but once they donate they are confident and proud of their donation. These students are one thing: brave,” said Ms. Havrilla.
Senior Susan Endom recalled her emotions the day of the blood drive. “I wasn’t too nervous before donating, but I was scared as soon as I saw the needle going in my arm,” she said. “After a while, it wasn’t that bad, but the sight of my own blood was pretty weird.” Endom said she dealt with her anxiety because she knew “it’s important to give blood for those who need it.”
According to senior Chloe Mendy, she “discovered a whole new way to help other people, and she was inspired to give again.
“I had never donated blood before, and I knew it was for a great cause. I knew I could possibly save someone’s life just by donating,” said Mendy.
To show appreciation for the donations, Ochsner offers a scholarship to a student who donated. Each donors name has been entered into a raffle for a chance to win a scholarship from Ochsner to be put towards college expenses. The winner will be announced in the spring.
Ochsner reports that by the end of the 2017-2018 school year, the Ochsner Blood Bank Scholarship Program will have contributed almost $100k in scholarships to area high school students. Ochsner offers this scholarship drawing as a way to thank all the students who support the blood drive each year.
Due to the overwhelming response from those wishing to donate, Dominican will host another blood drive with Ochsner in the spring. On Friday, March 2, Ochsner employees will return to DHS to conduct another blood drive for those unable to donate at the first blood drive.
Seniors, be on the lookout to sign up for the second blood drive in March to help those in need.