Author Archives: MSM

Choral Ensembles and Forensics Team Advance to State Competitions

Spring awards season has kicked into high gear, and three more of Mount St. Mary Academy’s student groups – the Concert Belles, Harmony Belles and Forensics Team – have moved on to their respective state-level competitions.

 

Once again the Concert Belles were recognized as being among the very best at this year’s regional Choral Performance Assessment on March 8. They scored all superior ratings and were awarded a Division I plaque, which qualified the choral ensemble for the Arkansas Choral Directors Association State Festival on April 12.

 

The Harmony Belles also performed well at the regional assessment, receiving mostly superior ratings and an overall Division I rating. Their performance qualified the small ensemble for the State Festival, as well. This is the first year the Harmony Belles have advanced to the statewide competition.

 

The Forensics Team, known as the Forensics Breaking Belles, enjoyed another successful season of competition. The group participated in five tournaments across the state, placing in speech and theatre events such as storytelling, poetry, prose and duet improv. The group’s overall performance earned them Second Place Sweepstakes awards at both the Bentonville and Searcy tournaments. They will be competing at the Forensics Arkansas State Championship held April 5-6 in in North Little Rock.

 

The following team members qualified to compete in the state tournament: America Alejandri ’20, Avery Appleton ’20, Mia Aquino ’22, Lily Eagan ’20, Anna Farmer ’19, Rachel Klinck ’22, Sophia Lehman ’22, Malingo Matute ’22, Bri Moseley ’19, Anna Palmer ’20, Alexandra Powell ’22, Amalie Shollmier ’19, Karina Singh ’19, and Victoria Volpi ’20

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

Mount St. Mary Academy Senior Named National Merit Finalist

Mount St. Mary Academy is proud to announce that Bekka Ureta ’19 has been named a National Merit Finalist in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Competition. Bekka is among 15,000 high school seniors nationwide who have met all the requirements to advance to Finalist standing and continue in the competition for National Merit Scholarships.

 

More than 1.6 million students nationwide entered the Merit Program as juniors by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. High scorers were designated as Semifinalists in the fall by scoring in the top one percent among students taking the PSAT.

 

Congratulations, Bekka!

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

Two MSM Students Honored for Commitment to Service

Two MSM students were recently recognized for their community spirit and exemplary volunteer service. Rachel Ridgeway ’19 was honored with the President’s Volunteer Service Gold Award, and Grace Barnett ’21 received the Sotomora Service Award.

 

Granted by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program, the President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of time to serve their communities and their country. An active member of the Mount St. Mary and Christ the King Catholic Church communities, Rachel has spent more than 500 hours volunteering through school, church and other activities. Her lengthy list of involvement includes the Building Bright Futures tutoring program, the Diocese of Little Rock’s Youth Advisory Council and her church’s Youth Advisory Team, Mount St. Mary Academy’s Mountie Messengers student ambassador program and Beta Club, and more.

 

“I have always been told to use my gifts for good, so I became involved everywhere I could think of,” Rachel said of her participation in so many different groups and activities. “I have realized through all this work that there is nothing more rewarding than doing things for others. I have gained a new appreciation for all people, stereotypes have been lost, and walls in my heart have been broken down. I have become a more understanding, merciful, loving and open-minded person, and I strive to improve every day.”

 

Grace was honored with the Sotomora Service Award at this year’s American Heart Association of Central Arkansas Heart Ball on Saturday, March 2. Created by Eileen and Dr. Ricardo Sotomora in 2001, the award is presented annually to the Sweetheart who performed the greatest number of community service/educational hours during her time as a Sweetheart. Grace completed 317 hours of volunteer work, the most of this year’s group of 66 Heart Ball Sweethearts. She is the fourth Mount St. Mary Academy student to receive the Sotomora Service Award since it was created 18 years ago. Previous recipients from the school include Megan Alley ’18, Olivia Root ’07 and Ashley Jones McMillan ’05.

 

I think volunteering in the community is important because it helps acquire life skills as well as provide service to those who need it most,” Grace said. “Along with the fun experiences that I have volunteering, I have also made friendships that will last a lifetime.”

 

We recognize Rachel and Grace for their commitment to service and living Mercy, and congratulate them on their respective well-deserved honors!

Rachel Ridgeway '19 was honored with the 2019 President's Volunteer Service Gold Award for volunteering a significant amount of time -- more than 500 hours -- to serve her community.
Sweetheart Program Education Coordinator Michele Linch presents Grace Barnett '21 with the 2019 Sotomora Service Award for performing the greatest number of volunteer hours during her time as a Sweetheart.

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

Mount St. Mary Academy Announces New President

Dr. Mary Patricia “Pattie” Davis has been selected to serve as the new president for Mount St. Mary Academy, effective July 1, 2019. The announcement was made to the school’s faculty and staff on Monday, March 11. Students, parents and alumnae were notified through email shortly afterwards.

 

“Dr. Pattie Davis has committed her entire career to Catholic education. She has invaluable experience as a teacher, as a principal and as an administrator in three dioceses. Her life-long pursuit of continuing education and academic challenge will be a tremendous example for our students and staff,” said Greg Hartz, chairman of the Mount St. Mary Academy Board of Directors. “Our board was very impressed by her strong faith, love for Mount St. Mary Academy and her dedication to the guiding values of the Sisters of Mercy. As chairman, I encourage our community to reach out to Pattie and assist her in her new role, that our rich tradition of 168 years may continue well into the future.”

 

Dr. Davis most recently served as Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Las Cruces in New Mexico. She served in the same administrative role for the Archdiocese of San Antonio from 2009-2014. A native Arkansan, Dr. Davis worked in the Diocese of Little Rock for nearly 15 years prior to moving to Texas, serving as associate superintendent for the diocese, principal of Immaculate Heart of Mary and a teacher at several Catholic schools. She taught social studies at Mount St. Mary Academy from 2004-2005.

 

Dr. Davis received a Ph.D. in education, with a focus on international education and entrepreneurship, from the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio this past January. She received a Master of Education in educational administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2004, and a Bachelor of Science in elementary education there in 1995.

 

“I cherish my time spent in Texas and New Mexico, but truly my treasure is at home in Arkansas with family and lifelong friends,” Dr. Davis said. “As I move into this new chapter of my life, I feel extremely blessed to serve in the role as president, and I look forward to working with the entire school community as we continue to build upon the rich legacy of Mount St. Mary Academy.”

 

Dr. Davis will succeed Karen Flake ’65, who has served as president of Mount St. Mary Academy since 2012. The first layperson to hold the president’s position, Flake will retire at the end of the school’s current fiscal year in June.

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

MSM Plans Lenten Evening of Reflection

Mount St. Mary Academy invites our community of alumnae, parents and friends to a special Lenten Evening of Reflection on Tuesday, March 26. The theme for this Lenten season’s event is based off that for the 2018-2019 school year, “Go Forth in Love,” and we are happy to have Sr. Deborah Troillett, RSM join us as our guest speaker to help lead the evening’s reflection and discussion.

 

“Lent is the time for all of us to stop and examine our relationship with Jesus, and to be reminded of how he wants us to live our life – with love,” said Chelle McKenzie McCarroll ’02, director of alumnae relations, who is helping organize the event. “That is not always easy to do; work commitments, family demands, and life in general can cause us to lose focus. That’s why this evening is so nice. It is an easy way to ‘hit pause’ and do the work we are encouraged to do during the Lenten season.”

 

The event will be held from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at Mount St. Mary Academy. The cost is $10 per person and includes a light supper. Please register online by Friday, March 22.

 

Questions? Contact Chelle at 501-664-8006 ext 118 or cmccarroll@mtstmary.edu.

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

Tickets on Sale for 2019 Mercy & Me Luncheon

Tickets are now on sale for the fifth biennial Mercy & Me Luncheon, which will be held on Tuesday, April 16, at the Statehouse Convention Center in downtown Little Rock. This special event provides the opportunity for over 700 alumnae, students, family and friends to gather together to celebrate Mercy-inspired leadership – past, present and future – and honor its impact in the Central Arkansas community and beyond. The silent auction will begin at 11:00 a.m., followed by the lunch and program at noon.

 

This year’s keynote speaker is Sister Mary Sullivan – a highly regarded author and professor emerita of language and literature at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. Said to have an “unparalleled knowledge” of Catherine McAuley, Sister Mary will share insight into the Sisters of Mercy founder’s incredible influence over the past 187 years. Sister Lisa Griffith, executive director of the Mercy Education System of the Americas, will provide special remarks following Sister Mary’s keynote address. Sister Lisa previously worked at Mount St. Mary for a combined 21 years.

 

A new addition to this year’s Mercy & Me Luncheon is the presentation of the Mount St. Mary Academy Women’s Leadership Award, which was established to recognize exceptional women with ties to Arkansas who have demonstrated impressive leadership within their community. Laura Landreaux ’91, president and CEO of Entergy Arkansas, will be honored as the inaugural recipient of this award at the April 16 event.

 

Read more about Laura and the 2019 Mercy and Me Luncheon in this featured story from the March 2019 issue of Inviting Arkansas.

 

To reserve your spot at this year’s Mercy & Me Luncheon, visit www.mtstmary.edu/mercyandme. Advance tickets are required and will not be sold at the door. Proceeds from the event benefit Mount St. Mary Academy and ensure the Mercy tradition of educational excellence and leadership continues for many years to come.

 

Questions? Contact Lauren Day, Special Events Coordinator, at lday@mtstmary.edu or 501-664-8006 ext 116.

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

Mount St. Mary Teams See Success at Regional Competitions

This time each spring, a handful of Mount St. Mary Academy’s student clubs and organizations travel to various locations across the state to participate in regional competitions with the goal of performing well enough to advance to state and national competitions. Two groups – Odyssey of the Mind and Mock Trial – both achieved that goal after placing at the top in their respective regional tournaments on Saturday, March 2.

 

The MSM Odyssey of the Mind team is headed to the state competition after a first-place win in their division at the Diamond Regional Tournament in Paragould. This year’s problem, “Leonardo’s Workshop”, challenged the team to develop and present a performance that tells an original story about Leonardo da Vinci that takes place within the famous Italian painter’s workshop and features pieces of his work. In addition to receiving a top score for their performance, the MSM team also scored high in the Spontaneous and Style portions of the competition. They’ll represent the central region at the State Tournament in North Little Rock on Saturday, March 30.

 

The combined Mount St. Mary and Catholic High Mock Trial teams also fared well in their regional competition, hosted by the Arkansas Bar Association in Pine Bluff. Students on each of the nine-member teams played various attorney, witness and timekeeper roles in simulated trials before a panel of judges consisting of licensed attorneys. The Purple (Senior) Team – currently the highest ranked team in the state after the regional competitions – won first place, and the White (Junior) Team placed second, which resulted in both teams qualifying to compete in the state competition in Little Rock on Saturday, March 30. In addition to placing at the top of their regional competition, both teams were among only six schools across the state to receive the highest amount of ballots possible from the judges.

 

We’re proud of these teams and wish them continued success at their state competitions!

Odyssey of the Mind Team: (front, L to R) Mary Owen ’21 (manager), Abby Yanosick ’19 and Isabella Boyd ’20; (back, L to R) Audrey Caruthers ’20, Anna Palmer ’20, Josie Fitz ’21, Emily Delfos ’19 and Emily VanEcko ’21
Mock Trial Team: (front, L to R) Isabel Jara ’22, Naomi Moreland ’20, Avery Cauley ’21, Sarah Meeks ’20, Anne Marie Coy ’21 and Katherine Meeks ’22

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

Annual Spirit Banquet Honors MSM Cheerleaders and Rockettes

Mount St. Mary Academy hosted a special evening for its spirit squads on Sunday, March 3. Held at the Country Club of Little Rock, the Spirit Banquet celebrated the groups’ accomplishments over the past year and honored several young women with individual awards.

 

The cheerleading squads and Rockettes dance team entertain crowds and promote school spirit year-round at MSM and CHS athletics events, and the Spirit Banquet provides the opportunity to recognize the talented groups for their hard work and dedication.

 

“What most people do not realize until they’ve lived it is that Cheer and Rockettes are a year-round sport,” explained Marly Gammill, MSM French teacher and Freshman Cheer sponsor. “These girls never give anything less than their all. They are the hardest workers and have hearts as big as Mount St. Mary. The Spirit Banquet is a great time to thank everyone who makes the spirit year possible.”

 

Dee James, MSM office administrator and Rockettes coach, echoed similar sentiments after the fun celebration. “Last night’s Spirit Banquet was remarkable. The girls looked fabulous, as always, and my heart is full of love from the spirit squads’ members, parents and coaches. I am so blessed to be a part of such an amazing group.”

 

Seniors Elizabeth Cline and Chloe Lay were honored with the evening’s top awards, chosen by the spirit squad coaches. Elizabeth received the Mary Ellen Pate Memorial Award, given to the spirit squad member who best embodies strength of character, discipline, hard work, dedication talent, grace and a little sass. The Carolyn Chalmers Spirit Award was given to Chloe for promoting school spirit at MSM by living the Mercy values of untiring service, hospitality and response to need. Recipients of the evening’s additional awards are listed below.

 

Varsity Cheer Awards:

Team Player: Gracie Connell ’21

Above and Beyond: Beatrice Zargari ’20

Most Passionate: Kennedy Phillips ’19

Transformation: Megan Jennings ’19

Squad Choice / Best All Around: Kennedy Phillips ’19

Coaches’ Choice / Top of the Pyramid: Elizabeth Cline ’19

 

Freshman Cheer Awards:

Squad Choice: Anna Falcon ’22

Most Improved: Carson Sanders ’22

Coach’s Award / Leadership: Mimi Baldwin ’22

 

Rockettes Awards:

Best Dancer: Addie Grace Coleman ’20

Best Kicks: Elizabeth James ’21 and Anna Jewel Schluterman ’21

Purple Pom: Ashley Henry ’19 and Chloe Lay ’19

Rockette of the Year: Addie Grace Coleman ’20

Silver Pom: Ashley Henry ’19

 

View photos of the event, courtesy of Karen Tlapek, at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmBB1f3d.

 

Congratulations to our 2018-2019 Cheerleaders and Rockettes on a wonderful season, and thank you to their fabulous coaches — Kilee Fogleman, Marly Gammill, Dee James, and Allison Caldarera — for their tireless devotion to the spirit program!

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

MSM Announces Exciting Lineup of Summer Camps for Kids

Spend your summer dreaming, exploring, learning and creating at the Mount!

 

Mount St. Mary Academy is once again offering a wide range of fun and engaging summer camps during the months of June and July for children entering the 1st through 9th grades. Campers will be able to sharpen their skills — or try something new! — in the following areas: volleyball, basketball, creative writing, math, drama, reading, cooking, arts and crafts, and study skills.

 

Most camps are half-day camps and may be combined for a full day of camp fun with an hour lunch break provided. Pricing and information may be found on the downloadable registration form at http://mtstmary.edu/summer-camps/. Register by Wednesday, May 15, to receive the early bird rate for many of the camps.

 

Questions? Email summercamp@mtstmary.edu, and be sure to mention the name of the camp(s) in which you are interested.

MSM Hosts Basketball Skills Academy for 4th-8th Graders

Mount St. Mary Academy is once again hosting its popular Basketball Skills Academy for young girls in grades 4-8. Held over the course of six weeks each spring, the program’s goal is to help young players build a basketball skills foundation and love of the game. Instructors focus on fundamental basketball skills including dribbling, shooting, passing, and defense principles. It also includes team and individual competition.

 

The 2019 Basketball Skills Academy runs from April 8 through May 19. Sessions will take place from 5:30-7:00 p.m. on select Sundays and Mondays in the McAuley Center Gym at Mount St. Mary Academy. The cost per participant for the six-week, seven-session program is $125. Space is limited. For more information, contact Coach Lauren Lawrence at (501) 664-8006 or llawrence@mtstmary.edu, or download the flyer and registration form.

Swimming Belles Finish in Top 10 at State Championship

The Swimming Belles ended their season on a high note, finishing 10th overall in the 6A State Swimming Championship held in Bentonville February 22-23. A total of six swimmers from the Belles swim team competed in individual and/or relay events at the meet.

 

Kate Goldtrap ’21 medaled in the 100 Yard Breaststroke, finishing sixth in the state with a time of 1:10. She also finished eighth in the 500 Yard Freestyle. Teammates Victoria Chan ’21 and Mia Patella ’22 competed in individual events, as well. Victoria finished 14th in the 200 Yard Individual Medley, and Mia finished ninth in the 100 Yard Butterfly and 12th in the 50 Yard Freestyle.

 

The Swimming Belles also competed in all three of the state tournament’s relay events. Kate G., Victoria, Mia and Kate Moellers ’20 finished 11th in the 200 Yard Medley Relay and eighth in the 400 Yard Freestyle Relay. Kate M., Victoria, Cecelia Rech ’20 and Katelynn Parker ’22 finished 11th in the 200 Yard Freestyle.

 

Prior to competing in the state championship, the team also had a strong showing at the 6A Central Conference Championship in Conway on Thursday, February 7. The Belles finished sixth overall, and Kate G. placed third in the 500 Yard Freestyle.

 

The team’s coaches acknowledged the girls’ hard work and progress over the course of the season. “I’m so proud of everyone on the team this year,” coach Marissa Blair said. “There were swimmers of various skill levels who pushed themselves to achieve and surpass their goals. Many of them accomplished things they never thought possible.”

 

“We have had a lot of fun this year,” coach Lindann Blair Day added. “I’ve enjoyed watching these girls flourish, and was thrilled to bring 6 swimmers to the state meet for competition. We will miss everyone!”

 

This season represents the last one for Coaches Blair and Day. The two, who both attended Mount St. Mary and swam for the Belles, have served as volunteer coaches for the program for the past 12 seasons. Until she retired a few years ago, their mother had also been helping coach the swim team since 2001, and their oldest sister swam with the Belles, too. “We calculated it the other day, and I am pretty sure a Blair has been involved in MSM Swimming for 25 seasons, and coaching for 18 seasons,” Coach Day said.

 

Congrats to the Belles, and a big thanks to the Blair family for their years of participation in, and service to, Mount St. Mary Academy’s swimming program.

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

MSM Honors Senior Basketball Belles at Season’s End

On Friday, Feb. 22, the Basketball Belles honored their senior members before the team’s final game of the season. Though the Belles ended up losing to the Central Tigers, the effort the girls displayed during the game – and all season long – is worth celebrating.

 

“Basketball is an extremely long season, and these girls did a great job of working hard for the duration of the season,” head coach Lauren Lawrence said. “Each year we are trying to improve on the previous one in order to build up our basketball program, and these girls did just that. Our seniors played a huge role in our progress through their leadership and dedication.”

 

The Belles finished seventh in the 6A Central conference after nearly four months of play. A highlight of the season was a hard-fought conference win against Cabot in early February. “Our defense did a great job of containing [Cabot’s] better players and not giving up a lot of offensive rebounds,” Coach Lawrence said.

 

Congratulations to Coaches Lawrence, Henry and Brumley, and the Basketball Belles!

Left photo credit: Lizzy Yates Photography

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

Mount St. Mary Celebrates Bowling Belles’ Season

Mount St. Mary is proud of its Bowling Belles on their successful season, which included postseason action! Coached by MSM science teacher Lauren Naeyeart, the team competed in nine matches during the regular season and finished fourth at the 6A Central Conference Tournament in Cabot on Wednesday, Feb. 6. The top-four finish earned them a spot in the 6A State Tournament in Jonesboro on Friday, Feb. 15, where the team finished seventh overall.

 

Congrats to Coach Naeyeart and this year’s Bowling Belles!

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

Career Day 2019 Celebrates Fifth Year, Welcomes Back 50 Alumnae

Approximately 50 MSM alumnae returned to their alma mater on Friday, Feb. 22, to share details about their career paths with current students, and provide helpful advice, at Career Day 2019. Students attended up to two sessions, where they were invited to hear from and ask questions of panels of alumnae representing a variety of different fields, including the arts, business, communications, education, engineering, healthcare, law, non-profit, public service and religious life.

 

First organized in 2015, Career Day is held each February as a collaborative effort of the Alumnae Office and Counseling staff. It represents one of the many ways that Mount St. Mary Academy encourages its students to explore their interests and passions as an extension of their academic program and, in the process, better understand themselves, their community and the world.

 

We appreciate all of the talented alumnae who volunteered their time as panel speakers this year, traveling from as far away as New York and conducting one session from Washington, D.C., via Google Meet. You were an inspiration to our young women, and we enjoyed having you back at the Mount!

 

View some of the highlights of Career Day 2019 at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmvSYFQu.

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

Two MSM Juniors Chosen for All-State Choir

At the beginning of February, hundreds of the best singers in Arkansas gathered in Conway to audition to earn spots in this year’s All-State Choirs. Juniors Anne Lashbrook and Amelia Ochoa were selected for All-State and spent February 14-16 in Hot Springs at the All-State Clinic. During the two-day event, Anne and Amelia participated in intense rehearsals alongside the state’s other top singers under the direction of some of the most prestigious choir directors in the country. The All-State Clinic concluded with a public concert on Saturday afternoon showcasing the music the students had learned.

 

“It is a great honor to make it into All-State, and I am always so proud of my choir girls,” Chelsea Frazier, MSM choral director, said. “Anne and Amelia put in loads of extra work outside of class to make it happen, which is a testament to their awesome work ethic and dedication to choral performance.”

 

The Concert Belles, along with the Harmony Belles, will perform at the regional Choral Performance Assessment in early March with the hopes of becoming eligible to participate in the Arkansas Choral Directors Association’s State Festival in April. Under the direction of Ms. Frazier, the Concert Belles have received superior ratings at both the regional and state level for four consecutive years. In 2017 and 2018, they earned Best in Class awards for Best Medium Female Chorus and Best Medium Chorus Overall.

 

Congratulations, Anne and Amelia, and best of luck to the Concert Belles and Harmony Belles in next month’s Choral Performance Assessment!

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

MSM Senior Signs with Rhodes Soccer

Finding a college that is a great academic fit and provides the opportunity to continue playing the sport you love at the next level isn’t always an easy task for high school student-athletes. Fortunately for Anya Ranaraja, she found her perfect match. On Thursday, Feb. 21, the senior soccer player, and one of this year’s team captains, was cheered on by family, teammates, friends and coaches as she officially committed to joining the Rhodes College Lynx in Memphis, Tenn., this fall.

 

According to Anya, who is also a member of the Belles basketball team, she starting kicking a ball as soon as she was able to walk and joined her first team, the Purple Dragons, at age 4. “We were the only all-girls team at the time, but that didn’t stop us from being undefeated the majority of our seasons,” she joked.

 

Anya has since competed at the club level with Arkansas United, formerly Little Rock Futbol Club, for the past 10 years, and began playing for the Soccer Belles her freshmen year. Her hard work leading up to high school earned her a spot on the varsity team that year as well as All Conference Team honors. As a sophomore, she was named to the All State Team after helping the Belles finish in second place in their conference. Though an injury prevented Anya from playing in 2018, she remained a dedicated and supportive teammate. This commitment earned her the Mary Drake Award, which honors a Mount St. Mary student-athlete each year for her perseverance in being a leader, an unselfish team player, encouraging and optimistic.

 

The fact that Anya was recruited by colleges comes as no surprise to MSM soccer coach Stephanie Boccarossa. “Anya is an absolute pleasure to watch and to coach,” she said “From the moment she steps on the field, she sets the pace of the game through her attitude, skill and speed of play. Beyond her incredible athletic ability, her passion, work ethic and love of the game are unmatched. She is a one-of-a-kind athlete.”

 

Anya, who admits to wanting to be a doctor for as long as she’s been playing soccer, plans on majoring in biology and attending medical school after college. She said Rhodes met all the requirements she was seeking, including a strong pre-med program, wonderful internship and study abroad opportunities, and a successful soccer program that fit her style of play. “In my college search, I had to make sure that the college I chose was the perfect fit academically as well as for soccer, and Rhodes does both,” she said. “I am so excited about the opportunities I am going to have and the experiences to come. I have seen the relationships and team unity of the Rhodes soccer team, and I can wait to be a part of that!”

 

As for the ways Mount St. Mary has prepared her for success after graduation, Anya credits the excellent academic opportunities and her involvement with Belles athletics. “MSM has taught me how to think analytically through the AP courses I have taken,” she said. “Mount has also taught me how to manage my time between sports and classes, as well as given me leadership skills and experience working with others as a team. I feel beyond prepared for my years at Rhodes.”

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

MSM Students Visit Nine Campuses During College Trip 2019

Six Mount St. Mary students, along with MSM counseling staff, spent nearly a week in February touring a handful of nearby college campuses. The five-day road trip included stops at eight universities in Texas and a college in Louisiana. The experience gave students the opportunity to explore a variety of campuses, speak with school representatives and learn more about some of the different college options that are available.

 

“When planning the college trip, I selected a variety of schools so the students could learn what they do and do not like about colleges,” Emily Coffey, MSM college counselor, said. “The colleges we saw varied from small to large, public to private, Catholic to non-Catholic, and rural to urban.”

 

The trip’s agenda included visits at the following schools: Southern Methodist University, Texas Christian University, the University of Dallas, the University of Texas at Dallas, Southwestern University, Baylor University, St. Edward’s University, the University of Texas at Austin and Centenary College of Louisiana.

 

The annual college trip ultimately aims to help Mount St. Mary students find success during the college search and application process by introducing them to the process before their senior year. “Visiting different types of colleges and universities during a student’s sophomore or junior year helps them narrow their college search, prepare for the application process, and understand the importance of their GPA and extracurricular commitments in high school,” Mrs. Coffey said.

 

Junior Mimi Palecek, who participated in this year’s trip, agreed that the experience was a worthwhile one. “Having the chance to go on the college trip was a great experience and gave me the opportunity to get a firsthand view of college,” she said. “I learned a lot about the different kinds of colleges and universities, which helped me to discover what I want and don’t want in my future school.”

 

An exciting part of the experience was getting the opportunity to enjoy campus tours led by MSM alumnae at several of the colleges the group visited. Mount St. Mary Academy thanks Caroline McCormick ’11 at SMU, Valerie Kauffman ’17 and Sarah Rech ’17 at St. Edward’s, and Grace James ’16 at UT Austin for their hospitality. Their warm welcome and VIP treatment helped make the trip a memorable one for the participating students and counseling staff.

 

“We had a wonderful time visiting nine colleges together, eating TexMex food, catching up with Mount alums, and exploring new towns,” Mrs. Coffey said.

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

MSM Thespians Compete in State Festival

Congratulations to the MSM Thespians on great weekend in Russellville at the Arkansas State Thespian Festival held February 7-9. The troupe competed in individual events, applied for scholarships, participated in workshops and performed its advancing one-act play, Alan Haehnel’s Wendy’s Tale.

 

Anna F. ’19 (solo acting), Holly M. ’20 (stage management), Cabe P. ’21 (solo musical) and Karina S. ’19 (solo acting) all received Excellent ratings in their individual competitions. Additionally, Anna F. and Holly M. were offered scholarships totaling more than $15,000.

 

Those involved with the one-act performance did a fantastic job, as well, with Anna F., Anna P. ’20, Amalie S. ’19 and Robin S. ’20 making the All State Cast, and Claire R. ’19 making All State Crew. Amalie S. was honored as the troupe’s Honor Thespian.

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

MSM Theology Teacher Selected for Border Immersion Experience

Mount St. Mary Academy is pleased to announce that theology teacher Buff Easterly has been selected to serve on an immigration delegation that will travel to the U.S.-Mexico border later this spring. The Sisters of Mercy Institute Justice Team is organizing the trip in collaboration with ARISE, a community-based and Mercy co-sponsored program that works in colonias in South Texas to strengthen communities.

 

During the Mercy Border Immersion, which will take place March 31 through April 5, the group of Mercy leaders, associates and ministry partners will learn more about the growing humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the root causes of migration. The itinerary includes a trip to the border wall and meeting with Border Patrol agents as well as visits to a detention center for children, a church-based refugee center and ARISE Community Organizing Centers. The experience is designed to strengthen the participants’ capacity to advocate and educate others in their communities about immigration and its root causes upon returning home.

 

“As every good teacher, I work hard to present factual information to my students. In addition, I use my life experiences to give context to topics such as poverty, prejudice, intolerance, and racism – all of which I unfortunately have firsthand experience with. It is not the same for immigration,” Ms. Easterly said. “Though I’ve known people who have come across the southern border, I want to see for myself. I want to speak to ‘immigrants,’ aid workers and government officials, and then frame my own opinions. I want to speak to my students with authority about this issue that has become so contentious.”

 

The Sisters of Mercy, which founded Mount St. Mary Academy in 1851 and still sponsors the school today, commit to serving, advocating for and praying with those in need around the world. Its Institute Justice Team was formed in 1993 to spearhead the international community’s collective social justice efforts focused on addressing the following five Critical Concerns: protecting the earth, opposing racism, promoting nonviolence, working for the equality of women and ensuring the dignity of immigrants. Inspired by its founders’ commitment to social justice, Mount St. Mary Academy has proudly embraced and integrated these critical concerns into its ethos and educational experience.

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

MSM Celebrates 168th Birthday, Hosts First-Ever Day of Giving

Mount St. Mary Academy celebrated Founders Day on Tuesday, February 5. The special day marked 168 years since the Sisters of Mercy first opened the doors to what was originally known as St. Mary’s Academy in 1851, at the request of Arkansas’ first Catholic bishop, Andrew Byrne. Recognized as the state’s oldest educational institution in continuous operation, and the second oldest of the secondary schools operated by the Sisters of Mercy worldwide, Mount St. Mary Academy has been providing Mercy education to young women in Arkansas ever since.

 

As part of the celebration, the Mount St. Mary Academy community gathered in the McAuley Center for its annual Founders Day and Sophomore Pin Mass. As students entered the gymnasium, the “Angelus Bell” rang out 168 times in honor of the school’s 168-year history. The bell was given to the Sisters of Mercy by Bishop Byrne at the school’s first location in downtown Little Rock. During the special all-school Mass, the members of the Class of 2021 participated in the tradition of receiving their Mercy pins, which serve as reminders to the students to live the Mercy values in their everyday lives.

 

In addition to the Founders Day and Sophomore Pin Mass, Mount St. Mary Academy hosted its first-ever Day of Giving in honor of the school’s birthday. More than $22,000 in donations was received during the 12-hour fundraising event on February 5, which more than doubled the day’s original $10,000 goal. The gifts support Mount St. Mary Academy’s educational programs and services, and assist with continuing to make quality Mercy education available to young women in Arkansas.

 

The celebration will continue next Friday, February 15, when the school hosts its second annual Belles Birthday Bingo. Parents, alumnae, faculty and staff, volunteers and friends are invited to an evening of fun benefiting the Belle Booster Club, which supports student programs and activities at Mount St. Mary Academy. The event will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the MSM cafeteria. Additional details and ticket information may be found here.

 

Happy birthday to the best school we know of!

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

Inaugural Day of Giving Set for Founders Day

The Mount St. Mary community will celebrate Founders Day on Tuesday, February 5. The special day marks 168 years since the Sisters of Mercy first opened the doors to what was originally known as St. Mary’s Academy in 1851. Recognized as Arkansas’ oldest educational institution in continuous operation, Mount St. Mary Academy has been providing Mercy education to young women in Arkansas ever since.

 

In honor of Founders Day, and inspired by the spirit of Sisters of Mercy founder Catherine McAuley, Mount St. Mary Foundation is hosting its first-ever Day of Giving. From 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on February 5, Foundation staff members, along with MSM faculty and staff volunteers, will be available in the school’s entry foyer to take donations for “the best school we know of” – in person, over the phone or online – with the goal of raising $10,000 by the end of the day.

 

Melissa Stiles, MSM director of donor giving and Class of 1989 alumna, has led the efforts behind organizing this exciting addition to Founders Day and looks forward to the entire school community’s support. “February 5 is not only our Founders Day, but our first-ever Day of Giving. What a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our founders and this outstanding school by contributing to our future,” she said. “It’s my hope that anyone connected to the school – students, faculty, staff, alumnae, and families and friends of the Mount – will feel encouraged to participate,  no matter the size of the gift.”

 

Those interested in making a gift on Founders Day may do so by calling (501) 664-8006 or stopping by Mount St. Mary Academy between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Tuesday, February 5. Donations will also be accepted online. An incentive for students to get involved, the class who raises the most money during Founders Day will win a breakfast catered by Chick-fil-A later this year.

 

In addition to the new activities associated with the inaugural Day of Giving, the annual Mount St. Mary Academy Founders Day and Sophomore Pin Mass will also be celebrated on February 5. During this special all-school Mass, the Class of 2021 will participate in the tradition of receiving their Mercy pins. These pins serve as reminders to the students to live the Mercy values in their everyday lives.

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

Mount St. Mary to Host Second Annual Forensics Festival

Approximately 300 students on forensics teams from junior high and high schools across central Arkansas will fill Mount St. Mary Academy’s classrooms, hallways and cafeteria on Saturday, February 1, when the MSM Forensics Team hosts its second annual Forensics Festival.

 

The Forensics Team, comprised of nearly 30 students from all grade levels at Mount St. Mary, has been hard at work preparing for this year’s tournament with the goal of making it even more successful than the inaugural event held in 2018. If the number of entries is any indicator of the event’s potential for success, then the group will likely realize its goal. This year’s Forensics Festival has received 501 entries – nearly double last year’s amount!

 

The event serves as a fundraiser for the Forensics Team; proceeds from entry fees and concessions sales help cover expenses incurred throughout the busy competition season. However, according to MSM speech and drama teacher Jenny Moses, organizing a tournament like the Forensics Festival also provides students with additional opportunities to gain valuable leadership, communication and problem-solving skills.

 

“I love watching the confidence and poise these ladies develop in forensics, and I see a new side of this as they host other schools on campus,” Ms. Moses said.

 

In addition to competing, the Forensics Team will be responsible for handling several hosting duties throughout the day of the tournament, from hospitality and customer service to registration, concessions and clean-up.

 

“The Forensics Festival is such an exciting event for the MSM Forensics Team,” team captain Karina S. ’19 said. “It teaches us so much about teamwork, and what a good work ethic looks like.”

 

Though she admitted it feels a bit strange to go from simply competing to managing all the behind-the-scenes work at a tournament, Karina is looking forward to hosting. “It’s really fun when our friends from other schools get to see what our campus is like,” she said.

 

Ten schools, including Mount St. Mary, are scheduled to compete in the single-day Forensics Festival. Events will include dramatic interpretation, humorous interpretation, duo interpretation, oratory, informative speaking, impromptu, prose, poetry, storytelling and improv. The competition also offers two thespian events, solo musical and duet musical, for high school participants. As an officially sanctioned event by the Arkansas Activities Association, participants will be able to qualify for the Arkansas Communication and Theatre Arts Association’s Arkansas Forensic and Debate State Championship in April at the Mount St. Mary tournament. Several members of the MSM Forensics Team have already qualified for the state competition at previous tournaments this season.

 

Good luck, Forensics Team, and best wishes for a fun and successful Forensics Festival!

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

MSM Students Enjoy an Up-close Look at Washington, DC

Sixteen Mount St. Mary students spent the week of January 20-26 exploring our nation’s capital with Close Up. This year marks the 10th year the school has participated in the experience-based, educational travel program in Washington, D.C.

 

The cold temperatures and partial government shutdown didn’t keep the group from enjoying a jam-packed schedule of engaging, hands-on activities. Highlights of the week-long adventure included visiting Mount Vernon, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the Supreme Court Building, touring the U.S. Capitol, witnessing the Changing of the Guard ritual at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and meeting U.S. Representative French Hill. The Mount St. Mary students also had the opportunity to participate in debates and a Mock Congress, hear from a variety of panels, and attend School of Rock – The Musical at the National Theatre with approximately 600 students from other states who were also participating in Close Up.

 

“Close Up shows our students firsthand what they’ve learned in class and gives them the opportunity to fully experience our nation’s capital as well as consider their roles in our political system today and in the future,” MSM social studies teacher and trip chaperone Brendan Britt said. Britt, who participated in Close Up in high school, was instrumental in adding the program to Mount St. Mary Academy’s list of annual educational travel options in 2010.

 

Using the nation’s capital as a “living classroom,” Close Up seeks to inform, inspire, and empower young people to exercise the rights and accept the responsibilities of citizens in a democracy. Since 1971, it has served nearly 850,000 students and teachers from schools around the country through its Washington-based civic education programs and classroom resources.

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

Mount St. Mary Announces Basketball Homecoming Court

The Mount St. Mary community ended the short school week with a fun-filled pep rally on Friday, January 25. The celebration included performances from the MSM cheerleading squads and the Rockettes, entertaining skits from seniors and Student Council members, recognition of the Belles swimming and basketball teams, and the announcement of this year’s Basketball Homecoming Court.

 

Front row, juniors (L to R): Madi S., Anne-Marie E., and Emma O.

Back row, seniors (L to R): Alison A., Anya R., Mabry M., Emme E. and Mallory H.

 

The theme for the upcoming Basketball Homecoming Spirit Week was also revealed: #hashtagHOCO. The basketball homecoming game is set for Friday, February 8, in the McAuley Center. Come cheer on the Belles as they play Fort Smith Northside. The Homecoming Court will be presented, and this year’s Homecoming Queen will be announced, during a brief ceremony in between games at 5:30 p.m.

 

Congratulations to our 2019 Mount St. Mary Basketball Homecoming Court, and best of luck to our winter sports teams as they finish out their seasons over the coming weeks. Go Belles!

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

MSM Celebrates Senior’s Appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy

On Tuesday, January 8, Annie Q. ’19 received a voicemail from Congressmen French Hill asking that she call him back. The two connected after a brief game of phone tag, and Congressman Hill spoke the words Annie had been waiting months to hear: “You’re going to the Naval Academy.”

 

“Oh my goodness, this is actually happening” was what Annie described as her first thought upon receiving the exciting news of her official appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. “I was so grateful and amazed. There were so many emotions going through my head.”

 

Annie’s interest in the highly selective federal service academy developed four years ago after learning that one of her sister’s classmates, Rachel Parker ’15, had been accepted. From there, Annie got involved with JROTC her freshman year and began learning more about the Naval Academy from the program’s instructor, Sgt. Maj. R.S. Jernigan. Prior to the beginning of her senior year at Mount St. Mary, she was accepted into the Naval Academy’s Summer Seminar program. The week-long session introduced Annie to everyday life at “the Yard” and confirmed her desire to apply. “It was a sign,” Annie said. “It made me positive that I wanted to pursue the Naval Academy because I enjoyed that experience so much.”

 

As one of its midshipmen, Annie will attend the Naval Academy for four years on a full scholarship – a benefit provided by the Navy in return for five years of active duty upon graduation. From there, Annie, who is considering studying mechanical engineering, isn’t quite sure which path she’ll take, though she’s excited about her options.

 

“I think what’s good about the Academy is you get a lot of exposure to different career paths,” she said. “That real-world experience can help you decide what you want to do.”

 

The U.S. Naval Academy is recognized as one of the most competitive educational institutions in the country. It typically receives more than 16,000 applications each year, but offers appointments to less than 10 percent of its applicants. Annie will join Rachel Parker and Allison Polston ’16 as the Mount’s most recent graduates to attend the Academy.

 

“I recognize this is a really, really big opportunity,” Annie said. “I’m excited for all the challenges I’m going to face and ready to face them.”

 

Annie, who was honored this past September as one of five Girls of Distinction by the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame, will be inducted in the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2023 on June 27. View the Instagram video posted by Congressman Hill of Annie receiving news of her official appointment here.

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

Save the Date for Belles Birthday Bingo

Parents, alumnae, faculty and staff, volunteers and friends are invited to come together to help us celebrate the school’s 168-year tradition of excellence at our second annual Belles Birthday Bingo on Friday, February 15. Tickets are $30 for individuals and $50 for couples, and include snacks, birthday cake, beer, wine and 10 bingo play cards per person with additional cards available for purchase at the event. Proceeds will benefit the Belle Booster Club, which supports student programs and activities at Mount St. Mary Academy. We hope to see you there!

 

BELLES BIRTHDAY BINGO

Friday, February 15

MSM Cafeteria

Doors open at 6:30 p.m.  |  Bingo from 7 to 9 p.m.

Must be 21 years of age to attend

 

PURCHASE TICKETS HERE!

 

From MSM to the State Department, Alumna Shares Inspiring Career Path with Students

Equipped with knowledge, our graduates leave with confidence, courage, motivation and drive.  Like Catherine McAuley, they are fierce pioneers, passionate about making a difference in their communities and the world. – Mount St. Mary Academy Vision Statement

 

On Tuesday, January 8, a Mount St. Mary alumna returned to her hometown from Washington, D.C., as a diplomat for the nation’s lead foreign affairs agency. Special Agent Star Hy, who graduated from the Mount in 1997 and currently works for the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security, visited her alma mater to speak with students about her rewarding career path, exciting experiences abroad, and the work of the State Department.

 

In sharing her story and accomplishments, Ms. Hy shed light on diplomacy as public service and introduced young women to the Foreign Service as a possible career path. “There are many ways to serve your country, but I think one of the outstanding options is working for the State Department,” she said. “It is an amazing career and an amazing experience.”

 

In addition to getting to see different parts of the world and gain valuable life experiences while being exposed to different cultures, Ms. Hy acknowledged that her work was very fulfilling, as well. “Not only do I love my job, but everyone I work with loves their job, and that’s an amazing situation to be in,” she said.

 

Ms. Hy, who majored in systems engineering at West Point, encouraged students to consider degrees in STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – if they are interested in pursuing a career in foreign affairs. “You need three things to be successful in this job: leadership, which you gain [at the Mount], character and integrity, and you need to be a problem solver,” she said. “Being in STEM fields is going to show that you’re a problem solver, and right away it’s going to get you a leg up.”

 

Ms. Hy joined the Bureau of Diplomatic Security in 2009. Her initial work involved conducting criminal and administrative investigations for the State Department in Washington, D.C., as well as providing physical protection for the Secretary of State and visiting foreign dignitaries. Ms. Hy most recently completed a two-year assignment at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, one of the largest U.S. embassies in the world, where she investigated U.S. visa and passport fraud allegations. Her next assignment will take her overseas to the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo.

 

Before joining the State Department 10 years ago, Ms. Hy served as a senior intelligence analyst for the Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She also served five years active duty in the U.S. Army as a military police officer and is a major in the Military Intelligence branch of the U.S. Army Reserves. In addition to her undergraduate degree from West Point, Ms. Hy holds an MBA from Johns Hopkins University as well as master’s degrees in management and strategic intelligence from Troy University and the National Intelligence University, respectively.

 

Ms. Hy’s visit was part of the State Department’s Hometown Diplomats Program, in which diplomats visit educational, civic and local organizations in their hometowns to share information about the State Department’s work and why it’s important.

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

Student-Designed T-Shirts and Stickers Help Send Girls to School

At least four young women across the globe will get the opportunity to receive an education and fulfill their potential thanks to the positive response of the “Girl Power” pieces designed by MSM students for Bella Vita Jewelry in downtown Little Rock. More than $1,000 in profits has been donated to Heifer International’s “Send a Girl to School” initiative since the shop began selling these items in early 2018.

 

The MSM Art Department held a competition for design submissions after being contacted by Brandy Thomason McNair, designer and owner of the Bella Vita Jewelry, in late 2017 about creating a unique t-shirt design that illustrated the theme of girl power. The colorful design submitted by Bella B. ’20 ended up winning the voting contest that followed on Bella Vita Jewelry’s social media. In addition to printing t-shirts, Brandy also had coordinating sticker sets made that featured all the designs submitted. She and the students collaborated together to decide where the proceeds should go and ultimately decided on Heifer’s program, one that highlights the Sisters of Mercy critical concern on which Mount St. Mary is focusing this year: women.

 

Per Heifer International’s website: “Girls often suffer the most from gender discrimination. They are often denied the opportunity to go to school because resources are limited. Heifer International and our partners support programs designed to give every girl the chance to fulfill her potential. Join us in breaking this cycle.”

 

It’s not too late to support this wonderful cause. Proceeds from the sales of the student-designed t-shirts and sticker sets will continue to be donated to Heifer International until the items are sold out. You can find these items on Bella Vita Jewelry’s website, or learn more about Heifer International’s “Send a Girl to School” initiative here.

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

Two MSM Students Return From International Dance Competition With Gold

While most of the Mount St. Mary community enjoyed some well-deserved relaxation during Thanksgiving break, two students spent the time off from school working on perfecting routines and packing their bags in preparation for a competition known as the “Olympics of dance.” Carly D. ’22 and Sydney K. ’19, both members of the American Dance Company’s Team USA, spent nearly two weeks overseas in early December competing in the International Dance Organization’s World Championships in Poland.

 

Comprised of some of the most talented dancers from across the country, including 11 from Little Rock’s Rock City Dance Company where Carly and Sydney each train, Team USA competed against more than 4,000 dancers from 30 countries and six continents in this year’s event. To prepare, Team USA began a demanding rehearsal schedule in August. The hard work paid off as the team returned home on Dec. 10 with a total of 10 medals: four gold, three silver and three bronze. Carly and Sydney were both on the gold-winning team in Adult Jazz Formation. Carly received an additional gold medal in Junior Jazz Group as well as a silver medal in Junior Modern Group

 

“I am so proud of Carly and Sydney. They are both integral parts of this team,” said Kristen Pittman, American Dance Company regional director and Team USA head coach. “Carly’s work ethic in every rehearsal inspired all of her teammates, and Sydney has an enthusiasm and positive spirit that helped the team form genuine connections and brought a sense of trust and friendship that was evident each time they hit the stage.”

 

This was Carly’s first year to compete in the World Championships in Poland. Sydney participated on Team USA in the international competition last year. She received two fifth place wins and a single sixth place win in 2017.

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

Mount St. Mary Academy Celebrates Sisters of Mercy Foundation Day

On December 12, the Mount St. Mary community joined its Mercy family worldwide in celebrating Foundation Day. On this day in 1831, Sisters of Mercy founder Catherine McAuley, Mary Ann Doyle, and Elizabeth Harley professed their vows in Dublin, Ireland, and formally established the Mercy community that would eventually grow across the world in more than 40 countries.

 

Respect, integrity, justice, compassion, and service. These core Mercy values have permeated the Mount St. Mary Academy community in practical, purposeful, and recognizable ways since the school was founded in 1851. Mount St. Mary represents one of the first centers of education established by the Sisters of Mercy after their arrival in America in 1843 and continues to develop young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in the tradition of its Catholic founders.

 

A brief video highlighting the history of Mercy education in America, of which Mount St. Mary is proud to be an important part, can be enjoyed here.

From Belle to Lady Buc, MSM Senior Signs with CBU Volleyball

A group of family, teammates, friends and coaches joined together in the McAuley Center on Tuesday, Dec. 11, to celebrate another member of the Volley Belles for committing to play at the collegiate level. Brooke H. ’19 signed her letter of intent with Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tenn., becoming the MSM volleyball program’s second senior this year with plans to continue playing the sport in college next fall. Her teammate, Madeline S. ’19, signed with Judson University in Elgin, Ill., in October.

 

Brooke started playing volleyball in the fourth grade as a member of St. Edward Catholic School’s fifth-grade team. Shortly after that, she joined the Little Rock Juniors volleyball club and has competed on one of its teams for the past seven years. Brooke has also been active in the volleyball program at Mount for four years, playing for the Freshman Mounties her first year at the school and then for the Varsity Belles her remaining three years.

 

According to Brooke, she’s played volleyball at least three times a week since the fourth grade. However, participation in the sport has been worth the demanding schedule. “Volleyball has given me drive and motivates me to perform at my best at all times,” the MSM libero and defensive specialist said. “It has taught me that giving less than 100 percent in anything I do doesn’t feel good inside.”

 

That drive and motivation did not go unnoticed by those around her. “Brooke is one of the most dedicated athletes I have coached,” MSM volleyball coach Lane West said. “She works hard on the court as well as off the court, and she is very focused and determined to succeed.”

 

After years of hard work and training, Brooke is excited to join the Lady Bucs team at CBU next fall. “Competing at the next level has been my goal ever since I started playing,” she said. “I have been looking at options and working on preparing for recruiting since around the seventh grade. I knew it was something I wanted to pursue, and I am so happy I get to play at the Division II level.”

 

In addition to looking forward to playing with her new teammates and coaches, and getting her first taste of “adulting” away from home, Brooke is eager to begin coursework in a unique and relatively new interdisciplinary degree program at CBU. “I am excited about being one of the first students at CBU to major in cybersecurity and digital forensics,” she said. “My future plan is to get a job with the government in this field.”

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

Concert Belles to Perform in 40th Anniversary Nutcracker Spectacular, Annual Christmas Concert

The Mount St. Mary Academy Concert Belles will sing in two performances of Ballet Arkansas’ Nutcracker Spectacular at Robinson Performance Hall this month, continuing a tradition the celebrated choral ensemble has taken part in since 1997. The Concert Belles will perform at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7, and again at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 9.

 

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Ballet Arkansas’ treasured holiday production in Central Arkansas and will feature more than 250 local children and adults, two choral ensembles, and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. For ticket information, visit www.balletarkansas.org.

 

Following the Nutcracker performances, the Concert Belles and the Harmony Belles will present their annual Christmas Concert on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m. at Catholic High School’s Auditorium. The event is free.

Mount St. Mary Academy Junior Secures $1,000 Grant for Service Learning Site

Once Abby T. ’20 learned about a community assistance fund that distributes grants to local organizations and families in need at the real estate agency where her parents both work, she knew she wanted to apply for a grant to donate to her Junior Service Learning Program site. Her efforts were rewarded as she presented Gayle Priddy, executive director of The Helping Hand of Greater Little Rock, with a $1,000 check this month.

 

While reflecting on the inspiration behind her act of kindness, Abby acknowledged the positive ways in which the organization has impacted her during her time of service there this year. “The Helping Hand of Greater Little Rock has provided me with experiences that will affect me for the rest of my life, and given me a sense of compassion I don’t think I could find anywhere else,” she said. “It has presented me with a different perspective of the life lived by the less fortunate.”

 

Established by The Janet Jones Company in Little Rock, the Johnson Melhorn Rainbow Fund’s mission is to help fulfill the human needs of home and shelter with compassion and understanding, two characteristics the realtor whose memory it honors embodied during his successful career with the agency. Abby reached out to the fund’s supervisor with information about Helping Hand’s mission and needs, and she ended up receiving a $1,000 donation for the local food pantry and thrift shop.

 

“I believe it is my duty as not only an active Christian, but a contributor to my community, to find some way to give back to those who have no way to provide for themselves,” Abby said. “For these reasons I have decided to give back through the money the Johnson Melhorn Rainbow Fund has graciously donated, and I am forever grateful for this fund, and for The Helping Hand of Greater Little Rock.”

 

For years, Mount St. Mary Academy’s foundation and traditions of service and mercy have inspired young women like Abby to make a difference in their communities and the world. Its unique Junior Service Learning Program is one of the hallmarks of the school’s commitment to integrating service into its curriculum. All students participate in a yearlong off-campus service learning experience their junior year, through which they use their talents and abilities to provide meaningful service to 25 organizations in the Little Rock community. While these opportunities provide the chance for Mount St. Mary students to have an impact on their service sites, the experience typically has just as powerful of an impact on the students, as illustrated through Abby’s thoughtful reflection.

 

Thank you, Abby, for your commitment to live Mercy. Your act of kindness represents the many like it that take place throughout the Mount St. Mary community each day.

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

Award-Winning Author Encourages MSM Students to Trust the Whisper

When life calls, listen. That’s the simple message Kathy Izard, award-winning author and motivational speaker from North Carolina, shared while discussing her faith journey with Mount St. Mary Academy’s theology classes during her visit on Wednesday, Nov. 28.

 

Kathy’s journey, detailed in The Hundred Story Home: A Memoir of Finding Faith in Ourselves and Something Bigger, is an inspirational one. In 2007, after reading Ron Hall and Denver Moore’s Same Kind of Different As Me, she pursued what she calls a “whisper” that changed the course of her life. Kathy quit her successful career as a graphic designer to join the staff of Charlotte’s Urban Ministry Center, where she’d been volunteering for 10 years, and help launch the pilot program Homeless to Homes – a decision that led to her instrumental role in bringing about much-needed transformation in the areas of homelessness, housing and mental health in Charlotte.

 

The nearly 150 students in attendance were encouraged to listen for similar types of whispers throughout their lives. Kathy’s story demonstrated to them how those pesky thoughts one can’t seem to rid his or her mind of could actually hold the power to help awaken one’s true calling. “Pay attention to what won’t leave you,” she said. “Trust the whisper.”

 

During their time together, Kathy also shared with students sentiments mirroring the Mercy values that so distinctly permeate campus life at Mount St. Mary. Explaining that her father had raised her to believe that everyone has a responsibility to “do good” in this world, she discussed the importance of “faith in action” and challenged students to be kind and compassionate, and to seek ways to make a difference in their homes, school and communities. “The holiest thing we can do is help one another,” she said.

 

Kathy’s memoir has been featured on NPR and inspires people to be changemakers in their communities. She is the recipient of a Christopher Award, the Bank of America Neighborhood Hero Award, and the North Carolina Housing Coalition Volunteer of the Year Award, and recognized as a Clinton School of Public Service Distinguished Guest Lecturer.

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

MSM Community Joins Together for Student-Led Thanksgiving Prayer Service

Before the totals for Robin Hood Days were announced and students departed for their weeklong holiday break, the Mount St. Mary Academy community joined together to enjoy a Thanksgiving Prayer Service on Friday, Nov. 16.

 

Entirely organized and led by MSM students, the touching service centered on the theme of peace and included reflections from students and MSM President and CEO Karen Flake, song, and prayer. It also featured petitions for peace dedicated to 10 locations throughout the world with the petitions for each country being spoken in that country’s language. In addition to English, prayers were offered in Spanish, Latin, Arabic, German, Sri Lankan, Polish, French, Thai and Tagalog.

 

In her reflection, Cecelia R. ’20 provided the following words of inspiration for those preparing for Thanksgiving break: “For me, and most people, peace doesn’t come in the form of a giant neon sign. It’s the smaller things. It’s finding a good parking spot at 7:55, it’s seeing snow in November, hearing your favorite song in the morning, seeing your dog’s face when you come home, doing puzzles in the library with Mrs. Jones. But it’s not just receiving or discovering peace for yourself. It’s helping others find peace. Helping your friend bring her cans in, making a Quizlet for your world history test, lending someone your calculator for her test. Bringing peace to others helps us find peace ourselves. This Thanksgiving break, I encourage you to seek peace in the small moments. Play in the leaves, watch a sunset, see a movie with your siblings, get dinner with your friends. Be thankful for the small moments and cherish the peaceful times. As long as we are actively pursuing peace, everything will fall into place.”

 

Mount St. Mary Academy wishes its entire community a very happy and peaceful Thanksgiving!

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

Robin Hood Days Collects More Than 50,000 Cans for Charity

Mount St. Mary Academy students spent the past four weeks collecting canned food items and cash donations from family, friends and neighbors as part of the school’s annual Robin Hood Days drive benefitting organizations that help the hungry and homeless in Arkansas. Thanks to their incredible efforts, and a little bit of class rivalry, this year’s drive collected 52,778 canned goods and cash equivalent – shattering its goal of 35,000 and beating last year’s impressive total by nearly 1,100.

 

I am very proud to be a part of a school that is such a shining light for service and humility in our state,” MSM Student Body President Sophie C. ’19 said. “These food and money donations will go to many worthy organizations in central Arkansas … and it will help the many unfortunate food-insecure people in our state to have a substantial meal for the holiday season.”

 

Jennifer M. ’19, MSM Senior Class President and four-year student council member, echoed her classmate’s sentiments. “I am so grateful I chose to come to Mount St. Mary, and I honestly think that this is the best tradition we have. I love how it becomes a healthy competition between the grades while having an amazing impact on our community. It is amazing to see how a group of 500 girls can come together to raise over 50,000 cans!

 

Each class met its individual goal of 8,750 cans and cash equivalent well before the drive concluded on Friday, Nov. 16. The senior class, which nearly doubled their individual goal, earned bragging rights by collecting the largest amount of cans this year: 17,034.

 

“I am so proud of the girls’ diligent efforts towards Robin Hood Days this year,” exclaimed Ms. Noel Gieringer, MSM English teacher and student council sponsor. “This project is one of my favorite traditions from my time as a student, and it is so rewarding to see my own students carry on this amazing legacy at MSM.”

 

For more than 50 years, Robin Hood Days has helped provide food to local organizations, including Arkansas Foodbank, Helping Hand of Greater Little Rock, Rice Depot, Union Rescue Mission, OXFAM and Catholic Social Services, among others. Watch a brief video, created by students in Mrs. Burkhead’s Multimedia class, to learn more about this long-standing tradition and its impact on our community. You can also view photos of MSM students, faculty and dads helping to count and load all the donated canned goods for some of this year’s benefitting organizations at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmtJhMRa.

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

Mount St. Mary Academy Sophomore’s Philanthropic Spirit Honored

“Let charity then be our badge of honor…so that it may truly be said, there is in us but one heart and one soul in God.” – Catherine McAuley, Sisters of Mercy founder

 

A field trip to tour Arkansas Foodbank’s warehouse in the fourth grade ignited a strong passion for volunteering in Anne Marie C. ’21. At the National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 15, the Mount St. Mary Academy sophomore was honored as this year’s Outstanding Volunteer Youth Fundraiser by the Arkansas Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals for the successful Change for Change Campaign she spearheaded at the beginning of the year.

 

“I always enjoy volunteering, and I have found that it is one of my favorite ways to bless others and glorify God at the same time,” Anne Marie acknowledged.

 

Anne Marie, who has been volunteering with the Foodbank on a monthly basis for five years, wanted to provide her community with an easy way to donate to the organization during a time when resources are low after the holiday season. Her idea was a simple one: organize an effort to collect spare change to benefit the Foodbank and raise awareness of the issue of food insecurity in Arkansas. From designing the logo and collection cans to encouraging involvement by local churches and other organizations to tallying the donated change, Anne Marie was involved in all aspects of the project. And her efforts were successful; she and the volunteers who provided support to her campaign were able to raise more than $4,000!

 

“I am most proud of the fact that we were able to speak about this issue to many people from different communities in this state and, in the end, provide enough money to fund food for over 20,000 meals,” she said.

 

When asked why she feels serving the community is important, particularly for youth, Anne Marie is quick to acknowledge that she feels leading by example is the best way to get others involved. “I have been able to witness firsthand that when adults see that young people are dedicated to their community, they are inspired to also get involved,” she said.

 

Thanks to the many ways service and philanthropy are promoted at the Mount, Anne Marie, herself, has been able to find inspiration among her peers during her time here. “Whether it’s Mercy Day, class time at a service site, or Robin Hood Days, the passion I see in my fellow classmates when volunteering is unbelievable,” she said. “I truly believe that this can inspire so many others to serve in similar ways.”

 

Congratulations on your well-deserved honor, Anne Marie. We are so proud of you!

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

Mount St. Mary Academy Senior Surprised With Scholarship

Ashley H. ’19 knew there would be special guests attending her morning multimedia class on Thursday, Nov. 1. What she didn’t know was that she was the reason for their visit. Keith Caldarera with McLarty, along with crew members from KATV Channel 7, interrupted the class to present Ashley with one of the automotive group’s $2,500 McLarty Drives Education college scholarships.

 

MSM Director of Counseling Amy Perkins Owens nominated Ashley due to her leadership, service work, and outgoing personality. Among her many activities, Ashley is captain of the MSM Rockettes and a student athletic trainer, serves her class as vice president on Student Council, and volunteers at Camp Aldersgate – all while taking challenging advanced classes and working a part-time job.

 

“Her accomplishments are many and are a true testament to her abilities and her determination,” Mrs. Owens wrote in Ashley’s nomination. “Her truest success is internal, and what radiates is an amazing young lady with enormous potential.”

 

Ashley, who was completely shocked when Mr. Caldarera announced her name as the scholarship recipient, says she tries to be as involved as possible because she loves Mount and its community. “Winning this scholarship helps me see that Mount and its people love me back and want the best for me. I know once I leave Mount that they will continue to look after me every way they can,” she said. “And they do not just do it for me, but for every student who walks through these doors. This school is truly the best place I know of, and McLarty has made it even better.”

 

The McLarty Drives Education scholarship program awards students who demonstrate excellence both in the classroom and in the community. Students who display their drive for learning, compassion for others, as well as utilize their high-standing character in the community are nominated for the scholarship. Nine $2,500 scholarships are awarded to selected students, one each month of the school year.

 

Watch the moment Ashley is surprised with her college scholarship here.

 

Congratulations, Ashley! And thank you, McLarty, for recognizing well-rounded students like her and investing in young Arkansans’ futures!

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

MSM Arts Department’s Latest Musical a Hit

The Mount St. Mary Academy Arts Department recently celebrated a successful run of its latest musical, The Addams Family. Approximately 1,000 guests attended the musical comedy, which ran November 2-5 at Catholic High School’s Auditorium. Led by MSM’s speech and drama teacher, Jenny Moses, and choral director, Chelsea Frazier, 90 students were involved in the family friendly production. The creative and hard-working crew, which included seven students from Catholic High School, handled every detail in bringing the “mysterious and spooky” family’s modern story to life. This included set design and construction, publicity and community outreach, and costume design and makeup in addition to the spectacular singing and acting by the 32-member cast.

 

“The Addams Family has been one of my favorite shows that we’ve done because it’s so music heavy,” Ms. Frazier said. “I had so many great, natural musicians in the group, and they were all a joy to teach and sing with!”

 

Ms. Moses agreed, saying this year’s cast was the most talented one with which she and Ms. Frazier have ever worked. She also acknowledged the development of the seniors who’ve continuously participated in the department’s productions during their four years at MSM. “I could really see the change since Thoroughly Modern Millie, the musical performed their freshman year, and that growth was very rewarding to witness,” she said.

 

At the end of the final performance on Monday, Nov. 5, MSM senior Anna F. was recognized as this season’s recipient of the Jennifer Boccarossa Spirit of the Show Award. Named after the school’s alumna and former choral director who passed away in 2013, the award honors students who possess a passion for musical theatre, sense of fun and adventure, and willingness to work hard to make the show a success – all qualities for which Jennifer is celebrated and remembered. Ms. Moses said Anna, who played Pugsley Addams in the musical, was “very deserving” of this honor for her consistent work behind the scenes. “She made the process a much more pleasant experience,” she said, “not to mention she’s a dynamite actress.”

 

Save the date for the MSM Arts Department’s final event of 2018. The Concert Belles and Harmony Belles will present their Christmas Concert on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 7:00 p.m. at Catholic High School’s Auditorium.

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

Girls Just Want to Have Fun: Sophomore Activity Day 2018

Games and yoga and slime, oh my! Our Class of 2021 spent a few hours bonding outside of the classroom during this year’s Sophomore Activity Day on Wednesday, Nov. 7. Students enjoyed a pizza lunch and then rotated in groups through three different sessions of fun activities lead by MSM faculty before coming together to compete in the homeroom battle. Congrats to the Belles of Mr. Glancy’s homeroom for winning the tight competition!

 

Check out photos from Sophomore Activity Day 2018 at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmmDGCCN

 

Cross Country Belles Celebrate Season’s Good Run, Sophomore’s Conference Championship

The Mount St. Mary Academy Cross Country team completed their season this past Friday, Nov. 2, running a great race at the 6A State Championship Meet at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs. Staley T. ’21 finished seventh overall out of 130 runners, which earned her All State honors and qualified her for the Arkansas vs. Oklahoma All Star Meet on Saturday, Nov. 10, in Rogers.

 

The team ended their regular season by finishing fourth in the 6A-Central Conference Meet on Oct. 22 at Bishop Park in Bryant. Staley finished first place in the 5000 meter run with a time of 19:24.85, making her this year’s conference champion.

 

Coach Rachel McLemore praised the team’s hard work and progress over the course of the season. “Everyone on the team improved their times from the start of the season and made great strides in their competitive running,” she said. “Thanks to the leadership of our captain, Karina B. ’19, everyone approached every practice with a positive attitude and I think you can see the results in the team’s improvements, especially in the two races leading up to a cold and rainy state meet.”

 

Congrats to Coach McLemore and the Cross Country Belles, and good luck to Staley at this weekend’s All Star Meet. (Read more about Staley and her passion for running in this feature story recently published in Arkansas Catholic.)

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

Mount St. Mary Academy Celebrates All Saints’ Day Mass

Members of the Mount St. Mary community gathered in the McAuley Center shortly after noon on Thursday, Nov. 1, for the school’s beloved tradition of joining together in worship. MSM students, faculty, staff, parents and friends were present to celebrate All Saints’ Day Mass, led by Bishop Anthony Taylor.

 

In his homily, Bishop Taylor referenced the fourth Beatitude and encouraged those gathered to follow the example of the saints being honored by seeking holiness in their daily lives. During today’s challenging times, we are able to “become part of the solution” and live a “full, happy, holy life” by maintaining a constant thirst and hunger for holiness, he said.

 

MSM Principal Angie Collins concluded the service with inspiring words that echoed Bishop Taylor’s message. “God offers each of us sainthood. He has created us to be His followers and to listen to His teachings. He has invited each of us to persevere through the faith and live a life of virtue,” she said in her closing Call to Action.

 

“You are on the path to sainthood. Listen to God, do God’s work,” Mrs. Collins encouraged. “Appreciate every day and every breath that God gives to you. Protect life, promote human dignity, and let your kind and caring deeds be the proof of your love for Jesus and others.”

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

Mount St. Mary Volley Belles Serve up a Strong Season, Bid Farewell to Outgoing Coaches

The Volley Belles recently ended their season, finishing fifth in the 6A-Central Conference. Coached by Lane West and Brendan Britt, a highlight of the year was winning the Silver Division Championship in the Lady Cat Tournament in Conway earlier this month. The team traveled to Bentonville to compete in the Class 6A state volleyball tournament, but experienced a hard-fought loss to Van Buren in four sets. Senior Belles Ava F. and Brooke H. were awarded All Conference honors. Additionally, two seniors have already committed to play in college next fall. Brooke H. plans to join the Lady Bucs at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tenn., and Madeline S. has signed with the Eagles of Judson University in Elgin, Ill.

 

This season also represented the last one for Coaches West and Britt. Coach West, who started teaching at MSM in 1995, has helped coach her alma mater for nearly 25 years. Coach Britt has assisted with the Volley Belles since joining Mount’s staff 11 years ago in 2008. Though they’re hanging up their whistles, both will continue teaching at MSM.

 

Congrats to the Belles, and a big thanks to Coaches West and Britt for their years of service to Mount St. Mary Academy’s volleyball program.

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

Hard Work Pays off as Mount St. Mary Senior Signs with Judson University

Although Madeline S. ’19 jokes that it was the school’s “sushi Fridays” that sealed the deal for her, it was really the opportunity to continue playing volleyball while obtaining a degree from a noteworthy architecture program that persuaded her to attend Judson University in Elgin, Ill., next fall. On October 29, Madeline officially shared her commitment to join the Eagles in front of a gathering of family, friends and coaches.

 

Madeline began playing volleyball in the fifth grade and immediately fell in love with the sport. She played for MSM as a freshman, but didn’t make the team the following year. However, Madeline continued working hard through her involvement in club volleyball, challenging herself by playing on a 17 National team before turning 16 years old. Previously a hitter, she also started training as a setter and quickly became very skilled in this new position. Her dedication and perseverance paid off. Madeline earned her spot back with the Volley Belles her senior year, will soon begin her third season with 501 Volley (formerly Fatchmo Volley), and looks forward to playing at the collegiate level at Judson next year.

 

“Volleyball has taught me to work hard for everything, have confidence even when others doubt me, and just strive for everything in life to be at its greatest,” Madeline said. “It taught me that if you work hard enough and want it hard enough, anything is literally possible.”

 

MSM volleyball coach Lane West praised Madeline’s work ethic and acknowledged the contributions she made this season. “You could really tell she had been working hard and improving her skills over the past two years as she made a difference for our team this year. Her attitude and her willingness to do anything asked of her were positive for the Belles.”

 

Julia Fahy, head women’s volleyball coach at Judson, also noted Madeline’s work ethic as well as her energy, volleyball IQ and athleticism as qualities that will make her a great addition to the Eagles program. “We are excited to welcome Madeline into our volleyball family here. She has a bright future, and we can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for her at Judson.”

 

In addition to her excitement over unlimited sushi on Fridays, Madeline plans to enjoy being close to a large city like Chicago, which has a vibrant beach volleyball scene – a sport in which her passion has grown over the past three years. She’s already been accepted into Judson’s innovative architecture program and looks forward to continuing her academic studies in an environment surrounded by smart, successful peers similar to the one she’s experienced at Mount.

 

“I am so very thankful that I discovered Judson University, in which I can continue working hard in volleyball while obtaining a very good degree in architecture,” Madeline said. “Judson is also a Christian school, and I am excited to be able to grow in my faith, as well.”

 

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.

Class of 2018 Moves Forward Stronger, United in Mercy

One hundred nineteen seniors in the class of 2018 graduated from Mount St. Mary Academy in the commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 24th at Robinson Auditorium. The graduates, accepted at 78 colleges and universities across the county, will be venturing out to states as far as Nebraska, Florida, Ohio and California. This year’s graduating class completed 12,620 hours of volunteer service during their junior and senior years, and 81% of the 119 seniors received scholarships totaling $10.7 million from collegiate and other institutions.

 

Gretchen Hall ’97, President/CEO of Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, delivered the commencement address, where she advised graduates to be mindful of the choices they make in life and to take the opportunities afforded to them. She emphasized the importance of paying attention to details early on in their careers and treating people with dignity and respect, and she urged them to continue lifelong learning, seek out mentors, and travel in order to broaden their views of the world.

 

Speeches by the Class of 2018 Honor Graduates included the introduction of the speaker by fifth honor graduate MaryClaire Fox, the invocation by fourth honor graduate Liza Moriconi, the class essay, “United,” by third honor graduate Carol Stover, the salutatory address, “Stronger,” by second honor graduate Clare Martine, and the valedictory address, “Forward,” by first honor graduate Katie Strickland.

 

The Most Reverend Anthony B. Taylor, Bishop of Little Rock, presented the diplomas as MSM Principal Angie Collins announced each graduate and the college she will attend. They were joined on stage by Superintendent of Catholic schools Mrs. Vernell Bowen; MSM assistant principal, Mrs. Sara Jones; and MSM academy board chair, Mr. Phillip Gillam.

 

In the spirit of the class song performed by the Class of 2018, “Wherever I Go” by Miley Cyrus, the class leaves Mount St. Mary Academy united as a class and stronger in Mercy, challenged to show the face of Mercy to the world as women of wisdom, compassion and integrity.

 

 

More photos from Class of 2018 Graduation at https://www.flickr.com/photos/mtstmary/sets/72157669400185978

 

 


 

 

 

Karen Flake to be Inducted into Women’s Hall of Fame

Mount St. Mary Academy President and CEO Karen Flake was announced this week as a 2018 inductee into The Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the history of accomplishments and recognizing women across the state of Arkansas. Ms. Flake will be among the seven women and one organization recognized for significant contributions to Arkansas and to their respective fields at the fourth annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony on August 30 at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.

 

Past inductees to the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame have included Maya Angelou, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Alice Walton and the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas among many others. The organization also provides women encouragement and inspiration from stories shared by these great women.

 

Read more about the 2018 class of Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame inductees here.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teacher Appreciation Week Shows Gratitude, Love

The second week of May is Teacher Appreciation Week, and this year Mount St. Mary multimedia students created a special video for their teachers seen below.  Thank you to all of the Mount St. Mary parents, who participated in the appreciation luncheon for MSM faculty and staff, and for all the support of our school community throughout the year!

 

 

If you would like to make a gift to Mount St. Mary Academy in name of a teacher past or present, honor and memorial gifts can be made online at http://mtstmary.edu/support-msm/give-now/

 


 

 

 

Seniors Bid Farewell at Closing Prayer Service

The senior class left their last school day at Mount St. Mary Academy with feelings of sadness and joy. At the Closing Prayer Service on May 10, the seniors took part in the fourth and final tradition experienced by students at Mount St. Mary, the presentation of the graduation tassels. Throughout the school year students receive their Mercy cards in 9th grade, Mercy pins in 10th grade, class rings in their 11th grade year, and the graduation tassel marks completion of their academic and spiritual development during the four years of high school.

 

After parting words from teachers, administration, classes of 2019, 2020 and 2021, as well as from their peers, the Class of 2018 then sung the last verse of the alma mater reserved for seniors at graduation. Then, they exited the school through an Honor Guard made up of the Mount St. Mary faculty and staff. An Honor Guard of students welcomes each ninth grade class into the school at the Opening Prayer Service at the school year’s beginning – the only other time the Honor Guard takes place.

 

Though joyful they are moving on to bright futures and a new phase of life, the seniors’many tears lamented good times and memories that were shared during their time at the school.

 

“Good-bye to St. Mary’s, the best school we know of.
You’ve given us friendship and knowledge and love.
And though we’ll be leaving, we’ll always believe in
the things you’ve taught for you’ve still got our loyalty.”

 – Alma Mater of Mount St. Mary Academy


Juniors and Families Celebrate Ring Mass

On April 29, the Mount St. Mary Academy Class of 2019 received their class rings at Our Lady of the Holy Souls Church. Following their entering procession and the blessing of the rings by MSM Chaplain Monsignor Lawrence Frederick, the 122 juniors with their families celebrated a mass to mark their call to leadership as next year’s seniors. The Class of 2019 adopted the theme of “Guardians of the Path” at their class retreat earlier in the month, and they will wear the rings as a symbol of their class unity and leadership.

 

After the Mass the juniors joined outside the church for photos and the long-standing tradition of asking friends and loved ones to turn the rings. The turning represents the year of graduation; for the Class of 2019, the rings were turned 19 times. Congratulations to next year’s leaders: The Mount St. Mary Academy Class of 2019!

 

More photos of Junior Ring Mass: https://flic.kr/s/aHskAYjpmh

MSM Senior to “Just Keep Swimming” at Franciscan University

On May 2, MSM senior Evelyn Nick shared her intent to continue her academic and athletic pursuits at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. While she thanked coaches, family and friends for joining her as she signed on to swim with the “Barons,” Evelyn says the offer to join the college team just tipped the scale leading up to her decision to attend a Catholic University.

 

“Everyone just so loves their faith,” said Evelyn, describing the Catholic environment on campus, “and I really wanted to be surrounded by other peers excited about their faith because it will push me next year to be better in my faith.”

 

As a Eucharistic Minister at MSM and a member of the MSM Campus Ministry Team as well as the Youth Advisory Council for the Diocese of Little Rock, Evelyn said that she was impressed by the number of daily masses available to the students at Franciscan, the numbers of students in line for Reconciliation and the Catholic ethics incorporated in the academic teaching. Evelyn plans to major in biology and said the focus on ethics in the science classes was important for her and anyone interested in going pre-med. When she discovered an opportunity for her to join the swim team at the Catholic university, she knew she had found a place to call home.

 

“Swimming is my one thing I really love doing, and I know that if I’m stressed, I love to go swim and get my stress out,” said Evelyn. “It’s relaxing for me, so I’m looking forward to having that outlet, with the stress of college, to be able to relax while at the same time I’m working hard.”

 

Evelyn has been swimming since she was four years old, competitively since the age of six, and she swims freestyle and butterfly for the Belles swim team. She has been a member of the Mount St. Mary swim team all four years. This year Evelyn and her fellow Belles relay members qualified for state in the Girls 200 Yard Freestyle Relay and the Girls 400 Yard Freestyle Relay.

 

Evelyn said she has learned a lot about herself in leadership positions at Mount St. Mary. Not only was she one of two seniors to lead the Belles swim team this year, but she also held leadership roles as president of both the MSM Latin Club and Mu Alpha Theta math honor society. In leading the swim team, she stressed how a good attitude plays an important part in helping her team meet their goals, and while she’ll be one of the new team members next year, she says she’s excited to take what she’s learned about herself at Mount and apply it to the Barons team.

 

Evelyn said, “I feel like I’ll have a lot more respect [for the senior members of the team] and I feel like I’ll be a lot more likely to go off of their example because they know what they’re doing.”

 


 

 

 

 

MSM Students Teach Water Quality with EKIP Program

On April 27 Mount St. Mary biology and chemistry students participated in water quality testing at Lake DeGray State Park in Arkadelphia with the Army Corps of Engineers. The day was offered as part of the Every Kid in the Park (EKIP) grant program, an initiative and incentive developed by the National Park Foundation (NPF) to engage 4th grade students in the outdoors and create the next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates.

 

Approximately 100 4th grade students participated in the Lake DeGray program with a trail hike and hands-on experience testing the water quality of the lake with the MSM students, who demonstrated how to check the pH, Nitrates, Phosphates, Temperature, Dissolved Oxygen.

 

Afterwards, Mr. Doug Hanson from the Arkansas Geology Survey led the MSM students on a tour of the Lake DeGray Spillway geological formation, which is considered a world-class example of deep water sedimentary deposition. The field trip to Lake DeGray concluded the chemistry classes’ unit on water and the environment.

 


 

 

 

Cross Country Runner Signs with Hendrix College

Surrounded by family, coaches and friends, Mount St. Mary senior Rachel McGhee made official her commitment to continue her academic career at Hendrix College and run cross country for the Warriors next year. At the signing event MSM Cross Country Coach Chuck Toomer commented that Rachel’s commitment reflects her Personal Record or highest achievement, as all cross country runners strive for and push toward their own personal bests.

 

Although an injury slowed down Rachel’s senior year records, her hopes for college are to get faster and meet people willing to run a marathon with her. While she doesn’t expect to be the fastest runner on the team, she explains that her greatest strengths lie in the long distance runs.

 

“My favorite distance is the 10K,” Rachel said, preferring it to the shorter 5K and track events. She added, “It’s easier for me to know how hard to push myself because my biggest problem with running is that I always have excess energy at the end.”

 

Part of balancing the energy and workload for Rachel next year will be finding the sweet spot in managing her time between her athletic and academic life. She plans to study law at Hendrix College and says that she is equally excited about all of the academic opportunities the college affords, especially the Study Abroad Programs.

 

“I’m really excited to be able to go to a classroom that’s similar to Mount because they’re small and the professors really care about you,” said Rachel. She admitted that when deciding between Notre Dame and Hendrix, the choice ultimately came down to the level of personal attention she received from the staff, coach and ambassadors at Hendrix, and even the President of the College, who greeted her by name during a tour of the campus.

 

Rachel laughs about her initial hesitation to run cross country in college, adding that the sport she loves is one that is used as a punishment in many other sports, though she came around in the end.

 

“I realized that I really do enjoy cross country and the program,” Rachel said. “Being able to continue running competitively and making new friendships through it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.”

 

 

 


 

 

 

Dinner Belles Supports School and Community

The Dinner Belles dinner and auction on Saturday, April 21, showed more than 300 guests “La Belle Vie,” or the beautiful life at Mount St. Mary Academy, with a Parisian theme and an overwhelming outpouring of support for the school community. With a live and silent auction, wine pull and first-ever paddle raise for tuition assistance, this year’s event was one of the most successful yet for Dinner Belles, which benefits the school’s annual giving campaign The Fund for Mount St. Mary.

 

Highlights from the live auction included VIP stress-free graduation tickets, a “Night to Remember” dinner party with Chef Paul Novicky, Steven Lagos jewelry package from Sissy’s Log Cabin and a trip for 10 to Costa Rica. In the silent auction Dinner Belles guests bid on everything from artwork and accessories to a guided duck hunt and Razorback Football Parents Weekend at the University of Arkansas, and even a beautiful array of chairs and stools painted by MSM art students.

 

The live auction was followed by the first-ever Tuition Assistance Paddle Raise, which raised $12,850 in contributions designated to helping MSM students and families in need of financial assistance. Guests were invited to raise their bid card as the auctioneer called out increments of money to support tuition assistance, which benefits approximately 24% of the student body at Mount St. Mary.

 

A filet mignon dinner was provided by Samantha and Chris Tanner of Cheers in the Heights with beverages sponsored by Christine and Jay Castillo of Anheuser Busch and Robert Weyrens of The Ridge Wine & Spirits. The MSM Class of 1985 assumed this year’s bragging rights as the class donating the most wine to the 2018 Dinner Belles Wine Cellar, which hosted a variety of wines for guests to enjoy.

 

Special thanks were given to Presenting Sponsor CHI St. Vincent, auctioneer Billy Hartnedy (CHS Grad and MSM Dad), and the wonderful 2018 Dinner Belles Committee chaired by MSM mom Karen Tlapek. All in all, the night was a huge success with sponsors, participants and volunteers donating their time, talent and treasure and helping to ensure the Mount St. Mary legacy for future generations.  Merci beaucoup!

 

Photos from Dinner Belles 2018

 

   


 

 

Concert Belles Chorus Earns Best In Class Awards at State Festival

The Mount St. Mary Academy Concert Belles earned yet another “Superior” Rating at the State Choral Festival hosted by the University of Central Arkansas on April 13. Adding another plaque to an already crowded wall of awards, this year’s chorus received two BEST IN CLASS awards: 2018 6A Best Medium Female Chorus and 6A Best Medium Chorus Overall.

 

The State Festival by the Arkansas Choral Directors Association (ACDA) invites the best choirs from around the state to come together to make beautiful music, have fun and perform for a panel of judges. To be eligible for participation in the state festival, ensembles and choruses must receive a minimum composite rating of “Excellent” at the region Choral Performance Assessment in early March. The Concert Belles performed three songs at the state festival, two of which they had perfected since the CPA and one new piece, said MSM Choral Director Chelsea Frazier.

 

“Every single year, people are RAVING over what these girls can do, from the warm-up room to the stage,” said Ms. Frazier, commenting on how much positive feedback the chorus received from choir directors, other high school students and student workers from around the state. “It is such a humbling and rewarding experience, and I want [everyone] to be aware of how amazing these girls are!”

 

To receive a “Division I – Superior” rating at the State Festival represents “the finest possible performance for the event,” according to the ACDA website. Out of approximately fifteen other choirs within their classification, the Concert Belles received the highest total score, with their superior rating earning the distinction of “being recognized as among the very best.”

 

This is not the first year the Mount St. Mary Concert Belles chorus has competed against 6A medium choruses from larger schools and come away with Best in Class awards. Because of the school’s size, Mount St. Mary Academy would be considered closer to the Arkansas Activities Association 5A classification, except the all-female status combines enrollment with the all-boys school and increases the classification for choral assessment to 6A — 7A for athletic teams. Still, the Concert Belles have consistently fared well at the state festival; the chorus earned the 6A Best Medium Female Chorus and Best Medium Chorus Overall in 2017 and was awarded Best Medium Female Chorus in 2016.

 


 

 

 

Eleven Members Inducted into International Thespian Society

“Act well your part; there all the honor lies,” from Alexander Pope’s Essay on Man, serves as the motto for the International Thespian Society. Their pledge?  To uphold the ideal of excellence as students of theatre and promise to perform their best, accept praise and criticism with grace, cooperate with fellow thespians and share the love of theatre.

 

On Monday, April 13, eleven Mount St. Mary Academy theatre students were inducted into the International Thespian Society at a special ceremony held on campus.  Membership in the international organization is not only a reward for the fine work done in theatre both onstage and backstage but also demonstrates their desire to continue to work in the specialized field and contribute to the growth of better theatre in their community, country, and throughout the world.  Benefits of Thespian induction include membership in the only international honor society for high school theatre arts students, leadership opportunities at the troupe, chapter, and national levels, and eligibility for scholarships, grants, and awards through Educational Theatre Association and its festivals.

 

Eleven MSM students inducted into the International Thespian Society:

America Alejandri, Emily Ellis, Lexie Holley, Naomi Moreland, Anna Palmer, Cabe Parrish, Kassidy Reyes, Jessica Searle, Amalie Shollmier, Charlotte Stover, and Victoria Volpi.

 


 

 

 

AYAA Recognizes Artistic Excellence at MSM

Mount St. Mary Academy students competed at the annual Arkansas Young Artist Association (AYAA) Spring Competition and Convention on April 11, 2018, where they took home nineteen awards for excellence in the visual arts. AYAA is a state-wide organization of high school students whose mission is to encourage the visual arts in Arkansas students through professional speakers, competitions and exhibition.

 

Students in the Arkansas Young Artist Association were awarded fourteen scholarships at the competition. Mount St. Mary Academy seniors Lauren Duran and Meredith Muller both received AYAA scholarships of $500. Meredith received the highest score of all of the applicants.

 

MSM art students spent months preparing for the annual competition, for which they created a wide range of artwork in all mediums, styles and subjects. Their works will be on display at the Mount St. Mary Academy Arts Night, May 3 at 6 p.m., for the school community and their guests.

 

Congratulations to these MSM students:

Anna Jewel Schluterman (9) 4th place All dry color medium
Caroline Gunderman (9) 4th place oil pastel abstract
Audrey Caruthers (10) 1st place portrait abstract
Stephanie Selakovich (10) 1st place printmaking expressive
Livvie Falcon (10) 2nd place scratch board abstract
Eden Sharp (10) 3rd place sketchbook
Cecilia Ilg (10) 4th place printmaking relief
Abby Yanosick (11) 2nd place charcoal expressive
Elizabeth Bell (11) 1st place Digital Art
Kara Foster (11) 4th place mixed media 2D abstract
Lauren Duran (12) 3rd place Mixed Media Low-relief abstract
Suzanne Schwander (12) 1st place Scratch board expressive
Alice Palencia (12) 1st place Digital Art (photo manipulation)
Rachel Johnson (12) 3rd place Oil expressive 3rd pen and ink abstract
Meredith Muller (12) 2nd place oil paint realism, 2nd place scratch board realism, 3rd place colored pencil expressive, 4th place portrait realism, honorable mention 2D mixed media abstract

 

 
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MSM Students Hit the Road for College Trip 2018

Thirty Mount St. Mary students, along with MSM counseling staff, spent three days in April touring colleges throughout the region. The road trip included visits to colleges and universities in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, where students were encouraged to walk the campuses, speak with school representatives and ask questions to get a feel for some of the different college choices to consider.

 

College Trip 2018:

Berry College   Rome, Georgia

University of Georgia  Athens, Georgia

Auburn University  Auburn, Alabama

University of Alabama  Tuscaloosa, Alabama

University of Mississippi  Oxford, Mississippi

Christian Brothers University  Memphis, Tennessee

Rhodes College  Memphis, Tennessee

 

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State Language Competition Yields Awards for Latin Students

Congratulations to the Mount St. Mary Academy Latin students who traveled to Searcy on Saturday, April 7, for the 2018 Arkansas Foreign Language Teachers Association State Language Competition held at Harding University.  

 

Their proficiency in the classical language earned the students multiple awards at the competition.

 

Levels 1-2 Vocabulary Bee

1st   Fran Edwards

2nd Belle Wade

3rd Adeline Harton

 

Levels 1-2 Poetry

1st Robin Stover

2nd Devin Bennett

3rd Fran Edwards

 

Levels 1-2 Extemporaneous Reading

1st Erin Mann

2nd Fran Edwards

3rd Adeline Harton

 

Levels 3-4 Poetry

1st Carol Stover

2nd Caty Nosal

3rd Annie Quo

 

Levels 3-4 Extemporaneous Reading

1st Annie Quo

2nd Carol Stover

3rd Catyl Nosal

 

All levels Cultural Jeopardy

1st Carol Stover

2nd Robin Stover

3rd Annie Quo

 


 

 

 

Forensics State Finalist and Semifinalists Announced

The Forensics Team represented Mount St. Mary well at the 2018 Arkansas Tournament of Champions held at Har-Ber High School on April 7. Avery Appleton ’20 became the first MSM state finalist since the team began competing again.

 

The Tournament of Champions is a culmination of the forensics season where more than 800 competitors enter weekend tournaments to compete in the art of oral presentation. Described by some as “competitive acting,” forensics competitions include events such as storytelling, poetry, informative speaking or humorous interpretation and improvisation.

 

Top Qualifiers at the 2018 Arkansas Tournament of Champions: 

 

Finalist
Avery Appleton – prose

Semifinalist
Amalie Shollmier – humorous interpretation
Karina Singh – humorous interpretation
Karina Singh and Victoria Volpi – duet improvisation

 


 

 

 

 

Odyssey of the Mind Team Advances to World Finals

Congratulations to the MSM Odyssey of the Mind team, who placed first at the state tournament held in Springdale on April 7. This year’s creative problem-solving team chose to solve the problem Mockumentary! Seriously?, which challenged students to create a humorous documentary-style performance and portray different characters’ accounts of what “really happened” in a classic story where they appeared.

 

The team also won a coveted award called the Ranatra Fusca Creativity Award given to a team or individual for demonstrating outstanding creativity.  The team’s unique approach to the engineering of their backdrop involved building a triangular prism with opening panels on a spinning base, resulting in a large, impressive set span relative to its small, circular footprint.

 

The MSM O.M. team will advance to the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals held at Iowa State University May 23–26. There they will compete with teams from countries around the world, including Canada, China, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Poland, Singapore, and Uzbekistan.

 

As they advance to represent MSM on the international level, we wish the best for the OM team:  MaryClaire Fox ’18, Bianca Littlepage ’18, Meredith Muller ’18, Breanna Racher ’18, Emily Delfos ’19, Abby Yanosick ’19, Isabella Boyd ’20 and Audrey Caruthers (manager).

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Field Trip to Crystal Bridges Examines ‘Soul of a Nation’

On the day that commemorated the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., ninety-two Mount St. Mary students explored the important contributions of Black artists during the civil rights era by visiting the Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power exhibit at the Crystal Bridges museum in Northwest Arkansas.

 

MSM art students, AP U.S. History students and AP Seminar students studied the role of the artists and their work in shining a light on a dramatic period of change in the nation’s history. The students were given a guided tour of the exhibit, which covered a wide range of paintings, sculptures, street photography and murals from the early 1965 collaboration of the Spiral Artists to the more organized and colorful expressions of the AfriCOBRA artists to abstract art of the 1970s.

 

Crystal Bridges is the first of two locations in the United States to host the exhibit developed by the Tate Modern in London. After its Bentonville debut, which ends April 23, the exhibition will travel to the Brooklyn Museum in New York.

 

    


 

 

 

 

Four at MSM to Receive 2018 Stephens Award

The City Education Trust each year recognizes outstanding achievements of educators and students with the presentation of the Stephens Award. MSM Visual Arts Teacher Marianne Nolley, English Teacher Noel Gieringer, and Math Teacher Teresa Chudy were three of the seven high school teachers in Little Rock selected to receive a Stephens Award recognizing their outstanding and inspirational teaching. Mount St. Mary senior Katie Strickland is among the eight student recipients who have been selected to receive a $5,000 cash award to be used for college expenses. Award recipients will be honored at the Stephens Award Ceremony on Monday, April 23, at 4 p.m. in the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce AT&T Auditorium.

 

“I’m proud that Katie and our teachers are receiving the accolades they deserve,” said Principal Angie Collins. “These awards are a reflection of our culture here at Mount St. Mary, a culture of encouraging and preparing people to be the best they can be and then celebrating their success.”

 

Katie Strickland is a Finalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program and is currently enrolled in six AP courses at MSM.  Among her many accomplishments, she is Vice President of the Senior Class, Lead Counsel for Mock Trial, Captain of the Quiz Bowl Team and Beta Club Vice President.

 

Ms. Nolley teaches all art classes at Mount St. Mary, including Studio Art and AP Studio Art, Art Appreciation and Digital Design. She empowers and challenges her students and has shown them how art can play a part in community outreach with programs such as the Memory Project children’s portraiture and DrainSmart public art and awareness program. Her students have won first place in the national 2016 Lexus Eco Challenge competition, first place in the 2018 Thea Foundation Visual Arts Scholarship competition, and numerous awards annually from the Arkansas Young Artist Association.

 

Ms. Gieringer teaches 9th grade Honors English, 10th grade English and Women in Literature. Not only does she have a passion for literature but also for investing in her students by “saying yes” to support their learning and personal development. Ms. Gieringer serves as a youth leader for her church and as sponsor for MSM Student Council. Under her guidance and leadership, the student body raised record totals for the annual canned food drive in 2017, providing thousands of meals for hungry Arkansans.

 

Ms. Chudy teaches AP Statistics, ACT Test Preparation and Algebra 2 classes at Mount St. Mary. She encourages hard work and perseverance in the classroom and considers the relationships she forms with her students as important as the content she teaches. As Beta Club sponsor at Mount St. Mary, Ms. Chudy has increased the club’s membership and earned the school’s recognition as a National Beta Club School of Distinction, which promotes the ideals of academic achievement, character, service and leadership among high school students.

 

Congratulations to all of this year’s Stephens Award winners for  this incredible achievement!

 


 

 

 

Parkland Victims Remembered by MSM Students

Mount St. Mary Academy Advanced Placement U.S. History students (APUSH), under the direction of MSM Social Studies Teacher Rachel McLemore, honored the victims of the Parkland school shooting with a student-led prayer service on Wednesday, March 14, the one-month anniversary of the tragic event. Along with members of MSM Student Council, the students planned and presented a vigil to the student body during an all-school program where they shared memories of each of the students and faculty members killed in the school shooting on February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Mount St. Mary Academy students, faculty and staff also observed a moment of silence at 10 a.m. and were invited to stand for 17 minutes in solidarity with the Parkland students.

 

 

 

Hear about the service in detail from an article published on March 22, 2018, by Arkansas Catholic:

Catholic students step up to face shooting tragedy

 

 

Read the article written by Olivia Parker ’18, which was published in the Young Faith column of the Arkansas Catholic on March 23, 2018:

Faith, action both needed to keep schools safe

 

 

 


 

 

 

Spring Awards Season Kicks into High Gear

As Mount St. Mary students approach the final months of the school year, a number of our students, teams and organizations will be moving on to state and national competitions. We congratulate all of our student groups for their hard work and dedication this semester!

 

CHEMISTRY

Annie Quo and Sterling Snape qualified to compete in the National Chemistry Olympiad on April 21.  They were among the top ten students in the state who participated in the Arkansas Chemistry Olympiad.

 

POETRY

Mount St. Mary Academy seniors in Ms. Madey’s Creative Writing class won four of the six awards in the 2018 Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas Sybil Nash Abrams Memorial Student Contest.

2nd Place                                Raehana Anwar           “i am six”
3rd Place                                 Stephanie Verdaris     “Texas and Arkansas”
1st Honorable Mention      Hannah Brockette       “Lake Days”
2nd Honorable Mention     Grace Cassie                 “Love Letter”

 

PHYSICAL FITNESS

The JROTC Fitness Team placed first at the Arkansas State High School Championships 2018.

Annie Quo

Addie Farquharson 

Chloe Farquharson 

Anna Goodman

Yesica Reyes

Audrey Caruthers 

 

CONCERT BELLES

On March 1, the Concert Belles received another distinguished rating at the regional Choral Performance Assessment. They scored all I’s and were awarded a Division I plaque. This rating qualifies the choral ensemble for the Arkansas Choral Directors Association State Festival at the end of April.

The Harmony Belles received an overall Division II rating and a Division I in sight-reading at the regional assessment.

Concert Belles:

Raehana Anwar

Megan Brown

Lexi Caruthers

Clara Cordell

Rylee Gibson

Maya Giuffria

Cameron Heslip

Lexie Holley

Christina Kaufman

Anne Lashbrook

Mary Chandler Lindsey

Anna Kate Manchester

Regan Moss

Amelia Ochoa

Leah Paige

Emma Parker

Olivia Parker

Carol Stover

Ana Thompson

 

FORENSICS
The Forensic (Performance Speech and Theatre) Team had an amazing season, participating in five tournaments and placing in speech and theatre events such as storytelling, poetry, prose and duet improv. The team earned their first OVERALL SWEEPSTAKES awards, receiving first place overall at the Searcy tournament and second overall at the ASU Jonesboro tournament. They will be competing at the Forensics Arkansas State Championship held April 6-7 in Springdale, Arkansas.

 

The following students qualified to compete in the state tournament:

Amalie Shollmier

America Alejandri

Anna Farmer

Anna Palmer

Avery Appleton

Emily Delfos

Emily Werner

Hannah Burrus

Holly Marr

Karina Singh

Lexie Holley

Lily Eagan

Lindsey Taylor

Sarah Cate Lay

Sydney Austen

 


Two MSM Students Score 36 Composite on ACT

Two Mount St. Mary Academy students have scored the top possible composite score of 36 on the ACT pre-college test.

 

Anna Kate Manchester and Audrey Cummins, both juniors at Mount St. Mary Academy, earned the rarest of ACT scores this year. According to a report from ACT, Inc., only 2,760 students in the class of 2017, or 0.136 percent of all test takers, scored a 36.

 

The ACT is made up of four sections of multiple-choice questions, which test students’ knowledge in English, mathematics, science and reading. There is also an optional writing test that measures essay composition skills. Each of the four sections is graded on a scale of 1-36, and the Composite score is the average of the four multiple-choice test scores.

 

“My heart was pounding so quickly,” said Anna Kate. “I did not expect to get a 36 the first time I took it.”

 

Anna Kate said she initially took the test in seventh grade at Christ the King as part of the Duke Talent Identification Program (TIP). When she signed up to take the ACT in June for the first time as a high school student, she bought a test preparation book and took multiple practice tests in math and science, the subjects where she felt she needed extra help.

 

Anna Kate plans to study international relations in college and has her sights on attending Harvard, Brown or Duke University. Her advice to underclassmen on taking the ACT is to try not to stress out about it.

 

“I think lots of people get in their own head,” said Anna Kate. “They try to rush through the test as quickly as they can, without paying attention to what it is the test is really asking them to do, because they’re just making sure they get it done in the time limit. I think taking a deep breath and sitting down and doing what you need to do is my best advice.”

 

Audrey’s preparation consisted of taking the ACT Test Preparation class offered at Mount St. Mary Academy during the first semester of the school year; she said her composite score improved by four points after taking the class. Audrey took the ACT in February for the fourth time and said her main goals this time were staying focused and raising all of her scores.

 

While currently taking a higher level math, AP Calculus, Audrey said the algebra and geometry they studied in the ACT Prep class were extremely helpful for reviewing information she had forgotten, and class emphasis on time-saving and test-taking tips and techniques assisted her in picking up her pace. For the English and reading sections of the test, Audrey expressed appreciation for the material she learned in ACT Prep from MSM English instructor Kathy Smith.

 

“In reading, she taught us to skim the questions before you read [the paragraphs],” Audrey said Ms. Smith taught them in addition to the English grammar rules and sentence structure, and she added, “So if one of the questions says vocab, you can go back to that line and write the question number to remind you to go back and do them when you read the line. Tricks like that.”

 

Audrey said she is still narrowing down her college choices and plans to attend the college trip Mount St. Mary is offering later this spring. She would like to study biology and medicine, and while some of the schools Audrey is considering include Pepperdine, UCLA, Georgetown and Washington and Lee, she is keeping her options open and looking into the college tuition savings and bigger opportunities that accompany her perfect score.

 

“I was completely surprised,” said Audrey about discovering she had made a 36 composite score. Even when others expected it from her, Audrey did not expect it from herself. On elevating what she thought was possible, she said, “I can achieve goals way higher than I ever thought I could.”

 


 

 

 

2018 Tuition Raffle Winner Announced

Congratulations to the Moreland family, this year’s winner of the Belle Booster Tuition Raffle. The second annual tuition raffle offered a chance to win a year of free tuition to parents of current students and 8th graders planning to attend Mount St. Mary Academy for the 2018-2019 school year. The drawing  was held on March 15 at the Mount St. Mary Academy Lip Sync.

 

The raffle proceeds benefit student clubs, organizations and athletic teams at Mount St. Mary Academy. Thank you to all the families who participated in the tuition raffle to support programs for MSM students!

 

Photo: Mount St. Mary 10th grader Naomi Moreland is announced the winner of the 2018-2019 tuition raffle, accompanied by MSM Special Events Coordinator Lauren Clay, Principal Angie Collins, President Karen Flake and Director of Institutional Advancement Kirsten Dickins.

 


 

 

 

Biology Class Attends Women in STEM Leadership Conference

On March 9, 2018, Ms. Johnson’s 4th period Honors Biology class attended a Women’s STEM Leadership Conference at University of Arkansas Pine Bluff. They were invited by Dr. Sederick Rice, biology professor and director of the UAPB ​​ STEM Center and a current MSM parent.

 

The keynote speakers were incredible professional women in various areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Mount St. Mary students also participated in various breakout sessions: DNA extraction, robotics and math methods.

 


 

MSM Senior Wins Top Art Award, Thea Scholarship

Meredith Muller, MSM senior and art student, won the first place $4,000 visual arts scholarship in the Thea Foundation annual scholarship competition. Each year the program awards 30 college scholarships totaling $79,500 to Arkansas high school seniors from across the state in order to impact the lives of the state’s youth through art. Thea scholarships are matched or exceeded by more than 20 education partners in the state and the region who may additionally match up to $20,000 over four years for first-place scholarship recipients.

 

More than 200 high school seniors from across the state of Arkansas entered the Thea Foundation 2018 visual arts scholarship competition, and only ten were chosen as recipients of scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $4,000. This years theme was, “A visceral moment, occluded by one’s intellect.”

 

Meredith’s self-portrait in oil, “Polarity,” depicted the confusing and tumultuous experiences involved in the transition to adulthood. Her Artist’s Statement described the struggles many adolescents face when deciding right and wrong “in a society full of moral grey area.”

 

Meredith described the red light cast on most of the subject’s body as leading away from good decisions, and she explained, “The ‘visceral moment’ depicted would be to want to follow the path of least resistance and go along with the rest of the body even if it leads somewhere damaging in the end.”  While the posture and positioning demonstrated the conflict within, Meredith explained that “the head alone is straining against the rest of the body to face the blue light, which symbolizes the logic, reasoning and intellect which combat those negative forces.”
Meredith’s painting was chosen the first-place winner on Saturday, March 3, when students gathered at the Thea Foundation in downtown North Little Rock to display their work to a panel of judges. Winners were selected based on the artist statement, interpretation of theme, and the originality and design of their work.

 

When asked what this experience has meant to her, Meredith said, “I’m super grateful overall, not just for the judging, but for everything in general — that I’ve been able to go to a school like this, to have the foundation to get me where I can pursue these things and succeed. Ms. Nolley’s an amazing teacher, and I probably never would have been able to thrive as an artist if I hadn’t had a teacher that noticed my potential and took the time to try to grow that.”

 

While Meredith said her plans will incorporate art at whichever college she chooses to attend, Thea scholarships are not awarded based on a student’s intent to major in the arts nor are they limited to the visual arts alone. High school seniors skilled in performing arts, film, fashion design, creative writing and slam poetry are encouraged to apply for scholarships as well. More information about Thea scholarships can be found on the Thea Foundation website: 
https://www.theafoundation.org/scholarships.

 

The 2018 visual arts winning works are on display through April at the Thea Foundation in downtown North Little Rock.  Congratulations to Meredith and all of this year’s Thea scholarship recipients!

 

 


 

 

 

New Education Savings Opportunity for Catholic School Families

Did you know the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act expanded 529 savings plans to allow families to invest funds for K12 tuition in addition to higher education expenses?  As of January 1, 2018, up to $10,000 can be used from a 529 plan for tuition in connection with enrollment or attendance at an elementary or secondary public, private, or religious school.​

 

A new fact sheet jointly issued by the National Catholic Education Association and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops explains the changes for parents of children in Catholic schools and answers many of the questions you may have.

 

Download the 529 plan fact sheet.

 


 

 

 

 

Six-Week Basketball Skills Academy for 4th-8th Graders

Spring Basketball Academy at Mount St. Mary Academy gives players in 4th through 8th grades the opportunity to build a basketball skill foundation and love of the game. Instructors will focus on fundamental basketball skills including dribbling, shooting, passing, defense principles, team and individual competition.

 

Sundays & Mondays, April 9 – May 20
MSM McAuley Center Gym, 5:30-7:00 p.m.

 

Monday, April 9
Sunday, April 15
Monday, April 23
Monday, April 30
Sunday, May 6
Monday, May 14
Sunday, May 20

 

Cost: $125 (6-week session)

 

Download a registration form here.

 

For more information, contact Coach Lauren Ramsey at lramsey@mtstmary.edu.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

MSM Senior Receives President’s Volunteer Service Award

Sydney Casavechia ’18 has been honored for her exemplary volunteer service with a President’s Volunteer Service Award.

 

The award, which recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country, was granted by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program. Mount St. Mary Academy nominated Sydney for national honors this fall in recognition of her volunteer service.

 

Sydney spent nearly 300 hours volunteering at Camp Aldersgate, an organization dedicated to serving individuals with special needs and senior adults in a camp environment.

 

“These kids have impacted me more than I have them,” Sydney said. “At first, I thought service was just ‘the act of helping others,’ but I now understand that how you apply yourself in someone’s life can actually alter your perspective and have a bigger impact on your beliefs.”

 

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), recognizes middle level and high school students across America for outstanding volunteer service.

 

“The recipients of these awards demonstrate that young people across America are making remarkable contributions to the health and vitality of their communities,” said John  Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial. “By recognizing these students and placing a spotlight on their volunteer activities, wee hope to motivate others to consider how they can also contribute to their community.”

 

“Demonstrating civic responsibility through volunteerism is an important part of life,” said NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti. “These honorees practice a lesson we hope all young people, as well as adults, will emulate.”

 

Prudential Spirit of Community Award applications were distributed nationwide last September through middle level and high schools, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and Affiliates of Points of Light’s HandOn Network. These schools and officially-designated local organizations nominated Local Honorees, whose applications were advance for state-level judging. In addition to granting President’s Volunteer Service Awards, The Presidential Spirit of Community Awards selected State Honorees, Distinguished Finalists and Certificate of Excellence recipients. Volunteer activities were judged on criteria including personal initiative, creativity, effort, impact and personal growth.

 


 

 

 

Belles Swim Team Has Strong Showing at State

Competing against some of Arkansas’ best high school swimmers, the Belles finished 11th overall at the 7A/6A Swimming State Championship on Saturday, February 24.

 

Four swimmers from the Belles swim team qualified as a group to compete in the state tournament in the Girls 200 Yard Freestyle Relay and the Girls 400 Yard Freestyle Relay. Evelyn Nick ’18, Kate Goldtrap ’21, Olivia Chambers ’21 and Victoria Chan ’21 finished 10th in the 400 free relay with a time of time of 4:11 and 12th in the 200 free relay with a time of time of 1:54.

 

Freshman Kate Goldtrap finished sixth in the state in the 200 Yard Individual Medley with a time of 2:21. Olivia, Kate and Victoria qualified to swim in individual events in the Girls 200 Yard Freestyle, 500 Yard Freestyle, 100 Yard Breaststroke and the 200 Yard Individual Medley.

 

Congratulations to our Belles!

 


 

 

 

MSM Odyssey of the Mind Team Advances to State Competition

The MSM Odyssey of the Mind team is headed to the state competition after a first-place win at the regional tournament on  Saturday, February 24, at Martin Luther King Elementary.  They will advance to the state tournament held April 7, 2018, at George Junior High School in Springdale.

 

Odyssey of the Mind (OM) is an international problem-solving competition designed for pre-school through college-age students. Unlike Quiz Bowl or other like competitions, OM has a creative interpretation element and an interpretive solution to a multi-stage long-term problem.  This year’s problem, called “Mockumentary! Seriously?” requires teams to create a mockumentary-style performance of a piece of classic literature.

 

Since 1999, the Mount St. Mary Odyssey of the Mind teams regularly have been awarded first or second place in regional and state competitions.  The Regional OM competitions lead to state competitions, which lead to national and then the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals.

 
We wish these girls the best as they move on in their OM journey to the state competition!

(Pictured left to right):  Bianca ’18, Isabella ’20, Breanna ’18, Emily ’19, MaryClaire ’18, Abby ’19, Meredith ’18
Not pictured: Audrey ’20 (manager)

 


 

Lenten Reflection with MSM Campus Ministry Invites All

We hope you will join us for an evening of reflection and discussion led by our current students, the members of Liturgy Team. The Mount St. Mary Academy Liturgy Team is comprised of a select group of 11th and 12th grade students of any faith denomination. Their role is to help build a Christ-centered community of faith within the school.

 

Lenten Evening of Reflection
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
MSM Hospitality Room

 

5:30 p.m.   Light supper

6:00 – 7:00 p.m.    Lenten Reflection

 

Cost: $10.00  (There is a small $10 charge to help offset expenses)

 

This year’s Lenten theme is “Faith can move MOUNTains.”  Friday, March 2 is the last day to register: https://tinyurl.com/ydc9hdpu

 

 


 

 

 

2018 Alumnae Career Day celebrates its 4th year

Career Day 2018 welcomed 45 alumnae of the school to visit with our current students about their professional expertise and career paths. Students attended up to two sessions, where they were invited to hear from and ask questions of panels from a variety of different fields, including health care, arts, business, education, finance, law, information technology, and engineering. Careers and ministry in nonprofit, public service and religious life offered additional insight into life choices to help people through service.

 

Thank you to all of our “Mount girls” who volunteered as 2018 panel speakers, traveling from as far away as California and conducting the IT session via Skype. Many of the alumnae shared the same sentiment: Mount St. Mary taught them to give back and they wanted to give back to their alma mater and its current students.

 

Mount St. Mary Career Day is held each February as a collaborative effort of the Counselors and Alumnae Office. Career Day is one way that Mount St. Mary Academy encourages students to explore their interests and passions as an extension of their academic program and in the process better understand themselves, their community and the world.

 

 

 

Six MSM students chosen for All-State Choir

On February 17, six students from Mount St. Mary Academy attended the 2018 Arkansas American Choral Directors Association All-State Clinic in Hot Springs. The students — Lexi Caruthers, Clara Cordell, Anna Kate Manchester, Regan Moss, Leah Paige, and Carol Stover — represented Arkansas’ top vocal performers as part of the All-State Choir.

 

The students spent two days in intense rehearsals with singers from across the state, directed by prestigious choir directors from around the country. On Saturday they performed an incredible concert to showcase the music they learned.

 

“This is such an amazing accomplishment for these girls and a highly rewarding experience for all of their hard work,” said MSM Choral Director Chelsea Frazier.  “It means they are the best of the best in the state!”

 

The Concert Belles will perform at the Choral Performance Assessment later this month. Under the direction of Ms. Frazier, the vocal ensemble has received superior ratings at both the regional and state level for three consecutive years. In 2017 the Concert Belles earned two Best In Class awards — Best Medium Female Chorus and Best Medium Chorus Overall.

 


 

 

 

MSM National Merit Finalist Announced

Mount St. Mary Academy is proud to announce that senior Katie Strickland has been named a National Merit Finalist in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Competition. Katie is among 15,000 high school seniors nationwide who has met all the requirements to advance to Finalist standing and continue in the competition for National Merit Scholarships.

 

More than 1.6 million students nationwide entered the Merit Program as juniors by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. High scorers were designated as Semifinalists in the fall by scoring in the top one percent among students taking the PSAT.

 

Congratulations, Katie!
#mustbeamountgirl

 

 


 

2018 Homecoming and Founders Week Celebrations

Mount St. Mary Academy celebrated Founders Week during the first week of February. The week marks 167 years since the school’s founding Sisters of Mercy opened the school on February 5, 1851, at the request of Arkansas’ first Catholic Bishop.

 

Leading up to Founders Week, the school’s Homecoming basketball game took place at the Catholic High School gymnasium, where the Belles played the Central High School Tigers. MSM basketball team member Lona Ceccherini was crowned 2018 Homecoming Queen as the Mount St. Mary Homecoming Court was announced before the game began.

 

On Tuesday, February 6, the student body gathered in the McAuley Center for the Mount St. Mary Academy Founders Day and Sophomore Pin Mass. As students entered the gymnasium, the Angelus Bell rang out 167 times in honor of the school’s 167-year history. The bell was given to the Sisters by Bishop Andrew Byrne at the school’s first location in downtown Little Rock. As part of the Founders Day Mass, the 10th graders in the Class of 2020 received their Mercy pins, which serve as reminders to the sophomores to live the Mercy values in their everyday lives.

 

Founders Week 2018 ended with a new celebration for parents, alumnae and friends of the school. The first-ever Belles Birthday Bingo was held Friday, February 9, in the McAuley Center gymnasium. Parent volunteers served up grilled hot dogs, a chili bar and birthday cake before the bingo games began. Two fifty/fifty “split the pot” games rewarded two lucky winners, alumnae Debbie Wright Harris ’75 and Marilyn Lenggenhager ’73, and proceeds from the event benefited the Belles Booster Club, which supports student programs and activities at Mount St. Mary.

 

Fore more photos from these events, click the Flickr albums below.

 

Belles Birthday Bingo 2018Founders Day 2018MSM Homecoming 2018

 


 

 

 

MSM Chapel Sees Renovation, Restoration

This year during Catholic Schools Week, January 28-February 3, Mount St. Mary Academy held a special dedication for the newly renovated school chapel. Those involved say the generosity of donors and volunteers made it all possible.

 

“We started work at the end of last school year, and we had the help of so many talented people,” said Mount St. Mary Academy President Karen Flake. “With insight from from alumna Elaine Kelly Green ’04, artist Kevin Kresse, and school administration, we began to see a vision for a lighter, brighter school chapel, full of inspiration for our students.”

 

The Mount St. Mary Academy Chapel, first built in 1982 when the 1908 school building was razed, offers students a place to sit and pray, meditate and host visiting speakers for theology classes. Mass is held in the chapel twice a week by MSM Chaplain Monsignor Lawrence Frederick.

 

While the beautiful stained glass from the original convent provided a calming and spiritual backdrop for these activities, much of the room was in need of updates. The renovation included replacement of the wall coverings as well as new seating, drop-ceiling and carpet to lighten the appearance and remove allergens.

 

A beautiful, back-lit crucifix depicting Jesus at the Resurrection was crafted by local artist Kevin Kresse and gifted to the school in memory of Rev. Monsignor Bernard G. Malone by his nephew and former Mount St. Mary Chaplain, Monsignor Francis I. Malone and the Joseph V. Malone, Sr., family of Philadelphia. Kresse is a Catholic High School alumnus with several sisters who graduated from Mount St. Mary Academy. Monsignor Malone received an early assignment at Mount St. Mary as a young priest and has remained involved with the school, now serving on the Mount St. Mary Academy Board of Directors.

 

In order to inspire on campus the spiritual presence of the Sisters of Mercy who founded the school, several items from the Mount St. Mary Convent Chapel were relocated to the school chapel as well. Mount St. Mary Campus Ministry Director LouAnn Gieringer shared how MSM students will now be able to observe the Stations of the Cross with the addition of 14 wooden stations from the Sisters. Other items from the chapel included a marble holy water font and a framed copy of the St. Pudenziana painting of “Mary Mother of Mercy” from one of the oldest churches in Rome. A letter dated July of 1890 explained the original painting had been blessed and a reproduction commissioned by Pope Leo XIII, who had given it to the Sisters of Mercy as a sign of deep appreciation for the work of their entire congregation.

 

At the dedication ceremony on January 31, President Flake thanked the donors present, and MSM Chaplain Monsignor Lawrence Frederick gave a special blessing for the chapel. The renovation was made possible by gifts from Nabholz Charitable Foundation; Libby and Lee Hastings, Michelle and Stan Hastings, and Cathy (Hastings ’76) and Steve Owen in honor of Rosalyn Jones Hastings ’48; the Mount St. Mary Class of 2016; and an anonymous donor.

 

With the joyful dedication of the renewed chapel, all in the school community are encouraged to visit this chapel in prayer to rededicate their life, work and efforts to the Lord and shine Christ’s Light to the world.

 

 


 

 

 

Catholic Schools Week 2018: Dozen Reasons to Choose

Today marks the beginning of National Catholic Schools Week 2018! This year’s theme is “Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.” We’re proud of to be a part of Catholic education and the many contributions to our church, our communities and our nation.
Read below a dozen reasons to choose Catholic schools. #CSW18

 

  1. We offer an education that combines Catholic faith and teachings with academic excellence.
  2. We partner with parents in the faith formation of their children.
  3. We set high standards for student achievement and help them succeed.
  4. We provide a balanced academic curriculum that integrates faith, culture and life.
  5. We use technology effectively to enhance education.
  6. We instill in students the value of service to others.
  7. We teach children respect of self and others.
  8. We emphasize moral development and self-discipline.
  9. We prepare students to be productive citizens and future leaders.
  10. We have a 99 percent high school graduation rate. 85 percent of our graduates go to college.
  11. We cultivate a faculty and staff of people who are dedicated, caring and effective.
  12. We provide a safe and welcoming environment for all.

 

The National Catholic Educational Association

NCEA.org/csw

Close Up gives an up-close look at Washington, DC

A group of eleven Mount St. Mary students spent the week of January 15-19 in Washington, DC, with the Close Up program. In addition to touring famous monuments and memorials in the nation’s capital, students were able to visit with Arkansas’ U.S. Representative French Hill while on a private tour of the Capitol Building and present a Mount St. Mary Academy wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Arlington National Cemetery. This year they also enjoyed the special privilege of spending MLK Day with a visit to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.

 

Close Up’s High School Programs are designed to give students and educators an inside look at their democracy in action. Each year the program welcomes students from schools around the country to Washington, DC, to learn more about government and their nation’s capital.

 


 

 

 

Belles seniors share lessons of teamwork

Members of the Belles varsity basketball team recently shared with Arkansas Catholic the highlights and challenges they have experienced as a team and the friendships they have formed after growing up as rivals in the parochial basketball league.

 

 

 

 

This column was first published in the Jan. 20 edition of Arkansas Catholic.

 

 

No ‘I’ in team: Mount seniors’ bond endures adversity

 

Four years ago, Payton Grice, Anne Moellers, Abby Bing­enheimer and Sarah Sagar walked into the Mount St. Mary gym for their first basketball practice.

 

It was summer before freshman year and, with the exception of Bingenheimer and Sagar who grew up in Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in North Little Rock (Marche), none of them wanted anything to do with the other.

 

It’s amazing what off-season workouts can accomplish. Run enough lines, lift enough weights, withstand enough of Coach Lauren Ramsey’s blistering sermons and it changes you. And in the case of this foursome, that bond has been unshakable.

 

For the full article, click here.

 

 

 


 

 

 

Belles Birthday Bingo Joins Founders Week Celebrations

This year a “new” event invites parents, alumnae, faculty/staff, volunteers and friends to come together for a traditional favorite – BINGO!  Mount St. Mary Academy invites the entire school community  to come together on Friday, February 9, to honor the school’s 167-year tradition of excellence during Founders Week and celebrate with food and games. The Dads Club and Birthday Bingo Committee will be providing hot dogs on the grill and a chili toppings bar. Tickets are $30 for individuals/$50 for couples and include dinner, beer and wine, and 10 bingo play cards per person with additional cards available for purchase.

 

BELLES BIRTHDAY BINGO

Friday, February 9

MSM McAuley Center

Dinner 6 to 7 p.m., Bingo 7 to 9 p.m.

must be 21 years of age to attend

 

PURCHASE TICKETS HERE! 

 


 

 

 

MSM student dances in IDO world competition

Christmas came early this year for Mount St. Mary junior Sydney Kellam (center), the Rockettes team manager and former MSM dance team member who was one of 19 dancers picked to be on the first-ever Team USA for a competition known as “the Olympics of dance.”

 

In early December, Sydney traveled with her coach and teammates from the Rock City Dance Center and other states across the country to the International Dance Organization’s World Jazz & Modern Championships in Warsaw, Poland. There they competed against more than 4,000 dancers from 32 nations and 4 continents.

 

Sydney received fifth place for Team USA for her group’s Adult Jazz Dance Formation and Adult Modern Dance Formation routines and sixth in the Adult Division for Small Group Modern.

 

“I loved it. It was a lot of hard work and hours,” Sydney said, explaining that the team practiced six days a week leading up to the competition. She said it was well worth the extra time to hear their country announced as placing fifth and to know they were the first ones in modern and jazz to compete in their division at the IDO World Championship.

 

Sydney described the experience as one she will never forget. “The different styles of dance from all of the countries were so amazing. It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

 


 

 

 

From the MSM Family: MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Our hearts are lifted in praise this Christmas for the wonderful gift of Jesus and the joy He brings to our lives.  May God fill your life with hope, faith, joy and peace this holiday season and throughout the new year!

 

Thank you to all of our Mount St. Mary campus ministry team members who helped to make this Advent season so special for our MSM school community by sharing their reflections with us.

 

 

Christmas Reflections 
by Mallory Wine, Breanna Racher, Mary Claire Fox, Julia Bates, Kaci Elrod

 

 

 


 

 

 

Advent Week 4: PEACE

With only one day until Christmas, the fourth week of Advent may not be long but calls us to commit ourselves to PEACE in the world. During the fourth week of Advent, student campus ministry team member Regan shares her family tradition of volunteering during the holidays to share God’s peace with others.

 

Fourth Week of Advent: PEACE

by Regan Moss

 

 

 

Advent Week 3: JOY

Mount St. Mary Academy students and faculty are filled with JOY now that exams are finished and holiday break has begun! During the third week of Advent, our student campus ministry team member Kassidy reflects upon the rose-colored candle of the Advent wreath and how it reminds us that joy is very much a part of growing closer to God this Advent season.

 

Third Week of Advent: JOY

 

by Kassidy Reyes

 

 

Advent Week Two: FAITH

Bishop Anthony Taylor joined the Mount St. Mary community for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8. During the second week of Advent, our student campus ministry team members reflected upon the Nativity and shared about what the Nativity teaches us about faith and how we can live our faith during Advent.

 

Second Week of Advent: FAITH 

 

by Evelyn Nick ’18 and Anne Moehllers ’18

 
 

 


 

 

 

 

The Season of Advent is Upon Us: Week One

This Christmas we will be sharing the expectant waiting of the Advent season with our school community by giving special time for reflection and contemplation in the upcoming weekly Belles Blasts. Our student campus ministry team members will be offering reflections on their favorite Advent traditions in order to extend the preparation for Christmas in our minds and hearts. We invite you to join in the scripture readings, follow the weekly tips and enjoy the spiritual enrichment of the Advent season as together we prepare for the coming of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

 
First Week of Advent: HOPE
 
by Addison Bridges ’18 and Hailey Grillo ’18

 

 
 
 

 

 

Giving Tuesday Shares the Love with MSM

This year on #GivingTuesday, November 28, Mount St. Mary Academy received an inspirational outpouring of support, as parents, alumnae and friends of the school joined together to show their charitable spirit to the “best school we know.” Just over $26,000 was donated in the online campaign that called on supporters through emails and social media to “share the love” with The Mount on Tuesday, November 28.

 

Giving Tuesday is a movement to create an international day of giving at the beginning of the Christmas and holiday season following the commercial days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This year over 1,640,000 gifts and $177,000,000 were raised online in over 98 countries, according to the Giving Tuesday website.

 


 

 

 

Robin Hood Days Food Drive Kicks Off Holidays at MSM

This year Mount St. Mary students collected more than 51,242 canned good items as part of the school’s Robin Hood Days collection for charity. The annual food drive provides holiday meals for Arkansas families in need. Robin Hood Days culminated on Friday, November 17, with a frenzy-filled morning, as local food agencies received the donations and school administration counted the collected cans to measure against the school’s goal of 30,000 cans.

 

Each grade level met their class goal in order to participate in an off-campus lunch in January. This year’s winning class was the senior class, who collected 16,255 cans. Over the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving break, students collected cans from family, friends and neighbors, in addition to holding fundraisers like the “We CAN Wednesdays” and “Beans for Jeans” spirit days and a viewing of the movie Sister Act. The organizations that received the cans and donations were Helping Hand of Greater Little Rock and the Arkansas Foodbank.

 

It is estimated that more than 1 million canned goods have been collected by Mount St. Mary Academy since the school-wide Robin Hood program began in 1974.

 


 

 

 

Parks Award Honors Mount St. Mary Volunteer Service

We are thankful for our wonderful City of Little Rock and the Parks and Recreation Department, who hosted the Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon held on Wednesday, November 15, at the Southwest Community Center in Little Rock. Mount St. Mary Academy was awarded the “Maintenance Volunteer of the Year” award for our Mercy Day work, cleaning up Allsopp Park alongside the Parks Department. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of all you do to make our city such a great place to live!

 

 


 

 

 

MSM Open House Welcomes Grades 5-8 to Discover “Why Mount?”

On Sunday, November 12, Mount St. Mary Academy hosted its annual Open House, where families of young women in 5th-8th grades got a glimpse of life at the all-girl school. They toured the school, asked questions and attended sessions on areas of interest.

 

If you know of someone who was “Born to Be a Belle,” please contact Director of Admissions, Annie Cross, at 501.664.8006 to schedule a tour.

 

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Did You Know? Robin Hood Days Fun Facts

The season of Thanksgiving at Mount St. Mary Academy cannot be mentioned without including the longstanding tradition of the Robin Hood Days can drive.  While graduates remember their own Robin Hood Days stories, we often hear questions like “How long has the can drive been held at MSM?” or “How many cans have been donated over the years?”

 

After a little digging into the history of this cherished school charity, we found out some Robin Hood Days Fun Facts that we’d like to share!

 

Robin Hood Days Fun Facts

 

Courtesy of the Mount St. Mary Academy Archives

 

 

 

Photo Credit: The Mercian, 2013

 


 

Sister Act Opens November 30

presented by the Mount St. Mary Arts Department

November 30 – December 2nd
7pm, 
Catholic High Auditorium

 

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and may be purchased at the door.

 
“When disco diva, Deloris Van Cartier, witnesses a murder, she is put in protective custody in the one place the cops are sure she won’t be a found: a convent! Disguised as a nun, she finds herself at odds with both the rigid lifestyle and uptight Mother Superior. Using her unique disco moves and singing talent to inspire the choir, Deloris breathes new life into the church and community but, in doing so, blows her cover. Soon, the gang is giving chase, only to find them up against Deloris and the power of her newly found sisterhood.”

Rated PG.


Belles’ first D-1 softball recruit signs with Omaha

On November 9, members of the Mount St. Mary softball program joined senior third baseman Susan R. and her family and friends as she completed her commitment to sign a letter of intent to play softball for the “Mavericks” at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She is committed to Omaha on a Division 1 scholarship under the leadership of head coach DJ Sanchez and assistant coaches Wondrasek and Camilla Carrera. Susan is the first Belles softball player to go to the Division I level.

 

Susan has been a starter for the Mount St. Mary Academy varsity softball program for the past four years. As a junior, the MSM third baseman batted .400 (16-40) with four home runs and drove in 24 runs. She led her high school team in homeruns, RBIs, slugging percentage, as well as on-base percentage, and received 7A All-Conference awards for all of her years of play.

 

Susan has played softball for the past 14 years and has played on several select travel teams. She currently plays for Kim and Martin Poole with Vision Fastpitch, a nationally competitive fastpitch softball team; their 18u Gold team was ranked in the nation’s top 30. Throughout Susan’s career she has won several world series championships, numerous state tournaments, and placed in Triple Crown Sports in Boulder, Colorado, Lake Tahoe, and Florida. She has also competed for the past several years at the PGF in Huntington Beach, California and as well as the JO Cup in California.

 

Susan’s decision to pursue her education and softball career at Omaha followed an unofficial visit to the college last year, where she says she fell in love with everything the school had to offer. She said, “I knew it would be the perfect fit. I appreciate all that Coach Sanchez and Wondrasek have given me and I cannot wait to represent them next year.” Susan plans to major in pre-med and push herself in the classroom as well as on the field.

 

Although the future looks bright for Susan on the college level, she is looking forward to her final season with the Belles and says she hopes to make it to the state tournament this year.

 

“MSM softball has been a big part of my life for the past four years, and I am not looking forward to it ending,” Susan shared. “I have grown so close to my teammates here and have created amazing friendships.”

 

She went on to thank all of her coaches, her trainer, and family and friends for always pushing her and encouraging her to be her best and said her hopes for her last year here are “to have fun and make every game count.”

 

Photos from the Fall Signing at https://flic.kr/s/aHsm5SJqww