Mount St. Mary Academy

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.

Three student-athletes honored at All Arkansas Preps Banquet

Three Mount St. Mary Academy student-athletes were honored during the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s 2020-2021 All Arkansas Preps Banquet on Saturday, June 19, at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. Swimming Belle Olivia Chambers ’21 received the CHI St. Vincent Health Award. Additionally, Golf Belle Isabel Chaidez ’22 and Soccer Belle Abbey Moore ’21 were named to their respective sports’ All Arkansas Preps teams.

 

The CHI St. Vincent Health Award was one of only two “Inspiration Awards” presented during the event. It honors an Arkansas high school student-athlete who has overcome a health challenge and did so with grace and humility while inspiring his/her team and community on the journey.

 

“I nominated Olivia because she has remained upbeat and happy regardless of her prognosis,” said MSM Head Swim Coach Quincey Johnson. “She is positive and determined and always in good spirits. Olivia has been battling for her vision for nearly two years now, and she is still smiling and pressing on and achieving her goals.”

 

Olivia, who placed 2nd in the 100 backstroke and 4th in the 200 IM at this year’s 6A State Swim Meet in February, will be attending the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls where she has already committed to joining the women’s swim and dive team. She is the first Belle to sign at a Division I school since 2017. Olivia’s story of courage and perseverance through an unexpected health challenge that left her legally blind was featured in this Arkansas Catholic article in May.

 

In addition to Olivia’s recognition, Isabel and Abbey were honored for their achievements in golf and soccer, respectively, this past year. Isabel was announced as one of just 10 members of the 2021-2021 All Arkansas Preps Girls Golf Team. With a personal best one-under par total score, she finished second in this year’s 6A Girls Golf State Tournament and qualified for the Arkansas State Golf Association High School Overall Championship. She was named All-Conference for the third year in a row and All-State for the second straight year.

 

Abbey was selected to this year’s All Arkansas Preps Girls Soccer Second Team. She received All-State honors this year and was one of only 16 players across the 6A classification named to the 2021 All-Tournament Team. Next year Abbey will continue her soccer career with the Division II women’s soccer program at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark.

 

Congratulations to Olivia, Isabel and Abbey! 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.

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.

Mount St. Mary honors sports teams, student-athletes and coaching staff

More than 200 guests gathered at the DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Little Rock on Monday, May 10, 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: Millie Allgood ’22
  • Donnie Bridges Award: Hannah Denery ’21
  • Sr. Phillipa Athletic Award: Abbey Moore ’21
  • Sr. Mary Phillipa Parent Award: Meredith Snape
  • Sr. Phillipa Manning Memorial Scholarship: Libby Franks ’21
  • Mary Drake Award: Isabelle Todd ’22
  • Purple Heart Award: Olivia Chambers ’21 and Katie Wilcox ’21
  • Vassar-West Scholarship: Isabel Chaidez ’22
  • Marilyn Lenggenhager Passionate Athlete Award: Haley Draeger ’22
  • Manager of the Year: Mia Aquino ’22 and Becca Besier ’22
  • Most Valuable Freshman Award: Madeline McNeill ’24
  • Most Valuable Belle: Chloe Gourde ’21

 

Thirty-one 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. Chloe Gourde was 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 two members who are retiring from their coaching duties this year: Stephanie Boccarossa Pierce ’06 and Ashley Boccarossa McNatt ’03, who have dedicated 14 years and 4 years, respectively, to coaching soccer at their alma mater.

 

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.

Five MSM seniors awarded AYAA scholarships

Five Mount St. Mary senior art students were awarded scholarships from the Arkansas Young Artist Association (AYAA) during the online awards ceremony for its 2021 Virtual Competition on Wednesday, April 21. Caroline Gunderman won the organization’s top award, the $750 Carmen Alexandria “Allie” Thompson Memorial Scholarship. Kendal Betton, Charlie Colburn, Mary Owen and Anna Jewel Schluterman each received one of 13 additional $500 scholarships awarded by AYAA. Charlie was also offered a $1,000 scholarship by the Kansas City Art Institute.

 

AYAA received more than 2,200 entries from across the state in this year’s virtual visual arts competition, which was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19. Twenty of the 76 pieces submitted by Mount St. Mary Academy students placed in various categories.

 

“We are so very proud of all of our students who submitted work this year,” Jenny Holder and Mimi Parrish, MSM art instructors, said. “The talent is undeniable, and the amount of work these students put into their artwork is abundantly evident.”

 

Congratulations to our 2021 AYAA winners:

 

  • Leighton Bennett ’21 – 1st place in crafts
  • Sophia Brannon ’22 – 3rd place in pen/ink (abstract/non-objective)
  • Charlie Colburn ’21 – 4th place in colored pencil (expressive), honorable mention in portraits (realistic) and honorable mention in printmaking
  • Alexis Coy ’23 – 2nd place in photography (color)
  • Abigail Garmon ’22 – 3rd place in sculpture (realistic)
  • Caroline Gunderman ’21 – 1st in tempera (expressive), 1st place in sketchbooks, 3rd place in oils (realistic), 3rd place in chalk pastel (expressive) and 4th in mixed media 2-D (expressive)
  • Cecilia Ilg ’20 – 2nd place in mixed media 2-D (expressive), 2nd place in colored pencil (realistic) and 4th place in printmaking
  • Brynne Johnson ’21 – 3rd place in digital manipulated imagery (with photos used)
  • Mary Owen ’21 – 2nd place in mixed media low-relief (abstract/non-objective)
  • Emily Roach ’21 – 2nd place in chalk pastel (abstract/non-objective)
  • Anna Jewel Schluterman ’21 – honorable mention in advertising design
  • Grace Weaver ’21 – 2nd place in digital manipulated imagery (with photos used)

 

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.

 

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.

Senior Basketball Belle’s volunteerism recognized by All Arkansas Preps, two other student-athletes also honored

Mount St. Mary Academy’s athletic program will be well represented in the upcoming Arkansas Democrat-Gazette All Arkansas Preps awards ceremony. Three student-athletes from the Class of 2020 are set to be honored during the event, which will take place virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Basketball Belle Catherine Althoff has been chosen as the recipient of the Hussman Community Award. Additionally, Golf Belle Lauren Loeb and Tennis Belle Presley Southerland have been named to their respective sports’ All Arkansas Preps teams.

 

The Hussman Community Award, named in honor of Arkansas Democrat-Gazette publisher Walter E. Hussman Jr., is one of only three All Arkansas Preps “Inspiration Awards” that will be presented during the ceremony. It honors one Arkansas high school student-athlete who has worked to better his or her community through volunteerism, and who has demonstrated strong leadership skills while setting a positive example for others.

 

“Between a demanding course load and the responsibilities associated with athletics and being a student athletic trainer, Catherine’s plate was already incredibly full. Yet she always made time to volunteer, and she served her community in many ways throughout high school,” said MSM Athletic Director Marilyn Lenggenhager, who nominated Catherine for the award. “Her demonstrated commitment to academics, athletics and service deserved to be recognized. It’s truly phenomenal all Catherine has been able to accomplish within such a busy schedule.”

 

Lauren Lawrence, head basketball coach at MSM, shared similar sentiments upon learning that this year’s co-captain had been selected for the Hussman Community Award. “Catherine is the epitome of a high achiever. She consistently strives to be the greatest version of herself and certainly doesn’t fall short when it comes to volunteering. She always puts her best foot forward with a smile on her face as she is helping others and our community,” she said.

 

Catherine will be recognized as this year’s Hussman Community Award recipient during the 2019-2020 All Arkansas Preps virtual awards ceremony on Thursday, June 18. It will be streamed live on Facebook at www.facebook.com/allarkansaspreps beginning at 6:30 p.m.

 

In addition to Catherine’s recognition, Lauren and Presley will be honored for their achievements in golf and tennis, respectively, when they’re announced as one of just 12 members of their sports’ All Arkansas Preps teams. Lauren finished second in this year’s 6A Girls Golf State Tournament and third in the Arkansas State Golf Association High School Overall Championship. Presley was this year’s 6A State Singles Champion and finished as runner-up in the Overall State Tennis Tournament. Both Belles received All-Conference and All-State honors this year, as well.

 

Perhaps even more exciting is the fact that all three seniors have plans to continue playing sports at the college level next year: Catherine at Rhodes College in Memphis, Lauren at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, and Presley at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

 

Congrats to Catherine, Lauren and Presley! 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 St. Mary honors sports teams, student-athletes virtually

This year’s annual Athletic Banquet was canceled due to COVID-19, but that didn’t stop Mount St. Mary Academy from celebrating its sports teams, student-athletes and coaching staff. The school held a virtual Athletic Awards Celebration on Monday, May 11, during which Principal Sara Jones and Athletic Director Marilyn Lenggenhager recognized the accomplishments of the 2019-2020 teams and announced the recipients of this year’s special awards.

 

The winners of this year’s special awards, which are selected by MSM athletic staff, include the following:

 

  • Fr. Keaney Award: Kaitlin Tarini ’20
  • Donnie Bridges Award: Cami Kita ’20
  • Sara Fritz Outstanding Student Athletic Trainer Award: Catherine Althoff ’20
  • Sr. Phillipa Athletic Award: Lauren Loeb ’20 and Lily Wewers ’20
  • Sr. Phillipa Parent Award: Kim Markland and Kate Franks
  • Sr. Phillipa Memorial Scholarship: Sarah Johnson ’20 and Catherine Althoff ’20
  • Mary Drake Award: Millie Allgood ’22
  • Purple Heart Award: Presley Southerland ’20
  • Vassar-West Scholarship: Mia Aquino ’22
  • Marilyn Lenggenhager Passionate Athlete Award: Cami Kita ’20 and Fran Edwards ’21
  • Manager of the Year: Sarah Kate McConnell ’22
  • Most Valuable Freshman Award: Alexia Coca ’23 and Blair Barnett ’23
  • Most Valuable Belle: Kaitlin Tarini ’20

 

Thirteen student-athletes were recognized as Four-Year Scholar Athletes, having participated in athletics for all four years of high school and graduating with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. Lily Wewers was awarded the Top Scholar Athlete award for maintaining the highest GPA while also participating in the athletic program at Mount.

 

The virtual event also honored the coaching staff and paid special tribute to three coaches who are retiring from their coaching duties this year: Bubba Klugh (golf), Brian Loeb (golf) and Chuck Toomer (cross country).

 

View the virtual Athletic Awards Celebration online at https://youtu.be/oN5xGjD-wFw.

 

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

 

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

MSM sophomore accepted to prestigious summer songwriting workshop

Sophomore Ellen Brady has been accepted into the New York University Summer Songwriters Workshop. Ellen, one of only 42 applicants from across the world to receive an acceptance, will participate in the intensive seminar June 15-26.

 

“I cannot describe the excitement and shock I felt when I opened the email from NYU,” Ellen said. “I applied to the program in the first place just to receive some feedback on the songs I had recorded, never expecting to actually get accepted considering how well-known and famous this workshop is.”

 

During the two-week workshop, which will be held online this year due to COVID-19, Ellen will hone her craft through instruction, targeted assignments and critique from a faculty of acclaimed songwriters in a variety of musical genres. The program also features extensive collaboration, daily peer review and panels providing discussion on the integral aspects of the record business as well as songwriters’ rights.

 

“I will be getting one-on-one time with GRAMMY-nominated songwriters, singers and producers who have written for artists such as Beyoncé, Whitney Houston, Dolly Parton, John Legend, Elton John, Usher, Kelly Clarkson and many others,” Ellen said of the upcoming summer workshop. “We will work together in order to perfect the songs I submitted in my application, and I will also get to collaborate with other participants in the program to write new music.”

 

Ellen’s passion for music and songwriting was initially sparked after joining her middle school’s theatre program. She recently began researching various careers in music and aspires to pursue her passion in a city like New York, Los Angeles, Boston or Nashville.

 

“I am very open-minded and would love the opportunity to study any part of the music industry, such as music management, production, business or songwriting, and hopefully get to work in such an incredible industry one day,” Ellen 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.

Senior filmmaker awarded $2,500 Thea Scholarship

Another Mount St. Mary Academy senior has been named a winner in one of this year’s Thea Foundation Scholarship Competitions. Sophie Mammarelli was awarded the $2,500 Editing Scholarship in the 2020 Film Scholarship Competition.

 

High school seniors from across the state were invited to submit films to this year’s competition in one of the following categories: screenwriting, directing, cinematography and editing. Entries were judged by the Arkansas Cinema Society, and only four $2,500 scholarships were awarded.

 

Sophie’s scholarship-winning short film, starring classmate America Alejandri ’20, represented her interpretation of this year’s competition theme: “Brilliant, radiant, overcoming the senses.” View Sophie’s film online: https://youtu.be/HFENRsTI4GA.

 

News of Sophie’s award didn’t come as a surprise for those who’ve worked with the budding filmmaker during her time at Mount St. Mary, where she’s assisted in producing numerous videos for the school.

 

“Sophie always goes above and beyond my expectations for our school and its news station, Belle TV,” said Carrie Burkhead, technology and media specialist at Mount. “Her talent, creativity and capacity to manage several projects continue to amaze me. I am very proud to have had Sophie as a student the past two years, and I will miss her dearly. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for her in the film industry.”

 

Sophie will attend the University of Central Arkansas in Conway this fall where she plans on majoring in film production.

 

Congratulations, Sophie!

 

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.

Governor selects Mount St. Mary junior for art award

Junior Caroline Gunderman was honored with the Governor’s Award in the 2020 Governor’s Young Artist Competition. Her pencil drawing, Wisdom, was chosen by Governor Asa Hutchinson from the nearly 100 pieces selected for exhibition in the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion in February.

 

This year’s student exhibition was not open to the public as planned due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Governor Hutchinson and First Lady Susan Hutchinson announced their award winners and shared a virtual tour of the exhibition online on Tuesday, April 21 – four days before the reception and awards ceremony was originally scheduled to be held. That video may be viewed here.

 

All three of the works Caroline submitted into this year’s competition were selected for display in the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion. Her piece, Yellow Wallpaper, received an honorable mention. Senior Cecilia Ilg’s work, TRANSendence, also received an honorable mention.

 

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.

Senior’s art earns top 10 finish in Thea Foundation competition

Mount St. Mary Academy senior, Livvie Falcon, placed ninth and won a $2,000 scholarship in this year’s Thea Foundation Visual Arts Scholarship Competition. Her winning abstract portrait, inspired by her grandmother, represented Livvie’s interpretation of the 2020 competition theme: “Brilliant, radiant, overcoming the senses.”

 

According to the Thea Foundation, 170 Arkansas high school seniors entered this year’s Visual Arts Scholarship Competition, which was hosted online for the first time ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Only 10 students were selected as winners of scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $4,000.

 

“We are so proud of Livvie and grateful that the Thea Foundation continues to spread joy and hope through their work in the arts,” said Marianne Nolley, art teacher, on behalf of the MSM Fine and Performing Arts Department.

 

Congratulations to Livvie and all of this year’s Thea 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.

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.

Basketball Belles’ season includes state tournament appearance

For the first time in three years, the Basketball Belles enjoyed postseason play. The team’s impressive 16-point win over the Central Tigers in their final regular season game of the year on February 28 earned them sixth place in the 6A Central conference and a trip to the State Basketball Tournament in Bryant.

 

The no. 6 seed Belles were matched against no. 3 seed Har-Ber in the first round of the tournament on March 4. Though the game remained close up until its final minute, the team ultimately lost 43-37 to the Lady Wildcats, thus ending the Basketball Belles’ nearly four-month long season.

 

“I couldn’t be more proud of this team,” MSM theology teacher and head coach Lauren Lawrence said. “Their attitudes and effort have been such a huge part of this year’s success.”

 

Coach Lawrence also praised the leadership of team captains Catherine Althoff ’20 and Kaitlin Tarini ’20. “We’ve also had two of the best senior leaders that helped shape this team into what it was and made this program better by being a part of it,” she said.

 

In addition to their appearance in this year’s 6A State Basketball Tournament, a highlight of the season was winning the consolation bracket of the Spa City Shootout in Hot Springs in December.

 

Congratulations Basketball 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.

Register now for 2020 summer camps at the Mount

Don’t stop playing, learning and creating just because school’s out. Spend your summer at the Mount!

 

Mount St. Mary Academy is once again offering a handful of fun and engaging summer camps during the months of June and July for children entering the 2nd through 9th grades. Campers will be able to sharpen their skills — or try something new! — in the following areas: volleyball, basketball, cooking, and drama.

 

Detailed information, including dates and pricing, may be found on the downloadable registration form at http://mtstmary.edu/summer-camps/. Register by Friday, May 15, to receive the early bird rate for a couple of the camps.

 

2020 Basketball Skills Academy for 4th-8th Graders

UPDATE: The 2020 Basketball Skills Academy, originally scheduled for April 5 through May 3, has been canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  Please contact Coach Lauren Lawrence at llawrence@mtstmary.edu if you have any questions.

 

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

 

The 2020 Basketball Skills Academy is scheduled for April 5 through May 3. Sessions will take place from 5:30-7:00 p.m. on select Sundays and Mondays in the McAuley Center Gym at Mount St. Mary Academy. The cost per participant for the seven-session program is $125. Space is limited. For more information, contact Coach Lauren Lawrence at (501) 664-8006 or llawrence@mtstmary.edu, or download the flyer and registration form.

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 junior recognized with President’s Volunteer Service Award

Anne Marie Coy ’21 has been honored for her exemplary volunteer service with a President’s Volunteer Service Award as well as a Certificate of Excellence from The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism.

 

The President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country. Additionally, Certificates of Excellence are granted to the top 10 percent of all Prudential Spirit of Community Award applicants in each state.

 

An active junior at Mount St. Mary, Anne Marie has spent hundreds of hours volunteering with the Arkansas Foodbank since her passion for the organization ignited during a field trip in the fourth grade. In 2018 she spearheaded the launch of the Change for Change Campaign, a drive to collect spare change to benefit the Foodbank and raise awareness of the issue of food insecurity in Arkansas. Her project raised more than $4,000 in its first year and earned her the Arkansas Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Outstanding Volunteer Youth Fundraiser Award. After topping $8,000 in 2019, Anne Marie’s goal for this year’s Change for Change Campaign is $10,000.

 

In its 25th year, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards is presented annually by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

 

“Across the United States, young volunteers are doing remarkable things to contribute to the well-being of the people and communities around them,” said Prudential Chairman and CEO Charles Lowry. “Prudential is honored to celebrate the contributions of these students, and we hope their stories inspire others to volunteer, too.”

 

“These students have not only improved their communities through their exemplary volunteer service, but also set a fine example for their peers,” said JoAnn Bartoletti, executive director of NASSP. “Each of their stories is proof of the impact one young person can have when they decide to make a difference.”

 

Prudential Spirit of Community Award applications were distributed nationwide last September, and applicants’ volunteer activities were judged on criteria including initiative, effort, impact and personal growth. In addition to granting President’s Volunteer Service Awards and Certificates of Excellence, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards selected State Honorees and Distinguished Finalists. Sophomore Haley Draeger was selected as one of Arkansas’ four Distinguished Finalists and also received a President’s Volunteer Service Award.

 

KARK Channel 4 News recently featured Anne Marie and her Change for Change Campaign. View that Good News Matters segment here.

 

We applaud Anne Marie for her commitment to service and living Mercy, and congratulate her on this well-deserved honor!

 

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 student artists’ pieces chosen for display in Governor’s Mansion

Artwork from two Mount St. Mary students was selected in this year’s Governor’s Young Artist Competition and will be included in a student exhibition at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion later this spring.

 

Junior Caroline Gunderman had all three of her submitted works chosen: Yellow Wallpaper, New York, New York and Wisdom. Wisdom had previously been submitted in the Historic Cane Hill Art Competition, where it was recognized with one of two Awards of Excellence. Senior Cecilia Ilg’s work, TRANSendence, was also chosen in the 2020 Governor’s Young Artist Competition.

 

There were almost 500 works entered into this year’s competition from high school students across the state, and 94 were selected for display in the mansion. The 2020 theme, “The Home Within,” invited young artists to submit pieces inspired by a place, a person, a song, a smell, a sound, a memory or anything else that evokes a sense of home as a place or state of being that fosters an atmosphere of living, laughing and learning. “‘The Home Within’ can be interpreted quite widely, bringing together a broad range of elements and ideas to define the role of ‘home’ and its significance in a person’s life story,” the competition’s website stated.

 

The student exhibition at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion is scheduled to open Wednesday, April 1, with a reception and awards ceremony taking place on Saturday, April 25.

 

Congratulations to our talented student artists, Caroline and Cecilia!

Clockwise, L to R: Yellow Wallpaper; TRANSendence; Wisdom; New York, New York

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.

Bowling Belles finish season fifth in state

The Bowling Belles recently completed their season, which once again included postseason action. The team finished 5-1 in their regular season matches, came in fourth at this year’s Baker Competition in late January, and finished in third place at the 6A Central Conference Tournament in Conway on February 5. The top-three finish earned them one of 10 spots in the 6A State Tournament in Fort Smith on February 13, where the team came in fifth overall – up two places from last year’s finish. The Bowling Belles are coached by MSM science teacher Lauren Naeyaert and volunteer assistant Justin Draeger.

 

“We are super proud of the Bowling Belles this season,” Coach Naeyaert said. “We improved since last season, and we expect to improve even more over the off season. These ladies are amazing!”

 

In addition to the team’s success, Haley Draeger ’22 earned All-State honors with her ninth place overall finish at the State Tournament.

 

Congrats to the Bowling Belles and their coaches for another 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.

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.

Senior Concert Belle selected for All-State Choir for third time

On February 7, five students from Mount St. Mary Academy traveled to Henderson State University in Arkadelphia to audition alongside hundreds of Arkansas’ best singers for spots in this year’s All-State Choirs. For the third time in four years, Anne Lashbrook ’20 was selected for All-State.

 

Anne earned 13th chair out of the more than 110 top Alto IIs in Arkansas who auditioned for the 50-member choir this year. She made All-State during her freshman and junior years at Mount St. Mary, as well. Concert Belles Gracie Limmer ’22, Mari Negrete ’22, Cabe Parrish ’21 and Natalie Vailes ’22 also participated in the February 7 All-State auditions.

 

As part of this year’s All-State Choir, Anne will spend February 20-22 in Hot Springs at the All-State Clinic. She will participate in intense rehearsals alongside the state’s other top vocal performers, directed by some of the country’s most prestigious and acclaimed choir directors. The All-State Clinic will conclude with a public concert on Saturday afternoon showcasing the music the students learn during the week as well as their incredible talent.

 

“I knew Anne was going to make in into All-State. She works tirelessly outside of class, and her knowledge of music theory is advanced for her age,” said MSM Choral Director Chelsea Allman. “Earning a spot in an All-State choir is a great honor. It means that you are the best of the best, and it is something highly sought after in the choir world.”

 

The Concert Belles and the Harmony Belles will perform at the regional Choral Performance Assessment in mid-March with the hopes of becoming eligible to participate in the Arkansas Choral Directors Association’s State Festival in April.

 

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

 

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

MSM 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 to host annual Lenten Evening of Reflection

Mount St. Mary Academy invites our community of alumnae, parents and friends to our annual Lenten Evening of Reflection on Tuesday, March 3. We are happy to welcome back Sr. Deborah Troillett, RSM ’73, executive director of the Arkansas House of Prayer, as our guest speaker to help lead the evening’s reflection and discussion.

 

“As a Catholic school, we share our faith with our students every day. Our annual Lenten Evening of Reflection is just one way we are able to do the same thing with our community,” said Chelle McKenzie McCarroll ’02, director of alumnae relations, who is helping organize the event.

 

This year’s Lenten Evening of Reflection will be held from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at Mount St. Mary Academy. There is no cost to attend the event, and a light meal will be provided. Please register online by Wednesday, February 26.

 

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

 

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

MSM sophomore named a top youth volunteer

Sophomore Haley Draeger was recently recognized as one of Arkansas’ top youth volunteers of 2020 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. As one of the state’s four Distinguished Finalists, Haley will receive an engraved bronze medallion. Her community spirit and exemplary volunteer service also qualified her for the program’s President’s Volunteer Service Award.

 

A member of the Girl Scouts – Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, Haley organized and runs Kid’s Korner, a twice-monthly event that has given more than 1,300 outfits to 240 families who are staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Little Rock. Haley solicits, washes and organizes donated clothing, has helped recruit additional volunteers, and works directly with families who benefit from her initiative.

 

Though appreciative of the honor, Haley was quick to acknowledge all volunteers and the importance of community service.

 

“A project’s success is driven by all the volunteers who participate and contribute in various ways. It can be hard work and time consuming, but the payoff of helping others is worth it,” she said. “As a volunteer, you can directly impact another person’s life or a cause for the better. There is also the personal reward of knowing your actions made a difference. I think everyone should find a cause that is important to them and volunteer. The benefits to those you serve and within yourself are remarkable.”

 

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, now in its 25th year, is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). It represents the United States’ largest youth recognition program based solely on volunteer service. Since the program began in 1995, more than 130,000 young volunteers have been honored at the local, state and national level.

 

“In our 25th year of honoring young volunteers, we are as inspired as ever by the work students are doing to address the needs of a changing world,” said Charles Lowrey, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, Inc. “We hope that their resolve, their initiative and their perspectives on society’s challenges move others to consider how they can make a difference, too.”

 

“Middle level and high school students are doing remarkable things to shape the future of their communities through volunteer service. They inspire all students and schools to drive learning with real-world challenges,” said JoAnn Bartoletti, executive director of NASSP. “Congratulations to each of the 2020 honorees – it’s an honor to celebrate your commitment to creating positive change.”

 

Congratulations, Haley, on this well-deserved honor. You are a wonderful example of living Mercy, and we are very proud of you!

 

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

Mount St. Mary 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.

Senior Golf Belle signs with Division II Reddies

A group of family, teammates, friends and coaches joined together in the McAuley Center on Thursday, Jan. 23, to celebrate a member of the Golf Belles for committing to play at the collegiate level. Senior Lauren Loeb signed her letter of intent with Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, becoming this year’s first student-athlete from the Mount St. Mary Class of 2020 with plans to continue playing her sport in college next fall.

 

Lauren began playing golf with a set of plastic clubs in her backyard when she was just four years old. By age seven, she was playing competitively in tournaments. “I have played in so many tournaments since then, I’ve lost count,” she said. “I love this sport and would not trade it for anything.”

 

The second place finisher in the 2019 6A State Golf Tournament, Lauren has enjoyed a successful career as a Belle. She earned All-Conference and All-State honors all four years of high school in addition to being named to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s All Arkansas Preps girls golf team for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons. Lauren’s performance at this year’s state tournament also qualified her for the Arkansas State Golf Association’s High School Overall Championship on October 17, where she shot a 79 and finished third among the best high school golfers in the state.

 

“The past four years at Mount have been absolutely amazing,” Lauren said. “Team bonding is a very important quality to have on any team, no matter the sport. I have had so much fun being a part of the Golf Belles, and I have made friends with girls I will never forget.”

 

Lauren also credits her time at Mount with preparing her for college. “MSM has taught me how to balance my academics with my sport and, thus, be successful in both,” she said. “It has also given me the opportunity to enhance my work ethic and responsibilities on and off the course.”

 

According to Lauren, several factors went into her college decision process. “It has been a dream of mine since I was little to play college golf,” she said. “I wanted to go to a college that offered a great education, was relatively close to home, offered the majors I was interested in and had an excellent golf program.” Lauren, who is interested in majoring in marketing or hospitality/event planning, said Henderson State filled all these needs.

 

“I am blessed to have the opportunity to play college golf at Henderson State,” Lauren said. “I am very excited about my future team and what can be accomplished on and off the course there.”

 

Lauren’s older sister, Taylor Loeb ’16, is currently completing her final season on the Reddies women’s golf team at Henderson State. This 2017 article in Arkansas Catholic details the sisters’ background and success in the sport.

 

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 earns perfect ACT score

For the second year in a row, Mount St. Mary Academy’s graduating class will include at least one student with a perfect ACT score. Isabella “Bella” Boyd, a senior at Mount St. Mary Academy, earned the highest possible composite score of 36 after taking the curriculum-based achievement exam in September.

 

Bella discovered the feat upon waking up unexpectedly during the evening the scores were scheduled to be released. “I had woken up in the middle of the night and decided I would check the scores while I was awake,” she said. “I was very tired, but obviously thrilled.”

 

This was the second time Bella had taken the ACT test. She earned a 34 on her first attempt and, though happy with the result, decided to take the test again to see if she could improve her score. “Thank goodness I did,” she said.

 

According to a press release from ACT, fewer than half of one percent of students who take the ACT earn a top score. In the U.S. graduating class of 2019, only 4,879 out of nearly 1.8 million students who took the ACT scored a 36. Two students from last year’s graduating class at Mount St. Mary Academy, Anna Kate Manchester and Audrey Cummins, were part of that small group.

 

The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science, each scored on a scale of 1-36. A student’s composite score is the average of the four test scores.

 

In a letter recognizing this exceptional achievement, ACT CEO Marten Roorda said, “Your achievement on the ACT is significant and rare. Your exceptional scores will provide any college or university with ample evidence of your readiness for the academic rigors that lie ahead.”

 

Bella, who was also named a National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalist in September, plans to study mechanical or material engineering in college. She has already applied to several schools including Boston University, Duke University, Lehigh University and Washington University in St. Louis.

 

Her advice for students still planning to take the ACT is to prepare and trust your gut. “Take a few practice tests beforehand and use process of elimination when picking your answers,” Bella said. “Also, your first guess is usually correct, so don’t second-guess yourself.”

 

Click here to view the story THV11 aired on January 15 that featured Bella and her 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.

Two MSM students win in inaugural art competition

Two Mount St. Mary students were recently chosen as winning artists in the inaugural Historic Cane Hill Art Competition and Exhibition. Senior Audrey Caruthers’s pen and ink piece, The Natural State, won the second-place Juror’s Prize and a $1,000 cash award. Junior Caroline Gunderman received one of two $75 Awards of Excellence for her pencil drawing, Wisdom. The winning artists were announced during an awards ceremony in Fayetteville on Saturday, December 14.

 

Of the 52 pieces of artwork accepted into the competition from high school students across the state, 10 were pieces created by students at Mount St. Mary Academy. In addition to Audrey and Caroline, seniors Ireland McNally, Merritt Sage and Maria Thomas also had artwork selected for the competition and resulting exhibition. The exhibition features work from 30 Arkansas high school students and is scheduled to run through January 18 in The Museum Gallery at Historic Cane Hill near Fayetteville.

 

The students’ success in this new competition failed to surprise their art teachers at Mount. “We have such an incredibly talented group of students, and I am always so impressed by their ability and concepts,” Marianne Nolley, MSM art teacher, said. “I am very proud of Audrey and Caroline, especially, and look forward to seeing all of the ways in which they will continue to use their talent and thoughtfulness.”

 

MSM art teacher Jenny Holder agreed, calling Audrey an “artistic powerhouse that produces thoughtful, dynamic work that is way above the norm for this level.” She also described Caroline as “extremely talented,” explaining that she was able to skip from Studio Art I to Honors Studio Art III and is now one of the top in that class, skill-wise.

 

Historic Cane Hill, Inc., a non-profit organization based in the art-friendly community of Cane Hill in Northwest Arkansas, hosted the event as a way to celebrate the talents of the state’s young artists. Arkansas students in grades 10th-12th were invited to enter the competition, which awards a one-year, full-tuition scholarship to the University of Arkansas School of Art as well as six additional cash prizes totaling $2,000. Jurors included representatives from Historic Cane Hill, the University of Arkansas School of Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville and the Community Creative Center in Fayetteville.

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.

Cross Country Belles run season’s final race

The Cross Country team finished their season on Saturday, November 9, at the 6A State Championship Meet at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs. Eight Belles participated in final 5000 meter run of the year.

 

“We had five new runners on the team this year, so the girls learned a lot about themselves and how far they could push,” Coach Rachel McLemore said of the young team’s progress over the course of the two-month-long season. “Everyone was able to set personal goals, and they worked really hard to meet them. We saw almost everyone on the team hit a PR on several occasions this year.”

 

According to Coach McLemore, Fran Edwards ’21 entered the season with the goal of making All-Conference. Fran ended up finishing sixth overall out of more than 100 runners at the 6A Central Conference Cross Country Meet in Fort Smith on October 26. Her 23:22.28 time earned her All-Conference honors.

 

“She came to every practice to work hard and really led by example,” Coach McLemore said.

 

Congrats on a great season, 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.

Season marked with success for Volley Belles, first year coaches

After three months of hard work and dedication, and competing in more than 20 games, the Volley Belles ended their season with a tough three-set loss to Fayetteville at the 6A State Tournament in Cabot on October 29. The team finished sixth in the 6A Central Conference with an overall record of 14-11-1. They were 6-8 in conference play.

 

This was the first year for Head Coach Jorge Martinez and Freshman Head Coach and Varsity Assistant Jessica Crow. Despite the season ending sooner than they’d hoped, the Volley Belles had a lot to celebrate.

 

“We made the Gold Bracket at every tournament we competed in, including Spikefest, the Lady Cat Tournament in Conway and the Fort Smith Invitational,” Coach Martinez said. “We also had signature wins over North Little Rock and Bentonville West this year.”

 

Individually, several players were recognized for their play. Millie Allgood ’22, Lauren Marendt ’20 and Maddie Walters ’20 were awarded All-Conference honors. Millie was also named an All-Star at the State Tournament. Additionally, Coach Martinez was selected to serve as the conference’s All-Star Coach next summer.

 

“Coach Crow and I both feel like solid groundwork for future success was laid this season,” Coach Martinez said. “We can’t wait for next season to begin.”

 

Congrats to the Volley Belles and their coaches for an exciting 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.

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.

Tennis Belles celebrate a championship season

This year’s Tennis Belles ended their successful season on a high note, winning the 6A Central Conference Championship at Rebsamen Tennis Center on October 7 and 8. The team advanced to the State Tournament in Springdale, held on October 14 and 15, and ended up finishing as the third place team in the state in Arkansas’ highest classification.

 

Additionally, senior Presley Southerland won the 6A State Singles Championship with a commanding 6-2, 6-1 victory over her opponent in the finals. She won the 6A Conference title, as well. Presley will compete in the State Overall Tournament at Burns Park Tennis Center on October 21 and 22.

 

Presley’s performance in the conference and state tournaments earned her All-State and All-Conference honors. Libby Franks ’21, Anna Grace ’22, Tasha Moreland ’22, Libby Raffaelli ’22 and Hagan Smith ’21 also received All-Conference recognition.

 

“I’m very proud of our girls,” coach Tim Glancy said. “They handled themselves with sportsmanship and honor throughout the season, and they all played a part in our conference championship and third place finish in State.”

 

Congratulations to Coach Glancy and the Tennis Belles! And good luck, Presley!

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.

Golf Belles finish strong season

The Mount St. Mary Academy Golf team, coached by volunteer coach Brian Loeb, recently completed their season, which kicked off at the beginning of August prior to the start of the school year.

 

Holly Byrne ’20, Isabel Chaidez ’22, Lauren Loeb ’20 and Lily Wewers ’20 competed in the 6A Girls Golf State Tournament in Fayetteville on October 1 and 2 where they finished in fifth place as a team. Lauren finished 2nd overall and Isabel finished 8th, which earned both Golf Belles All-Conference and All-State honors. Lauren also qualified for one of just 18 spots in the Arkansas State Golf Association High School Overall Championship, which will take place on October 17 at Pleasant Valley Country Club in Little Rock.

 

Congrats on a great season, Golf Belles and Coach Loeb! And good luck, Lauren!

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.

Another Mount St. Mary senior receives national recognition

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

 

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

 

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

 

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