Monthly Archives: May 2023

2023 Commencement celebrates 100 graduates

The Mount St. Mary Academy Class of 2023 received their diplomas and officially graduated from high school during this year’s Commencement Ceremony on Monday, May 22, at Robinson Center in downtown Little Rock. Per tradition, the young women wore white gowns and long gloves, and carried a single red rose, as they processed in through an audience of family members and friends and onto the stage.


The 100 graduates, admitted to nearly 100 colleges and universities, collectively received over $15.7 million in scholarship offerings and will be attending 35 different institutions of higher education across 16 states and two continents this fall. Additionally, this year’s graduating class completed nearly 10,000 hours of community service for the greater Little Rock community during its junior and senior years.


Msgr. Lawrence Frederick, affectionately known as Fr. Fred, delivered the commencement address. He encouraged the graduates to remain faithful and be mindful of their relationship with Jesus as they enter this next chapter of their lives because it would be the most important relationship.


Fr. Fred was introduced by Fourth Honor Graduate Caroline Dean. Fifth Honor Graduates Madeline Dalton, Kathryn Morris and Eliza Spellins offered the invocation, and Third Honor Graduate Anna Alyse Patterson presented the class essay. The valedictory address was given by First Honor Graduates Megan Denery and Erin Strickland.


Bishop Anthony B. Taylor presented the diplomas as MSM Head of School Sara Jones and MSM Assistant Principal Robin Johnson announced each graduate, her honors, and the college she will attend. The three were joined on stage by Theresa Goshen Hall ’78, Arkansas Catholic Schools superintendent, and Donna Chachere ’83, MSM Academy Board of Directors president-elect. The evening concluded with graduates singing the alma mater together one final time as a class.


View photos from this year’s Commencement Ceremony at


Congratulations, Class of 2023! We celebrate you and look forward to seeing all you continue to accomplish as women of wisdom, compassion and integrity.

Numerous scholarships awarded during Underclass Awards Ceremony

Mount St. Mary Academy was blessed to award 24 scholarships totaling more than $67,500 to students during its annual Underclass Awards Ceremony on Thursday, May 18, in the McAuley Center Gymnasium. Several donors of the endowed scholarships were in attendance to help present the awards to this year’s deserving recipients, which made the event even more special.


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 Student Council, yearbook, newspaper, the fine and performing arts, and Odyssey of the Mind were recognized, as well.


During the ceremony, Amber Pruss ’07 was recognized as this year’s recipient of the Bailey Family Distinguished Teaching Award for exhibiting overall excellence in teaching during the 2022-2023 school year. In addition to teaching math courses at MSM, Coach Pruss serves as the assistant coach for the Freshman Mounties volleyball team and as advisor to the Diversity Club.


Congratulations to all of our outstanding students for their academic accomplishments, especially this year’s scholarship recipients (in order of appearance during event):


  • McAuley Achievement Award: Danielle Chenault ’25, Cassie Clark ’25, Elizabeth Hunter ’24, Isabella Nguyen ’25, Eliza Jane Null ’24, and Carson Vogelpohl ’26
  • Sr. Deborah Troillett, RSM ’73 Endowed Scholarship: Abby Whittaker ’24
  • Mary Drake Scholarship: Sarah Siria ’25
  • Spirit of ’95 Scholarship: Clara Principe ’24
  • Class of 2009 SISTER Scholarship: Amaria Love ’25
  • Sandra Gueydan Hickey ’66 Scholarship: Lyla Tong ’24
  • Alana Wolfe Memorial Scholarship: Kennedy Griffin ’24
  • Wells Pre-Engineering Scholarship: Savannah Eanes ’24
  • Judith Wrappe Scholarship: Lindsey Morris ’25 and Savvy Straessle ’24
  • Jennifer Boccarossa Music Scholarship: Maya Johnson ’25
  • Evelyn J. Coulter Thomas ’30 Scholarship: Ella Burdine ’24 (for music), Hannah Day ’24 (for dance) and Elizabeth Hunter ’24 (for fine literature)
  • Annalisa “Magdalena” McClendon Travel Grant: Bri Boggs ’24
  • Bella Brown “THINK” Scholarship: McKenzie Shipe ’24
  • Melissa Ma ’98 Endowed Scholarship: Sarah Beth Thomas ’24
  • Ma Family Endowed Scholarship: Zashenka Cervantes ’24


We also wish to thank the many donors who have so graciously created these endowed scholarships to assist students. In addition to the ones presented during the Underclass Awards Ceremony, additional scholarships totaling more than $39,000 were given to seniors during the Senior Recognition Ceremony on May 17, and several others will be awarded during Mercy Day later this fall. In all, approximately $105,000 in scholarships will be provided to students for the 2023-2024 school year.

Class of 2023 accomplishments highlighted at Senior Recognition Ceremony

Mount St. Mary Academy held its Senior Recognition Ceremony on Wednesday, May 17, in the McAuley Center Gymnasium. The annual event, one of the final opportunities for the Class of 2023 to gather together before graduation, honored the individual and collective academic accomplishments of this year’s 100 seniors.


Seventy-four percent of the Class of 2023 earned the academic status of Honor Graduate, having earned a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher, and received a gold cord to wear at graduation. The top honor graduates awarded were: 1st honor graduates Megan Denery and Erin Strickland, 3rd honor graduate Anna Alyse Patterson, 4th honor graduate Caroline Dean, and 5th honor graduates Madeline Dalton, Kathryn Morris, and Eliza Spellins.


Nine seniors were recognized for having participated in the rigorous AP Capstone program of study and received a purple and white cord to wear at graduation: Kendall Cronkite, Megan Denery, Maya Henry, Millie Ketcher, Anna Mammarelli, Belle Mentgen, Kathryn Morris, Anna Alyse Patterson, and Erin Strickland. Additionally, Savannah Snape was recognized for her completion of the AP Seminar and Research certificates.


Mille Ketcher received the 2023 Head of School’s Award, given to an 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 Mount St. Mary.


Madeline Dalton and Anya Ratycz were honored for receiving recognition by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation based on their PSAT performance their junior year. They were two of just 14,000 seniors nationwide to be selected as a National Merit Finalist in 2023.


Several honors were awarded from various academic departments and organizations as well as the Flora Bittner Croft Scholarship for MSM students attending a Catholic university. The recipients of this year’s Flora Bittner Croft Scholarship were Yaretzi Carranza and Brooke Lee.


Fifty seniors, half the graduating class, were recognized for their fine example in maintaining the highest standards of character, leadership, service and academic excellence as members of National Honor Society. Additionally, 63% of the Class of 2023 was honored for its participation in Beta Club, a national organization that emphasizes achievement, character, and service.


We celebrate the many wonderful academic accomplishments of the Class of 2023!