Category Archives: School News

Two MSM seniors named National Merit Semifinalists

Madeline Dalton ’23 and Anya Ratycz ’23 have been named Semifinalists in the 68th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. High school juniors across the country entered this year’s scholarship competition by taking the PSAT qualifying test last fall. As two of the highest-scoring entrants in Arkansas, Madeline and Anya join the group of academically talented high school seniors – representing less than one percent of the Class of 2023 nationwide – that has the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,250 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million that will be offered next spring.

 

Next Steps in the 2023 Competition

To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the Semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a school official, write an essay, and earn SAT or ACT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

 

From over 16,000 Semifinalists, more than 15,000 are expected to be announced as Finalists in February. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.

 

National Merit Scholarships

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2023. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 950 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 180 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their specified criteria. In addition, about 160 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 3,800 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

 

The National Merit Scholarship winners of 2023 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join nearly 368,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.

 

Congratulations to Madeline and Anya!

MSM junior honored by College Board National Recognition Programs

The College Board has named Sofia Theodore ’24 a recipient of the National African American Recognition Award and the National Hispanic Recognition Award for her outstanding academic accomplishments in high school and on College Board assessments. She is among the 62,000 students from across the country who received academic honors from at least one of the organization’s four recognition programs in August 2022.

 

In addition to granting academic honors that can be included in college and scholarship applications, the College Board National Recognition Programs create a pathway to higher education for academically competitive underrepresented students by meaningfully connecting them to colleges and universities across the country through Student Search Service. This College Board service allows institutions to identify awardees and conduct intentional, tailored outreach to them based on their Recognition Program award.

 

More than 180,000 students from all 50 states were eligible to apply. Students must have a GPA of 3.5 or higher and have excelled on the PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10, or earned a score of 3 or higher on two or more AP Exams. They must also identify as African American or Black, Hispanic American or Latinx, Indigenous, and/or attend high school in a rural area or small town.

 

The College Board initially launched the National Hispanic Recognition Program 38 years ago to increase access to higher education for academically competitive Latino students. Research showed that awarded students who also opted into Student Search Service had improved college enrollment and received additional funding. The first program’s success led College Board to expand the Recognition Programs in 2019 to include African American Recognition, Indigenous Recognition, and Rural/Small Town Recognition.

 

Congratulations, Sofia, on this wonderful honor!

OM team wins runner-up trophy at 2022 World Finals

The Mount St. Mary Academy Odyssey of the Mind team placed 2nd at the 2022 World Finals, besting 43 of the top teams in the world to earn the runner-up spot. This year’s event took place May 25-28 at Iowa State University in Ames. Though the school’s team regularly advances to and performs well at the final competition each year, this is the highest it’s ever placed.

 

“The MSM team navigated this year’s musical production problem, which was challenging in its own right, alongside quarantines and shifting timelines in order to produce a solution that not only merited the world stage, but won it. They earned 2nd place overall in their problem and division, surpassing 43 of the best teams from around the world,” said Monica Madey ’06, MSM English teacher and one of the team’s coaches. “In the 20+ years that Mount has brought teams to the World Finals, this is the best result we have ever achieved, and I could not be more proud of this group. They have shown grace, resilience, and above all, creative problem solving at every turn. They deserve this recognition.”

 

The OM team’s division in the 2022 World Finals included a total of 45 teams from 18 states and two countries. In solving this year’s problem, the team members had to create a biographical musical about a historic figure who deserves more recognition. The group chose to share the story of London printer Elizabeth Nutt. Their skit, carefully crafted over months of hard work since the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, included special effects, movement of scenery and several original songs. In addition to performing the skit, the OM team also competed in an improvisational component at the event.

 

Mount St. Mary Academy has participated in the international creative problem-solving program promoting teamwork, STEM and the arts for more than 20 years. This marks the 11th straight year the school’s OM team has advanced to the world competition. Last year’s team finished 6th overall in the 2021 event, which was held virtually due to COVID-19. It earned a spot in the 2022 World Finals after placing 2nd in its division at the State Tournament in April.

 

Watch the moment the team is named the 2nd place finisher during this year’s World Finals Award Ceremony at https://youtu.be/RwlX7X27r34. (Scroll to 47:20 in the video.)

 

Congratulations to members of our 2021-2022 OM team for their amazing talent and for making history at this year’s final competition: Isabel Jara ’22, Lucy Nimmo ’22, Anna Polk ’23, Clara Principe ’24, Macy Ramiro ’22, Kimberley Sorsby ’24 and Sofia Theodore ’24 as well as managers Caroline Cash ’25 and Hannah Pruitt ’24. The team is coached by Deborah Baldwin, MSM Academy board member, and Monica Madey.

 

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.

108 diplomas awarded at 2022 Commencement

The Mount St. Mary Academy Class of 2022 received their diplomas and officially graduated from high school during this year’s Commencement Ceremony on Tuesday, May 24, 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 108 graduates, admitted to nearly 100 colleges and universities, collectively received over $13 million in scholarship offerings and will be attending 37 different institutions of higher education across 15 states this fall. Additionally, this year’s graduating class completed 8,823 hours of community service for the greater Little Rock community during its junior and senior years, proving that “living Mercy” remained a priority even through the challenges of a global pandemic.

 

Donna Chachere ’83, business systems developer at UAMS and adjunct professor at UA Little Rock, delivered the commencement address. After praising their perseverance through the challenges of the past few years, Ms. Chachere encouraged the graduates to “spread a little of your Mount St. Mary experience to your new communities” by continuing to serve those in need and continuing to always show Mercy – to others and to themselves. She also reminded the young women to trust God’s direction for their lives. “I know most of you have a plan for the future. As Mount Girls, we are prepared. But be accepting of God’s plan also,” she said. “Sometimes what we may perceive as a failed plan is really God leading us to a better conclusion.”

 

Ms. Chachere was introduced by Third Honor Graduate Lucy Nimmo. Fourth Honor Graduate Savanna Hindman offered the invocation, and Second Honor Graduate Sydney England presented the class essay. The valedictory addresses were given by First Honor Graduates Millie Allgood and Eleanor Lewis.

 

Bishop Anthony B. Taylor presented the diplomas as MSM President Pattie Davis and MSM Principal Sara Jones 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 Susie Whitacre, MSM Academy Board of Directors chair. 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 https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjzSkfS.

 

Congratulations, Class of 2022! We celebrate you and look forward to seeing all you continue to accomplish as women of wisdom, compassion and integrity.

 

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 principal named head of school

Sara Jones, current principal at Mount St. Mary Academy, has been selected to serve as the school’s first head of school, effective June 1, 2022. The newly ratified position replaces that of the president as the chief leadership role at the 171-year-old all-girls Catholic high school.

 

“On behalf of the Mount St. Mary Academy Board of Directors, I am honored to announce the selection of Sara Jones as the new head of school,” said Board Chair Susie Whitacre. “Having served as principal and assistant principal for the last seven years, Sara is the best person to lead the Mount community into our historic school’s next exciting chapter. She has shown exceptional leadership skills during her time at Mount and exemplified the Mercy values so vital for this important role.”

 

As head of school, Jones will work with three boards of directors connected to the school (the Mercy Education Board, the Academy Board and the Foundation Board) as well as Mount St. Mary Academy’s administrative team to foster an environment of excellence in all operations that is centered in Catholic tradition and guided by the school’s rich heritage of Mercy education. She will be responsible for the effective day-to-day management of the school, for ensuring the provision of academic leadership and strategic vision, for maintaining a financially sustainable organization, and for upholding the quality of the overall student experience.

 

“We know Sara will uphold the Sisters of Mercy tradition of developing young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic faith, and she will use her energy, wisdom and strength to continue to create the best academic experiences possible for all of our students,” Whitacre said. “Our Board fully supports Sara Jones, and we are grateful for her acceptance of this key leadership role.”

 

Mount St. Mary Academy is a sponsored ministry of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas and is a member of Mercy Education, which includes 55 schools in six countries and one territory. Jones’ selection as head of school comes with the backing of both organizations.

 

“We have great confidence in Sara as she steps into her new role at Mount St. Mary Academy. Her demonstrated commitment to Mount’s mission and to integrating the Mercy charism, including the Mercy values and Critical Concerns, into the everyday life of the school lays a strong, faith-filled foundation for her future service to the school community,” said Sister Lisa Griffith, RSM, executive director of Mercy Education.

 

Before being named Mount St. Mary Academy’s principal in June 2019, Jones served as assistant principal at the school for four years beginning in June 2015. She has worked in various administrative and teaching roles in Catholic education in Arkansas for nearly 20 years. Jones earned a Master of Arts degree in teaching in 2013 and an Educational Specialist degree in August 2015, both from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. She is also an Arkansas licensed K-12 Building Level Administrator. Mrs. Jones and her husband, Larry, are members of St. Theresa Church in Little Rock. Their son, Adam, is a rising sophomore at Catholic High School.

 

“I am truly honored to receive this opportunity,” Jones said of her new role. “Mount St. Mary Academy is a phenomenal institution, as evidenced by her 171-year presence in Little Rock. It’s very exciting to be given the chance to help lead MSM into the future while continuing to work together with this special community. I am incredibly blessed.”

 

Jones will succeed Dr. Pattie Davis, who has served as president of Mount St. Mary Academy since June 2019, as the school’s top administrator. Dr. Davis announced to the Mount community earlier this spring that she would not be returning at the end of the 2021-2022 school year. She was named the new Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Baton Rouge in Louisiana in March.

 

(PHOTO CREDIT: Jason Masters)

 

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.

More than $100,000 in scholarships awarded during Underclass Awards Ceremony

Mount St. Mary Academy was blessed to award 26 scholarships totaling nearly $104,000 to students during its annual Underclass Awards Ceremony on Thursday, May 19, in the McAuley Center Gym. Donors of several 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, Rachel McLemore was recognized as this year’s recipient of the Bailey Family Distinguished Teaching Award for exhibiting overall excellence in teaching during the 2021-2022 school year. In addition to teaching social studies courses at MSM, Ms. McLemore is the Sophomore Class Sponsor, coaches the Cross Country Belles and Quiz Bowl team, and serves as advisor to several students organizations, including Model UN, Students of Color Alliance and Young Changemakers 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: Elizabeth Hunter ’24, Amaria Love ’25, Kathryn Morris ’23, Lindsey Morris ’25, Isabelle Nguyen ’25 and Eliza Spellins ’23
  • Sr. Deborah Troillett, RSM ’73 Endowed Scholarship: Lilli Brooks ’23
  • Mary Drake Scholarship: Eliza Jane Null ’24
  • Spirit of ’95 Scholarship: Sarah Rounsaville ’23
  • Class of 2009 SISTER Scholarship: Belle Mentgen ’23
  • Sandra Gueydan Hickey ’66 Scholarship: Autumn Moss ’23
  • Alana Wolfe Memorial Scholarship: Millie Ketcher ’23
  • Wells Pre-Engineering Scholarship: Megan Denery ’23
  • Wells Summer Engineering Academy Scholarship: Savannah Eanes ’24
  • Judith Wrappe Scholarship: Cat Michaels ’23, Savvy Straessle ’24 and Ann Marie Nguyen ’25
  • Jennifer Boccarossa Music Scholarship: Annabelle Owen ’25
  • Evelyn J. Coulter Thomas ’30 Scholarship: Gabriella Angtuaco ’23 (for music), Chloe Chandler ’23 (for fine literature) and Grey Parrish ’23 (for dance)
  • Annalisa “Magdalena” McClendon Travel Grant: Madeline Dalton ’23
  • Bella Brown “THINK” Scholarship: Belle Mentgen
  • Melissa Ma ’98 Endowed Scholarship: Emely Gonzalez ’23
  • Ma Family Endowed Scholarship: Julieanne Brown ’23

 

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 $38,000 were given to seniors during the Senior Recognition Ceremony on May 18.

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 2022 accomplishments highlighted at Senior Recognition Ceremony

Mount St. Mary Academy held its Senior Recognition Ceremony on Wednesday, May 18, in the McAuley Center Gymnasium. The annual event, one of the final opportunities for the Class of 2022 to gather together before graduation, honored the individual and collective academic accomplishments of this year’s 108 seniors.

 

Seventy-four percent of the Class of 2022 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 Millie Allgood and Eleanor Lewis, 2nd honor graduate Sydney England, 3rd honor graduate Lucy Nimmo, and 4th honor graduate Savanna Hindman.

 

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: Millie Allgood, Rebecca Besier, Sydney England, Abigail Garmon, Savanna Hindman, Eleanor Lewis, Lucy Nimmo, Veronica Simon and Abigail Thompson. Additionally, Katherine Meeks and Isabel Wilcox were recognized for their completion of the AP Seminar and Research certificates.

 

Rosa Rivera received the 2022 Principal’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.

 

Sydney England was honored for receiving recognition by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation based on her PSAT performance their junior year. She was one of just 14,000 seniors nationwide to be selected as a National Merit Finalist in 2022.

 

A number of honors were awarded from various academic departments and organizations as well as the Flora Bittner Croft Scholarship for MSM students attending a Catholic university and the Judith Wrappe Scholarship for the senior art submission that best portrayed the theme of “We Are Stronger Than We Know.” Recipients of this year’s Flora Bittner Croft Scholarship were Haley Draeger, Rosa Rivera and Mary Claire Thomas. Emma Villiger was awarded the Judith Wrappe Scholarship.

 

Fifty-one seniors, nearly 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, 57% of the Class of 2022 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 2022!

 

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.

Closing Prayer Service honors senior class on final day

On Monday, May 9 – the seniors’ last day of high school – Mount St. Mary Academy honored and bid farewell to the Class of 2022 during the Closing Prayer Service. The special all-school celebration, held in the McAuley Center gymnasium, included parting words from teachers, administration, and students, as well as a video highlighting memorable moments from the school year.

 

Near the end of the Closing Prayer Service, the soon-to-be alumnae took part in the fourth and final tradition experienced by all Mount students prior to their Commencement: the presentation of the graduation tassels. Students receive their Mercy cards in 9th grade, Mercy pins in 10th grade, and class rings in 11th grade. The graduation tassels presented at the end of the students’ final year at Mount mark the completion of their academic and spiritual development during the four years of high school.

 

After singing the alma mater together one final time on campus, the seniors exited the McAuley Center through an honor guard made up of faculty and staff. The special procession served as an appropriate bookend to the seniors’ experience, for the class walked through an honor guard of students as freshmen being welcomed into the MSM community during the Opening Prayer Service at the beginning of their ninth grade year. This is the only other time during the school year the honor guard takes place.

 

For their last day of school, per a relatively new tradition at Mount, seniors wore college shirts along with the iconic MSM houndstooth skirts decorated with the mascots, symbols, and colors of the colleges and universities they’ll be attending this fall. The group enjoyed showing off the creative and colorful attire, and taking pictures with each other and their younger classmates, during the all-school Pizza on the Plaza lunch earlier in the day.

 

View photos from the Closing Prayer Service at https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjzQcPi.

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 juniors selected for acclaimed summer programs

A handful of rising seniors have been selected to participate in two of Arkansas’ most well-known summer programs for high school students this year.

 

Grace Carman, Mary Mayo and Ella Schafer have been chosen attend the 79th session of Arkansas Girls State based on their leadership, character, scholarship and participation in service. This year’s session will be held May 29 to June 3 at Harding University in Searcy. Since 1942, the Arkansas Girls State program has worked to teach future generations of Arkansas citizens to be actively involved in their communities and government at every level.

 

Additionally, Chloe Chandler, Madeline Dalton, Caroline Dean and Lily Harrison are among the group of gifted and talented students from across the state who have been invited to attend this year’s Arkansas Governor’s School. Founded in 1979 by then-Governor Bill Clinton, AGS is a four-week summer residential program for select rising seniors that provides a unique supplement to the typical high school curriculum. Students are led to explore cutting-edge theories in the arts and sciences and to develop the creative and intellectual skills necessary for making positive contributions to their communities and to society at large. This year’s program will take place from July 5 to August 1 on the Arkansas Tech University campus in Russellville.

 

Congratulations to the Mount St. Mary Academy students selected to attend these wonderful summer programs!

 

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 hosts annual Athletics Banquet

Nearly 300 guests gathered at the DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Little Rock on Wednesday, May 4, to honor and celebrate Mount St. Mary Academy’s sports teams, student-athletes and coaching staff 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, 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.

 

The recipients of a handful of special awards, which are selected by MSM athletic staff, were also announced during the banquet. This year’s winners include the following:

 

Msgr. Keany Award: Izzy Todd ’22

Donnie Bridges Award: Kate Raborn ’22

Sr. Phillipa Athletic Award: Sydney England ’22

Sr. Mary Phillipa Parent Award: Melanie Grace

Sr. Phillipa Manning Memorial Scholarship: Mia Aquino ’22

Mary Drake Award: Elizabeth Kehner ’23

Purple Heart Award: Savanna Hindman ’22 and Millie Ketcher ’23

Tri Belle Award: Kate Raborn ’22

Vassar-West Scholarship: Abigail Britt ’24

Clem Papineau Legacy Award: Elea Blakely ’22 and Katherine Meeks ’22

Marilyn Lenggenhager Passionate Athlete Award: Emery Horras ’23 and Josie Landrum ’22

Sara Fritz Outstanding Student Athletic Training Award: Autumn Moss ’23 and Abbie Thompson ’22

Manager of the Year: Mackenzie Edwards ’23 and Brooke Lee ’23

Most Valuable Freshman Award: Anna Kate Suffridge ’25

Most Valuable Belle: Millie Allgood ’22

 

Twenty-four 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. Millie Allgood and Eleanor Lewis 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 Lane West honored the coaching staff at the event, as well, and paid special tribute to Beth Pursley who is retiring at the end of the school year. Mrs. Pursley coached soccer and cross country during a large part of her 22 total years at MSM.

 

Congratulations to all of this year’s hard-working and dedicated student-athletes and their coaches.

 

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.

2022-2023 MSM Student Council elected

Mount St. Mary Academy held elections for its 2022-2023 Student Council on Tuesday, April 26, and Wednesday, April 27. Congratulations to next year’s newly elected officers:

 

Student Body President: Anna Mammarelli

 

Senior Class President: Shelby Coleman
Senior Class Vice President: Eliza Spellins
Senior Class Officers: AnnaRose Boone, Grey Parrish and Melody Small

 

Junior Class President: Alison Gambill
Junior Class Vice President: Eliza Jane Null
Junior Class Officers: Ashley Adams, Isabella McConnell and Abby Whittaker

 

Sophomore Class President: Amaria Love
Sophomore Class Vice President: Isabel Duch
Sophomore Class Officers: Grace Edwards, Isabella Nguyen and Naldy Ramos

 

“I’m so excited for the group of girls elected to serve as next year’s student council! They will be a great group.” Noël Gieringer, MSM English teacher and student council sponsor, exclaimed. “It is such a brave thing to stand up in front of your classmates and give a speech, and I’m so proud of every student that ran this year.”

 

Next year’s student body president echoed Ms. Gieringer’s excitement. “I’m so grateful that I have the opportunity to be a leader for my school, and I want to do everything I can to ensure each student and staff member has an engaging and progressive year,” Anna Mammarelli said. “Next year’s Student Council was pretty much guaranteed to be a success, as each candidate had so much to offer. I’m really looking forward to working alongside the elected group and hope to see us consolidate current issues, as well as implement new ideas that will benefit the school and our community.”

 

As the elected representatives of the student body, Student Council members traditionally help coordinate and promote school events while also overseeing the execution of class projects to assist in furthering the mission of Mount St. Mary. The group coordinates the school’s large-scale canned food drive, Robin Hood Days, each fall. Its huge success year after year is a testament to Student Council’s leadership, hard work and enthusiasm.

 

Officers for the freshman class will be elected later this fall.

 

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 2023 receives senior rings

The Mount St. Mary Academy Class of 2023 participated in the time-honored tradition of receiving their senior rings at Christ the King Church on Sunday, April 24. Following the call to worship by their classmate, Alexis Coy, the juniors celebrated Mass with their families in preparation of becoming next year’s leaders.

 

MSM Chaplain Msgr. Lawrence Frederick blessed the rings at the end of the special Mass. Then, as homeroom teachers announced all 108 names in the Class of 2023, each young woman stood and was presented her senior ring by a family member. The rings will not only serve as a symbol of the group’s class unity and leadership, but also as an important reminder to live Mercy every day.

 

Congratulations to next year’s leaders, the Mount St. Mary Academy Class of 2023!

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, alumna honored by Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame

Mount St. Mary Academy was well represented at the sixth annual Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony held Wednesday, April 20, at the Statehouse Convention Center in downtown Little Rock. Millie Allgood ’22 was recognized as one of five Girls of Distinction during the event. Additionally, Amy Rossi ’71 was among the eight women and two organizations comprising the latest class of Hall of Fame inductees.

 

As one of this year’s Girls of Distinction, Millie was provided the unique opportunity to meet the 2022 inductees and help escort them to the stage during the ceremony. According to the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame, the five high school students chosen for this honor each year serve in leadership positions, maintain high academic standards and strive to make their communities a better place.

 

“Being a Girl of Distinction was such an inspiring yet humbling experience,” Millie said of her recent honor. “I was so grateful to meet and hear the stories of women who persevered through challenges and barriers to achieve their dreams. Their advice and insight was truly life changing. I was deeply humbled to be nominated among a group of such unique and successful young women. I am so blessed to have found both friendship and inspiration from my fellow honorees, and I hope in the future we may all follow in the footsteps of the inductees.”

 

Millie is very involved at Mount St. Mary. She is a member of Beta Club, Mu Alpha Theta, National Honor Society, Campus Ministry, and the Mountie Messengers student ambassador program. She also serves as a student athletic trainer and was captain of the Belles varsity volleyball and basketball teams this year. Millie, who currently ranks first in her class, will join the Honors College at Texas A&M University-Commerce this fall where she is committed to playing volleyball for the NCAA Division I Lions.

 

The Girls of Distinction program was implemented in 2017, and since then Mount St. Mary has had at least one student chosen each year young women have been selected. Stephanie Verdaris ’18 was honored in the inaugural class in 2017, America Alejandri ’20 and Annie Quo ’19 received the recognition in 2018, and Brynne Johnson ’21 was named a Girl of Distinction in 2019. The program took a two-year hiatus while the induction ceremony was postponed in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID.

 

Mount St. Mary Academy was also proud to have an alumna and former student body president, Amy Rossi, inducted into the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame during this year’s ceremony. Amy was recognized in the latest class of honorees for her impactful advocacy work on behalf of Arkansas’ children and families. She worked at Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families for 23 years, 15 of them as executive director, before continuing to impact the state’s healthcare landscape at the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement and then at AFMC, from which she retired in 2015. Amy’s hard work and dedication led to the development of ARKids First, a health insurance program that has provided coverage for thousands of children across the state since its inception in 1997. Click here to read her detailed bio featured on the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame website.

 

The goal of the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame is to honor, in perpetuity, women whose contributions have influenced the direction of Arkansas in their community or the state. It is dedicated to preserving the history of its inductees’ accomplishments and to providing encouragement and inspiration to women across the state by sharing their powerful stories. 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 2018.

 

We congratulate Millie and Amy on this wonderful and 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.

MSM student, teacher win prestigious Stephens Award

Sydney England ’22 and CAPT Scott Pursley are among the seven Little Rock high school seniors and six teachers who have been named recipients of the 2022 Stephens Award by The City Education Trust in honor of their outstanding achievements. This year’s program provided $5,000 scholarships to the students and $5,800 cash awards to selected instructors. Recipients were honored during a ceremony and reception on Monday, April 18, at the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce AT&T Auditorium.

 

Sydney was named a Finalist in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Competition in February. She is currently enrolled in six AP courses at MSM and is ranked third in her class. Among her many accomplishments, she is co-captain of the varsity volleyball team, vice president of the Spanish Club, and a three-year member of Mu Alpha Theta, Beta Club, Quiz Bowl, and the Mountie Messengers student ambassador program. Last year Sydney served on the team of students, faculty, and staff that drafted the school’s new Honor Code, and she now serves as a representative on the inaugural Honor Council.

 

“I was very excited to hear I won a Stephens Award,” Sydney said of her most recent honor. “My dad received the award when he was in high school, so it was cool to feel like I was keeping with tradition.”

 

CAPT Pursley is in his first year of teaching at Mount St. Mary Academy, having previously taught at eStem Public Charter High School for five years. He currently teaches science courses, including AP Physics, AP Chemistry, and Honors Chemistry. Additionally, he has helped reinstate and energize the school’s Robotics Club, which had been inactive for several years.

 

Prior to entering the teaching profession, CAPT Pursley served as a founding and principal partner in a business strategy consulting firm, working with clients such as Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, PepsiCo, and Georgia-Pacific. Having graduated from the United States Naval Academy, he also served many years and numerous roles in the U.S. Navy.

 

“I was surprised, then pleased, and finally humbled after I heard the news,” CAPT Pursley said of his reaction to receiving this year’s Stephens Award. “I am grateful that I have a small role in Mount St. Mary Academy’s excellent learning community.”

 

Congratulations, Sydney and CAPT Pursley!

 

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

Mount St. Mary celebrates Dinner Belles’ success

Nearly 300 Mount St. Mary Academy alumnae, parents, faculty, staff and friends filled the McAuley Center gymnasium on Saturday, April 9, for Dinner Belles 2022: Belles in Blue Jeans. The biennial dinner and auction raised more than $110,000 for the school, including over $20,000 for tuition assistance alone during the event’s paddle raise at the end of the night.

 

Since its inception in 1985, Dinner Belles has been a special time for friends of Mount St. Mary Academy to enjoy an evening of camaraderie, good food, and friendly bidding. The event’s committee, chaired by MSM parent Deanna Hildebrand, worked tirelessly for months leading up to the April fundraiser to ensure a fun and memorable night for all in attendance. Inspired by its Western theme, guests at this year’s Dinner Belles enjoyed a barbecue meal catered by Corky’s Ribs & BBQ prior to the start of the live auction. Emmy Award-winning auctioneer Mark Schroeder added to the energy and excitement as the evening’s special guest emcee.

 

Mount St. Mary Academy wishes to thank everyone who helped make Dinner Belles 2022 such an incredible event. The school is especially grateful for the event’s many generous sponsors – including the presenting sponsor, CHI St. Vincent – and gift-in-kind donations.

 

Proceeds from Dinner Belles benefit the annual giving campaign at Mount St. Mary Academy, which supports tuition assistance, student programs, technology and facility improvements, faculty compensation, and more. This year marked the first time the nearly 40-year tradition has been held in person since 2018. It was postponed and then ultimately presented virtually in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

View photos from Dinner Belles 2022 at https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjzKo7d.

 

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 once again advances to World Finals

This year’s MSM Odyssey of the Mind team placed 2nd in their division at the State Tournament in Mayflower on Saturday, April 9. The achievement earns the group a spot in the 2022 World Finals May 25-28 at Iowa State University in Ames where it will compete with other qualifying teams from countries around the world.

 

In solving this year’s problem, the OM team had to create a biographical musical about a historic figure who deserves more recognition. The group chose to share the story of London printer Elizabeth Nutt. Their skit, carefully crafted over months of hard work since the beginning of the school year, included special effects, movement of scenery and several original songs. In addition to the skit component, the OM team also competed in an improvisational component at the State Tournament.

 

Mount St. Mary Academy has participated in the international creative problem-solving program promoting teamwork, STEM and the arts 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 11th straight year the school’s OM team has advanced to the World Finals. Last year’s team finished 6th overall in the final competition, which was held virtually due to COVID-19.

 

We wish these talented girls the best as they represent MSM and Arkansas on the international level next month: Isabel Jara ’22, Lucy Nimmo ’22, Anna Polk ’23, Clara Principe ’24, Macy Ramiro ’22, Kimberley Sorsby ’24 and Sofia Theodore ’24 as well as managers Hannah Pruitt ’24 and Caroline Cash ’25. The team is coached by Deborah Baldwin, MSM Academy board member, and Monica Madey ’06, MSM English teacher.

 

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 Concert Belles score big at State Festival

The Mount St. Mary Academy Concert Belles received some of the highest scores of all performers at the Arkansas Choral Director Association’s 2022 State Festival in Bryant on Wednesday, April 6, which earned the choral ensemble another Division I – Superior plaque to add to their wall of awards.

 

The highest score possible at the event is 100. According to MSM Choral Director Chelsea Allman, the Concert Belles received two 95s and a 98 from this year’s judges. “I am so proud of our young musicians,” Mrs. Allman said. “They sang advanced repertoire and rehearsed for months to make their songs as perfect as possible.”

 

This year’s event included 125 of Arkansas’ most talented choirs. To receive a Division I – Superior rating at the State Festival represents “the finest possible performance for the event…worthy of the distinction of being recognized as among the very best,” according to the ArkCDA’s website.

 

The Concert Belles qualified for the statewide event by receiving all Division I – Superior ratings at their annual Choral Performance Assessment earlier in March. Additionally, the four-member Harmony Belles, another choral ensemble at Mount St. Mary Academy, received a Division II – Excellent rating at the Choral Performance Assessment.

 

“To have received a Division II – Excellent rating at CPA is a great accomplishment, especially considering there are only four Harmony Belles this year and most of them have little to no choir experience,” Mrs. Allman said. “They were wonderful!”

 

Congratulations to Mrs. Allman and our 2021-2022 choral ensembles:

 

Concert Belles: Gabriella Angtuaco ’23, Ella Burdine ’24, Kylie Byrne ’25, Olivia Cordell ’22, Layne Edwards ’23, Vivian Fischer ’23, Maya Johnson ’25, Gracie Limmer ’22, Aubree McCullough ’24, Belle Mentgen ’23, Grace Moody ’24, Kathryn Morris ’23, Mari Negrete ’22, Isabella Nguyen ’25, Grey Parrish ’23, Sophia Parrish ’22, Elizabeth Pellicciotti ’22, Clara Principe ’24, Anya Ratycz ’23, Camilla Ricaurte ’22 and Natalie Vailes ’22

 

Harmony Belles: Bella Angtuaco ’25, Rhea Fitts ’25, Elvira Huerta ’25 and Sarah Siria ’25

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.

International Thespian Society welcomes 10 new members

Ten Mount St. Mary Academy theatre arts students were inducted into the International Thespian Society on Friday, April 8. 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,” Malingo Matute ’22, vice 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.

 

Congratulations to Mount St. Mary Academy’s newest inductees and members of MSM Troupe #8462: Brianna Boggs ’24, Elizabeth Darnold ’24, Hope Harvey ’25, Maya Johnson ’25, Mary Mayo ’23, Lindsey Morris ’25, Isabella Nguyen ’25, Annabelle Owen ’25, Anna Polk ’23 and Kimberley Sorsby ’24.

 

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 makes history at state championship

Five members of Mount St. Mary Academy’s Forensics Team were named finalists at the 2022 Arkansas Forensics and Debate State Championship held April 1-2 at Bentonville West High School. Alex Powell ’22 won 1st place in humorous interpretation, making her this year’s state champion in the event. Other top finishers included Rachel Klinck ’22, 2nd place in prose; Anna Mammarelli ’23, 3rd place in prose; and Lizzy Darnold ’24 and Kimberley Sorsby ’24, 5th place in duo interpretation. Additionally, Malingo Matute ’22 was named a semifinalist in prose.

 

This is the first time in recent school history that Mount St. Mary Academy has had a finalist higher than 4th place at the state competition as well as the first time the school has ever had a state champion in an event.

 

A total of 10 of the Forensics Team’s 13 members were eligible to compete based on their performance at qualifying events earlier in the year. Other students participating in this year’s state championship include: Sophia Brannon ’22, poetry; Mary Mayo ’23, poetry; Annabelle Owen ’25, prose; and Emma Palmer ’22, prose. The team is coached by Jenny Moses, MSM theatre and forensics instructor and Arts Department chair.

 

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.

 

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.

Belles tour Texas during annual College Trip

Eighteen Mount St. Mary students, along with two staff members, spent February 23-26 touring a handful of college campuses in Texas during the school’s annual College Trip. The four-day road trip – which included visits to a total of seven universities in the Lone Star State – provided students with the opportunity to explore a variety of campuses, speak with school admissions representatives, and learn about some of the different postsecondary options that exist in the region.

 

“Despite the weather, we had a really great trip this year,” Whitney Smotherman ’03, MSM college counselor, said. “I think all of the girls really enjoyed getting a peek into college life and learning about the differences that exist from campus to campus. They left the experience with a better idea of what size, type, and overall culture they prefer for college.”

 

Melissa Angtuaco’s daughter, Gabriella ’23, participated in this year’s trip. She agreed the experience was a worthwhile one. “It really helped Gabriella understand what she is looking for in a college and what it means when you describe a college type, such as different campus settings and sizes – especially seeing firsthand the benefits and drawbacks of larger or smaller schools and the level of resources available,” she said. “It was a very useful trip and offered a great bonding experience with some classmates.”

 

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

 

This year’s itinerary included visits to the following schools, all to which MSM students regularly apply and are accepted: Texas A&M University, Texas State University, St. Edward’s University, University of Texas at Austin, Baylor University, Southern Methodist University, and Texas Christian University. During the last trip in 2020, students visited campuses in Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

 

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 counseling director named Counselor of the Year

Amy Owens, director of counseling at Mount St. Mary Academy, has been chosen as this year’s Central Region High School Counselor of the Year by the Arkansas School Counselor Association (ArSCA). The award honors Mrs. Owens’ outstanding performance, advocacy and leadership in the field of school counseling. She will be recognized as a regional winner at this summer’s ArSCA conference in Hot Springs and is eligible to advance to the state-level Counselor of the Year competition.

 

Eden Coker, freshman counselor at Mount St. Mary, and Whitney Smotherman, the school’s college counselor, nominated Mrs. Owens for the honor. In their nomination letter, they highlighted their colleague’s many contributions to the school and praised Mrs. Owens’ dedication to her students. “She is the most passionate counselor we have had the pleasure of working with, and after 15+ years in the profession, she continues to advocate for the profession and for all students,” they said. “She has created a culture where counselors are stakeholders in the decisions that guide our school. Serving on major committees [at Mount St. Mary], she is a voice for our students in all that she does.”

 

During her 10 years at Mount St. Mary, Mrs. Owens has been instrumental in building a comprehensive counseling program that now includes targeted support in freshman transition and postsecondary planning as well as a learning services coordinator and testing center. She has helped spearhead the development of the MSM Wellness Center, Honor Council, Mental Health Club, and Prepare U mental health curriculum at the school. Most recently, Mrs. Owens completed more than two years of outside training through Central Arkansas Pet Partners to be able to incorporate a therapy dog in her work with students. Oliver, a four-year-old Goldendoodle, joined the counseling team this past fall.

 

In addition to heading the Counseling Department at Mount St. Mary, Mrs. Owens also serves as the 10th-12th grade counselor. Her positive impact on her students and the rapport she has established are illustrated in the following statement a senior student provided for Mrs. Owens’ Counselor of the Year nomination: “Mrs. Owens is the most amazing person in the world! She is the easiest person to talk to and really listens and validates what you feel. Then she gives you options that will make the situation better and puts the ball in your court. Mrs. Owens is not going to fix the problem for you, but lets you take control of your success by giving you the perfect advice for any challenge you are facing.”

 

Congratulations on the well-deserved recognition, Mrs. Owens, and thank you for all you do for our school and our students!

 

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 shine at State Festival

Fourteen members of the MSM Thespian Troupe recently traveled to Jonesboro for the 2022 Arkansas Thespian Festival, held February 10-12. The students participated in interactive workshops, competed in a variety of theatrical performance and technical theatre challenges, and networked with other theatre students and teachers from across the state. The event also included opportunities to audition for college scholarships as well as earn bids to this summer’s International Thespian Festival at Indiana University in Bloomington.

 

Three MSM Thespians earned Superior ratings for their performances: Rachel Klinck ’22 and Grey Parrish ’23 in the category of Solo Musical Theatre, and Anna Mammarelli ’23 for Solo Acting. The achievement qualified them to compete for a coveted National Thespy award at the International Thespian Festival in June. Three additional students received Excellent ratings at the event: Sophia Brannon ’22 in Solo Acting, and Alex Powell ’22 and Camilla Ricaurte ’22 in Solo Musical Theatre.

 

Troupe members celebrated several other accomplishments during the three-day event. Rachel and Malingo Matute ’22, were named to the All State Cast and Crew, respectively. Madison Taschetti ’22 was recognized as a 2022 Honor Thespian. Sophia, Hope Harvey ’25 and Piper Hayes ’22 placed third in the Scenic Design challenge. The troupe also received Outstanding Original Script and Outstanding Ensemble awards for its one-act, Welcome Home. Finally, Rachel, Anna, Alex, Grey and Camilla all received college scholarship offers totaling more than $108,000.

 

Others MSM students participating in this year’s Arkansas Thespian Festival include: Mari Negrete ’22, Isabella Nguyen ’25, Emma Palmer ’22 and Natalie Vailes ’22.

 

Congratulations to the MSM Thespians on great weekend in Jonesboro and fabulous season overall!

 

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 achieves National Merit Finalist distinction

Mount St. Mary Academy is proud to announce that Sydney England ’22 has been named a National Merit Finalist in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Competition. Sydney is among approximately 15,000 academically talented high school seniors nationwide who have met all the requirements to advance to Finalist standing and continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 million that will be offered in the spring.

 

About 1.5 million high school juniors entered the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2020 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, included the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

 

This year’s National Merit Scholarship recipients will be selected from the Finalist group on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference. Winners will be announced in stages beginning in April and concluding in July. They will join more than 362,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.

 

Congratulations, Sydney, on this impressive accomplishment!

 

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.

Five Concert Belles chosen for All-State choirs

Five Concert Belles have been selected to the 2022 Arkansas Choral Directors Association All-State choirs, a distinction that sets them apart as some of the top high school choral performers in the state. Congratulations to Grace Moody ’24 (20th chair, Mixed Choir) for earning All-State recognition for the second straight year, and to Maya Johnson ’25 (28th chair, Treble Choir), Gabriella Angtuaco ’23 (29th chair, Treble Choir), Gracie Limmer ’22 (38th chair, Treble Choir) and Isabella Nguyen ’25 (40th chair, Treble Choir).

 

“It is a great honor to make it into All-State, and I am so incredibly proud of these hard-working and dedicated young women,” Chelsea Allman, MSM choral director, said. “Over 9,000 singers competed at the regional and state level this year. All-State consisted of the top 400, so these singers are the best of the best!”

 

As part of this year’s All-State choirs, the five students spent February 17-19 in Hot Springs at the All-State Clinic. They participated in intense rehearsals alongside the state’s other top choral performers, directed by some of the country’s most prestigious and acclaimed choir directors. The event concluded with a public concert on Saturday afternoon showcasing the music the students learned as well as their incredible talent.

 

The Concert Belles, along with the Harmony Belles, will participate in the regional Choral Performance Assessment in March with the hopes of becoming eligible to participate in the ArkCDA’s State Choral Festival in April. The Concert Belles and Harmony Belles each scored all superior ratings and earned the highest scores in the state for their respective categories at the 2021 Festival.

 

Congratulations to this year’s All-State choir members, 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.

Mount St. Mary celebrates Founders Day, 171 years

Saturday, February 5, represented a special day for Mount St. Mary Academy. It marked 171 years since the Sisters of Mercy founded what was originally known as St. Mary’s Academy in 1851, at the request of Arkansas’ first Catholic bishop, Andrew Byrne. Recognized as the oldest continuously operated school in Arkansas, and the third oldest of the secondary schools sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy worldwide, Mount St. Mary Academy has been providing Mercy education to young women in Arkansas ever since.

 

On Monday, February 7, the Mount St. Mary Academy community gathered in the school’s McAuley Center for the annual Founders Day and Sophomore Pin Mass. As students entered the gymnasium, senior Student Council members rang the Angelus Bell 171 times in honor of the school’s 171-year history. The bell was given to the Sisters of Mercy by Bishop Byrne at the school’s first location in downtown Little Rock. At the conclusion of the all-school Mass, the members of the Class of 2024 received their Mercy pins, which serve as reminders to the sophomores to live the Mercy values in their everyday lives.

 

Happy birthday, Mount St. Mary Academy!

 

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 Service Learning Program named Outstanding Volunteer Youth Group finalist

“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 foundress

 

Mount St. Mary Academy’s acclaimed Junior Service Learning Program was honored as one of three finalists for the 2021 Outstanding Volunteer Youth Group by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Arkansas Chapter during its National Philanthropy Day Luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 18, at the Embassy Suites in Little Rock. ACCESS, a longtime partner with the service program, nominated the school for the honor.

 

“We were thrilled to have the opportunity to nominate Mount St. Mary Academy’s Junior Service Learning Program for this award,” Suzanne Carter, assistant director of early childhood at ACCESS, said. “Our longest-running volunteer program, this partnership has enabled ACCESS to further its mission and exposes these volunteers to a variety of possible career opportunities for their futures. We hope this nomination brings awareness to the philanthropic and service-oriented spirit instilled in and shared by the students at Mount St. Mary Academy.”

 

Each year during their theology class periods, juniors at Mount St. Mary Academy collectively devote thousands of service hours volunteering at more than 20 community organizations across central Arkansas, from hospitals and hospice care facilities to schools and nursing homes. This academic year, seniors have also been participating in the service learning program since they were unable to do so last year due to pandemic-related restrictions.

 

“We look forward to having these students on campus each semester,” Carter said. “They are always joyful and eager to learn. As a teacher, volunteers help us better reach our students and give them the skills they need to expand their potential.”

 

The honor is a testament to the impact of Mount St. Mary Academy’s Catholic foundation and traditions of service and mercy, which have inspired young women to make a difference in their communities for 170 years.

 

“We want to thank ACCESS for the nomination and our long-standing volunteer partnership,” Lauren Lawrence, theology teacher and Junior Service Learning Program coordinator, said. “Having the ability to model Catherine McAuley’s true mission of service through our Junior Service Learning Program gives our girls firsthand experience in learning how to put their own wants and needs aside to focus on others. Being nominated for this award reinforces the positive change our girls make in our community.”

 

Buff Easterly, who also teaches theology at Mount St. Mary Academy and is overseeing the seniors’ volunteer efforts this year, echoed her colleague’s sentiments. “Mount was founded by the Sisters of Mercy, who were nicknamed the ‘Walking Sisters’ because they went out into their communities to feed the hungry, care for the sick and provide education. Mount St. Mary Academy has stayed true to that mission, and we are proud to be recognized for our efforts.”

 

According to the AFP Arkansas Chapter’s website, “National Philanthropy Day is a special day set aside to recognize and pay tribute to the impact of philanthropy in the world around us. It’s a day to honor those people active in the philanthropic community who have made our lives, our communities, and our world a better place.”

 

Read more about all three of this year’s Outstanding Volunteer Youth Group finalists 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.

Robin Hood Days shatters goal, collects more than 111,000 cans

Mount St. Mary Academy recently celebrated its most successful Robin Hood Days ever after having to curtail activities surrounding the longstanding tradition last year due to COVID-19. The annual student-led canned food drive collected a total of 111,419 cans and cash equivalent over a four-week period this year, shattering the previous record set in 2019 by nearly 50,000 cans.

 

“I cannot believe how hard these students worked to achieve and far surpass our goals,” Noël Gieringer, MSM English teacher and student council sponsor, said. “After an unusual, simplified can drive last year, it was amazing to see all the new, creative ideas our students used for fundraising. Students not only brought in cans and money, but also came up with events, raffles and other fun ways to encourage their classmates to give. It took the efforts of every grade level to reach this amazing milestone!”

 

Each class met its individual goal of 10,000 cans and cash equivalent before the drive concluded on November 19. The senior class, which more than quadrupled their individual goal, earned bragging rights by collecting the largest amount of cans: 44,365. The junior class, which at one point led the totals, finished a close second with 38,560 cans. With their individual totals this year, the seniors and juniors each beat the school total from 2016.

 

“One of the things that will stick with me from my time at Mount is the spirit of giving – and friendly competition – created during Robin Hood Days,” Ellen Brady ’22, student body president said. “I think we can all agree this is a pretty impactful four-week period, when the entire student body comes together to reach a common goal in order to help the food insecurity problem within our state. This is the power of sisterhood and community.”

 

Savannah Hindman ’22, a three-year student council member, echoed her classmate’s sentiments. “I don’t think I have ever seen the sisterhood as strong as it has been the past few weeks of Robin Hood Days. All of us pulling together to benefit the community in such a huge way and uplifting each other to get the job done has been such an amazing experience. I have never felt so united and so close with my classmates.”

 

For nearly 50 years, Robin Hood Days has helped provide food and monetary donations to local organizations, including Arkansas Foodbank, The Helping Hand of Greater Little Rock, Rice Depot, Union Rescue Mission, Jericho Way, Our House, OXFAM and Catholic Social Services, among others. It is estimated that more than 1 million canned goods have been collected by Mount St. Mary Academy since the event began in 1974.

 

View photos of Mount St. Mary students helping load donated canned goods into the vehicles of this year’s benefiting organizations at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmX9Jd51.

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.

More than 20 Belles selected for All-Region choirs

Congratulations to the young women selected to the 2021 Arkansas Choral Directors Association All-Region choirs. In total, 22 Concert Belles and Harmony Belles earned spots this year. According to the ArkCDA’s website, the selected students represent some of the finest musicians from eligible secondary schools in Arkansas.

 

Most of the Belles who received this special recognition participated in the Region 2 All-Region Clinic at Maumelle High School on Saturday, November 13, where they performed prepared songs and spent time learning new ones.

 

Additionally, 14 students’ performances qualified them to audition for the 2022 All-State Choir on February 4 at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.

 

Congratulations to the following students:

 

Soprano I Mixed

4th chair – Sophia Parrish ’22*

6th chair – Kathryn Morris ’23*

10th chair – Belle Mentgen ’23*

16th chair – Gracie Limmer ’22*

20th chair – Kylie Byrne ’25*

 

Soprano I Treble

32nd chair – Aubree McCullough ’24

 

Soprano II Mixed

2nd chair – Grace Moody ’24*

4th chair – Maya Johnson ’25*

8th chair – Isabella Nguyen ’25*

12th chair – Vivian Fischer ’23*

 

Soprano II Treble

33rd chair – Layne Edwards ’23

38th chair – Maricruz Negrete ’22

 

Alto I Mixed

11th chair – Olivia Cordell ’22*

19th chair – Natalie Vailes ’22*

 

Alto I Treble

25th chair – Camilla Ricaurte ’22

29th chair – Rhea Fitts ’25

 

Alto II Mixed

6th chair – Grey Parrish ’23*

12th chair – Gabriella Angtuaco ’23*

20th chair – Clara Principe ’24*

 

Alto II Treble

38th chair – Ella Burdine ’24

41st chair – Anya Ratycz ’23

43rd chair – Bella Angtuaco ’25

 

*eligible to audition for All-State

 

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 alumnae share knowledge, advice during annual Career Day

Mount St. Mary Academy welcomed 18 alumnae back to campus to share useful advice and details about their career paths with current students at its annual Career Day on Friday, November 5. Students attended up to two sessions where they were able to hear from and ask questions of panels of alumnae representing various fields, including: business, communications, engineering, healthcare, law, non-profit, public service, religious life and the sciences.

 

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

 

We appreciate all of the talented alumnae who volunteered their time as panel speakers this year. You are an inspiration to our young women and such wonderful representatives of your alma mater!

 

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.

England named National Merit Semifinalist

Sydney England ’22 has been named a Semifinalist in the 67th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. High school juniors across the country entered this year’s scholarship competition by taking the PSAT qualifying test last fall. As one of the highest-scoring entrants in Arkansas, Sydney joins the group of approximately 16,000 Semifinalists – representing less than one percent of the Class of 2022 nationwide – that has the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million being offered next spring.

 

Steps in the 2021 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 write an essay and 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 2022. 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 4,000 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

 

Congratulations to Sydney!

 

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.

OM team places sixth in 2021 World Finals

This year’s Odyssey of the Mind team placed sixth overall at the 2021 Virtual World Finals, which concluded on May 29. Though Mount St. Mary Academy’s OM team regularly advances to the world competition, it is the first time in several years that it has placed in the top six.

 

“It’s a big deal, and these girls certainly earned it,” said Monica Madey, MSM English teacher and one of the team’s coaches. “They kept showing up week after week and putting in the work. And when social distancing and periods of quarantine slowed them down, they redoubled their efforts. In short, they have beautifully represented the resilient spirit of our entire student body. I could not be more proud of them!”

 

The OM team’s division in this year’s competition included a total of 56 teams from eight countries and 14 states. In addition to placing among the top in the world, this year’s talented team was chosen as one of only six OMER’s Award winners out of all teams across all divisions participating in the 2021 virtual event. This special award recognizes those individuals, coaches, team members, parents, officials and others who, during the tournament, serve as exemplary examples or role models through their actions or words. It is also bestowed on team members who exhibit exceptional skill and talents.

 

The OMER’s Award judges said the following about Mount St. Mary Academy’s team: “Absolute perfection! From a lifelike animatronic swan to a fully functioning spinning wheel perfect for a storybook land, this team demonstrated exceptional artistic skill and engineering talent on not one, not two, but over six different masterpieces integrated into their time-themed solution. …truly blown away by this team’s timeless talent and sensational solution.” (Click here to read their full statement.)

 

This marks the 10th straight year the school’s OM team has advanced to the world competition. It earned a spot in the 2021 Virtual World Finals after placing first in its division at the State Tournament in April. The team also traveled to Florida to compete in a pared-down in-person World Finals at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando on June 11 and 12. There they placed ninth overall.

 

Congratulations to members of our 2020-2021 OM team for their amazing talent and incredible success in this year’s competitions: Josie Fitz ’21, Caroline Gunderman ’21, Isabel Jara ’22, Belle Mentgen ’23 (not pictured), Lucy Nimmo ’22, Mary Owen ’21, Clara Principe ’24, Macy Ramiro ’22 and Emily Van Ecko ’21. The team was coached by Deborah Baldwin, Monica Madey ’06 and Ilia Bailey McNeal ’06.

 

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.

2021 Commencement returns to Robinson, celebrates 131 graduates

Members of the Class of 2021 officially became Mount St. Mary Academy’s newest graduates during this year’s Commencement Ceremony on Monday, May 24. The special event returned to Robinson Auditorium in downtown Little Rock after having been temporarily moved to the football field at Catholic High School in 2020 due to COVID-19.

 

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 131 graduates, accepted to more than 100 colleges and universities, collectively received over $15 million in scholarship offerings and will be attending 37 different higher education institutions across 16 states this fall. Additionally, this year’s graduating class completed more than 10,000 hours of community service during its junior and senior years, proving that “living Mercy” remained a priority even through the challenges of a global pandemic.

 

Msgr. Lawrence Frederick, affectionately known as Fr. Fred, delivered the commencement address. In the same manner as his homilies, he began his address with a story, which ultimately encouraged each young woman to consider what she will do when faced with adversity in the future. Fr. Fred asked the graduates to rely on their Mercy values to help change their circumstances for the better – just as they’d successfully done during the past year. He also reminded them of these values’ importance in living a truly fruitful life. “If you follow the Mercy values that the school has taught you, you will have a life based upon the four cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, courage and temperance,” Fr. Fred said. “And those virtues will help you develop the person that God wants you to be, the person He intended you to be, and you will be serving Him the best way you can.”

 

Fr. Fred was introduced by Fourth Honor Graduate Sarah Cate Lay. Fifth Honor Graduate Sydney Austen offered the invocation, and Third Honor Graduate Anne Marie Coy presented the class essay, “Don’t You Forget About Me.” The salutatory address, “The Nerd, the Beauty, the Jock, the Rebel, and the Recluse” was given by Second Honor Graduate Brynne Johnson, and First Honor Graduate Chloe Gourde delivered the valedictory address, “Sincerely Yours, The Breakfast Club.” Like the iconic 1985 American teen drama film, The Breakfast Club, each of the top graduates’ addresses celebrated the individual talents of their classmates and their ability to come together as sisters, despite their differences, during their four years at Mount.

 

Bishop Anthony B. Taylor presented the diplomas as MSM President Pattie Davis and MSM Principal Sara Jones announced each graduate and the college she will attend. The three were joined on stage by Theresa Goshen Hall ’78, Catholic Schools superintendent, and Susie Whitacre, MSM Academy Board of Directors chairman. The evening concluded with graduates linking arms and singing the alma mater together one final time as a class.

 

The Class of 2021 chose the following words by Abraham Lincoln for its class quote: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” As strong, confident women of wisdom, compassion and integrity, Mount St. Mary Academy’s newest graduates’ futures are sure to be bright.

 

Visit https://youtu.be/7cvhZltA3nY to view the video of this year’s Commencement Ceremony.

 

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.

Scholarships and academic honors announced during Underclass Awards Ceremony

Mount St. Mary Academy was blessed to present 24 scholarships and awards totaling more than $50,000 during its annual Underclass Awards Ceremony on Thursday, May 20. This year’s event was held virtually and livestreamed across campus for students, faculty and staff to watch from their classrooms and offices.

 

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, Concert Belles and Odyssey of the Mind were recognized, as well.

 

During the ceremony, Susan Moore 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 2020-2021 school year. Mrs. Moore teaches Family and Consumer Science courses at MSM and also serves as advisor to the school’s award-winning Mercian Yearbook.

 

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: Millie Allgood ’22, May Barnett ’24, Ellen Brady ’22, Olivia Coppens ’22, Alexis Coy ’23 and Kathyrn Morris ’23
  • Sr. Deborah Troillett, RSM ’73 Endowed Scholarship: Annie Wendel ’22
  • Mary Drake Scholarship: Megan Denery ’23
  • Spirit of ’95 Scholarship: Mimi Baldwin ’22
  • Class of 2009 SISTER Scholarship: Belle Mentgen ’23
  • Sandra Gueydan Hickey ’66 Scholarship: Ahmaya Graves-Young ’22
  • Alana Wolfe Memorial Scholarship: Ellen Brady
  • Wells Pre-Engineering Scholarship: Phoebe Johnson ’22
  • Judith Wrappe Scholarship: Grace Chastain ’22, Ashley Kassissieh ’24 and Cate Michaels ’23
  • Jennifer Boccarossa Music Scholarship: Belle Mentgen
  • Evelyn J. Coulter Thomas ’30 Scholarship: Sydney England ’22 (for fine literature), Gracie Limmer ’22 (for music) and Isabel Wilcox ’22 (for dance)
  • Bella Brown “THINK” Scholarship: Amaya Graves-Young
  • Melissa Ma ’98 Endowed Scholarship: Haley Draeger ’22
  • Ma Family Endowed Scholarship: Isabel Chaidez ’22

 

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 nearly $40,000 were given to seniors during the Senior Recognition Ceremony on May 19.

 

View the recording of the 2021 Underclass Awards Ceremony at https://youtu.be/ccGyj8sdjyg.

 

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 Recognition Ceremony honors Class of 2021 accomplishments

Mount St. Mary Academy held its Senior Recognition Ceremony on Wednesday, May 19, in the McAuley Center Gymnasium. The annual event, one of the final opportunities for the Class of 2021 to gather together before graduation, honored the individual and collective academic accomplishments of this year’s seniors.

 

Seventy-three percent of the Class of 2021 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 graduate Chloe Gourde, 2nd honor graduate Brynne Johnson, 3rd honor graduate Anne Marie Coy, 4th honor graduate Sarah Cate Lay, and 5th honor graduate Sydney Austen.

 

Fourteen 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: Sydney Austen, Olivia Chambers, Ella Grace Connery, Anne Marie Coy, Savanna Delavan, Fran Edwards, Josie Fitz, Chloe Gourde, Tori Hughes, Brynne Johnson, Sarah Cate Lay, Abbey Moore, Mary Stevens, and Emily Van Ecko. Additionally, Anna Yanosick was recognized for her completion of the AP Seminar and Research certificate.

 

Laysha Cervantes received the 2021 Principal’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.

 

Three MSM students were honored for receiving recognition by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation based on their PSAT performance their junior year. Chloe Gourde was one of just 14,000 seniors nationwide to be selected as a National Merit Finalist in 2021, which earned her a corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship from Raytheon. Additionally, Emily Roach was selected as a National Merit Commended Student, and Sydney Austen was named a recipient of the State Farm Companies Foundation Scholarship awarded by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

 

A number of honors were awarded from various academic departments and organizations as well as the Flora Bittner Croft Scholarship for MSM students attending a Catholic university and the Judith Wrappe Scholarship for the senior art submission that best portrayed the theme of “We Are Stronger Than We Know.” Recipients of this year’s Flora Bittner Croft Scholarship were Emily Roach and Madeline Zachritz. Elise Smith was awarded the Judith Wrappe Scholarship.

 

Seventy-seven seniors, more than 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, 71% of the Class of 2021 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 2021!

 

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 choral ensembles receive top scores at state festival

After the regional Choral Performance Assessment and State Choral Festival were both canceled last spring due to the pandemic, the Concert Belles and Harmony Belles were more than ready to showcase their talent in this year’s Arkansas Choral Directors Association (ArkCDA) events. Their hard work and dedication during a challenging year paid off as both choral ensembles qualified for the 2021 State Choral Festival at which they both scored all superior ratings and earned the highest scores in the state for their respective categories. The 25-member Concert Belles received Best in Class awards for 6A Medium Treble Chorus and 6A Medium Chorus Overall. The smaller Harmony Belles, with just five members, received Best in Class awards for 6A Small Treble Ensemble and 6A Small Ensemble Overall.

 

“I cannot explain just how excited, impressed and proud I am by the success of the Concert Belles and Harmony Belles this year,” said MSM Choral Director Chelsea Allman. “I get to hear these girls soar in class every day, so I am certainly not surprised. However, to have their talent affirmed by trained adjudicators and fellow musicians is incredible.”

 

Both events were held virtually this year, requiring participants to submit audio recordings in lieu of the traditional in-person performances. The Concert Belles and Harmony Belles each submitted two songs in March’s regional Choral Performance Assessment and qualified for the State Choral Festival in April by earning superiors ratings for their entries. The same process applied for the state event, except that the groups were each able to submit recordings for three songs.

 

“What impresses me the most is that these two groups were able to pull this off in the middle of a pandemic,” Allman said. “It has been really hard to make good music happen this year. We did not have a normal rehearsal, performance or procedure, but these girls stepped up despite all of the obstacles. I am especially proud for my senior choir members; they wanted success at CPA and State more than anyone, and they definitely deserved it. I am thrilled they were able to accomplish this and take back a piece of normalcy.”

 

To receive a “Division I – Superior” rating at the State Choral Festival represents “the finest possible performance for the event…worthy of the distinction of being recognized as among the very best,” according to the ArkCDA’s website. The Concert Belles have regularly received all superior ratings and Best in Class awards. However, this is the first year the Harmony Belles, a relatively newer group at Mount St. Mary, have earned such recognition. They advanced to the State Choral Festival for the first time in 2019.

 

Congratulations to Mrs. Allman and our 2020-2021 award-winning, best-in-the-state choral ensembles:

 

Concert Belles: Gabriella Angtuaco ’23, Blythe Bozeman ’21, Lillian Brooks ’23, Olivia Cordell ’22, Anne Marie Coy ’21, Fran Edwards ’21, Layne Edwards ’23, Abby Ellis ’21, Vivian Fischer ’23, Maya Henry ’23, Allie Keene ’21, Caroline Lauer ’21, Gracie Limmer ’22, Patty Logan ’21, Belle Mentgen ’23, Grace Moody ’24, Mari Negrete ’22, Beatrice Nkunga ’23, Cabe Parrish ’21, Grey Parrish  ’23, Sophia Parrish ’22, Elizabeth Pellicciotti ’22, Reilly Principe ’21, Camilla Ricaurte ’22 and Natalie Vailes ’22

 

Harmony Belles: Ella Burdine ’24, Aubree McCullough ’24, Taylor Moore ’24, Neaven Nichols ’23 and Clara Principe ’24

 

In addition to the group accolades, 23 Belles earned All-Region and All-State recognition for their exceptional singing ability this year. According to the ArkCDA’s website, the selected students represent some of the finest musicians in the state.

 

2020-2021 All-State Choir members: Grace Moody, Beatrice Nkunga, Cabe Parrish and Reilly Principe

 

2020-2021 All-Region Choir members: Gabriella Angtuaco, Blythe Bozeman, Olivia Cordell, Anne Marie Coy*, Fran Edwards, Layne Edwards, Abby Ellis, Vivian Fischer, Allie Keene, Gracie Limmer, Patty Logan, Aubree McCullough*, Belle Mentgen*, Mari Negrete, Grey Parrish*, Sophia Parrish*, Clara Principe, Camilla Ricaurte and Natalie Vailes

 

*qualified to audition for All-State Choir

 

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.

Junior Concert Belle Selected for AGS Summer Program

Camilla Ricaurte, a junior at Mount St. Mary Academy, is among the select group of rising high school seniors chosen to attend this year’s Arkansas Governor’s School (AGS), one of the state’s most prestigious academic traditions. 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. A member of the award-winning Concert Belles, Camilla was selected for the program based on her special aptitude in the field of choral music.

 

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 pursue classroom work and reading in General Conceptual Development and in Personal and Social Development.

 

According to its website, “AGS provides highly motivated, creative students with an intellectual atmosphere impossible to sustain in ordinary academic settings. 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.”

 

AGS serves up to 400 of Arkansas’ best students. This year’s program will take place July 5 to August 1 on the Arkansas Tech University campus in Russellville.

 

Congratulations, Camilla, on your selection to the 42nd annual 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.

Class of 2022 celebrates Junior Ring Mass

The Mount St. Mary Academy Class of 2022 participated in the time-honored tradition of receiving their senior rings at Christ the King Church on Sunday, April 25. Following the call to worship by their class president, Ellen Brady, the juniors celebrated Mass with their families in preparation of becoming next year’s leaders.

 

MSM Chaplain Msgr. Lawrence Frederick blessed the rings at the end of the special Mass. Then, as homeroom teachers announced all 112 names in the Class of 2022, each young woman stood and was presented her senior ring by a family member. The rings will not only serve as a symbol of the group’s class unity and leadership, but also as an important reminder to live Mercy every day.

 

After Mass and the presentation of the rings, the rising seniors briefly gathered outside the church for photos and the long-standing tradition of asking family and friends to turn their rings. The turning represents the year of graduation; therefore, for the Class of 2022, the rings were turned 22 times.

 

Congratulations to next year’s leaders, the Mount St. Mary Academy Class of 2022!

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 Elects 2021-2022 Student Council

Mount St. Mary Academy held elections for its 2021-2022 Student Council on Monday, April 19, and Tuesday, April 20. Congratulations to next year’s newly elected officers:

 

Student Body President: Ellen Brady

 

Senior Class President: Lucy Nimmo

Senior Class Vice President: Mimi Baldwin

Senior Class Officers: Lindsey Duran, Savanna Hindman and Brooklyn Holcomb

 

Junior Class President: Anna Mammarelli

Junior Class Vice President: AnnaRose Boone

Junior Class Officers: Megan Denery, Grey Parrish and Eliza Spellins

 

Sophomore Class President: Eliza Jane Null

Sophomore Class Vice President: Kennedy Griffin

Sophomore Class Officers: Ashley Adams, Haven McCormack and Abby Whittaker

 

“This year’s election was unique due to social distancing, but the girls still did a great job with their speeches through Google Meet. I’m so proud of everybody who ran! The student body chose a wonderful group of representatives,” Noël Gieringer, MSM English teacher and student council sponsor, said.

 

Next year’s student body president, Ellen Brady, already has big goals in mind for the group of leaders. “I cannot wait to get started on plans to bring our school back together following a time during which we all felt so far apart,” she said. “My main goal is to ensure that every student at MSM feels hopeful for the upcoming school year and comfortable enough to get involved in the activities that we have missed so much this past year!”

 

As the elected representatives of the student body, student council members traditionally help coordinate and promote school events while also overseeing the execution of class projects to assist in furthering the mission of Mount St. Mary. Officers for the freshman class will be elected later this fall.

 

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.

School’s 170-year history officially recognized by the State Senate

A group of Mount St. Mary Academy students, administrators, staff and alumnae were invited to the Arkansas State Senate meeting on Tuesday, April 6, to attend the presentation of Senate Resolution 10, which officially recognized the school for its 170 years of service to the State of Arkansas. Sr. Deborah Troillett, RSM ’73 opened the meeting with a prayer, which made the occasion even more special. State Senator Missy Thomas Irvin ’89 wrote and filed the resolution.

 

Mount St. Mary Academy celebrated its 170th birthday earlier this year on February 5. Founded in 1851 by the Sisters of Mercy at the request of Arkansas’ first Catholic bishop, Andrew Byrne, it is the state’s oldest continuously operated school.

 

“Be it resolved by the Senate of the ninety-third General Assembly of the State of Arkansas that the Senate recognize and celebrate the one-hundred-seventy-year history of Mount St. Mary Academy and the transformative power of faith and knowledge.” – portion of SR10

 

You may read the special resolution in its entirety at www.arkleg.state.ar.us/Bills/Detail?id=SR10.

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.

OM team wins state tournament, will compete in World Finals

Congratulations to members of this year’s MSM Odyssey of the Mind (OM) team for placing first in their division at the virtual State Tournament on Saturday, April 10. The win earns the group a spot in the 2021 World Finals where it will compete against other qualifying teams from countries around the world.

 

This year’s team chose to solve the problem “OMER and the Beanstalk”, which challenged the students to create a mystical land inspired by selected fairy tales that a youngster character must journey through in order to learn a valuable lesson. They used unique materials like baking soda to create works of art relating to the stories represented. The team’s originality and problem-solving skills earned them high scores for their performance and in the Style and Spontaneous (improvisational) portions of the competition, and ultimately a combined score that topped the charts.

 

Mount St. Mary Academy has participated in the international creative problem-solving program promoting teamwork, STEM and the arts 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 10th straight year the school’s OM team has advanced to the World Finals. Last year’s team finished 13th overall in the final competition, which was held virtually for the first time due to COVID-19.

 

We wish these talented girls the best as they represent MSM and Arkansas on the international level at the upcoming World Finals: Josie Fitz ’21, Caroline Gunderman ’21, Isabel Jara ’22, Belle Mentgen ’23, Lucy Nimmo ’22, Mary Owen ’21, Clara Principe ’24, Macy Ramiro ’22 and Emily Van Ecko ’21. They are coached by Deborah Baldwin, Monica Madey ’06 and Ilia Bailey McNeal ’06.

 

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 chemistry teacher wins Stephens Award

Dr. Marty Perry, a chemistry instructor at Mount St. Mary Academy, has been named a recipient of the 2021 Stephens Award by The City Education Trust. Dr. Perry is one of just six teachers in Little Rock selected to receive a $6,600 cash award recognizing his outstanding and inspirational teaching. Over the past six years, 10 MSM faculty members have earned this prestigious honor.

 

This is Dr. Perry’s second year at Mount St. Mary Academy, where he teaches chemistry classes including Honors Chemistry and AP Chemistry. An active member of the Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) Project, Dr. Perry actively engages his students in the learning process through collaborative teamwork using guided-inquiry materials. He believes they not only effectively learn content through this student-centered instructional approach, but they also develop skills valuable for lifelong learning.

 

“College admission committees and future employers routinely identify the most important student attributes as the ability to effectively communicate (oral and written), think critically, solve complex problems, collaborate with a team, process new information, and manage time and resources,” Dr. Perry stated in the essay that accompanied his award application. “Students in POGIL and other active learning settings intentionally work on the development of these skills every day in the classroom.”

 

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Dr. Perry also coaches the Belles’ golf team and serves on the team of students, faculty and staff that is drafting Mount St. Mary Academy’s new Honor Code. He previously taught at St. Louis College of Pharmacy for three years and at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia for 18 years.

 

“I am honored to be recognized among all the other outstanding faculty we have at MSM,” Dr. Perry said. “It is a privilege to work in an environment that actively engages students in learning and is supported by colleagues and administration.”

 

Congratulations, Dr. Perry!

 

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 college counselor chosen for Counselors That Change Lives award

Emily Coffey, college counselor at Mount St. Mary Academy, has been named one of this year’s Counselors That Change Lives. The award, given by Colleges That Changes Lives (CTCL), recognizes those whose dedication to the college counseling profession reflects the mission of the nonprofit organization: to promote and support a student-centered college search process.

 

Ms. Coffey, now in her third year at Mount St. Mary, is one of 12 recipients from across the country to receive this award in 2021. She is also the first college counselor from an Arkansas high school to be honored since the program began in 2009. Admission staff at CTCL-member colleges and universities nominate counselors who are committed to students and their success not only during their college search, but throughout their entire high school career and beyond.

 

“These counselors work with students and their families to ensure they are thoughtful about their college choices – developing a list of schools that will cultivate their strengths, help them improve in challenging areas, and offer students a transformative college experience, all leading to successful personal and professional lives,” said Maria Furtado, CTCL executive director. “The type of work Ms. Coffey is doing is truly changing lives and upholding the ideal of a student-centered college search.”

 

Ms. Coffey was nominated by Emily Kohler, senior assistant director of admission at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia. “I have seen firsthand how Ms. Coffey gently pushes her students to thoughtfully reflect on their time at Mount St. Mary,” Kohler said. “This self-reflection often leads to conversations about what they have benefitted from during their time in high school and where they have found the most success. These intentional conversations, not judgement sessions, are particularly helpful in bridging the gaps between the more familiar big name schools and those that could just be a better overall fit for the student.”

 

Prior to her role as college counselor at Mount St. Mary, Ms. Coffey served as an admission counselor for her alma mater, CTCL-member school Hendrix College in Conway. It’s no surprise that her undergraduate experience there informs her work at Mount today.

 

“I loved my time as a student at Hendrix because they saw each of us as a ‘someone’ and gave us what we needed to see ourselves that way, too,” she said. “When I help students search for colleges, I try to show them that it’s so much more than student clubs, majors, brand name recognition and athletics. What we are trying to do is find them a college home that gives them enough support to succeed, and enough of a push to get them to the person we know they can become.”

 

Her nominator shared similar sentiments regarding the impact of Ms. Coffey’s college experience and acknowledged its influence in the college counselor’s success during the past year in particular. “Ms. Coffey intimately knows the benefits of an education that is student focused and pushes students to grow and self-reflect throughout their lives,” Kohler said. “Her thoughtful and insightful way of thinking, likely encouraged during her liberal arts education at Hendrix, was also evidenced in her work during the current pandemic. She helped coordinate multi-school attendance at virtual visits from college representatives, helping students outside Mount St. Mary expand their college-search horizons.”

 

“Receiving this award means the world to me,” Ms. Coffey said. “At their core, CTCL schools are all about changing students’ lives via student-centered experiences. Many years ago when I was searching for my college, my dad read the CTCL book and designed an ambitious road trip for us to visit several of the featured schools. How cool that I now do the same thing for my students! Not only do I owe CTCL thanks for this humbling and meaningful award, but also for the book that led me to Hendrix and my career in higher education.”

 

Congratulations, Ms. Coffey, and thank you for your exemplary work counseling and partnering with Mount St. Mary students throughout their college search.

 

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’s art wins second place in Thea Foundation competition

For the second year in a row, a Mount St. Mary Academy senior’s talent has been recognized by one of Thea Foundation’s annual scholarship competitions. Caroline Gunderman ’21 placed second and won a $3,500 scholarship in the nonprofit arts organization’s 2021 Visual Arts Scholarship Competition this month. Her winning artwork, a colorful painting titled Reflection, represents Caroline’s interpretation of this year’s competition theme: “What it means to be me.”

 

According to Thea Foundation, 126 Arkansas high school seniors entered this year’s Visual Arts Scholarship Competition. Only 10 students were selected as winners of scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $4,000. Livvie Falcon ’20 won the ninth place $2,000 scholarship in the same competition in 2020. Additionally, Sophie Mammarelli ’20 was awarded a $2,500 Editing Scholarship in last year’s Thea Foundation Film Scholarship Competition. At the end of its competitions this year, Thea Foundation will have awarded 472 scholarships for a total of approximately $2.5 million to Arkansas high school students.

 

“Caroline is one of those art students that you can count on to wow you with her work,” Jenny Holder, MSM art teacher, said. “She is exceptionally talented, yet is always open to guidance and to putting in the work. She absolutely deserves this scholarship.”

 

This isn’t the first time Caroline’s talent has been acknowledged and rewarded in a statewide competition. In May 2020, she was named the second place winner in Congressman French Hill’s Congressional Art Competition. A month earlier, she received Governor Asa Hutchinson’s top award – the Governor’s Award – in the Governor’s Young Artist Competition.

 

Congratulations to Caroline and all of this year’s Thea visual arts scholarship recipients!

 

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 awarded QuestBridge Match Scholarship

Mount St. Mary Academy senior, Emily Van Ecko, has been awarded a full four-year scholarship through the 2020 QuestBridge National College Match program.

 

Emily was one of 6,885 students who were selected as finalists out of an application pool of more than 18,500 in this year’s college match program. Of those finalists, she was one of 1,464 matched to a QuestBridge partner and one of 25 selected nationally for admission to Hamilton College. She will attend the private liberal arts college in Clinton, New York, on a generous scholarship package covering the full cost of attendance for four years, including tuition, room and board, books and supplies, and travel expenses.

 

“When I opened my results, I was stunned and started crying,” Emily said of her initial reaction to learning she had been named a Match Scholarship Recipient. “It was so surreal that I kept refreshing to page to make sure it wasn’t a mistake. I am so excited and look forward to making the most of this wonderful opportunity.”

 

“We are so proud Emily was selected to receive a prestigious QuestBridge Match Scholarship,” Emily Coffey, MSM college counselor, said. “Her love of learning and asking questions, desire to understand material, commitment to activities in our school and community, and genuine personality certainly made her application stand out.”

 

QuestBridge, a national nonprofit based in Palo Alto, California, connects the nation’s most exceptional high school seniors from low-income backgrounds to some of the nation’s top colleges. Its 42 college partners include top liberal arts colleges such as Amherst, Hamilton, Pomona, Swarthmore and Williams and exceptional research universities such as Columbia, MIT, Princeton, Stanford and Yale. Students must demonstrate high academic achievement that meets or exceeds the admissions standards of the partner colleges; they are selected as finalists based on their academic, financial and extracurricular credentials. This year’s recipients come from 48 states, including the District of Columbia, as well as the territories of Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico.

 

“The achievements of our 2020 Match Scholarship Recipients are particularly exceptional in the midst of a year marked by challenging circumstances,” said Ana McCullough, CEO and co-founder of QuestBridge. “The fact that our college partners awarded a record number of scholarships this year bolsters our hope for a brighter, more equitable future.”

 

More information about the program may be found on the QuestBridge website at www.questbridge.org/.

 

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

Robin Hood Days 2020 a success despite COVID-19

The results are in, and this year’s Robin Hood Days total is (drumroll, please)… 48,892!

 

Our annual schoolwide canned food drive may have looked a bit different in 2020, but that didn’t stop our community from stepping up to ensure its success. Thank you to our MSM faculty, staff, families and friends – and especially our wonderful, resilient and service-minded students – who supported this year’s event. All donated food and money is being delivered to The Helping Hand of Greater Little Rock and the Arkansas Foodbank for use during the upcoming holiday season. What a wonderful start to Thanksgiving break!

 

Congrats to each class for breaking its 8,750-can goal. Here are the 2020 totals:

– Freshmen – 10,148

– Sophomores – 12,188

– Juniors – 10,901

– Seniors – 15,655

TOTAL – 48,892

 

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’ season comes to a close

The Cross Country Belles wrapped up their season on Friday, November 6, finishing 13th at the 6A State Championship Meet at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs. The schedule was shortened this year due to COVID-19, but the team was able to compete in four meets across the state in addition to conference and state competitions. They finished 5th in the 6A Central Conference.

 

“Despite the unique challenges presented by this season, the MSM Cross Country team had a very successful year,” Coach Rachel McLemore said. “We had excellent senior leadership from Fran Edwards and Chloe Gourde that helped us make the best of the changes to our practice space and meet protocols.”

 

Coach McLemore also praised the team’s hard work and progress over the course of the abbreviated season. “We were a young team this year, with six freshmen and two new upperclassmen runners in addition to our seven returning runners. Almost every runner achieved a personal best time at some point thanks to their hard work. Everyone on the team made great progress this year and we have a lot to look forward to next season!”

 

Well done, Cross Country Belles and Coach McLemore!

 

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.

Volley Belles’ season includes state tourney play once again

Despite the challenges surrounding this year’s season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Volley Belles enjoyed success and advanced to the 6A State Tournament once again. The team entered the tournament as the 5th seed out of the Central Conference and ended up losing three hard-fought sets to Bentonville, the 4th seed out of the West Conference, in the first round on October 27. With an overall record of 9-8 – and 9-6 in conference play – the Volley Belles finished the 2020 season 4th in the 6A Central Conference, improving two spots from 2019.

 

A handful of players were recognized for their accomplishments on the court this year. Catalina Williams ’21 earned both All-State and All-Conference honors. Millie Allgood ’22, Shailey Jackson ’21, Katie Kaelin ’21, Riley Ray ’21 and Lily Williamson ’21 were all awarded All-Conference honors, as well. Additionally, at least three seniors will be playing at the college level next fall. Shailey and Catalina have plans to join the Warriors at Hendrix College in Conway, and Lily will play for the Panthers at Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama. Both schools are members of NCAA Division III and the Southern Athletic Association.

 

This was the second season for Head Coach Jorge Martinez and the first for Varsity Assistant Coach Reyes Cordero. “Though the season ended sooner than we hoped with a tough loss in the state tournament to 2019 Champion Bentonville, there were many accomplished goals to celebrate,” Coach Martinez said. “Coach Cordero and I both feel like the program is on the right path and that there’s been nothing but progress in every aspect of the game. The future is bright, and we can’t wait for the next season!”

 

The Mounties also had a successful season. Led by Head Coach Jessica Crow and Assistant Coach Amber Pruss, the freshman team finished 2nd overall in the conference with a 7-2 record in conference play. Their season ended with a loss to North Little Rock in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament.

 

Congrats to the Volley Belles and Mounties, and their coaches, for great seasons!

 

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 class celebrates Ring Mass

It was a beautiful day for a beautiful, time-honored tradition. Joined by their family members, the Mount St. Mary Academy Class of 2021 was finally able to celebrate Ring Mass together on Wednesday, October 21. Typically held in late April during the students’ junior year, this year’s event was delayed until the fall of their senior year due to the COVID pandemic. Despite the mid-October date, guests enjoyed clear skies and warm weather during the Mass, which was held outside on the school grounds this year so everyone could safely gather for the special occasion.

 

Student Body President Sarah Cate Lay opened with the call to worship, and MSM Chaplain Msgr. Lawrence Frederick blessed the rings during the special Mass. As homeroom teachers announced all 131 names in the Class of 2021, each young woman stood and was presented her senior ring by a family member. The students will wear these rings as a symbol of their class unity and leadership just as previous years’ senior classes have done.

 

Congratulations to the Mount St. Mary Academy Class of 2021!

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.

Tennis Belles successfully defend conference title

For the second straight year, the Tennis Belles are Conference Champions after successfully defending their title in the 6A Central Conference Championship at Rebsamen Tennis Center in Little Rock on October 6 and 7. The team advanced to the State Tournament on October 12 and 13 at the same location and ended up finishing fourth overall in the state in Arkansas’ highest classification.

 

Both doubles teams advanced to the championship game in the Conference Tournament. Libby Franks ’21 and Tasha Moreland ’22 defeated teammates Anna Grace ’22 and Libby Raffaelli ’22 to win the title of 6A Central Conference Girls Doubles Champions. Additionally, both teams finished among the top four pairs in the State Tournament. Their performance in both tournaments earned these four players All-State and All-Conference honors.

 

Caroline Lasley ’24 and Abby Whittaker ’24 also received All-Conference recognition. Caroline had advanced to the singles championship game in the Conference Tournament, where she earned runner-up.

 

“The whole team practiced and competed at the highest level all season. They are one of the best squads I have had over the past 37 years,” Coach Tim Glancy said. “They all should be proud of themselves for the way they have handled all the situations that have occurred over the past year.”

 

Congratulations on another successful season, Tennis Belles and Coach Glancy!

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.

2020 CHS Homecoming Court announced

Congratulations to the young ladies selected for this year’s Catholic High School Homecoming Court.

 

Front row (L to R): Bryn Bethel; Ella Brewer; and Hattie Cooper.

 

Back row (L to R): Sarah Cate Lay, Rockette representative; Hannah Denery; Vivian Pierce; Grace Weaver; and Mary Haven Hankins, Cheer representative.

 

The CHS Homecoming game will be Friday, October 23, at War Memorial Stadium with kickoff at 7 p.m. The Homecoming Ceremony, which includes the presentation of the court and the crowing of this year’s queen, will be held during halftime.

 

Congratulations to the 2020 CHS Homecoming Court! Go Rockets!

 

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.

2020-2021 MSM student council elected

After delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mount St. Mary Academy finally held officer elections on Thursday, September 24, and Friday, September 25. Congratulations to the newly elected student council members for 2020-2021:

 

Student Body President: Sarah Cate Lay

 

Senior Class President: Vivian Pierce

Senior Class Vice President: Ella Brewer

Senior Class Officers: Fran Edwards, Chloe Gourde and Cabe Parrish

 

Junior Class President: Ellen Brady

Junior Class Vice President: Lucy Nimmo

Junior Class Officers: Mimi Baldwin, Zelenka Harts and Savanna Hindman

 

Sophomore Class President: Anna Mammarelli

Sophomore Class Vice President: Grey Parrish

Sophomore Class Officers: AnnaRose Boone, Olivia Bulloch and Eliza Spellins

 

Freshman Class President: Abby Whittaker

Freshman Class Vice President: Haven McCormack

Freshman Class Officers: Ashley Adams, Savannah Bosley and Eliza Jane Null

 

“It takes a lot of courage to run for student council. This year, speeches were recorded and emailed out, and I’m so proud of the 39 girls who ran,” Noël Gieringer, MSM English teacher and student council sponsor, said. “Our student council events will be very different this year, but I’m hopeful that these student leaders can still bring school spirit and service to this unique school year.”

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.

Young Golf Belles finish strong

The Mount St. Mary Academy golf team, coached by MSM science teacher Marty Perry, finished in 7th place in the 6A Girls Golf State Tournament in Bryant on September 30. After beginning play in early August prior to the start of the school year, this event concluded the 2020 season for the relatively young Golf Belles.

 

The competition began the previous day. The team placed 7th out of 15 teams to earn one of eight spots in the final round. With a personal best one-under par total score, Isabel Chaidez ’22 finished as this year’s 6A State runner-up. She persevered through the round after a shaky start and finished an eagle-birdie-par on the last three holes to secure 2nd place by one stroke. Her performance in the two-day tournament earned her All-Conference for the third year in a row and All-State for the second straight year. Additionally, she qualified for one of just 18 spots in the Arkansas State Golf Association High School Overall Championship, which will take place on October 15 at Pleasant Valley Country Club in Little Rock.

 

Bella Finley ’22 and Savvy Straessle ’24 also shot personal bests during the 6A State Tournament. Other team members competing in the event were Audrey Darragh ’23 and Kennedy Griffin’24. Chloe Bartlett ’24 and Olivia Bulloch ’23 and were members of this year’s Golf Belles, as well.

 

Congrats on a great season, Golf Belles and Coach Perry! And good luck, Isabel!

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 Senior recognized as Commended Student

Another Mount St. Mary Academy senior has been honored this month for her exceptional academic promise. Emily Roach was named a Commended Student in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program. Emily joined approximately 34,000 students throughout the nation who received the distinction. Although they will not continue in the 2021 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 scorers of more than 1.5 million students who entered this year’s competition by taking the PSAT qualifying test in 2019.

 

“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, Emily, 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.

Gourde named National Merit Semifinalist

Chloe Gourde ’21 has been named a Semifinalist in the 66th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. More than 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools across the country entered this year’s scholarship competition by taking the PSAT qualifying test last fall. As one of the highest-scoring entrants in Arkansas, Chloe joins the group of approximately 16,000 Semifinalists – representing less than one percent of the Class of 2021 nationwide – that has the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million being offered next spring.

 

Steps in the 2021 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 write an essay and 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 2021. 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 Chloe!

 

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.

One-of-a-kind graduation honors MSM Class of 2020

After having to postpone the special event by more than two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mount St. Mary Academy was finally able to celebrate its Class of 2020 during the Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, August 1.

 

Traditionally held at Robinson Auditorium in downtown Little Rock, this year’s event took place on the Roy Davis Field at Catholic High School in order to accommodate social distancing guidelines. Each graduate and her two guests wore face masks and sat in chairs directly on the football field while additional family members and friends watched the livestream from home. Albeit quite different than ceremonies past, the necessary changes for this year’s one-of-a-kind commencement made it a very memorable event for an equally memorable group of graduates.

 

Sarah Catherine Phillips Gutierrez ’98, founder and CEO of Aptus Financial, delivered the commencement address. After praising the resilience of the Class of 2020, she encouraged the graduates to remain faithful and be mindful of the potential limitations of “golden handcuffs” while designing the lives of their dreams. “Wield the power of your resilience to cast away fear, anchor yourself in your faith to discover your dreams and then please always pay yourself first,” she said.

 

Mrs. Gutierrez was introduced by Fourth Honor Graduate Olivia Alexander. Though she was unable to attend the ceremony on its new date due to her matriculation to the U. S. Naval Academy, Fifth Honor Graduate Cecelia Rech offered the invocation via audio recording. Third Honor Graduate Catherine Althoff presented the class essay, “One-Hundred Eighty Degrees.” The salutatory address, “Looking Back While Moving Forward,” was given by Second Honor Graduate Lily Wewers, and First Honor Graduate Caroline Potts delivered the valedictory address, “Another Angle.”

 

The Most Reverend Anthony B. Taylor, bishop of Little Rock, presented the diplomas as MSM President Pattie Davis announced each graduate and the college she will attend. Other special guests in attendance included Sara Jones, MSM principal; Theresa Goshen Hall ’78, superintendent of Catholic Schools of Arkansas; Greg Hartz, MSM Academy Board of Directors chair; and Susie Whitacre, MSM Academy Board of Director chair-elect.

 

The 115 graduates of the Class of 2020 were accepted to more than 100 colleges and universities and collectively received over $19.6 million in scholarship offerings. They will be attending 31 different colleges and universities across 16 states this fall. Additionally, this year’s graduating class completed more than 10,000 hours of community service for the greater Little Rock community during its junior and senior years.

 

View the video of the 2020 Commencement Ceremony at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TJhukiMC3g.

 

Congratulations, Class of 2020! We proudly celebrate you and your achievements as you close one chapter and look ahead to the next as women of wisdom, compassion and integrity.

 

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 2020 honor graduate earns appointment to U.S. Naval Academy

December 2019 is certain to be a memorable one for recent Mount St. Mary graduate Cecelia Rech. While visiting her sister in London with family over Christmas break, this year’s fifth honor graduate finally learned the result from the months of preparation and hard work that went into applying to the U.S. Naval Academy. On December 23 – just two days before Christmas and four days after receiving a Letter of Assurance – Cecelia received her official nomination from Congressman French Hill, thus ensuring her appointment to the highly selective federal service academy in Annapolis, Md.

 

The U.S. Naval Academy is recognized as one of the most competitive educational institutions in the country, typically offering appointments to less than 10 percent of its more than 16,000 applications each year. Cecelia is the fifth Mount St. Mary graduate in eight years to receive an appointment. She joins Annie Quo ’19, Allison Polston ’16, Rachel Parker ’15 and Bridget Lee ’12 as the most recent Belles to attend the prestigious service academy.

 

CAPT Scott Pursley, Arkansas area coordinator for the U.S. Naval Academy, presented Cecelia with her official appointment certificate during a brief ceremony in the MSM McAuley Center on May 29. The small celebration, limited in size due to social gathering restrictions related to COVID-19, included administration, teachers, family members and fellow students. Cecelia is scheduled to report to the Naval Academy and officially become part of its Brigade of Midshipmen as a member of the Class of 2024 on June 30.

 

We reached out to Cecelia as she prepares for her departure to get her thoughts on this impending new chapter, as well as to have her reflect a bit on her time at Mount St. Mary.

 

What motivated your decision to apply to a federal service academy – and the U.S. Naval Academy, in particular?

 

Before mid-December of my sophomore year, I hadn’t considered a service academy for college. I knew about West Point, but had pretty much ruled out the military. I learned about the Naval Academy from a summer program information card I received in the mail, and then I decided to look into the other academies, too. Ultimately, I just had a feeling about the Naval Academy. When I visited, I knew it was where I was meant to go. I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself, and to become a better leader, and I feel there is no better place to do that than the Academy.

 

Had you applied to, and received acceptances from, any other academic institutions?

 

Yes, I also received acceptances from Georgia Institute of Technology, St. Louis University, Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Dayton, St. Edward’s University and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

 

You’ve chosen to major in Cyber Operations with the ultimate goal of pursuing a career in Cryptologic Warfare. What initially sparked your interest in this field? How have you already been able to study/explore it?

 

My mom first got me interested in computer science when I was in fifth grade with drawing shapes in JavaScript. I’ve since been able to explore this interest through online coding programs, girls’ coding workshops and other engineering camps around the state. I initially planned on pursuing computer engineering. However, I decided to shift my focus slightly to cybersecurity, which will allow me to protect and create safer technology.

 

What part of your four years at “the Yard” are you most looking forward to?

 

I’m most looking forward to developing close friendships with my classmates; the people in your company are essentially your family while you’re there!

 

In what ways do you feel MSM has prepared you for this opportunity and your future?

 

MSM taught me how to work well under pressure, to not be afraid to ask for help from both my teachers and classmates, and to always aim high. When I told [MSM College Counselor] Mrs. Coffey I wanted to apply to the Naval Academy, she immediately helped me write essays for summer program applications, learn everything I could about it and plan out when I could start my application. Having her support and encouragement throughout this process was such a gift!

 

Is there one experience from your time at MSM that has been most meaningful to you?

 

Taking AP Physics with Fr. Fred my junior year was my most meaningful experience. It challenged me in a way that I had never before experienced in the classroom. Throughout the year, there were many times I wanted to give up because I wasn’t constantly successful. It was one of the first times I was unable to rely solely on natural academic ability and had to work to further my work ethic and study skills. This experience taught me that progress is just as, if not more, important than final success.

 

What advice do you have for younger students who are interested in pursuing an opportunity like this, but who may feel it’s unattainable?

 

My best advice would be to not be intimidated by the grandeur and challenge of it all. Yes, the Naval Academy is competitive, but only you know how amazing, intelligent and talented you are. Be confident when you talk to your admissions counselor, Blue and Gold Officer, and Congressional Nomination committee, and don’t be afraid to highlight all your well-earned achievements. Don’t let your accomplishments just be numbers and words on paper; really display all your hard work and effort.

 

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.

Four MSM seniors awarded AYAA scholarships

Four Mount St. Mary senior art students were recently awarded scholarships from the Arkansas Young Artist Association (AYAA) despite this year’s Spring Convention being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Audrey Caruthers won the organization’s top award, the $750 Carmen “Allie” Thompson Memorial Scholarship. Also, Cecilia Ilg, Amelia Ochoa and Maria Thomas each received one of 14 additional $500 scholarships awarded by AYAA.

 

“Mrs. Holder and I are so proud of these students,” Marianne Nolley, MSM art teacher, exclaimed. “We are over the moon!”

 

Before it was canceled, nearly 100 Mount St. Mary students were set to attend the organization’s 41st annual Spring Convention and Competition on Wednesday, April 8, in downtown Little Rock. Students typically spend months preparing for the event, for which they create works of art in a wide range of mediums, styles and subjects. Last year’s participating group of students won 20 awards for excellence in the visual arts.

 

AYAA is a state-wide organization whose mission is to encourage participation in the visual arts by Arkansas students through professional speakers, competitions, exhibition and scholarship. There are currently more than 1,500 student members in the organization from over 60 participating high schools across the state. It annually awards a minimum of 10 $500 scholarships to senior members in good standing.

Audrey Caruthers '20
Cecilia Ilg '20
Amelia Ochoa '20
Maria Thomas '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.

Two Mount St. Mary teachers win Stephens Award

Two Mount St. Mary Academy faculty members have been named recipients of the 2020 Stephens Award by The City Education Trust. Social studies teacher Rachel McLemore and Spanish teacher Ruth Pineda are two of just seven high school teachers in Little Rock selected to receive a $5,700 cash award recognizing their outstanding and inspirational teaching. Over the past five years, a total of nine MSM faculty have earned this prestigious honor.

 

Ms. McLemore is in her third year of teaching at Mount St. Mary Academy. She currently teaches AP United States History, AP Comparative Government and Politics, and American History. She sponsors Model United Nations and Quiz Bowl in addition to coaching the Belles’ cross country team.

 

In the essay that accompanied her nomination, Ms. McLemore shared the following words of advice for new teachers: “Know your stuff. Believe in your students’ capacity for growth. Express genuine interest in each student’s success. Strive for progress, not perfection. … By making ‘Progress, not perfection’ our mantra, we can pass on lessons that go beyond the classroom. As teachers, we can allow students room to make mistakes, to learn, and to grow.”

 

Sra. Pineda has been a faculty member at Mount St. Mary Academy for 14 years. She teaches all Spanish classes at the school, including Honors Spanish and AP Spanish Language and Culture, and sponsors the school’s Spanish Club.

 

Sra. Pineda’s essay, also providing advice to new teachers, included the following sentiments: “You need to grasp each student’s unique method of learning so you can reach and impact them all. This requires a special connection between student and teacher. In my classroom, I believe in respecting, understanding, and being open with my students. This allows them to be more comfortable with me, and in return they provide me with the same respect, understanding, and openness.”

 

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

 

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.

Junior Service Learning Program goes virtual amid COVID-19 crisis

From hospitals and hospice care facilities to schools and nursing homes, Mount St. Mary Academy juniors regularly devote 7,500 collective hours of hands-on service at numerous local organizations each year through the school’s signature Junior Service Learning Program. Despite the challenges and restrictions created by the current coronavirus crisis, this year’s Class of 2021 is finding new, resourceful ways to keep Mount’s rich tradition of service alive.

 

“Service is such an integral part of our school, especially during students’ junior year at Mount when they spend their theology class periods volunteering out in the community and experiencing firsthand what it means to put others before ourselves,” said Lauren Lawrence, theology teacher and Junior Service Learning Program coordinator. “During our present circumstances, in particular, this important service work cannot end. Although we have to get a bit creative in how we do it, we can still be a source of positivity for our community during a time it needs it most.”

 

With the help of the school’s technology and media specialist, Carrie Burkhead, students in the Junior Service Learning Program have explored ways to volunteer virtually in order to continue assisting their service sites or reach others in need throughout central Arkansas during this challenging time. One idea – utilizing the online video discussion platform, Flipgrid – recently led to the creation of websites featuring nearly 120 videos of Mount St. Mary 11th graders reading different children’s books. Links to these websites were sent to a handful of Mount St. Mary Academy’s service sites to be shared with their younger students or patients.

 

Little Rock-based nonprofit ACCESS was one of the service sites to benefit from this resource after having to temporarily suspend their onsite volunteer programs in light of current circumstances. “We were thrilled with the innovative virtual story time these dedicated volunteers created,” Suzanne Carter, assistant director of ACCESS Early Childhood, said. “Our teachers will be able to utilize smart board technology for those students receiving services at this time, as well as share the links for our students at home to continue to promote language and literacy. These videos enable us to continue the partnership between Mount St. Mary Academy and ACCESS while combining literacy and fun for our students.”

 

According to Coach Lawrence, more projects like this have already been completed or are in the works for the time period social distancing is required. For example, the students composed uplifting letters that were delivered electronically to service sites to share with residents or patients who can’t have visitors. They are also partnering with UAMS to submit inspirational messages for the hospital’s electronic health record system Message of the Day.

 

“We will continue to find ways to be a shining light to others, from a distance, during this time,” Coach Lawrence said.

 

View the Junior Service Learning Program’s virtual story time project at the following sites: https://flipgrid.com/9799485b, https://flipgrid.com/c27d81c3, https://flipgrid.com/7b6ffad5, https://flipgrid.com/ffe8bf8d and https://flipgrid.com/7709e13e.

 

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.

COVID-19 Update: Mount St. Mary campus closed through April 17

(posted at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 19)  – UPDATE – Following Governor Asa Hutchinson’s mandate in his press conference on March 19, Mount St. Mary Academy’s campus will now remain closed through Friday, April 17. All school-related events and activities, including athletics, will be canceled during this extended closure, as well.

 

At this time, Mount St. Mary Academy will reopen its campus and resume in-person classes on Monday, April 20. Spring Break will be observed March 23-27, and the school will continue AMI Days on Monday, March 30. As has been the case this week, faculty and staff – including those in the Counseling Department – will be available through email and Google Meet during normal school hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on all AMI Days.

 

During this time of unrest and uncertainty, we hope the families of our current students will find comfort in knowing that Mount St. Mary Academy remains committed to its mission to provide an outstanding educational experience for their daughters – one that prepares them to meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity. We are proud of our amazing faculty and students for handling the transition to our online learning environment so well and with such a great attitude. After witnessing the success and positive collaboration demonstrated during this past week, we are more confident than ever that Mount’s 169-year tradition of academic excellence will continue despite the rapidly changing environment we are all experiencing.

 


 

(posted at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 12)  Following Governor Hutchinson’s order at his press conference earlier this afternoon, Mount St. Mary Academy closed its campus at the end of the school day today, March 12. It will reopen on Monday, March 30.

 

We will be utilizing AMI Days (formerly known as Cyber Days) to continue classroom instruction on Friday, March 13, and next week, March 16-20.  Students should log in to their Google Classroom for assignments and expectations during AMI Days. Faculty and staff will be available through email during normal school hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on these days. This includes those in the Counseling Department who can schedule time to talk with students via Google Meet as needed. Additionally, Facilities Management staff will be on hand to thoroughly clean the campus and prepare for students’ return on March 30. All school-related events and activities, including athletics, are canceled during this closure, as well. We will continue to observe Spring Break on March 23-27.

 

The health and well-being of our school community is of utmost importance and at the heart of our mission. We appreciate your understanding and support. We will continue to communicate any additional details necessary during the time Mount St. Mary is closed to students, parents, faculty and staff through email and text messages. We offer our prayers for all of those affected by COVID-19 and all those who care for them.

HoneyBelles raise $500 for Australian beekeepers devastated by fires

As the student organization responsible for maintaining a bee-friendly garden and educational hive at Mount St. Mary, the HoneyBelles regularly hold fundraisers for causes that support bees and beekeepers. The group of students recently became very concerned about the plight of bees and beekeepers in Australia due to the historic drought conditions and resulting widespread bushfires. They reached out to the New South Wales Apiarist Association to find out how they could help and were directed to the Hive Fund, a drought and bushfire relief campaign managed by Rural Aid aimed specifically at struggling beekeepers in Australia.

 

The HoneyBelles partnered with others in the local community, such as Walnut Valley Honey Company, to learn how to make lip balm using beeswax. The students then spent time making and selling lip balm over the course of several weeks in order to raise funds for the professional beekeepers seriously impacted by the drought and bushfires in Australia. They were ultimately able to raise $500 for Hive Aid.

 

Due to the project aligning so nicely with the Sisters’ of Mercy Critical Concern for the earth, news of the HoneyBelles’ efforts spread throughout the Mercy community worldwide – as far away as Australia.

 

“As a Sister of Mercy in Melbourne, Australia, I was very moved to read in Mercy eNews of your contribution to save our bees here in our country after the drought and bushfires,” Sr. Carole McDonald RSM wrote to the group. “How clever and industrious you were to learn, make and sell lip balm in order to make your contribution to save the hives. Thank you on behalf of many people who are grateful for your support and generosity.”

 

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 enjoy success at State Festival

Fifteen members of the MSM Thespian Troupe traveled to Jonesboro for the 2020 Arkansas State Thespian Festival held February 13-15. The students participated in numerous workshops, competed in a variety of technical challenges and networked with other theatre arts students, colleges and industry leaders. The event also included opportunities to earn college scholarships as well as bids to this summer’s International Thespian Tournament in Indiana.

 

Senior Lily Eagan and junior Cabe Parrish, vice president of the MSM Thespian Troupe, each received Superior rankings for their Solo Musical pieces. Both were also awarded Best in Show and invited to perform in the event’s Saturday showcase in front of all 1,300 participants, an honor reserved for just 10 pieces selected from the entire festival. Sophomores Malingo Matute and Alex Powell were also ranked Superior in Duet Musical. Their Superior rankings earned Lily, Cabe, Malingo and Alex bids to the International Thespian Tournament in June.

 

Senior Avery Appleton, president of the MSM Thespian Troupe, received an Excellent rank in Solo Acting. The troupe also received Excellent ranks for Group Musical (directed by Cabe and senior Robin Stover; performed by Lily, Malingo, Cabe, Alex, Robin, junior Fran Edwards, sophomore Rachel Klinck and senior Anna Palmer) and Group Acting (directed by Avery; performed by Avery, senior Bella Boyd, sophomore Sophia Brannon, senior Grey Dunaway and senior Victoria Volpi).

 

Additionally, Avery, Cabe and Robin received callbacks and/or offers for college scholarships.

 

“I am so incredibly proud of all of the girls’ hard work for this festival,” said Jenny Moses, who teaches theatre, forensics and speech at Mount St. Mary. “I have watched them grow individually and as a team. They have such amazing attitudes and represent Mount beautifully, which is all I can ask for as a coach. For them to be remarkably talented as well makes it a delight.”

 

Congratulations to the MSM Thespians on great weekend in Jonesboro!

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.

More than 30 MSM students tour campuses during College Trip 2020

Thirty-two Mount St. Mary juniors, along with two members of the MSM counseling staff, spent February 2-5 touring a handful of college campuses during the school’s annual College Trip. The four-day road trip – which included visits to a total of eight colleges and universities in Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee – provided students with the opportunity to explore a variety of campuses, speak with school admissions representatives and learn about some of the different college options that exist in the region.

 

“We had an excellent college trip this year,” Emily Coffey, MSM college counselor, said. “The students enjoyed learning about the different types of colleges, getting a peek into college life, and comparing the pros and cons of different institutions. They left the trip with a better idea of what size, type and location they prefer for college.”

 

Junior Ava Atwood, who participated in this year’s trip, agreed that the experience was a worthwhile one. “I chose to go on the trip to expand my knowledge about college,” she said. “I had a general idea of what college was like beforehand, but after attending eight totally different schools, I now have a much better understanding of what I am looking for in a college.”

 

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

 

This year’s itinerary included visits to the following schools: Louisiana Tech University, Tulane University, Loyola University New Orleans, Louisiana State University, Millsaps College, Mississippi State University, University of Mississippi and Rhodes College.

 

A special part of the experience each year is getting the opportunity to visit with MSM alumnae at many of the colleges the group visits. Mount St. Mary Academy thanks Caroline Barnhill ’19 at Loyola New Orleans; Emma Holloway ’19 at LSU; Darcey Collins ’16 at Mississippi State; Dominique Darion ’14, Georgia McGahee ’18, Lindsey Taylor ’19 and Grace Webb ’19 at Ole Miss; and Anya Ranaraja ’19 at Rhodes College for their hospitality, which helped make the trip a memorable one for the participating students and counseling staff.

 

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 seniors named National Merit Finalists

Mount St. Mary Academy is proud to announce that seniors Isabella “Bella” Boyd and Anna Palmer have been named National Merit Finalists in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Competition. Bella and Anna are among approximately 15,000 high school seniors nationwide who have met all the requirements to advance to Finalist standing and continue in the competition for one of 7,600 National Merit Scholarships that will be offered later this spring.

 

More than 1.5 million students nationwide entered the National Merit Scholarship Program as juniors by taking the PSAT last fall. High scorers were designated as Semifinalists in the fall by scoring in the top one percent among students taking the qualifying test.

 

Congratulations, Bella 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.

Mount St. Mary celebrates Founders Day, 169 years

Wednesday, February 5, represented a special day for Mount St. Mary Academy. It marked 169 years since the Sisters of Mercy founded what was originally known as St. Mary’s Academy in 1851, at the request of Arkansas’ first Catholic bishop, Andrew Byrne. Recognized as the oldest continuously operated school in Arkansas, and the third oldest of the secondary schools sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy worldwide, Mount St. Mary Academy has been providing Mercy education to young women in Arkansas ever since.

 

On Tuesday, February 6, the Mount St. Mary Academy community gathered in the school’s McAuley Center for the annual Founders Day and Sophomore Pin Mass. As students entered the gymnasium, senior Student Council members rang the Angelus Bell 169 times in honor of the school’s 169-year history. The bell was given to the Sisters of Mercy by Bishop Byrne at the school’s first location in downtown Little Rock. At the conclusion of the all-school Mass, the members of the Class of 2022 received their Mercy pins, which serve as reminders to the sophomores to live the Mercy values in their everyday lives.

 

View photos featured in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette here.

 

Happy birthday, Mount St. Mary Academy!

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.

2020 MSM Basketball Homecoming Court Announced

For the Mount St. Mary community, this year’s Catholic Schools Week included a fun-filled homecoming pep rally on Friday, January 31. The celebration featured performances from the MSM cheerleading squads and the Rockettes, an entertaining skit by the seniors, recognition of the Belles basketball, bowling and swimming teams, and an exciting lip sync battle between the freshmen and junior Student Council members. The pep rally concluded with the announcement of this year’s Basketball Homecoming Court.

 

Front row (L to R): Catherine Althoff ’20, Kaitlin Tarini ’20, and Yaritza Hernandez ’20

 

Back row (L to R): Blayke Schneider ’21, Sarah Cate Lay ’21, Emma Obert ’20, Sophie Mammarelli ’20, and Lauren Evita ’20

 

The theme for the upcoming Basketball Homecoming Spirit Week, which will be held February 18-21, was also revealed: Mount Olympics, Go for Gold! The basketball homecoming game is set for Tuesday, February 18, in the McAuley Center. Come cheer on the Belles as they take on the Charging Wildcats of North Little Rock. The Homecoming Court will be presented, and this year’s Homecoming Queen will be announced, during a brief ceremony at 5:30 p.m. before the game.

 

Congratulations to our 2020 Mount St. Mary Basketball Homecoming Court, and best of luck to our winter sports teams as they finish out their seasons over the coming weeks. Go Belles!

 

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

Mount students spend a week in nation’s capital

A group of eight Mount St. Mary students spent the week of January 19-25 in Washington, D.C., experiencing the institutions and iconic sites that embody our nation’s past and present through the Close Up experiential learning program.

 

Highlights of the group’s week-long adventure in the nation’s capital included visiting the U.S. Capitol, Supreme Court Building, Library of Congress, FBI Headquarters, International Spy Museum, Arlington National Cemetery and Holocaust Memorial Museum. In addition to touring landmark buildings and famous monuments and memorials, the students were able to participate in debates and a Mock Congress, discuss current issues with participating students from other states, witness public demonstrations firsthand, and visit their Congressmen’s offices. The timing of this year’s trip also provided the unique opportunity to visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on MLK Day.

 

“I enjoyed meeting new people from all around the country through Close Up, and I learned so much while visiting all of the museums, monuments and memorials that make Washington, D.C., as important as it is,” senior Vivian Marrero said. “It has definitely changed my outlook on politics and civic engagement forever.”

 

This year the group also enjoyed the special privilege of visiting with several Mount St. Mary alumnae currently residing in the D.C. area. Liz Beadle ’09, a director at The Glover Park Group, helped organize the meeting at the strategic communications and government relations firm’s Washington office. The time together gave students the opportunity to hear about different professions in the nation’s capital and learn about what it’s like living there.

 

“I really liked meeting some of the alumnae who live and work in Washington, D.C., or the surrounding area,” sophomore Josie Landrum said. “It was cool to hear how each alumna got to D.C., and it showed me that living there might be something I’d be interested in one day.”

 

This is the 11th year Mount St. Mary Academy has participated in Close Up. Using the nation’s capital as a “living classroom,” the experience-based program seeks to inform, inspire and empower young people to become actively engaged citizens. Since 1971, it has served more than 900,000 students and teachers from schools around the country through its civic education programs and classroom resources.

 

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

Yes we CAN: Robin Hood Days celebrates record-breaking year

Thanks to a few creative can-collecting activities and some friendly class competition, Mount St. Mary Academy’s annual Robin Hood Days canned food drive recently collected more cans and cash equivalent than ever before in its 45-year history: 63,328! This year’s total beat last year’s record-breaking amount (53,090) by more than 10,000 cans. The student-led schoolwide drive benefits local organizations that provide holiday meals for Arkansas families in need.

 

“I seriously could not be more proud to be a part of Mount and the school’s efforts to serve others,” said Sarah Johnson ’20, MSM student body president and four-year student council member. “It has been an honor to be able to participate in Robin Hood Days with such an extraordinary group of girls, and I am beyond proud to know that our efforts will help feed others in the community.”

 

Over the four weeks leading up to Thanksgiving break, students collected cans from family, friends and neighbors in addition to holding fundraisers like “We CAN Wednesday,” “Beans for Jeans” and “Free Dress Friday” spirit days. As extra incentive, students were also promised early dismissal days for meeting their individual class goals as well as beating last year’s record. Each grade level ultimately surpassed its individual goal of 8,750 cans and cash equivalent four days before the drive concluded on Friday, November 22. This year’s winning class was the senior class, who more than doubled their individual goal by collecting an astounding 21,343 cans. The freshman class came in second with 14,280 cans.

 

“I am incredibly proud of our girls this year; they always outdo themselves in generosity, hard work and creativity,” Noël Gieringer, MSM English teacher and student council sponsor, said. “I see this whole canned food drive as an example of our Mercy Value of excellence, along with our concern for the poor.”

 

For nearly 50 years, Robin Hood Days has helped provide food and monetary donations to local organizations, including Arkansas Foodbank, Helping Hand of Greater Little Rock, Rice Depot, Union Rescue Mission, Jericho Way, Our House, OXFAM and Catholic Social Services, among others. It is estimated that more than 1 million canned goods have been collected by Mount St. Mary Academy since the event began in 1974.

 

“While we are all so fortunate here at Mount, we still need to give back to the community, which is something Mount has been teaching us since day one of freshman year,” Sarah said. “We get an opportunity to be the physical embodiment of Jesus and live out his mission to serve others. It is something really beautiful to watch and experience.”

 

View photos of Mount St. Mary students helping load donated canned goods into the vehicles of this year’s benefiting organizations at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmJxkhzM.

 

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.

Houndstooth Hustle participants brave the cold to support MSM

Despite fairly chilly temperatures at the time of its start, more than 100 runners and walkers of all ages – and a couple pets, too – participated in Mount St. Mary Academy’s annual Houndstooth Hustle 5K race on Saturday, November 9. This was the fourth year for the family-friendly event, which features a challenging, yet beautiful 3.1-mile course through the historic Hillcrest neighborhood surrounding the campus.

 

Thank you to all of the race participants, volunteers and sponsors for making the 2019 Houndstooth Hustle a success! Proceeds support the programs and services at Mount St. Mary Academy.

 

2019 Sponsors

Gold Sponsor: CHI St. Vincent

Purple Sponsors: Krebs Brothers Restaurant Store, Oak Forest Cleaners, Wendy and Dr. Ray Parker, Rose Law Firm, Stone Bank and Vondran Orthodontics

Holy Ghost Sponsors: Dean Dental Solutions, Eckart Volleyball and Landmark CPAs

 

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

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

Career Day inspires students, introduces variety of professions

Nearly 50 MSM alumnae from near and far shared useful advice and details about their career paths with current students at Mount St. Mary Academy’s annual Career Day on Thursday, November 14. Students attended up to two sessions where they were able to hear from and ask questions of panels of alumnae representing various fields: the arts, business, communications, education, engineering, finance, healthcare, information technology, law, non-profits, public service, religious life and the sciences.

 

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

 

We appreciate all of the talented alumnae who volunteered their time as panel speakers this year – including those who participated via video conference from California, Georgia, Iowa, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin and even France. You are an inspiration to our young women and such wonderful representatives of your alma mater!

 

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 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.

Once Upon a Mattress opens November 1

The Mount St. Mary Academy Arts Department will present the musical comedy, Once Upon a Mattress, November 1-4 at Catholic High School’s Auditorium. Performances will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Monday nights, and there will be a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday.

 

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students. This year tickets may be purchased online at https://mtstmary.seatyourself.biz/.

 

“Once upon a time there was a kingdom ruled over by a talkative queen (Cabe Parrish ’21) and a mute king (Ben Davis ’20). The future of the kingdom was in doubt. Every time an eligible bride emerged for their son, Dauntless (Jacob Rivera ’22), the overbearing queen would scuttle the union by setting up some impossible test, administered by her dastardly wizard (Robin Stover ’20). This is especially distressing for the kingdom as it has been decreed, ‘Throughout the land no one may wed ’til Dauntless shares his marriage bed.’ One desperate lady-in-waiting, Lady Larken (Anne Lashbrook ’20), sends her beau, Sir Harry (Alex Blair ’21), to scour the land for a princess to marry Dauntless. He finds Winnifred the Woebegone (Lily Eagan ’20), the princess of a faraway swamp kingdom. Scoffing at this rough-hewn would-be consort, the queen determines to test her sensitivity by hiding a single pea under a pile of downy mattresses. If the pea disturbs her slumber, she’s a genuine princess. Will Winnifred pass the test? Join us November 1st-4th to see this hilarious fairy tale unfold.”

 

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.

2019 CHS Homecoming Court announced

Congratulations to the 2019 Catholic High School Homecoming Court, which was announced at a spirited, schoolwide pep rally held in the McAuley Center gymnasium on Thursday, Sept. 26.

 

Front row (L to R): Addie Grace Coleman, Rockette representative; Lily Wewers; Kennedy Fogleman; Emma Tlapek; and Mimi Palecek, Cheer representative.

 

Back row (L to R): Jacquelyn Finnegan; Ava Sanders; and Presley Southerland.

 

The CHS Homecoming game will be Friday, October 11, at War Memorial Stadium with kickoff at 7 p.m. The Homecoming Ceremony, which includes the presentation of the court and the crowing of this year’s queen, will be held during halftime. In celebration of Catholic High’s 90th anniversary, past Rocket homecoming queens will be recognized during the ceremony, as well.

 

See photos from the pep rally at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmHr655G.

 

Congratulation to the 2019 CHS Homecoming Court! Go Rockets!

 

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.

Mercy Day 2019: A day full of service, celebration

More than 500 Mount St. Mary Academy students, faculty and staff spent the morning of September 24 volunteering at nearly 20 locations across central Arkansas. The schoolwide day of community service took place in honor of Mercy Day. Around the world, Mercy Day is celebrated to commemorate the day Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy, opened the first House of Mercy in 1827 to serve the sick and poor in Ireland.

 

In the spirit of the Sisters of Mercy founder, Mount St. Mary honors this important anniversary each year by completing acts of service on its campus, in its surrounding neighborhood and throughout the Little Rock area. This year’s Mercy Day activities included cleaning and picking up trash, preparing meals, sorting clothing, and helping with various additional tasks at churches, schools and organizations that serve those in need. Work was completed at the following sites: ACCESS, The Allen School, Arkansas House of Prayer, Baseline Academy, Calvary Cemetery, Camp Aldersgate, Carmel of St. Teresa of Jesus, CHI St. Vincent, Easterseals Arkansas, Friendly Chapel Church of the Nazarene, Habitat for Humanity, The Helping Hand of Greater Little Rock, Little Rock Compassion Center, Live Thankfully Little Rock, Mount St. Mary Academy, Recycle Bikes for Kids, St. Joseph Center of Arkansas, St. Theresa Catholic School, and The Van.

 

The MSM community gathered together in the McAuley Center gymnasium later in the day for a special all-school Mercy Day Mass. Prior to Mass, 16 Mount students were recognized during the Mercy Day Scholarship Awards Presentation. The day of celebration ended with the Mercy Education System of the Americas (MESA) installation of Dr. Pattie Davis and Sara Jones as Mount St. Mary Academy’s new president and principal, respectively. Mount was honored to have Kimberly Baxter, MESA associate director for programs and services, and Sr. Deborah Troillett ’73, MESA board member and former president of Mount St. Mary from 1997-2011, in attendance to lead the special ceremony.

 

View photos from Mercy Day 2019 at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmHhtWNm.

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.

Mount welcomes Class of 2023

At the Welcome Mass on Tuesday, August 27, the Mount community joined together in the McAuley Center to officially welcome the Class of 2023 into its sisterhood and circle of Mercy.

 

Comprised of 111 students from over 20 different schools, the newest class began its journey as Mount sisters in a very symbolic way by entering the gymnasium through an honor guard made up of the Campus Ministry Team, Ministers of the Eucharist and the Student Council. The special procession marked the official beginning of the students’ four years at Mount St. Mary; the next and only other time the class will walk through an honor guard together will be when they exit the Closing Prayer Service as seniors.

 

During Mass, the Class of 2023 also took part in the first of four important traditions experienced by all students at Mount St. Mary: the presentation of the Mercy Cards, which feature the school’s shared Mercy Values.

 

MSM Interim Principal Sara Jones addressed the class before each new student’s name was called to receive her card, reminding them that their Mercy Card was not something to receive lightly or hide in a wallet. “It is a commitment. It is important,” Mrs. Jones said. “This card holds our value system in place for all the world to see. These values will help you grow as an individual and a member of our community. These values will help you live a grace-filled life.”

 

The special all-school Mass ended with Student Body President Sarah Johnson ’20 announcing this year’s button theme: We are One. “The journey begins now, as a school, as a class, and as individuals,” she said. “We are all the heart of this school. We are all unique, but we are one together, and our purpose will be remembered for years to come. God’s spirit and love is within all of us – we are one each and every day. We are more powerful united than divided.”

 

 Mount St. Mary Academy is proud to welcome the Class of 2023!

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, “We’ll Always Remember You”

The Class of 2019 graduated from Mount St. Mary Academy during the Commencement Ceremony held Monday, May 20, at Robinson Auditorium in downtown Little Rock. The 122 graduates, accepted to more than 100 colleges and universities, collectively received over $14 million in scholarship offerings and will be attending 40 different colleges and universities across 17 states this fall. Additionally, this year’s graduating class completed 13,386 hours of community service for the greater Little Rock community during its junior and senior years.

 

Cathy Hastings Owen ’76, chairman of Eagle Bank & Trust, delivered the commencement address. She encouraged graduates to recognize and take advantage of the vast array of opportunities in front of them – both big and small – and to lead with kindness and humility. “As women today, you can do and be anything you want to be,” she said. “Believe in yourself. Find your unique superpower. But never compromise your ethics, name or integrity.”

 

Ms. Owen was introduced by Fourth Honor Graduate Sophie Bravo and Fifth Honor Graduate Ashley Suffridge. Fifth Honor Graduates Madison Perreault and Annie Quo offered the invocation, and Third Honor Graduate Sophie Chier presented the class essay, “Those Who Dare.” The salutatory address, “The Highest Appreciation,” was given by Second Honor Graduate Anna Kate Manchester, and First Honor Graduate Angel Sagardui delivered the valedictory address, “Shoot for the Moon.”

 

Monsignor Francis I. Malone, chancellor for ecclesial affairs for the Diocese of Little Rock and pastor at Christ the King Church, presented the diplomas as MSM Principal/CEO Karen Flake ’65 announced each graduate and the college she will attend. They were joined on stage by Angie Collins, MSM principal; Theresa Hall ’78, superintendent of Catholic schools; and Greg Hartz, MSM Academy Board of Directors chairman.

 

The Class of 2019 leaves Mount St. Mary Academy with diplomas in hand and mixed feelings of joy, anticipation, sadness and gratitude. In the spirit of its class song, “I’ll Always Remember You” by Miley Cyrus, this year’s graduates will remain tied by the moments they shared together at the Mount – “memories they’ll hold in their hearts forever” – which will serve as the foundation and inspiration for continuing to live Mercy beyond the gate of Mount St. Mary as women of wisdom, compassion and integrity.

 

View photos from the beautiful celebration at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmDsSon8.

 

Congratulations, Class of 2019! “The best school we know of” couldn’t be more proud of you, and we are excited to see all that you continue to accomplish.

 

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.

Mount St. Mary Bids Farewell to Senior Class

It was a day full of celebration, joy and sadness as Mount St. Mary honored and bid farewell to the Class of 2019 on May 3, the seniors’ last day of school. In honor of College T-shirt and Skirt Day, a relatively new tradition at the Mount, excited seniors arrived for their final day on campus wearing college tees along with the iconic MSM houndstooth skirts decorated with the mascots, symbols and colors of the colleges they’ll be attending this fall. The group enjoyed showing off the creative and colorful attire, and taking pictures with each other and their younger classmates, during the festive all-school Pizza on the Plaza lunch.

 

The Closing Prayer Service was held later in the day in the McAuley Center gymnasium. After parting words from teachers, administration, classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022, as well as from their peers, the Class of 2019 took part in the fourth and final tradition experienced by all students at Mount St. Mary: the presentation of the graduation tassels. Students receive their Mercy cards in 9th grade, Mercy pins in 10th grade and class rings in 11th grade. The graduation tassels presented at the end of the students’ final year at Mount mark the completion of their academic and spiritual development during the four years of high school.

 

As it does at most school gatherings, the singing of the alma mater served as the closing song for the service. Per tradition, the seniors alone sung the last verse before exiting the McAuley Center through an honor guard made up of Mount St. Mary faculty and staff. The special procession served as the bookend to the seniors’ experience. The class walked through an honor guard of students as freshmen being welcomed into the MSM community during the Opening Prayer Service at the beginning of their ninth grade year. This is the only other time during the school year the honor guard takes place.

 

Though joyful as they move on to an exciting new chapter of their lives, the senior class shared tearful embraces on their final day of school as they reminisced on the good times and wonderful memories that were shared together at the best school we know of.

 

“Good-bye to St. Mary’s, the best school we know of.

You’ve given us friendship and knowledge and love.

And though we’ll be leaving, we’ll always believe in

the things you’ve taught for you’ve still got our loyalty.”

 – Alma Mater of Mount St. Mary Academy

 

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

Mount St. Mary Celebrates Junior Ring Mass

The Mount St. Mary Academy Class of 2020 participated in the time-honored tradition of receiving their senior rings at Our Lady of Holy Souls Church on Sunday, April 28. Following their entering procession and a call to worship by Junior Class Vice President Sarah Johnson, the 114 juniors celebrated Mass with their families to mark their call to leadership as next year’s seniors. Guided by the verse “Be still and know that I am God,” which was chosen as the class theme during their retreat earlier in April, the students will wear the rings as a symbol of their class unity and leadership – just as previous years’ senior classes have done

 

MSM Chaplain Msgr. Lawrence Frederick blessed the senior rings during the special Mass. The following Eucharistic Ministers for 2019-2020 were installed, as well: Grace Blagg, Anne-Marie Elser, Sophie Mammarelli, Ireland McNally, Naomi Moreland, Amelia Ochoa, Anna Palmer, Olivia Spohn, Kaitlin Tarini and Lily Wewers.

 

After the special Mass, the juniors gathered outside the church for photos and the long-standing tradition of asking family and friends to turn their rings. The turning represents the year of graduation; therefore, for the Class of 2020, the rings were turned 20 times. Congratulations to next year’s leaders: the Mount St. Mary Academy Class of 2020!

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.

MSM Seniors Visit Discalced Carmelite Nuns

On Tuesday, April 23, Mount St. Mary Academy’s senior class visited the Carmel of St. Teresa of Jesus in Little Rock. After celebrating mass together in the monastery’s chapel, the group enjoyed visiting with the Carmelite nuns. The students learned more about the history of the Carmelites as well as their daily life, and they were given the opportunity to ask questions of the small community of sisters.

 

The trip has become an end-of-the-year tradition for each graduating class of Mount St. Mary Academy and provides the seniors with the last opportunity to celebrate mass together as a class prior to the Baccalaureate Mass in May.

 

View more photos from the seniors’ trip to the monastery on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

 

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 Elects 2019-2020 Student Council

Mount St. Mary Academy held officer elections on Thursday, April 18, and Tuesday, April 23.

 

Congratulations to the newly elected student council members for 2019-2020:

 

Sarah Johnson, Student Body President

 

Lily Wewers, Senior Class President

Cecelia Rech, Senior Class Vice President

Anne-Marie Elser, Senior Class Officer

Sophie Mammarelli, Senior Class Officer

Emma Tlapek, Senior Class Officer

 

Sarah Cate Lay, Junior Class President

Fran Edwards, Junior Class Vice President

Ella Brewer, Junior Class Officer

Cabe Parrish, Junior Class Officer

Vivian Pierce, Junior Class Officer

 

Lucy Nimmo, Sophomore Class President

Savanna Hindman, Sophomore Class Vice President

Mimi Baldwin, Sophomore Class Officer

Brooklyn Holcomb, Sophomore Class Officer

Annie Wendel, Sophomore Class Officer

 

“I’m so proud of every girl who ran for student council; it can certainly be intimidating to stand up before your peers and deliver a speech,” Noël Gieringer, MSM English teacher and student council sponsor, remarked. “I look forward to working with this wonderful group of girls that the student body elected. I know they will be hard-working, creative, and dedicated to all our student council events for next year.”

 

Next year’s student body president echoed Ms. Gieringer’s excitement. “I am so grateful to have been given such an incredible opportunity, and being able to lead such an astounding group of young women is going to be so fun,” Sarah Johnson exclaimed. “The new student council girls are all so driven and care so deeply about their class and school, so I believe that we will accomplish great things next year.”

 

As the elected representatives of the student body, student council members help coordinate and promote school events while also overseeing the execution of class projects to assist in furthering the mission of Mount St. Mary. Officers for the freshman class will be elected later this fall.

 

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

Mount St. Mary Academy Announces New President

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Career Day 2019 Celebrates Fifth Year, Welcomes Back 50 Alumnae

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

MSM Students Visit Nine Campuses During College Trip 2019

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

MSM Thespians Compete in State Festival

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Happy birthday to the best school we know of!

 

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

Inaugural Day of Giving Set for Founders Day

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Mount St. Mary to Host Second Annual Forensics Festival

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Mount St. Mary Announces Basketball Homecoming Court

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Mount St. Mary Academy Celebrates Sisters of Mercy Foundation Day

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

Award-Winning Author Encourages MSM Students to Trust the Whisper

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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