Every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood, and every day, Americans need approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells. A single donation of blood makes a big impact. One donation can save up to three lives.
This year, DHS Seniors and faculty donated 44 pints of blood to Ochsner Blood Bank on Nov. 9, according to Ms. Charlene Ford, the senior faculty coordinator. “I’m very proud of how many seniors signed up and donated. We filled up most of the time slots and had students donating all day, including at lunch,” said Ms. Ford.
The fact that one donation can save multiple lives made an impact on senior Morgan Harlton. “I decided to give blood because I want to save three lives,” said Harlton. “Initially, I was nervous, but I put my worries aside because I wanted to be a part of something greater than myself.”
High school students make up about 20% of all the blood that gets donated. Blood donations can help car accident and trauma victims, cancer patients and transplant patients. Donated blood can be used for any patient regardless of age, gender and race, according to the Ochsner Blood Bank.
According to the American Red Cross, donating blood is critical because blood is something that cannot be manufactured, and less than 38 percent of the population is eligible to give blood. Every year,nearly 21 million blood components are transfused.
Senior Elizabeth Messonnier was one of the many students who donated. “Giving blood gave me a new perspective on helping others,”said Messonnier. She said she was nervous at first, but the small pain she felt was well worth helping those in need. “After it was all over, I felt accomplished that I participated in the blood drive,” said Messonnier.
To show appreciation to the seniors who give hope by giving blood, Ochsner will present a scholarship to one of the students who donated. All of the donors’ names will be entered into a raffle for the scholarship, which can help the recipient with college expenses. Due to the number of students who donated blood and the feedback received, another blood drive is being planned for the spring, according to Ms. Ford.First time donor, Senior Peyton Walker, is now in the scholarship raffle. “Before I donated, I was a bit nervous,” said Walker. “Once the whole process started, I was fine and actually relieved. I felt happy after because I knew I had done something that would make an impact or maybe even save someone’s life one day.”
- Macie LaFonta
Lights, curtain, action!
Dominican’s Drama Club celebrated 20 years of Instant Theatre this fall. In early November, members of the Drama Club performed the annual Instant Theatre in Alumnae Hall for students, parents and faculty. The Drama Club members showed off their talents in a variety show which included a multitude of performances such as dances, songs, skits, poems and monologues.
“Instant Theatre gives students of the Drama Club a chance to perform and show off their talents in front of an audience,” said Mrs. Rosalie Abadie, Drama Club moderator.
Some acts of the night included songs from shows such as Hairspray, Annie Get Your Gun and Kinky Boots. “My favorite part about Instant Theatre is right before the show starts when we hold hands in a big circle and say a prayer together as a cast,” said junior Bryce Leonhard, who performed a song from Annie Get Your Gun. “At that initial moment, we are just awkward high schoolers, but when we get on stage, we transform into performers with the help of God and each other.”
“It’s a group effort to get this done,” said senior Maddy Lewis, Drama Club president. “The performers themselves make it happen.”
The Instant Theatre showcased 35 talent-filled performances that ranged from songs to skits to dancing. Crowd favorites included ballads by Adele, a Quirrelmort Harry Potter parody, and a tap dance to Outcast’s “Hey Ya!”
Instant Theatre also acts as a fundraiser for the Children’s Hospital Toy Drive. Admission to the event was one unwrapped toy.
In 1998, the first Instant Theatre featured what the drama students had been working on. English teacher Ms. Casey Lefante (’01) was lucky enough to be a part of this tradition when it first started. “I love that Instant Theatre began when I was a student, and Dominican still does it,” said Ms. Lefante. “The community loves it, too.”
Instant Theatre is still a success 20 years later and is a great kick start to the fall season.
“Everyone in Drama Club is passionate about expanding her boundaries, and Instant Theatre lets us do that,” said Lewis.
The Drama Club provides the experience. Instant Theatre provides the stage.
- Kathryn Valldejuli
The 2017-18 Dominican Soccer Team progressed to round two of the state playoffs in February. Though they did not reach their ultimate goal of a state championship, they did achieve season record of 18-9-3. They also had a strong district presence with a record of 6-1.
On Feb. 7, the soccer team traveled to Shreveport to meet Byrd High School in the second round of playoffs. The game was “well matched,” said Mr. Al Silvas, soccer coach. The soccer team played hard throughout the game but fell to Byrd with a final score of 2 – 1.
The playoffs started for the soccer team on Feb. 2 when they met Comeaux High School at Pan American Stadium in the first round. The game ended with a 3-0 victory for Dominican, proving that they “were a team with depth,” according to Mr. Silvas.
The path to the playoffs started the first day of practice in November. Since that first day together, Mr. Silvas said the team pushed themselves, played hard and even surprised themselves. “Our goals were to improve from game to game and compete for district and state championship. We wanted to do this by being restless, having unity, creating an identity and having accountability,” said Mr. Silvas.
“This season has definitely had its ups and downs,” said senior Grace Babin, who led the team not only by being a captain but also in goals. Addtionally, Babin was named to the Division-I All-State 2nd Team. “We challenged many teams we never thought we could. We have grown closer and improved greatly,”
The season wrapped up with senior Abbie Richeson earning an athletic scholarship to play soccer with Louisiana Tech University. Richeson played right wing (a midfielder) for Dominican for four seasons and will continue to play right wing at LA Tech. “I am excited for this new chapter in my soccer life,” said Richeson.
“I proud of how we grew as a team,” said senior forward Meghan Rotolo. “We had a lot of new and young players this season, so I am excited to see what they will accomplish in the coming years.”
- Paige Dawson
There are over 3,000 abortions in America daily. For Dominican students, this is unacceptable.
Fighting against abortion is a cause that Dominican students support. This is why each year near the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, DHS Pro-Life club members embark on a pilgrimage to Washington, D.C., for the annual March for Life. Dominican students join thousands who march in D.C. to show their intolerance for abortion legality in the United States.
The March for Life is “a great way for the girls to show their support for the Pro-Life Movement on a national level,” said club moderator Ms. Ashlyn Ciolino (‘07). The success of the March is dependent on thousands of people participating each year, and Dominican proudly sent fifty students on the pilgrimage.
As of 2014, abortion rates and ratios began to decline in the United States, and this is due to the efforts of Pro-Life individuals and group efforts, according to the National Right to Life Committee. Dominican students continue to march to decrease the number of abortions in America each year.
On the morning of Jan. 19, the day of the March, 500 participants from the Archdiocese of New Orleans attended Mass celebrated by Archbishop Gregory Aymond in preparation for the day ahead. Following Mass, the students, along with Archbishop Aymond, traveled to the National Mall where the March takes place.
During the March, DHS students carried signs, chanted and, most importantly, prayed. They prayed for unborn babies, pregnant mothers, and women who have had abortions.
After the March, the entire archdiocesan group from New Orleans gathered to reflect on the march itself. Students and religious gave personal testimonies highlighting the extent and importance of the Pro-Life Movement. “This helped me get a greater understanding of how powerful the Pro-Life Movement is,” said junior Bella Icamina.
St. Augustine High School’s Marching 100 joined the March, bringing a bit of New Orleans Mardi Gras tradition to the nation’s capital. Dominican students were especially glad to hear the familiar sound of the Marching 100 a part of their pilgrimage’s soundtrack..
The March was “powerful,” according to sophomore Gabrielle Leveque. The March for Life was a prime example of how “we must be a voice for the voiceless,” she added.
Once the March ended, groups reconvened for ministry night, which included liturgical worship, adoration and the sacrament of Reconciliation. “Seeing all those people in the same room, admiring Jesus’s presence, was empowering,” said Icamina. Each person was “vulnerable and in deep conversation with God,” said senior Emily Callia, Pro-Life Club treasurer.
Each participant brought what she experienced and fought for back home to Dominican. “We must act with the same courage and determination everyday as we did on the day of the march,” said Callia, “because this issue will not change if we focus on it one day then forget it.”
- Brooklyn Comeaux
Throughout their Dominican careers, the Class of 2018 has learned geography, American history and world history. This year, they are learning civics, the social science of the country’s government.
To make the textbook and lessons come to life, 31 students traveled to Washington, D.C. to see the U.S. government in action. They participated in Close-Up, a program designed to give students a better understanding of the government and what they are learning about in the classroom.
“By going on this trip, students apply what they are learning in class to real life,” said social studies teacher Mr. Randy Duplantis. “My students cannot always take my teaching to the streets, but through this incredible trip they can!”
On this week-long journey in February, students got “close-up” and personal with the government through many activities such as workshops and political debates. Students split into workshops with students from all across the country. As the week progressed, the students discussed and debated the workings of the government as well as problems in the country and world today.
The Close-Up attendees also visited some of the most famous monuments in the country. They traveled to the Lincoln, Jefferson and FDR Memorials, taking what they experienced to workshops and discussions.
“Seeing the monuments in person was indescribable,” said senior Katherine Hill. “I’ve always learned about them in history class but being face to face with these giant statues towering over you, I felt like I was walking through the pages of a history book.”
Mid-way through the trip, students participated in Capitol Hill Day during which they met their senators and representatives. Dominican students met Louisiana Senators John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy. In their meeting with Senator Cassidy, they discussed current, controversial issues in the country, such as gun control. They also discussed simpler concerns such as whether Metairie would gain a Town Hall.
“It was refreshing to see that our senators work for us, the people,” said senior Asia Hentkowski. “They were surprised to see that teenagers were so involved in politics.”
Along with meeting their senators, the Dominican seniors sat in the House of Representatives gallery and watched Congress vote. The students watched bills concerning international human rights and the Department of Defense pass through the House with no problems. Senior Cole Pittman was in awe seeing the House work so quickly and efficiently. “I witnessed history being made and the passing of legislation, which to me is an amazing experience,” said Pittman.
During the program, DHS students participated in activities and even roomed with students from other cities and states. Pairs of Dominican students roomed with students from another school. This was a way to get the participants of the program to bond and discuss the different ways of living and perspectives on politics from across the country.
“My roommates were from California,” said Kristen Larche. “They told me a lot of cool stories about their life on the West Coast and their public-school system, which I had never experienced before being from Catholic schools all my life.”
Ms. Jordan Ruppert (’11), civics teacher, watched her students go through the same program she experienced 7 years ago as a DHS senior. “I loved seeing my students change from being spectators in my class to participants in their government,” Ms. Ruppert said.
Those Dominican students attending Close Up recommend others taking the journey. “I’m not going to lie,” said Hill. “I was terrified to go on Close Up at first, but I knew I would hate myself if I didn’t go.
“Take it from someone who was texting her mom 30 minutes before boarding to pick her up: this trip is completely worth it.”
- Claire Perez
With a record of 27-7 in the regular season, the basketball team’s season was a success. The team undoubtedly shot for the top and reached the state semifinals!
The team traveled to Alexandria for semifinals on Feb. 28 to participate in the state tournament after their victory of 38-35 in the playoffs against Scotlandville. Although DHS was defeated in their semifinal game against McKinley, they ended the season proud and strong.
For the second straight year since 2005, Dominican’s basketball team reached the Division I state semifinals.
“I think we were so successful this season because our team has started with good fundamentals,” said Mr. Ryan Reuter, basketball coach. “It’s been a while since we’ve had a record like this.”
The team started their season off strong and placed first in the in the silver bracket at the Allstate Sugarbowl Prep Classic Tournament held on Jan. 3-6. They swept the competition and defeated Mount Carmel in the championship game with a score of 36-32.
Freshman Grace Hamblin led the team in scoring with 220 points. She also racked up an impressive 63 offensive rebounds and was named to the 2018 All-District 9-5A Team. “We worked hard in practice and that paid off in the games,” said Hamblin. “We all had something special to bring to the table.”
Other notable players include sophomore Kylie Barre’ with 60 assists and 23 blocks. Barre’ also made the All-District 9-5A Team with Hamblin and was named to the 2018 Clarion Herald Elite Girls’ Basketball Team. Additionally, junior Ahjah Yunusah had a great season with 86 defensive rebounds and was also named honorable mention on the 2018 NOLA.com All-Metro Girls Basketball Team.
Dominican also dominated all four of this season’s tournaments which took place at St. Scholastica, De La Salle, Episcopal and Riverside Academy. The team’s unremitting effort this season kept them in the game.
“We did so well this season because the team is so close, and we trust each other,” said freshman Emily Adams, point guard. “We played as one big family rather than individual players.” Adams was noted as “Player of the Game” in the home game against Scotlandville that sent the team to the semifinals. She scored 14 out of the 37 points that gave them the victory, including three 3-pointers.
The team’s only senior, Mackie Smith, added to the list of accomplishments this season. She was named to the LSHAA All Academic Composite Team for her athletic and academic achievements. Each year, this award is granted to all student athletes who meet the criteria of an unweighted 4.0 GPA. Smith finished the season strong and led her fellow teammates. “Our team has been focused this year on doing the little things right so that bigger goals can fall into place,” said Smith.
Dominican gave an effusive toast of praise to the basketball team for all their hard work and victories this season. Stay tuned for next year for another great season!
Mickey and the gang seemed to be talking about the Debs’ recent trip to The Happiest Place on Earth. On Friday, Feb. 2, twenty-two members of the Dominican Debs dance team and coaches Ms. Fran Moran (’87) and Mrs. Sina Baldwin (’84) boarded a plane and took off to Orlando, FL for the Universal Dance Association (UDA) National Dance Competition.
Each year at the UDA Nationals, teams from all over the country come together to compete for national team and ensemble dance titles. The competition was tough, but the Debs danced their way through the competition
First, the Debs performed two ensemble dances. The hip hop ensemble dance advanced to the semi-finals with their performance “Switch It Up.” When the competition was over, the hip hop ensemble placed eleventh in the nation.
Though the jazz ensemble with their performance titled “Better Off” did not place in the semi-finals, the group received tremendous praise from the audience.
“We didn’t get as far as we wanted, but we put our hearts out there,” said Ms. Moran. “It is only our second year at UDA Nationals, and we are constantly inspired to see where we can improve to keep getting stronger.”
Debs who were not a part of the ensemble routines joined their teammates to support Dominican as well as explore the parks in Disney World on the four-day trip.
“The Disney trip was a great bonding experience for our team,” said senior Abbey Monzon. “I got to cheer on my friends at the competition and had a blast riding the rides in Disney World with my team.”
The Debs Dominate State
A few weeks prior to UDA Nationals, the Debs competed in the American All-Star State competition on Jan. 14. in Lafayette.
Out of nine soloists who earned spots in the finals, three were Dominican Debs.
Eighth grader Katelin Obletz won second place in the junior high division, freshman Rylie McCluskey won second place in the junior varsity division and senior Maddie McGovern won second place in the senior division.
“Since it was my first year competing with the Debs, I didn’t know what to expect,” said solo performer Obletz. “I was so excited when my name was called, and my whole team was cheering for me.”
In addition to the soloists, the entire Debs team placed in the State competition. Under the tutelage of Denise Marie DiCharry, renowned local choreographer, the Debs began practicing their team dances in June 2017. The hours of work paid off when the Debs placed multiple times in the team competition.
The team’s jazz performance received second place, and pom placed first along with hip hop. The hip hop routine also received a choreography award and a technique award.
The Debs’ motto this year, “Earned, Not Given,” encouraged the dancers and coaches to put in time and hard work during preparation for competition season.
“After hearing the results of the competitions, the team realized that ‘Earned, Not Given’ was the perfect motto for us,” said Debs Captain McGovern. “I am so proud of my team for giving it their all both in practice and during the performances.”
- Claire Dinwiddie
Sometimes, stepping outside the classroom is the best way to learn the lessons taught on the inside. On Nov. 27, Dominican Law Studies students stepped outside their classroom and visited Loyola Law School to learn about paths to their future.
The whole idea of bringing the class to Loyola started with a simple conversation between Dominican junior Lizzie Algero and her mother, Loyola law professor Mrs. Mary Garvey Algero (‘82), Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Faculty Development. This mother-daughter conversation ultimately led to the Law Studies students visiting the law school.
“Lizzie and I were discussing the Dominican Law Studies course,” said Dean Algero. “We both thought it would be fun for students to visit the law school to hear from professors and students about the law.”
The idea was met with excitement from the students and Ms. Anne Comiskey, Dominican Law Studies teacher. “I was just very excited to be touring the campus while also learning about the process of law school since I plan to be a lawyer in the future,” said senior Bridget Adam.
One goal of the trip was for students to find their own paths to their future. From the welcome by Loyola University College of Law Dean Madeleine Landrieu to the end of their visit, students were encouraged to make their journeys their own.
“I truly believe that the more exposure students have to different educational experiences and careers, the more likely they will be to discover something they love to do for their careers,” said Dean Algero. While some of the students in the Law Studies class plan on pursuing law careers, this field trip also “helped students prepare for entry into college and let them see what it takes in all fields,” said Ms. Comiskey.
DHS alumnae. including Professor Jeanne Woods (’70), enlightened the visiting student throughout the day. Current Loyola Law School students and DHS alumnae Ms. Erica Sensenbrenner (‘11) and Ms. Kristen Rooney (’11) shared their stories of their journeys to law school. They both emphasized the importance of doing what they love.
“I hope that the students learned that there is no right way to get to law school. Do what you are passionate about and do it well,” said Ms. Sensenbrenner. This message resonated with junior Rachael Hahn. “I realized that I could potentially have a career in law,” said Hahn.
Another topic of discussion was how these law school alums felt prepared for college and their writing successes after graduating from Dominican. Both Ms. Sensenbrenner and Ms. Rooney sang Dominican’s praises. “I have used what I learned at Dominican to keep me ahead in the class. Being a lawyer involves a lot of reading, writing and analytical thinking. I really believe Dominican gave me the fundamental skills I needed in those areas,” said Ms. Rooney.
“Dominican’s rigorous curriculum trained me to stay organized and focused,” said Ms. Sensenbrenner. “It taught me to be responsible and independent.”
She added that Dominican helped her become a strong writer. “It is something I have been able to build upon thanks to the strong base that Dominican provided,” said Ms. Sensenbrenner.
“I hope that students were inspired by the women they met,” said Dean Algero. “I hope this motivates the students to be the best they can be at whatever they do.”
- Paige Dawson