Category Archives: Accolades

MSM Arts Department’s 2019 musical enjoys successful run

The Mount St. Mary Academy Arts Department’s latest production, Once Upon a Mattress, proved to be a hit! More than 700 guests attended the musical comedy, which ran November 1-4 at Catholic High School’s Auditorium. Led by MSM’s speech and drama teacher, Jenny Moses, and choral director, Chelsea Allman, nearly 90 students were involved in the family-friendly show. The creative and hardworking cast and crew, which included a handful of students from Catholic High School as well as two homeschooled students, handled every detail in bringing the fairy tale of the Princess and the Pea 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 35-member cast.

 

“This is one of my favorite shows we’ve done simply because the cast was truly one of the most cohesive with which I’ve ever worked,” Ms. Moses said. “But we also did some pretty amazing things with the set, which was huge, and so much of that is student led and created. It’s just really cool to continue to watch our cast and crew grow over the years.”

 

Ms. Allman added that this year’s group was also one of the most dedicated and hardworking. “I love it when cast members have taken it upon themselves to learn their songs and lines outside of rehearsal. It shows how disciplined and proactive they are,” she said. “The leads of the show, in particular, showed so much dedication. Often in rehearsals, I was able to thank them for making my job easy.”

 

At the end of the final performance on Monday, Nov. 4, Holly Marr ’20 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 Holly was incredibly involved in this year’s production and showed excellent leadership qualities as stage manager. “What really makes her stand out is her maturity level, attention to detail and the ability to manage both of those without making people hate her,” Ms. Moses laughed. Ms. Allman agreed, noting that Holly was “a great leader, always had a smile on her face and made a huge contribution to the success of the show.” Holly also served as stage manager in last year’s production of The Addams Family.

 

Save the date for the MSM Arts Department’s final event of 2019. The Concert Belles and Harmony Belles will present their annual Christmas Concert on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 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.

Students in MSM choral ensembles selected for All-Region Choirs

Members of the Concert Belles and Harmony Belles participated in All-Region tryouts at Mayflower High School on Saturday, October 19. Sixteen Belles earned places in the 2019 Arkansas All-Region Choirs during the auditions. According to the Arkansas Choral Directors Association’s website, the selected students represent some of the finest musicians from eligible secondary schools in Arkansas.

 

Congratulations to the following students:

– Blythe Bozeman ’21, 52nd chair

– Anne Marie Coy ’21, 50th chair

– Abby Ellis ’21, 49th chair

– Maya Giuffria ’20, 19th chair

– Anne Lashbrook ’20, 4th chair

– Gracie Limmer ’22, 19th chair

– Patty Logan ’21, 6th chair

– Kathryn Morris ’23, 2nd alternate

– Mari Negrete ’22, 16th chair

– Beatrice Nkunga ’23, 51st chair

– Amelia Ochoa ’20, 26th chair

– Cabe Parrish ’21, 1st chair

– Sophia Parrish ’22, 31st chair

– Natalie Vailes ’22, 23rd chair

 

Additionally, six students’ performances qualified them to try out for the All-State Choir later this year. Maya, Anne, Gracie, Patty, Mari and Cabe will all audition for All-State on February 7 at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia.

 

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.

Another Mount St. Mary senior receives national recognition

The National Hispanic Recognition Program selected Amelia Ochoa ’20 as a 2019-2020 National Hispanic Scholar. Amelia scored in the top 2.5% on the PSAT qualifying test among all Hispanic and Latino test takers in the region last fall.

 

Established in 1983, the National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) is a College Board program that provides national recognition of the exceptional academic achievements of Hispanic and Latino high school seniors. While there is no scholarship awarded with this honor, the recognition enables students to highlight their outstanding educational achievements to top colleges and universities. In order to be eligible, students must identify as Hispanic or Latino, meet the minimum PSAT cutoff score by state and earn a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher by the middle of their junior year.

 

We congratulate Amelia for the academic commitment she has demonstrated. She joins the two Semifinalists and one Commended Student from Mount St. Mary Academy’s Class of 2020 who were recognized earlier this month by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

 

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

MSM senior recognized as Commended Student

Another Mount St. Mary Academy student has been honored this month for exceptional academic promise. Senior Adeline Harton was named a Commended Student in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program. Adeline joined approximately 34,000 students throughout the nation who received the distinction. Although they will not continue in the 2020 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 scorers of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2020 competition by taking the PSAT qualifying test in 2018.

 

“Those being named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success,” commented a spokesperson for the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. “These students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation. We hope that this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success.”

 

Congratulations, Adeline, on your well-deserved recognition.

 

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

Two Mount St. Mary seniors named National Merit Semifinalists

Two students from Mount St. Mary Academy have been named Semifinalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Isabella Boyd ’20 and Anna Palmer ’20 are among the 16,000 Semifinalists who represent the top one percent of the Class of 2020 nationwide. Over 1.5 million juniors across the country entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program competition by taking the PSAT qualifying test last fall.

 

These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring, according to a news release from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

 

Steps in the 2020 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 and extracurricular involvement throughout high school while also earning SAT or ACT scores that confirm their earlier performances on the qualifying test. They must also be endorsed and recommended by a high school official.

 

National Merit Scholarships

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2020. 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 220 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their specified criteria. In addition, about 180 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,100 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

 

Congratulations to Isabella and Anna!

 

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 junior named Women’s Hall of Fame “Girl of Distinction”

For the third straight year, a Mount St. Mary student received the distinct honor of being named a “Girl of Distinction” by the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame. Brynne Johnson ’21 was one of five young women chosen from area high schools to attend the 2019 Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony held on Thursday, August 29, at the Statehouse Convention Center in downtown Little Rock. According to the organization, the students selected for this honor serve in leadership positions, maintain high academic standards and strive to make their communities a better place.

 

The Girls of Distinction were invited to meet the members of the fifth 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. Stephanie Verdaris ’18 was named a Girl of Distinction in 2017, and America Alejandri ’20 and Annie Quo ’19 received the recognition last fall.

 

“It’s been absolutely incredible,” Brynne said of her experience with the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame. “Being one of the five Girls of Distinction is such an honor, and I am so grateful to all those who have supported me and given me this wonderful opportunity. I am truly blessed with the new friendships I have made with the other girls and for the chance to get to know all the extraordinary inductees this year.”

 

Brynne is very involved at Mount St. Mary Academy. She serves as business manager for the yearbook and vice president of Latin Club. She is also a Mountie Messenger student ambassador and member of Beta Club and Mu Alpha Theta. Brynne is active in the community, as well, serving as a member of the 2019-2020 class of the Above and Beyond Sweetheart Leadership program and volunteering her time at Baptist Medical Center.

 

The goal of the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame is to honor women whose contributions have influenced the direction of Arkansas, preserve the history of their accomplishments and provide women encouragement and inspiration. The Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, founders of Mount St. Mary Academy, were honored as members of the second class of inductees in 2016. Former Mount St. Mary president and CEO, Karen Flake ’65, was inducted in last year’s Hall of Fame class.

 

Congratulations, Brynne, on this wonderful honor. Your Mount St. Mary family is 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 Honors Student-Athletes and Coaching Staff

More than 350 guests gathered at the DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Little Rock on Monday, May 13, to honor and celebrate Mount St. Mary Academy’s 196 student-athletes during the school’s annual Athletic Banquet.

 

Coaches introduced their respective teams during the event and presented the traditional awards for each player based on her years of participation. First-year players received a certificate and keepsake with their graduation year, second-year players were given a MSM letter and symbol of the sports in which they played, third-year players received the coveted white sweatshirt with their name and sports monogrammed on the sleeves, and fourth-year players were gifted a wooden memento box engraved with their athletic accomplishments.

 

A handful of special awards were presented during the banquet, as well:

 

  • Sr. Phillipa Athletic Award: Ava Fischer ’19
  • Sr. Phillipa Parent Award: Michelle Kaelin
  • Sr. Phillipa Memorial Scholarship: Karina Brockwell ’19 and Yesica Reyes Vasquez ’19
  • Mary Drake Award: Ashley Suffridge ’19
  • Purple Heart Award: Anya Ranaraja ’19
  • Manager of the Year: Caroline Martine ’19 and Alicia Sustaita ’19
  • Passionate Athlete Award in Honor of Marilyn Lenggenhager: Catherine Althoff ’20 and Catalina Williams ’21
  • Vassar-West Scholarship: Katie Kaelin ’21
  • Most Valuable Freshman Award: Millie Allgood ’22
  • Most Valuable Belle: Anya Ranaraja ’19

 

Twenty-seven student-athletes were recognized as Four-Year Scholars, having participated in athletics for all four years of high school and graduating with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. Annie Quo, Madi Perreault and Ashley Suffridge were awarded the Top Scholar Athlete Award for maintaining the highest academic average while also participating in the athletic program at Mount.

 

MSM Athletic Director Marilyn Lenggenhager honored the coaching staff at the event, as well, and paid special tribute to five coaches who are retiring from their coaching duties this year: Marissa Blair, Brendan Britt, Lindann Blair Day, Jennifer Herzog and Lane West.

 

Congratulations to all of this year’s hard-working and dedicated student-athletes and their coaches. We are proud of you and all you do for Mount St. Mary and its athletic 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.

Class of 2019 Honored, Inducted Into MSM Alumnae Association at Senior Recognition Ceremony

The MSM Alumnae Association gained 122 new members at the Senior Recognition Ceremony on Thursday, May 16. Attended by MSM families and alumnae relatives, the ceremony honored the accomplishments of the senior class and inducted the Class of 2019 into the MSM Alumnae Association.

 

Sixty percent of the senior class earned the academic status of Honor Graduate and received a gold cord to wear at graduation. The top honor graduates awarded were: 1st honor graduate Angel Sagardui, 2nd honor graduate Anna Kate Manchester, 3rd honor graduate Sophie Chier, 4th honor graduate Sophie Bravo, and 5th honor graduates Madison Perrault, Annie Quo and Ashley Suffridge. Earlier in the ceremony, Annie, who will be attending the Naval Academy, was also awarded the Ronald Reagan Leadership Medal for modeling uncompromising discipline, reliability and integrity and demonstrating drive, humility and service before self.

 

Eleven students were recognized for having participated in the rigorous AP Capstone program of study and received a purple and white cord to wear at graduation: Alison Allgood, Sophie Chier, Audrey Cummins, Brooke Hall, Emma Harter, Sarah Huber, Cati Johnson, Sam Kagy, Anna Kate Manchester, Angel Sagardui and Kennedy Stevens. Additionally, Emily Ellis and Lindsey Taylor were recognized for their completion of the AP Seminar and Research certificate.

 

Wesley Burney received the 2019 Principal’s Award, given to one outstanding senior each year who has consistently demonstrated a Christian attitude, academic achievement, school pride and loyalty, service to others, and a total commitment to achieving her best during her time at the Mount. Wesley was also honored for having achieved perfect attendance for all four years at the Mount – making her one of just three students who’ve accomplished this feat in the last 24 years.

 

Three MSM students were honored for receiving recognition by the National Merit Program. Bekka Ureta was selected as a National Merit Finalist, receiving a $2,500 National Merit Scholarship from 3M. Anna Kate Manchester was selected as a National Merit Semifinalist, and Sophie Bravo was selected as a National Merit Commended Student. Each of these young women represent the top four percent of the more than 1.6 million students who entered the National Merit competition by taking the PSAT/NMSQT as juniors.

 

A number of honors were awarded from the various academic departments as well as the Flora Bittner Croft Scholarship for MSM students attending Catholic universities and the Judith Wrappe Scholarship for senior art submissions that portrayed a theme of “Justice.” Recipients of this year’s Flora Bittner Croft Scholarship were Caroline Barnhill, Sophie Chier, Brooke Hall, Julia Jansen, Cameron King, Jennifer Mines and Tyler Noonan. Abby Yanosick was awarded the Judith Wrappe Scholarship.

 

View photos from this year’s Senior Recognition and Alumnae Induction Ceremony at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmDkKYMX.

 

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 Awards, Celebrates Students’ Academic Accomplishments

Mount St. Mary Academy was blessed to award 28 scholarships totaling over $80,000 to students during its annual Underclass Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, May 15, in the McAuley Center Gym. Several donors and other representatives of the various endowed scholarships were in attendance to present the awards to this year’s deserving recipients.

 

Dozens of additional academic honors were also awarded and celebrated. The school’s various academic departments honored the students’ accomplishments in the classroom, and their participation and achievement in clubs, organizations and other activities such as Mu Alpha Theta, National Honor Society and Odyssey of the Mind were recognized, as well.

 

During the ceremony, MSM English teacher Monica Madey ’06 was recognized as this year’s recipient of the John and Patricia Bailey Family Distinguished Teaching Award for exhibiting overall excellence in teaching during the 2019-2020 school year. Mrs. Madey also serves as advisor to the Odyssey of the Mind team and Belle Raisers club at the Mount. Additionally, MSM parent Kim Markland was named Volunteer of the Year for her dedication to supporting the school and its students though her involvement and leadership with the Belle Booster Club and Mercy & Me committee.

 

Congratulations to all of our outstanding students for their academic accomplishments, especially this year’s scholarship recipients:

 

  • McAuley Achievement Award: Abby Caldarera ’20, Anne Marie Coy ’21, Abbey Moore ’21, Paloma Moreno ’20, Emily Roach ’21 and Annie Wendel ’22
  • Sr. Deborah Troillett, RSM ’73 Endowed Scholarship: Sophie Mammarelli ’20
  • Mary Drake Scholarship: Brynne Johnson ’21
  • Spirit of ’95 Scholarship: Anne Lashbrook ’20
  • Class of 2009 SISTER Scholarship: Catherine Althoff ’20
  • Sandra Gueydan Hickey ’66 Scholarship: Naomi Moreland ’20
  • Alana Wolfe Memorial Scholarship: Stacy Torres ’20
  • Wells Summer Engineering Academy Scholarship: Summer Craig ’20
  • Wells Pre-Engineering Scholarship: Cecelia Rech ’20
  • Ma Family Endowed Scholarship: America Alejandri ’20
  • Judith Wrappe Scholarship: Cecilia Ilg ’20, Macy Ramiro ’22 and Emily Roach ’21
  • Evelyn J. Coulter Thomas ’30 Scholarship: Addie Grace Coleman ’20 (for dance), Sam Heck ’20 (for fine literature) and Amelia Ochoa ’20 (for music)
  • Mercy Opportunity Scholarship: Grace Blagg ’20, Isabella Boyd ’20, Anna Palmer ’20, Ava Sanders ’20, Lily Wewers ’20 and Annison Yates ’20
  • Melissa Ma ’98 Endowed Scholarship: Kennedy Fogleman ’20

 

View more photos from this year’s Underclass Awards Ceremony at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmcquH3B.

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

MSM Senior Receives Diocese’s Highest Honor for High School Students

Senior Caroline Martine was honored as one of two recipients of the St. Timothy Award at the Diocese of Little Rock’s annual Catholic Youth Convention on April 5 in Little Rock. The highest honor the diocese can bestow on a graduating high school student, the award recognizes youth who live as a disciple of Christ by setting a positive example for others, exhibit Catholic morals and integrity, demonstrate Gospel values through service to others and are Christian leaders in their parish, school and/or community.

 

Read more about Caroline and the St. Timothy Award in this feature article from the May 11th issue of Arkansas Catholic.

 

Each parish in the diocese is allowed just one St. Timothy nomination. Out of the total parish nominations submitted, only two recipients are chosen to receive this award each year. Caroline was nominated by the church she and her family attends, Christ the King.

 

Congratulations on the well-deserved honor, Caroline! You exemplify living Mercy.

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.

Several MSM Seniors Recognized for Academic Achievement

As the school year winds down this time each year, news announcing the deserving recipients of various awards and honors tends to pick up. Mount St. Mary Academy is proud to have had several members of this year’s graduating class recognized for their academic accomplishments over the past two weeks.

 

In late April it was announced that Anna Kate Manchester was selected as one of 621 semifinalists, and one of only eight semifinalists from the state of Arkansas, to advance to the final round of the 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholarship competition. One of the nation’s highest honors for high school students, the candidates qualifying for the U.S Presidential Scholar award represent excellence in education and the promise of greatness in young people. They are selected annually based on their academic success as well as evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.

 

Sophie Chier and Angel Sagardui were among a group of high school students honored at the Governor’s Scholastic Honors Day on Saturday, April 27, at the Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock. The day serves to recognize Arkansas’ “best and brightest students” and included tours of the mansion and gardens as well as visiting with Governor Asa Hutchinson and the First Lady.

 

Anna Kate, Sophie and Angel were also featured in the May 2019 issue of Little Rock Family. The magazine’s special Head of the Class section recognized dozens of top graduating seniors from Central Arkansas’ public, private and parochial schools and applauded the “superstar scholars” for their achievements.

 

Angel’s academic achievement was honored again on Friday, May 3, this time through Congressman French Hill’s Educational Award Program. Nearly 30 honorees from 16 schools in Arkansas’ 2nd Congressional District were recognized during a special ceremony held at Mount St. Mary with Congressman Hill, who instituted the program in 2015 to recognize students in Central Arkansas who have demonstrated a commitment to academic achievement and community engagement.

 

Finally, Bekka Ureta was named a recipient of a National Merit $2,500 Scholarship, underwritten by 3M, on Wednesday, May 8. Bekka is one of just 21 Arkansas high school seniors, and 2,500 seniors nationwide, to be selected for this prestigious scholarship from a pool of more than 15,000 finalists in the 2019 National Merit program. The finalists in each state are judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

 

We applaud these four graduating seniors for their hard work and academic achievement, and congratulate them on the recent well-deserved recognition.

 

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.

Eight MSM Juniors Selected for AGS Summer Program

Eight Mount St. Mary Academy students are among a select group of rising high school seniors chosen to attend the 40th Arkansas Governor’s School. Founded in 1979 by then-Governor Bill Clinton, AGS is a four-week summer residential program for gifted and talented students that provides a unique supplement to the typical high school curriculum.

 

Eligible students must be nominated by their schools in order to apply for AGS. Students are selected to attend on the basis of their abilities and interests in a particular intellectual discipline or artistic field, and about two-thirds of each student’s class time during the summer program is devoted to this selected area. All students also take classes in General Conceptual Development and in Personal and Social Development.

 

AGS serves up to 400 selected students from around the state. This year’s program will take place from July 7 to August 3 on the Arkansas Tech University campus in Russellville. MSM students who have been chosen to attend include:

 

–  Olivia Alexander, accepted in Social Science

–  Bella Boyd, accepted in Natural Science

–  Audrey Caruthers, accepted in Visual Arts

–  Ireland McNally, accepted in Visual Arts

–  Naomi Moreland, accepted in Natural Science

–  Amelia Ochoa, accepted in Instrumental Music

–  Cecelia Rech, accepted in Cybersecurity

–  Robin Stover, accepted in Drama

 

According to the AGS website, “Students are led to explore cutting-edge theories in the arts and sciences and to develop a greater understanding of how art, culture, and knowledge change with time. Students are challenged to develop the rigorous creative and intellectual skills that will be critical to their leading the ideal ‘life well lived’ and for making positive contributions to their communities and to society at large.”

 

Congratulations to the Mount St. Mary Academy students selected to attend the 2019 Arkansas Governor’s School!

 

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.

Theatre Arts Students Inducted Into International Honor Society

Eleven Mount St. Mary theatre arts students were inducted into the International Thespian Society on Monday, April 15. During the special ceremony held on campus and led by current Thespian members, the inductees pledged to pursue excellence as students of theatre, to perform their best, to accept praise and criticism with grace, to cooperate with fellow thespians and work for the good of the troupe, and to share their love of theatre.

 

“Membership in this international organization is not only a reward for the fine work you have done, but further evidence of your desire to continue to work in this specialized field,” junior Avery Appleton, president of MSM Troupe #8462, said during the ceremony. “As a troupe, your work will contribute to the growth of better theatre in this community, our 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 the Educational Theatre Association and its festivals.

 

The 11 MSM students recently inducted into the International Thespian Society include: Isabella Boyd ’20, Grace Dunaway ’20, Lily Eagan ’20, Fran Edwards ’21, Josephine Fitz ’21, Sophie Mammarelli ’20, Malingo Matute ’22, Lilly Newton ’20, Alexandra Powell ’22, Claire Ryscavage ’19 and Natalie Vailes ’22.

 

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

Senior Soccer Player Commits to Nearby CBC

Family, teammates, friends and coaches filled the McAuley Center gym stage once again on Friday, April 12, to celebrate another member of the Soccer Belles for committing to play at the collegiate level. Mallory Howard ’19 made official her intent to join the Lady Mustangs at Central Baptist College (CBC) in Conway this fall.

 

Mallory began playing soccer when she was just 4 years old. She has competed at the club level since then – most recently with Arkansas United, formerly Little Rock Futbol Club (LRFC) – and played high school soccer for the Belles during all four years at Mount.  She earned All Conference honors her junior year and was also the recipient of the Passionate Athlete Award for her dedication to the sport and her teammates.

 

“I have loved playing at Mount,” Mallory, whose favorite memory is winning the first game in the state tournament last year, said. “It has allowed me to come together with all the different girls I’ve played with and against throughout the years. Mount sports have definitely provided me with life-long friends and family.”

 

The 5-foot-3-inch midfielder also credits her involvement in the sport with giving her the perseverance to overcome challenges both on and off the field. “Soccer has taught me to push through whatever life throws at me,” Mallory said. “Being told I’m ‘too small’ for sports really motivated me to work as hard as I can in every aspect of the game as well as in my life. Throughout many injuries, I have worked hard to come back stronger than before, which I’ve learned to do any time life throws me a curveball.”

 

Those around her are quick to recognize Mallory’s determination, as well. “Mallory is a huge asset to our team. She’s feisty, extremely talented and always gives 110%,” MSM Soccer Coach Stephanie Boccarossa said. “What makes her unique is that she has as much heart as she does talent. She will fight as hard as she can, even if it’s against a girl twice her size.”

 

Chris Murphy, director of soccer operations and head women’s soccer coach at CBC, agreed. “When I coached Mallory as a youth player, I noticed immediately that she possessed a grit and tenacity that far exceeded most her peers, and a maturity as well as a thoughtful nature that I always felt far exceed her years,” he said. “When I took over as the women’s head coach at CBC, hers was one of the first names that came to mind because of those qualities, which I could tell were still very much intact after scouting some of her games. We can’t wait to see what Mallory will do as a Mustang!”

 

Mallory, who also played basketball for the Belles and was selected by her peers as Basketball Homecoming Queen earlier this year, is looking forward to attending school nearby at CBC. She feels academically prepared for college thanks to her time at Mount and is considering majoring in biology or kinesiology in order to pursue a career in physical therapy.

 

“I’m super excited about getting to be a part of the CBC family,” Mallory said. “Academically, CBC is a great school that will provide me with what I need for the future. As far as soccer goes, I can’t wait for the next four years. Coach Murphy was my first coach at LRFC when I was 11, and he has always been one of my favorite coaches.”

 

Mallory is the MSM soccer program’s second senior to sign this year. Team Captain Anya Ranaraja ’19 committed with Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, in February.

 

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

MSM Students Recognized for Artistic Excellence

Sixty Mount St. Mary Academy art students competed at the 2019 Arkansas Young Artist Association (AYAA) Spring Competition and Convention in downtown Little Rock on Wednesday, April 10, where they took home 20 awards for excellence in the visual arts.

 

MSM also students received two of the 10 AYAA scholarships awarded at the event. Seniors Aimsley McDaniel and Abby Yanosick each received a $500 scholarship. Additionally, senior Addie Farquharson was offered a $1,000 scholarship by the Kansas City Art Institute.

 

“The girls did a phenomenal job, and Ms. Holder and I are so proud of the work they put in,” Marianne Nolley, MSM art teacher, said.

 

The students spent months preparing for the annual competition, for which they created approximately 100 works of art in a wide range of mediums, styles and subjects. These works will be on display at Mount St. Mary Academy’s Art Night on Thursday, May 2, at 6 p.m.

 

Congratulations to the following MSM students:

 

– Kendal Betton ’21 – honorable mention in markers

– Bella Boyd ’20 – 1st in abstract oil pastel and 3rd in expressive fiber arts

– Audrey Caruthers ’20 – 3rd in abstract pen and ink

– Charlie Colburn ’21 – 4th in relief printmaking

– Kara Foster ’19 – 2nd in markers

– Caroline Gunderman ’21 – 1st in realistic chalk pastel, 2nd in abstract watercolor and 4th in realism graphite

– Cecelia Ilg ’20 – 1st in intaglio printmaking

– Aimsley McDaniel ’19 – 1st in abstract colored pencil and 4th in color photography

– Mary Helen Owen ’21 – 3rd in abstract oil pastel

– Abigail Pahls ’21 – 4th in expressive watercolor

– Yesica Reyes Vasquez ’19 – 2nd in first year charcoal

– Stephanie Selakovich ’20 – honorable mention in abstract mixed media

– Taylor Sims ’20 – 4th in crafts

– Maria Thomas ’20 – honorable mention in relief printmaking

– Abby Yanosick ’19 – 1st in expressive portraits

– Beatrice Zargari ’20 – 3rd in realistic scratchboard

 

AYAA is a state-wide organization whose mission is to encourage participation in the visual arts by Arkansas students through professional speakers, competitions and exhibition. There are currently over 50 chapter schools and more than 1300 student members in AYAA.

 

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.

Forensics Team Earns Finalist, Semi-Finalist Recognition at State Championship

Fourteen members of the Forensics Breaking Belles represented Mount St. Mary Academy very well at this year’s Arkansas Forensics & Debate State Championship held April 5-6 at North Little Rock High School. Team members placed among the top in a handful of their events, and the group earned semi-finalist recognition in several others.

 

Organized by the Arkansas Communication and Theatre Arts Association, the state championship represents the culmination of the forensics and debate season where hundreds of competitors enter weekend tournaments to compete in the art of oral presentation. Described by some as “competitive acting,” forensics competitions, in particular, include events such as storytelling, poetry, informative speaking or humorous interpretation and improvisation.

 

Top Qualifiers at the 2019 Arkansas Forensics & Debate State Championship:

 

Finalists:

– Karina Singh ’19 and Victoria Volpi ’20, 4th place in duet improv

– Anna Palmer ’20, 4th place in informative speaking

– Anna Farmer ’19 and Karina Singh, 6th place in duo interpretation

– Anna Farmer, 6th place in prose

 

Semifinalists:

– Alexandra Powell ’22, in humorous

– Lily Eagan ’20 and Anna Farmer, in duet improv

– Rachel Klinck ’22, Sophia Lehman ’22, Bri Moseley ’19 and Karina Singh, in prose

 

Other students who qualified to compete in events at the state championship include: America Alejandri ’20, Avery Appleton ’20, Mia Aquino ’22, Malingo Matute ’22 and Amalie Shollmier ’19.

 

We congratulate our Forensics Team on a very successful season!

 

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.

Latin and Spanish Students Participate in State Language Competition

Nineteen Mount St. Mary Academy Latin and Spanish students traveled to Conway on Saturday, March 30, to participate in the 2019 Arkansas Foreign Language Teachers Association State Language Competition held at Hendrix College. The Latin students’ proficiency in the classical language earned them multiple awards at the competition.

 

Poetry Recitation:

Level 1:  Macy Ramiro ’22, 1st place; Abbie Thompson ’22, 2nd place; Conner Hale ’22, 3rd place

Level 2:  Ginger Cyr ’21, 1st place; Sarah Alvarez ’21, 3rd place

Level 3:  Robin Stover ’20, 2nd place; Anne-Marie Elser ’20, 3rd place

 

Culture Bowl:  Robin Stover, 1st place; Anne-Marie Elser, 2nd place; Blythe Bozeman ’21, 3rd place

 

Extemporaneous Reading:

Level 1:  Macy Ramiro, 1st place; Abbie Thompson, 2nd place; Conner Hale, 3rd place

Level 2:  Ginger Cyr ’21, 1st place; Sarah Alvarez, 3rd place

Level 3:  Allison Toomer ’20, 2nd place; Anne-Marie Elser, 3rd place

 

Vocabulary Bee:

Level 1:  Olivia Coppens ’22, 1st place; Conner Hale, 2nd place; Macy Ramiro, 3rd place

Level 2:  Grace Barnett ’21, 3rd place

Level 3:  Kaitlin Tarini ’20, 3rd place

 

Other students attending the competition include:  Emmalee Bills ’21, Eleanor Blakely ’22, Fran Edwards ’21, Carmen Gomez de Avila ’22, Chloe Gourde ’21, Zelenka Herts ’22 and Vanessa Torres ’22.

 

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

Odyssey of the Mind Team Headed to World Finals

Congratulations to the MSM Odyssey of the Mind (OM) team, who placed first at the state competition in North Little Rock on Saturday, March 30. With its first-place win, the team will advance to the OM World Finals held at Michigan State University May 22-25 where it will compete with teams from countries around the world.

 

This year’s team chose to solve the problem “Leonardo’s Workshop”, which challenged the students to develop and present a performance that tells an original story about Leonardo da Vinci that takes place within the famous Italian painter’s workshop and features pieces of his work. The team’s extraordinary creativity and problem-solving skills earned them top scores for their performance and in the Style and Spontaneous portions of the competition. For the second consecutive year, the team also won a coveted Ranatra Fusca Creativity Award, which is presented to a team or individual for demonstrating outstanding creativity. Only three were awarded at this year’s state competition.

 

Mount St. Mary Academy has participated in the international creative problem-solving program for more than 20 years. Since 1999, the MSM team has regularly been awarded first or second place in regional and state competitions. This marks the eighth straight year the school’s OM team has advanced to the World Finals.

 

We wish these talented girls the best as they represent MSM and Arkansas on the international level next month: Emily Delfos ’19, Abby Yanosick ’19, Isabella Boyd ’20, Audrey Caruthers ’20, Anna Palmer ’20, Josie Fitz ’21, Emily VanEcko ’21 and Mary Owen ’21 (manager).

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.

Choral Ensembles and Forensics Team Advance to State Competitions

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

 

Once again the Concert Belles were recognized as being among the very best at this year’s regional Choral Performance Assessment on March 8. They scored all superior ratings and were awarded a Division I plaque, which qualified the choral ensemble for the Arkansas Choral Directors Association State Festival on April 9.

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Mount St. Mary Academy Senior Named National Merit Finalist

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

 

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

 

Congratulations, Bekka!

 

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

Two MSM Students Honored for Commitment to Service

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

Mount St. Mary Teams See Success at Regional Competitions

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

Annual Spirit Banquet Honors MSM Cheerleaders and Rockettes

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Varsity Cheer Awards:

Team Player: Gracie Connell ’21

Above and Beyond: Beatrice Zargari ’20

Most Passionate: Kennedy Phillips ’19

Transformation: Megan Jennings ’19

Squad Choice / Best All Around: Kennedy Phillips ’19

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

 

Freshman Cheer Awards:

Squad Choice: Anna Falcon ’22

Most Improved: Carson Sanders ’22

Coach’s Award / Leadership: Mimi Baldwin ’22

 

Rockettes Awards:

Best Dancer: Addie Grace Coleman ’20

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

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

Rockette of the Year: Addie Grace Coleman ’20

Silver Pom: Ashley Henry ’19

 

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

 

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

 

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

Two MSM Juniors Chosen for All-State Choir

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

MSM Senior Signs with Rhodes Soccer

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

MSM Thespians Compete in State Festival

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

MSM Theology Teacher Selected for Border Immersion Experience

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Two MSM Students Return From International Dance Competition With Gold

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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.

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.

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.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.”

 

 

 


 

 

 

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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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).

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

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!

 


 

 

 

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.”

 


 

 

 

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!

 

 


 

 

 

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.

 


 

 

 

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)

 


 

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

 

 


 

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!

 


 

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.

 

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!

 

 

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.

 

MSM Science Teacher Wins Stephens Award

Mount St. Mary Academy science instructor Marcella Melandri received the Stephens Award by the City Education Trust at a reception on Monday, April 24. Eight high school seniors and five teachers from Little Rock schools were recipients of the 2017 Stephens Awards, which recognize teachers and students with $5,000 scholarships to outstanding students and $8,000 cash awards to selected instructors.

 

Ms. Melandri has been teaching for the past nine years at the Mount, where she has taught Biology, Honors Biology and IB Biology. She also co-sponsored the HoneyBelles team that won first place in the Lexus Eco Challenge, a national STEM competition, and she has accompanied students on trips abroad.  Congratulations, Ms. Melandri!