Author Archives: MSM

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

 


 

 

 

Katie and Leah’s Stories: MSM students are elevating expectations

Raising remarkable women begins by raising their own expectations. Hear from them yourself at Open House on November 12, and learn about some of the ways girls grow and thrive at Mount St. Mary Academy in the last two videos of the Elevating Expectations series: stories of MSM students.

 

PLAY VIDEOS:http://mtstmary.edu/whymount/AND SHARE with any young women you know who would benefit from an excellent, faith-based all-girl education.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Welcome to November – a season of Thankfulness

This month and the next are all about looking beyond ourselves and recognizing the needs of others.  We launched our season of Thankfulness with the Robin Hood Days canned food drive, challenging each class to raise 8,000 cans for the drive.  We encourage each family to contribute and ask others (friends, family, neighbors) to contribute to our drive.

 

Caroline Martine ’19, in her Call to Worship this past Wednesday (All Saints Day Mass), spoke of her admiration for Blessed Father Stanley Rother’s example of living our faith.  In the Call to Action, Sophie Chier ’19 challenged each of us to “give of ourselves in all aspects of our lives.”

 

Catherine McAuley (our Foundress) said, “Our divine Savior’s example should be before us under all circumstances, particularly in exercising charity towards our neighbor” (Practical Sayings, pages 4 – 5).  As a school, we have embraced the Mercy charism and a “can-do,” practical attitude toward the suffering of those in need.  Thank you for supporting our school’s mission and blessing us with your daughters.  We are Thankful.

 

 

What’s your story? MSM students are elevating expectations

Raising remarkable women begins by raising their own expectations. Hear from them yourself at Open House on November 12, and learn about some of the ways girls grow and thrive at Mount St. Mary Academy in the first two videos of the Elevating Expectations series: stories of MSM students.

 

PLAY VIDEOS: http://mtstmary.edu/whymount/  AND SHARE with any young women you know who would benefit from an excellent, faith-based all-girl education.

 

 


 

 

 

Partnership with Hendrix offers Aspire Scholarship for MSM students

On Monday, October 30, Mount St. Mary President Karen Flake and Principal Angie Collins met with Hendrix College President Bill Tsutsui and members of the Office for Diversity and Inclusion to discuss the Hendrix Aspire Scholarship program available to Mount St. Mary students. Mount St. Mary signed on with Hendrix in 2015 as one of the original program partners to provide students with the opportunity for a top-class liberal arts and sciences education.

 

The Aspire Scholarship program covers up to the full cost of attendance (tuition, fees, on-campus housing and meals, and other expenses) for Federal Pell Grant-eligible students from partner secondary schools and organizations. Recipients of the Aspire Scholarship are also given support to encourage academic achievement and engage them in activities to advance their vocational interests.

 

Students interested in the Hendrix Aspire Scholarship will need to complete the FAFSA and the Hendrix admission application by the November Early Action I deadline of November 15. For information, please contact the MSM Counselors Office.

 


 

 

 

Student writer: Love of God breaks through body insecurity

 

Thank you to Olivia, Mount St. Mary senior and member of The Mount newspaper staff, for sharing her faith and talent as a regular contributor to the Arkansas Catholic Young Faith column. Young Faith is a column series featuring Catholic student writers from Catholic and public schools in Arkansas. They share stories of struggle and triumph in their lives, all through a lens of faith.

 

Her most recent article was published in the Oct. 26 edition of Arkansas Catholic.

 

https://www.arkansas-catholic.org/columns/column/5354/Love-of-God-breaks-through-body-insecurity

 


 

Booster Club’s Chills & Thrills 5K celebrates second year

A beautiful fall day in Arkansas welcomed more than 200 runners, walkers, children and pets to take part in the second annual Chills & Thrills 5K Run/Walk and Fun Run on the Mount St. Mary Academy campus.

 

MSM Rockettes cheered on race participants, some dressed in seasonal costumes, to start the challenging course throughout the Hillcrest neighborhood. Highlights included water stops with MSM costumed cross country team members as well as the “Nightmare on Elm Street,” the culminating hill before the 5K home stretch.

 

Children ages 6 to 12 had the option of participating in the one-mile Monster Dash, which circled the campus and ended with an obstacle course of tire hopping, belly crawling, wall scaling, sack racing fun. Racing their way to the finish, each race participant rang a bell to signal successful race completion and was awarded a “Survivor” medal.

 

Mad Scientists, MSM science instructors Dr. Tina Hendrickson and Ms. Robin Johnson, performed science demonstrations like the “magic pitcher,” which used the pH of liquids to change colors, and the crowd-pleasing observation of explosive qualities in varying concentrations of hydrogen peroxide. Afterwards, the Mad Scientist Activity Lab let participants experience hands-on activities like decoding secret messages, dissecting earthworms and creating bubbling slime.

 

Thank you to all of the event participants, volunteers and sponsors for making the 2017 Chills & Thrills event a huge success, with nearly double the participation over last year’s race. Event proceeds benefit all extracurricular programs at Mount St. Mary Academy.

 

More photos at https://flic.kr/s/aHsm63EAuy

 

 


2017 Chills & Thrills Sponsors

 

Presenting Sponsor
CHI St. Vincent

Silver Sponsor
Meadors Adams & Lee Insurance

Bronze
Bank of Little Rock
Bank of Little Rock Mortgage
Kutak Rock LLP

Purple 

Arkansas Pet Cremation
Arkansas Specialty Orthopaedics
CustomXM
Elite Functional Rehab
Executive Services
Flake & Kelly Commercial
Dr. Thomas and Cynthia Frazier
Integrity Products, Inc.
The Janet Jones Company/ Debbie Teague
McLarty Volvo Cars of Little Rock
Qualchoice Health Insurance
Paychex
Pulaski County Title, LLC
Ray Lusk Plumbing
Relyance Bank
Stone Bank
Thomas & Thomas LLP
Vondran Orthodontics
Wardlaw Orthodontics
Wright Lindsey Jennings

Holy Ghost

Bar Louie
Susan & Tim Boe
Cross Tire Pros
Edwards Food Giant
Krebs Brothers Supply
Kim & Quentin Markland

 

 


 

 

 

Mount St. Mary Open House, November 12

Picture yourself at the Mount!  Young women in 5th-8th grades and their families are invited to meet Mount St. Mary teachers and administration, tour the school and answer the question, “Why Mount?” We look forward to meeting with you and talking through next steps in the admissions and enrollment process at Mount St. Mary Academy.

 

OPEN HOUSE

Sunday, November 12
2-4 p.m.
REGISTER AT
mtstmary.edu/openhouse/
to save time at check-in.
Families of grades 5 to 12 welcome.

 

 

 


 

Art students spread awareness and hope with The Memory Project

Over the past three years Mount St. Mary Academy art students in IB Art, Art III and Art IV have been creating portraits for children around the world in collaboration with The Memory Project. The nonprofit organization works with art students across the globe with the purpose of creating portraits for youth who have faced substantial challenges, such as neglect, abuse, loss of parents and extreme poverty. The portraits are sent to the children to help them feel valued and important, to know that many people care about their well being, and to act as meaningful pieces of personal history in the future.  For the students, it is an opportunity to creatively practice kindness and global awareness; they have provided portraits for children in Bolivia and Syria over the last few years.

 

In order to raise awareness of the Syrian war’s effects on children, seventy photographs of The Memory Project student artwork will be on display at the University of Wisconsin beginning September 21, 2017; two of the portraits in the exhibit were created by Mount St. Mary students Aryn Angyal and Meredith Muller.

 

If you happen to pass through Madison, Wisconsin, between now and November 19, please check it out!  For more information on the Memory Project click here.

    

Syrian portraits by MSM students on display at the University of Wisconsin: artwork by Meredith Muller (left) and Aryn Angyl (right)

 


 

 

 

 

MSM Junior Classical League helps victims of Hurricane Harvey and Irma

On September 23, 2017, 21 members of the Mount St. Mary Junior Classical League (Latin Club) and friends washed over 40 cars to raise money to help victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  The club wanted a way to help provide relief and decided to sponsor something culturally appropriate yet fun.  Latin club president, Evelyn Nick, proposed the fundraiser to the administration, who then approved it.  All determined that Saturday the 23rd would be perfect since it was homecoming weekend and alumnae would be visiting the campus over the weekend.  One alumna, who is now a Latin teacher in Washington, D.C., stopped in to make her donation and think about the fun times in Latin class while she was at MSM. The event also drew in neighbors of Mount St. Mary who were happy to help the effort made for people hit so hard by the recent disasters.  God provided great weather for the event, and the students worked hard throughout the morning.  All proceeds ($1249) will go to the the “Texas Flood Relief” fund of Catholic Charities of Arkansas which is providing aid to victims of both Harvey and Irma.  

   


 

 

 

MSM Shows Mercy Spirit with a Day of Service

Mount St. Mary Academy students, faculty and administrators reported for work at 15 service organizations to “Make Mercy Real” on a day of service known as Mercy Day. Around the world, Mercy Day is celebrated to commemorate the day the school’s founders, the Sisters of Mercy, opened the first House of Mercy in 1827 to serve the sick and the poor in Ireland. Mount St. Mary Mercy Day activities included cleaning up parks, picking up trash, and helping out at schools, hospitals and organizations throughout Greater Little Rock who serve the poor and sick in our community.

 

2017 Mercy Day Service Site Assignments:

 

Access Schools – Breckenridge and Mississippi locations
Arkansas Children’s Hospital
Arkansas Foodbank
Calvary Cemetery
Camp Aldersgate
CHI St. Vincent
Easter Seals Arkansas
The Helping Hand of Greater Little Rock
Little Rock Compassion Center
Our House
Recycle Bikes for Kids
St. Joseph Center of Arkansas
St. Theresa Catholic School
Susan G. Komen

 


 

 

 

 

Alumnae Picnic Welcomes MSM Classes Back to Alma Mater

The 15th annual Mount St. Mary Academy “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” Alumnae Picnic welcomed more than 200 of the school’s graduates back to their high school home.  Alumnae representing classes from 1948 to 2012 gathered for school tours followed by dinner and fellowship. Alumnae perused yearbooks and alumnae merchandise and enjoyed the photo booth mementos, courtesy of LeMay Photography. Rosalyn Hastings, Class of 1948, was recognized for earliest class year and received the award with her daughter and granddaughter, both MSM alumnae. The Class of 1977, celebrating their 40-year reunion, won the coveted spirit stick for most classmates in attendance.

 


 


 

 

 

 

Chills & Thrills 5K on October 7 benefits MSM student programs

Mark your calendars and “Conquer the Hills” of the Mount St. Mary Academy Chills & Thrills 5K, benefiting extracurricular programs for all Mount St. Mary Academy students.
5K Run/Walk timed by Hudson Race Timing  (8 a.m.)
– Hilly course through the Hillcrest neighborhood with a “Nightmare on Elm Street”
– Prizes for male and female age groups and BEST COSTUMES
One-Mile Kids Fun Run  (9:15 a.m.)
– Monster Dash for ages 6-12 years with costumed monsters along the race route
– Obstacle Course at the end of the route
Mad Scientist Show and Activity Lab (10 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.)
$15 No prior registration is required
($10 with Monster Dash runner’s bib and FREE with 5K and Monster Dash bibs)
– Mount St. Mary Mad Scientist duo demonstrations of mind-boggling experiments
– Hands-on activities like bubbling slime, tie dye bandanas and color-changing key rings
Family Fun and Food  (10:30 to Noon)
– Race snack bar for runners and festive brunch fare available for additional cost
– Yummy chicken and waffles specialty dish

 

This festive fall event on the Mount St. Mary campus is open to the community and guaranteed to be a scream!

 

Event schedule and sign-up: mtstmary.edu/chills-and-thrills

MSM Senior Named National Merit Semifinalist

Mount St. Mary Academy student Katie S. has been named a Semifinalist in the 63rd annual National Merit® Scholarship Program. She is among the 16,000 Semifinalists who represent the top one percent of the Class of 2018. Last fall, about 1.6 million juniors across the country entered the 2018 National Merit Scholarship competition by taking the PSAT qualifying test.

 

These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth about $32 million that will be offered next spring, according to a news release from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

 

Grateful for the opportunity, Katie says, “It helps to see my hard work in academics has truly prepared me for life ahead, and it motivates me to continue working toward my goals in the future.”

 

Steps in the 2018 Competition

About 15,000 seniors will be announced as Finalists in February. To advance to the finals of the scholarship program, students must show a record of consistently high academic performance throughout high school while also earning SAT scores that confirm their earlier performances on the qualifying test. Their high school principal must also write a recommendation.

 

National Merit Scholarships

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2018. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit® $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 230 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their specified criteria. In addition, about 190 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,000 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

Best of luck to Katie!

 


 

2017 CHS Homecoming Court Announced

Congratulations to the 2017 Catholic High School Homecoming Court!

 

Front Row (Left to Right): Macy J., Rockette Representative; Sydney C., Caroline J., Liza M., and Sydney W., Varsity Cheer Representative

 

Back Row (Left to Right): Rieves P., Lauren W., and Mallory W.

 

The Catholic High School Homecoming game will be Friday, September 22nd, at War Memorial Stadium with kickoff at 7 p.m. The Homecoming Ceremony will be held during half-time.

 

Go Rockets!
See Photos from 2017 Homecoming Pep Rally on the MSM Flickr page.

 

 

 


 

Opening Pep Rally Kicks Off Fall Sports

Mount St. Mary Academy held the Opening Pep Rally on August 30th to kick off fall sports — cross country, volleyball, tennis and golf — and start off the school year with a show of school spirit. Costumes, chants and a class theme for each grade level and a performance by the seniors united the student body as classes competed for the spirit stick at one the biggest pep rally of the year.

 

Freedom Freshmen, Superhero Sophomores, Holly Jolly Juniors, Slam Dunk Seniors, MSM spirit squads, athletic teams and Student Council kept the energy going and started the school year with a “Slam Dunk!”

 

Athletic Team Schedules may be viewed on the MSM School Calendar.

 

More photos at https://flic.kr/s/aHsm3JiQM7

 

 


 

Student Body President Named Girl of Distinction for Women’s Hall of Fame

MSM Student Body President Stephanie V. received the distinct honor of being named one of five “Girls of Distinction” who attended the 2017 Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony held on August 24 at the Statehouse Convention Center.  The Girls of Distinction were invited to meet the members of the third class of Hall of Fame inductees and join in celebrating and honoring the historical impact these great women have made in the state of Arkansas.

 

The Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame (AWHF) honors women whose contributions have influenced the direction of Arkansas in their community or the state, preserves the history of their accomplishments and provides women encouragement and inspiration. In 2016 the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, founders of Mount St. Mary Academy, were honored as members of the second class of inductees.

 

Stephanie met Governor Asa Hutchinson and was asked to escort 2017 honorees to the stage in the Wally Allen Ballroom, where they received the public recognition. Of those she assisted were past President and CEO of the Arkansas Community Foundation, Pat Lile, and several members of the Olivetan Benedictine Sisters. Other 2017 inductees, contemporary and historical, included Maya Angelou, renowned author, poet, actor, performer and human rights activist, and Elsijane Trimble Roy, Arkansas’s first woman circuit judge and the first woman on the Arkansas Supreme Court.

 

Stephanie described her experience with the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame:  “It was very inspiring and made me see how women from all backgrounds are so involved in the community and have paved the way for a younger generation of girls to do the same. I saw how through faith in God, hard work and perseverance, women can accomplish amazing things.”

 

Stephanie will serve as the 2017-2018 Mount St. Mary Academy Student Body President, leading and helping to manage the Student Council. She has served as a Mountie Messenger student ambassador for three years and is a member of the National Honor Society, National Beta Club and Interact Club.

 

MSM Shadow Days: Be a Mount Girl for a Day

Group Shadow Days give eighth grade students interested in Mount St. Mary Academy the chance to experience a typical class day and the Mount sisterhood firsthand! Each “Mount Girl for a Day” is paired with a student hostess, who will guide her through two class periods, homeroom and lunch and answer any questions about life at Mount St. Mary.

 

Register Today! Fill out the registration form and you will receive a confirmation email with details for the day.

 

Questions?
Annie Cross, Director of Admissions

across@mtstmary.edu

 

 


Shadow Dates:

Wednesday, September 6

Wednesday, September 13

Tuesday, September 19

Tuesday, October 3

Friday, October 27

Friday, November 3

Wednesday, November 8

Thursday, November 16

Wednesday, November 29

Wednesday, December 6

Wednesday, January 10

Wednesday, January 31

 

MSM Welcomes New, Returning Students for 2017

Mount St. Mary Academy kicked off the first week of the 2017-2018 school year by welcoming 142 ninth graders in the Class of 2021 and a student body of 500 young women in grades 9 to 12.

 

The Come with Belles On event held on August 14 invited the new class and their parents to get to know one another at a picnic followed by a freshman rally in the gymnasium. Mountie Messenger student ambassadors led the ninth graders through a scavenger hunt in the school while freshman parents attended an informational meeting.

 

Welcome Back Day on August 16 began with each class returning to school to pick up schedules and supplies, catch up after their summer vacation and see what was new this year in school merchandise, school events and volunteer opportunities. After Welcome Back Day, Freshman Orientation was held to familiarize the ninth graders with their teachers, schedules, lockers and school policies.

 

At the Opening Mass on August 18 the student body came together to officially welcome the Class of 2021, calling each student by name to receive their Mercy cards and then announcing the annual button theme, Faith Can Move Mountains.

 

More photos of Welcome Back 2017 events at https://flic.kr/s/aHsm1qqreY

MSM Welcomes New Employees

Mount St. Mary welcomed six new faculty and staff today at new employee orientation. 

 

(left to right): Ms. Rachel McLemore, History/Cross Country Coach; Mr. Justin Brady, Math; Ms. Cheri Martinka, AP Research/History/Theology; Mr. Cody Henry, History/Freshman Basketball Coach; Dr. Nilu Runge, Science; Mr. Mark Cottingham, Facilities

 

Meet the New Teachers

 

Mr. Brady will be teaching Algebra I. With many of his family members having attended Mount St. Mary, he says he “grew up around MSM and is excited to be teaching here.” His wife is a graduate of the school and one of his two daughters will be starting her senior year at MSM. Mr. Brady has been been teaching math for 17 years at The Anthony School.

 

Mr. Henry will be teaching American and World History and coaching the Mounties 9th grade basketball team. He is married with two children, a four-year-old daughter and 10-month-old son. Mr. Henry is excited to start teaching and coaching and hopes to pass on inquisitiveness to his students and team members by encouraging them to think critically and learn for themselves.

 

Ms. McLemore will be teaching American History and International Relations as well as coaching the MSM Cross Country team. She comes to MSM after 5 years of teaching at the University of Mississippi. She is excited to now be teaching high school at Mount St. Mary and helping her students prepare for college. As a history teacher, she hopes her students “become engaged in their communities and learn how to be citizens of our country and the world.”

 

Dr. Runge will be teaching Biology and Forensic Science. She comes to MSM after 26 years as a professor in the science department at the University of Central Arkansas, where she also served for a time as their concurrent credit coordinator. Dr. Runge says she looks forward to teaching biology and getting students ready for college and shares that forensic science is one of her passions. She hopes her biology students learn how science is applicable to everything in life and wants her forensic science students to learn different techniques and have fun at the same time.

 

Ms. Martinka is returning to MSM to teach AP Research, AP European History and Theology. She is thrilled about all the new AP classes and especially AP Research, one of the required courses in the AP Capstone diploma and certificate programs. Her hope for her students is that they “leave with the desire to know more.”

 

 

Mercy Education Launches Initiative for the Future

The Mercy Education System of the Americas (MESA), a new initiative for education ministries sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, launched on July 3, 2017, formalizing a system of relationships for the 58 Mercy education ministries in Argentina, Belize, Guam, Honduras, Jamaica, the Philippines and the United States. The new educational system was formed in order to promote, support and advance the Mercy calling and Catholic identity into the future by connecting across all borders to share the charism of the Sisters of Mercy founder, Catherine McAuley, and to address the critical concerns of the Sisters.

 

Day-to-day operations at Mount St. Mary Academy will not change, and local administration and the local board will remain in place. While all Mercy educators are united by their dedication to reveal God’s love through service in the Mercy tradition, the Mercy Education System of the Americas will also encourage and enable educators to share resources and best practices in order to prepare students for an accelerated culture and a global society. In the past Mount St. Mary students, faculty and staff have partnered with fellow Mercy ministries through service projects, leadership conferences, video contests and a pilgrimage to the House of Mercy in Ireland.

 

Leaders from all Mercy education ministries gathered at a forum convened on March 9, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia, expressly to set the stage for this collaboration. Even with a full agenda, many participants made time to express their enthusiasm for Mercy Education System of the Americas and the opportunity it represents.

 

Their witness and anticipation of the new extension of the Mercy mission may be viewed in a video at the following links:

 

English: https://youtu.be/W0Tjuqbh08s  Spanish: https://youtu.be/vH9rI_k4UXA

 

Summer Camps Elevating Expectations at the Mount

Learning at Mount St. Mary Academy doesn’t stop just because it’s summer time! This week at Volleyball Camp our campers learned and developed volleyball skills with our MSM Belles as their guides. Parents, we hope we see you back this fall for one of the Belles volleyball games, where kids with a camp t-shirt or their team’s uniform will get in free!

 

 

 

Class of 2017 “on their way” after graduation

Mount St. Mary Academy students faculty, staff and their families and friends celebrated the Class of 2017 graduation at the Commencement Ceremony on Thursday, May 25, 2017, at Robinson Auditorium. The words of the class song, “On My Way” by Phil Collins, described the feelings of excitement and anticipation felt by the 120 graduates, who received their diplomas from the Reverend Bishop Anthony Taylor as MSM president Karen Flake announced each graduate and the college she will attend. They were joined on stage by superintendent of Catholic schools, Mrs. Vernell Bowen; MSM principal, Mrs. Angie Collins; and chairman of the MSM Academy Board of Directors, Mr. Phillip Gillam.

 

Commencement Speaker Patti Drake urged the Class of 2017 to stay centered in faith as they enter a new chapter of their lives. Ms. Drake’s daughter Mary, a member of the Class of 2011, suffered a debilitating car accident in 2009. Ms. Drake spoke to the class about trusting the Lord in times of difficulty because God causes all things to work together for good for those who follow Him. She pointed out to them that His plans may not be the same as their plans but “God is good. All the time.”

 

 

Congratulations to the Class of 2017:

 

92% of 120 SENIORS offered scholarships from colleges and other institutions

 

More than $14 MILLION in college scholarships awarded to the Class of 2017

 

10,945 HOURS of service to the community completed during their junior and senior years

 

Members of the senior class offered acceptance to 207 COLLEGES and UNIVERSITIES

 

 

More photos from the 2017 Mount St. Mary Academy Commencement Exercises:

https://flic.kr/s/aHskW8dUt5

 

 

 

 

Senior Recognition Ceremony awards accomplishments, inducts 120 alumnae

The Mount St. Mary Academy Alumnae Association gained 120 new members at the Senior Recognition Ceremony held on Monday, May 22. Attended by MSM families, alumnae relatives, and alumnae board members, the ceremony honored the accomplishments of the senior class and inducted the Class of 2017 into the MSM Alumnae Association.

 

Sixty-eight percent of the senior class earned the academic status of Honor Graduate with a GPA of 3.5 or higher. The top five honor graduates in the class who will speak at the 2017 Mount St. Mary Commencement Ceremony on May 25th are: 5th honor graduate Anne Thibault, 4th honor graduate Chloe Beall, 2nd honor graduates Katie O’Malley and Caroline Coplin-Chudy, and 1st honor graduate Claire Althoff.

 

Four MSM students received recognition by the National Merit Program during the 2016-2017 school year. Hannah Isaacs and Chloe Beall were selected as National Merit Finalists, Katie O’Malley was selected as a National Merit Commended Student and Rosemarie Ochoa earned the status of National Hispanic Scholar. Each of these young women represent the top five percent of the more than 1.6 million students who entered the National Merit competition by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Qualifying Test as 11th-graders.

 

A number of academic honors, merit awards and scholarships were awarded to many deserving MSM students in the Class of 2017. Caroline Coplin-Chudy received the 2017 Principal’s Award for living the Mercy values at Mount St. Mary. The Flora Bittner Croft Scholarship was given to three MSM students attending Catholic universities, and the Judith Wrappe Scholarship honored one senior for her artwork depicting this year’s theme of “Sisterhood.”

 

Melanie Parham Fox ’81 was recognized as the 2017 Mount St. Mary Academy Alumna of the Year for her contributions to the school and the community in the educational arena and for her volunteer work with MSM spirit groups and booster club initiatives as well as leadership in spearheading the merchandise system for Mount St. Mary.

 

More photos from the Senior Recognition Ceremony:

https://flic.kr/s/aHskVUJMDT

 

 

Junior Takeover Day: What a Circus!

photo by Caty Nosal, MSM yearbook

 

The Mount St. Mary Academy Class of 2018 celebrated their “graduation” to the senior class at Junior Take Over Day (JTOD) 2017: Senior Circus. The mimes, animals, cotton candy, ring leaders and plenty of clowns gathered before school to have breakfast together and decorate their cars and the school with signs to “Step Right Up to the Senior Circus.”

 

View photos from Junior Take Over Day:

https://flic.kr/s/aHskVC6TSp

 

 

 

Science in action with field trips, speakers

MSM science classes were busy this spring with several field trips and speakers that provided practical applications of concepts learned in class.

 

Ms. Melandri and Ms. Johnson took their honors physical science and IB biology classes to participate in the Girls STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Conference held April 21st at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

 

To supplement the unit on water, Ms. Johnson’s fifth period chemistry students visited Lake Degray in Arkedelphia, and the MSM students taught 4th grade students from the Hot Springs School District about water quality and water quality testing. The day at the park was part of the Every Kid in a Park campaign, a national initiative created by the White House and the Federal Land Management agencies to help engage and create the next generation of park visitors.

 

Learning about nuclear power and nuclear radiation, Ms. Johnson’s third period class made a trip to Nuclear One in Russellville.  The students  participated in a discussion with the training staff on

 

  • Energy Options (Solar, Wind, Hydro, Nuclear)
  • How ANO produces power (operation)
  • Costs of energy production
  • Career Options in Nuclear power
  • Accidents (What we have learned)

 

After the lecture, students visited simulators which replicated actual control rooms and also experienced what it is like to “suit up” for a contamination area.

 

Ms. Johnson’s fourth period class received a visit from guest speaker Dr. Leanne Jolly, a phD nurse and nutrition counselor from the Little Rock Athletic Clubs organization. To supplement the unit on food as energy, Dr. Jolly spoke to the students about the importance of nutrition and exercise.

 

Mr. Stotts’ anatomy class visited the Museum of Discovery, where students learned about guts, bones, skin, blood and more in the Amazing You gallery with activities that explore how their bodies function.

 

Two MSM students accepted to UAMS HEALERS program

Must be Mount Girls!  Cameron H. ’19 and Lexi C. ’18 were accepted to the UAMS HEALERS program (Health Education Active Learning Experience for Regional Scholars). The HEALERS program is a hands-on, interactive program open to high school students in Pulaski County who are interested in serving the community through the medical field. Out of hundreds of applicants only twelve students are selected each year to participate in the program; this year’s HEALERS program will be held from June 12 to June 23, 2017.

 

The HEALERS program allows students to:

 

  • Learn and ask questions about a variety of medical careers directly from a professional in that field.
  • Learn how to administer first aid to accident victims to include bandaging, control of bleeding, splinting and spinal immobilization.
  • Learn how to administer Basic Life Support (CPR).
  • Demonstrate a better understanding of medical terminology.
  • Demonstrate an increased awareness of teenage health-related issues, enabling each individual to make better informed decisions based on scientific data.
  • To gain experience in a clinical setting through active volunteering.

 

Congratulations, Cameron and Lexi!

 

 

Summer Camps at the Mount for 2nd to 9th grades

Mount St. Mary Academy will be offering eight fun and exciting summer camps for both girls and boys entering 2nd to 8th grades as well as sports camps for girls entering ninth grade.

 

Camps include volleyball, basketball, math, pinterest/crafts, drama, media, creative writing and cooking, so keep up your skills this summer or try something new! 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/ 

Questions?

Please email summercamp@mtstmary.edu
and mention the camp name to find out more information!

 

 

 

May Publications Feature “Head of the Class” Graduates

During the month of May, several Mount St. Mary Academy seniors were recognized for their outstanding academic achievements.

 

The Arkansas Times selected Caroline C. to be included among the twenty-one 2017 Academic All-Stars honored as the “best and brightest high school students in the state.”  The Academic All-Stars were honored on April 24th at a ceremony at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with plaques and $250 cash awards. Read more in the Arkansas Times article.

May issue of Arkansas Times: 2017 Academic All-Stars
https://www.arktimes.com/arkansas/2017-arkansas-times-academic-all-star-team/Content?oid=6414049

 

Claire A., Caroline C. and Katie O. appeared in the “Head of the Class” feature of the May issue of Little Rock Family, which highlighted many talented students from high schools throughout Little Rock and the Central Arkansas region. Read more at Little Rock Family.

May issue of Little Rock Family: 2017 Head of the Class
http://www.littlerockfamily.com/post/116472/little-rock-family-presents-the-2017-head-of-the-class

 

We congratulate these young women, and all of our graduates, for their hard work and academic achievements as well as their extracurricular and volunteer contributions in our state.

 

Closing Prayer Service Signals Goodbyes for Many

The Closing Prayer Service at Mount St. Mary Academy has always elicited fond memories, class unity and yes, some tears, and this year’s service was no exception for the Class of 2017. The students, faculty, administrators and Sisters of Mercy gathered as a school community one last time with this year’s seniors to celebrate the gift of the past school year and look forward to next steps on the journey.

 

Monsignor Frederick began the prayer service by telling the seniors that it was time for them to GO to spread God’s mercy and live their faith as they move into the next phase of life.

 

Student Body President Grace Clark ’17 remembered the last four years with her classmates and how they have grown into the sisterhood she didn’t think was possible when she entered the school as a freshman. She recalled the challenges and the events that have bonded their class as well as the teachers and leaders in faith who have led them through adversity, and she thanked the student body for her opportunity to serve as their leader.

 

Three teachers were thanked for their exceptional service to the school as they move on to new chapters of their lives:

Kara Tobey, math instructor

Olivia Dumboski ’08, social studies instructor

Mary Logan, social studies instructor

 

The Closing Prayer Service marked the “end of an era” for a few different reasons. Included with the goodbyes to the seniors, Mary Logan announced her retirement after having taught at Mount St. Mary Academy for the past 37 years. And, after 166 years of Sisters of Mercy residing on the campus of Mount St. Mary Academy, the student body bid farewell to the last two Sisters in residence.  Sr. Ann Hardcastle ’54 and Sr. Jolitta Konecny ’55 were honored for their years of service to the school community as it was announced they will be relocating to the Sisters’ retirement home in Barling, Arkansas.

 

Lifting everyone’s spirits were the well wishes from students in the freshmen, sophomore and junior classes before Caroline Wahlgreen ’17 gave an entertaining recollection of the past four years, and then, final traditions concluded the time at the Mount for the Class of 2017. Seniors were called to receive their graduation tassels the last symbolic gift in a four-year tradition at Mount St. Mary Academy following freshman mercy cards, sophomore mercy pins and junior class rings. After the seniors sang their class song, the service ended with a surprise performance by an ensemble of MSM teacher singers and musicians.

 

Just as each class enters through an honor guard of their schoolmates at their first all-school prayer service, the seniors conclude their last day on campus by exiting through an honor guard made up of their teachers and administrators. Spending their final time together with words of gratitude and encouragement, they ended their last day and their time at Mount St. Mary Academy and set off on the weeks leading up to graduation.

 

More photos from Closing Prayer Service:

https://flic.kr/s/aHskWjSVRT

 

 

 

 

Mercy Moments Event Celebrates Sisters’ Legacy at Mount St. Mary Academy

 

Twelve Sisters of Mercy left Ireland in 1851 with Arkansas’ first Catholic bishop, Bishop Andrew J. Byrne, to set up a school for children in Arkansas that would come to be known as Mount St. Mary Academy. One hundred sixty-six years later, thirteen Mercy Sisters gathered to celebrate the 80th birthdays and relocation of the last two Sisters in residence at the school and to honor the Mercy legacy on the school’s campus.

 

At Mercy Moments on Our Journey, held Sunday, May 7 in the Mount St. Mary Convent in Little Rock, three Sisters of Mercy were honored for their years of service and ministry:  Sr. Jolitta Konecny, Sr. Ann Hardcastle, and Sr. Joan Pfauser. Sr. Jolitta and Sr. Ann are both graduates of the school and past faculty members who will be relocating from the Mount St. Mary Convent to the Sisters’ retirement home in Barling, Arkansas. Sr. Joan, also a graduate, will continue as one of the school counselors to bring the daily presence of Mercy to Mount St. Mary Academy.

 

Past principals of the school Sr. Richard Mary Burke, RSM and Sr. Deborah Troillett, RSM were in attendance at the event to reflect with gratitude and give thanks to God for the school’s 166-year history and to offer prayers and affirmation for the future. Relaying a message from the Sisters of Mercy leadership team for the South-Central Community, Sr. Richard Mary announced that the convent has been deeded to the current ministry and school leadership at Mount St. Mary, proclaiming that it has been a blessing to all of the Sisters, for which they give thanks and say “yes!” to all that will be.

 

“Catherine McAuley said of our journey as Sisters, ‘We have one solid comfort amidst this little tripping about: our hearts can always be in the same place, centered in God for whom alone we go forward — or stay back,’” said Sr. Deborah, member of the Institute Leadership Team for the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. “While there was sadness in me to say goodbye to the Sisters living in the convent, there is also joy in knowing that the Sisters of Mercy will go forward so deeply enriched by the partnership with our many lay colleagues who lead and serve at Mount St. Mary Academy. I feel great confidence and gratitude that the school will continue to respond to the new needs of the young women served and the convent building will inevitably be utilized in a way to meet some new unmet need!”

 

Mount St. Mary Academy President/CEO Karen Flake thanked the Sisters and expressed that “because of their tremendous impact, the spirit of God’s mercy will always be present at Mount St. Mary Academy.” She assured there were no immediate plans to change the way the convent is being used at Mount St. Mary Academy and said the board of directors is currently in the process of reviewing the master plan.

 

During refreshments and “a comfortable cup of tea” with the Sisters, an impromptu rendition of the school’s alma mater was sung by many of the 60 guests present, which included alumnae, parents, and friends of the school, Mercy Associates, and Sisters of Mercy from throughout the region. There are currently six Sisters of Mercy serving on the academy and foundation boards and one staff member serving at Mount St. Mary Academy.

 

Pictured:
Front Row: Sr. Ann Hardcastle, Sr. Elisa Bauman, Sr. Jolitta Konecny, Sr. Jacqueline HowardBack Row: Sr. Judith Keith, Sr. Deborah Troillett, Sr. Carol Ann Corley, Sr. Cheryl Quave, Sr. Richard Mary Burke, Sr. Rebecca Hendricks, Sr. Noeline Banks, Sr. Joan Pfauser, Sr. Teresa Kelone

 

 

More photos from Mercy Moments on Our Journey:
https://flic.kr/s/aHskUKDJCL

 

 


 

College Signing: Belle to play basketball for OBU

Another Belle has signed to play basketball at the collegiate level. Kara R. will be playing for the Ouachita Baptist Tigers in the fall. Kara played four years as point guard for the Mounties and Belles. She was a two-year varsity starter and played in the Central Arkansas Showcase game.

 

Kara is the third Mount St. Mary basketball player this spring to commit to continuing her athletic career at the college level. Mary R. signed to continue her academic career and play basketball for Hendrix College on April 18 and Lizzie A. signed with Lyon College on April 25.

 

For photos from all spring signings, please visit  https://flic.kr/s/aHskV5YBxt

 

Congratulations, Kara!

 

 

Special Dedication and Painted Skirts Join College T-shirt Day

On April 28 the Mount St. Mary student body celebrated the college decisions of the senior class with College T-shirt Day and a special “Pizza on the Plaza.”  Seniors shared their newly painted Mount St. Mary houndstooth skirts decorated with college mascots and school logos while posing for photos with friends, teachers and classmates.

 

The Class of 2017 then invited the family of Bella Brown to join the school community for a special dedication to honor their friend’s memory with a garden of three butterfly bushes and a flowering tree. The tree’s flowers will be Bella’s favorite color, pink, and the butterfly bush flowers will be purple, the color of the school she loved.

 

Three MSM Athletes Sign with Colleges

Mount St. Mary Academy would like to recognize and celebrate the athletic and academic accomplishments of three senior athletes who signed their letters of intent over the past two weeks. Mary R., Lizzie A. and Maggie S., surrounded by family and friends, made the public decision to continue their education at the university level while also pursuing athletic careers.

 

“The entire Athletic Department and school community is extremely excited for Lizzie, Mary, and Maggie to have the opportunity to continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level,” said Athletic Director Marilyn Lenggenhager, recognizing the Mount St. Mary four-year athletes and honoring the decision made by each student and her family. “Their hard work here at Mount St. Mary Academy has paid off and we wish them well!”

 

Mary R. signed a letter of intent to play basketball with Hendrix College on Tuesday, April 18. Mary played varsity three years for Mount St. Mary Academy and was a member of the AAU basketball team Arkansas Elite. As a dual sport athlete, she also played on the Belles volleyball team. Mary is a scholar athlete and president of the National Beta Club at Mount St. Mary.

 

Lizzie A. signed a letter of intent to play basketball with Lyon College on Tuesday, April 25. A three-year varsity starter for the Belles, Lizzie was selected to All-Conference her junior and senior years and to the 2017 All-Metro Classic girls basketball game. She is also a scholar athlete and multi-sport athlete.

 

Maggie S. signed her letter of intent to join the Lyon College volleyball team on Thursday, April 27. Maggie played volleyball four years at Mount St. Mary, playing varsity three years as the middle blocker for the Belles. She was selected to All-Conference her senior year.

 

Photos from these events can be found on the MSM Flickr page:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mtstmary/albums

 

Mercy & Me: A Celebration of Leadership

 

The fourth biennial Mercy & Me Luncheon was held on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at the Statehouse Convention Center downtown. The signature event was created by Mount St. Mary Academy as an opportunity for alumnae, friends and family to celebrate Mercy-inspired leadership in Little Rock and beyond — from the proud mother to the business professional to the community leader.

 

The speaker for the luncheon was Linda Rowe Thomas—celebrity fashion designer, burn survivor and inspirational speaker. Mrs. Thomas’ keynote address told the story of her accident and her mother’s faith and encouragement throughout her ongoing recovery process, and she spoke about self-acceptance and opening herself to God’s love and plan for her life.

 

Prior to the luncheon, Mrs. Thomas addressed the student body in the Mount St. Mary McAuley Center, where students modeled designs from her fashion line, Romás by Linda Rowe Thomas, as well as fashions by David’s Bridal and Proposals.

 

Mount St. Mary Academy has the distinct honor of being the only all-girls secondary school in Arkansas. And throughout its 166-year history, the Mount remains a dignified, stately testimonial to the unceasing labors of the Sisters of Mercy and the more than 20,000 graduates who have emerged from the school stronger in wisdom, compassion and integrity.

 

Click here to see a video of the keynote address by Linda Rowe Thomas:

[https://youtu.be/u8yY_L1P9sc]

 

View photos from the event:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mtstmary/albums