Belles Blog

a blog about St. Mary's Academy

College Acceptances 2018

As our Gold Ties of 2018 prepare for the next phase of their education, we want to congratulate them for all of their academic achievements, community involvements and athletic talents they shared with our SMA community.

Below is a list of college acceptances and a slideshow of all of our graduating students and where they will be attending college next year.

 

 

 

 

 

Engineering Summer Enrichment Programs

This summer six of our Belles will be attending engineering enrichment programs across the country!  The scholarships total about $9,400 for all attending (this includes tuition, transportation, room & board, food, etc). Four students applied through the ACE Mentorship Program.  ACE partners with 20 schools throughout the Southern California region and mentors over 300 students. Having four of our Belles chosen from ACE is very impressive. Two students that will be attending the EPIC (Engineering Possibilities in College) Summer program at San Luis Obispo were also given scholarships. There were over 1,000 applicants to that summer program, so it was quite competitive.  We’re so proud of our engineering students for putting themselves out there and using their summer vacation to further their education!

Rebecca Pozos and Oceanna Lenon

Rebecca and Oceanna will be attending CREATE Summer Academy in Sacramento.  Students from across California will come together to experience a six-day, five-night camp that exposes them to careers in construction, re-development, engineering, architecture, and the trades. Students will design and build a project for a local nonprofit, complete a needs assessment, meet industry executives, tour active job sites, explore Sacramento, and stay on a university campus.  Thank you to ACE for providing the scholarships for these two students, including transportation.

Heaven Joseph

Heaven will be attending Design Immersion Days at SCI-Arc this summer.  DID is an immersive four-week summer program that introduces high school students of varying backgrounds to the academic and professional world of design and architecture.  Participants are offered the opportunity to explore careers in architecture and design or simply satisfy deep curiosities about how products, buildings, and environments are designed and made. The culmination of the DID program is a one-day comprehensive portfolio workshop, which is designed to introduce beginning design students to the concepts, techniques, and strategies necessary to complete a successful design portfolio.  Thank you to both ACE and SCI-Arc for providing scholarships for this program.

Meron Kahsai

Meron will be attending CU Denver CAP ACE summer camp. She’ll be joining the College of Architecture and Planning for a week-long residential summer camp at the University of Colorado Denver. Faculty from CU Denver’s architecture program will lead an investigation in design, digital fabrication, and sustainability. Students will build from their own design and get to know other students from ACE Mentor programs in the West. Campers will stay at Campus Village, CU Denver student housing. They will use the Design Fabrication Lab and studio spaces at the College of Architecture and Planning. Undergraduate Admissions will host a presentation about applying to CU Denver, so students leave camp with an understanding of what it takes to become a CU Denver student. Thanks to ACE for providing a scholarship for tuition and transportation.

Ashley Mancia and Kimberly Casarez

Ashley and Kimberly will be attending EPIC summer program at Cal Poly San Luis ObispoEPIC– Engineering Possibilities in College – is a one-week summer camp that introduces campers to the varied fields of engineering through hands-on labs taught by university professors and industry professionals.  EPIC campers see “Learn by Doing” in action as they participate in labs where they design, build, and test their own projects! Campers build rockets, create Android phone apps, develop a solar car, and learn about computer security. EPIC shares the College of Engineering’s mission to “educate students for careers of service, leadership, and distinction in engineering or other fields by using a Learn by Doing, hands-on approach.”  Thank you to EPIC for providing scholarships for these students.

 

We’re so proud of ALL of these Belles and can’t wait to hear about their experiences this summer when we return. Thank you again to ACE for providing such great mentorship and fantastic opportunities for our students.  Here’s the presentation from the ACE Student Presentation Day and Scholarship Award Ceremony on May 12, 2018.  Our Belles presented a new SMA campus!

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Senior Retreat

Recently, our Gold Ties ‘18 visited Pine Summit in Big Bear for their 3-day Senior Retreat! Those jam-packed few days allowed time for reflection, sharing, celebration, fun, and bonding. The retreat, led by Campus Minister and Religion teacher Ms. Warner, included talks by each attending faculty member, small group discussion, group work, and some free time to enjoy the facilities’ various activities outdoors. Gold Ties got the chance to try ziplining, paintballing, shooting, and archery! Throughout the three days, students could write affirmations for their classmates, as well as for the faculty members on retreat, and place them in the affirmation boxes in the meeting lodge. One group activity required students to evaluate their personality, then grouped them together by color/personality type. Each color group worked together to create posters representing themselves, then presented it to the larger group. This retreat was only the first of many exciting upcoming senior events, as the Gold Ties make their way towards graduation in June!

“The senior retreat provided me with insight towards reflection and how our past guides us towards God. Reflection with our group as well as teachers’ reflections showed me how we may connect God to every aspect of our lives and grow from each connection. I really enjoyed this retreat as I was able to understand my fellow Gold Ties and realize we all have things that connect and guide us together.” -Jessica Edwards

“Senior Retreat was the most interesting thing so far. It was an amazing opportunity to connect with my Gold Tie sisters. Other than that, there were a lot of activities I have not tried before. I also had the opportunity to open and experience my faith with my sisters.” -Kenya Mayers

“The Senior Retreat allowed me to perceive my peers with an open heart and mind to comprehend their story. The retreat also enabled me to try new activities that I never partook in before. Thanks to the senior retreat, I was able to enjoy my experience with others who were close to me and enjoy the beauty outdoors. In all, the senior retreat allowed me to perceive my peers differently, to be close to them in a different way. It opened my heart to the love God has for me and for them.” -Giselle Melendez

“I have gotten closer to the class, which was something I never knew would happen, especially because I am a transfer student. Overall, this retreat was one for the books. I realized that I was loved and appreciated. As well as that everyone came from different backgrounds and everyone is different, so one should be understanding to everything.” -Vivian Garcia

Arts Week Annual Art Show 2018

Below are all of the artworks and winners from the 2018 SMA Art Show.  We have so much talent among our Belles.  Enjoy!

Royya Martin- 1st Place Winner

Elisa Beltran- 2nd Place Winner

Delilah Navarro- 3rd Place Winner

Laylah Ortega- Honorable Mention

Alani Perkins- Honorable Mention

Continue reading

St. Joseph’s Week Mission Moments

To celebrate St. Joseph’s Week, each student in religion class reflected on what they appreciated about the mission of our school:

Mission Statement

St. Mary’s Academy, a Catholic, private, college preparatory high school for young women, founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, shapes women of distinction who are committed to lifelong learning and service to the “dear neighbor”.

They wrote their reflections on pieces of “ lace” to symbolize the skill of lace making that The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet taught to young women hundreds of years ago in Le Puy, France.  When they founded St. Mary’s Academy in 1889,  the Sisters had the same mission- to empower and educate young women. The aim of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and the lay women and men of the faculty at St. Mary’s Academy is to educate young women to take an active part as Christians in society.  It continues in this tradition to educate and guide young women toward maturity in an ever changing world.

See some student responses to our mission below.

Continue reading

St. Mary’s Academy Alumnae & Guests Present at the 2018 Career Day Event!

St. Mary’s Academy hosted the bi-annual Career Day event on Friday, March 16, 2018 to educate our Belles about various career paths. This year’s theme “She Believed She Could So She Did” served as an important reminder that women are capable of pursuing their career aspirations. It starts with students believing in their charism (gifts) and using their talents and knowledge to make a difference in the world.

Career Day provides our Belles with an opportunity to explore different professional fields through workshop presentations geared towards the students’ career interests such as law, medicine, engineering, business, arts, social work, finance and education. Red Tie Captain Brenda Threatt ‘71, the Executive Director of U.S. VETS – Long Beach, served as this year’s Keynote Speaker.

A total of 54 women presented at our Career Day event to share their expertise, provide advice, and answer questions. 74% of the presenters were SMA alumnae! We thank each of the presenters for providing an inspiring experiential learning opportunity for our Belles!

Below are a few biographies of our Career Day speakers:  

Kristen Berry has more than twelve years experience developing and executing strategic communications programs for a variety of travel, aviation, interior design/decor, lifestyle and consumer tech brands. Her expertise includes media relations, securing coverage from publications spanning Vogue, Travel + Leisure, Fast Company, and the New York Times; designing effective media and consumer events; blogger ambassador programs; social media activations and more. Kristen also crafts a wide array of communications content in her role, including product news, campaign messaging, press materials, reactive statements, infographics, social media updates and distilling industry/consumer research into coverage-generating highlights.


Jovon English, Blue Tie of 1996, is the Associate Director for Division Operations at  Homeless Outreach Program/Integrated Care System Division (HOPICS). She has over 10 years of extensive finance, operations and management experience to her position. Jovon holds a M.A. in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Southern California. Before coming to HOPICS, Jovon spent over 10 years in banking honing skills that will sure enhance her primary focus; increasing fundraising and meeting strategic goals and financial targets.


Sherry Hayes-Peirce, Gold Tie of 1982, has experienced different professional roles including: social worker, corporate trainer, television news/producer and on-air personality, executive assistant, motivational speaker and now entrepreneur as the President and CEO of Communications Consultants Inc. As a social media strategist, Sherry helps Catholic Churches, University and Health & Safety Industry businesses to create effective social media strategies and provide marketing advice. She has served as a guest lecturer at UCI, University of Australia, University of Washington, LMU|LA and has written an academic paper for the Academy Institute Journal Leadership on social media. She holds a BA degree in Sociology and Communication Studies from California State University, Dominguez Hills.


Monica Henderson is President of Encore Wellness & Weight Loss Management, Inc. She brings over thirty years of experience in the healthcare field to the organization and understands the importance of integrating wellness into the corporate culture to create a more productive and healthy workforce. As founder and principal consultant with Unisource Insurance Services, Inc. and The Unisource Group, Inc., she has served California employers for over twenty-five years. The firm provides employee benefits brokerage and consulting services to small businesses, large national corporations, municipalities and non-profit organizations with a focus on risk management, benefits plan design, wellness program development and identifying effective funding strategies for the clients’ core and voluntary benefits. Monica brings a depth of experience to Encore and is committed to delivering the most effective and sustainable approach to healthy weight loss. With a focus on improving nutrition and establishing healthy rituals, Encore members are able to achieve lasting results. Monica holds a BS in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing and Finance. She is on the Southern California advisory board for US Bank and is a member of the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Smart Set social organization of professional women.


Donna Simone Johnson, Green Tie of  2005, is an actress who was recently awarded the 2018 NAACP Award for Best Lead Actress for her work in “Broken Fences.” She is seen on TV shows like Shots Fired (FOX), Pilot Season (NBC), Teachers (NBC), Agent X (TNT), The Inspectors (CBS), and a host of commercials for Dannon Yogurt, Walmart, Adidas, and Nike. Most of the time, she is on stage, and has played some of the most lovely roles in the world over 4 continents, 14 countries and many cities. She proudly has a BA degree in Theatre Performance from Vanguard University, a MA in Dance from New York University and a MFA in Acting from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts).


Dr. Nicole Johnson, Blue Tie of 1996, is a coach and consultant who develops leadership programs to inspire the next generation of leaders. Nicole has worked for many years as an educator, including 17 years in k-12 and higher education. Her research interests includes: organizational behavior, mentoring and program innovation. Nicole has presented her work to the American Psychological Association and served as an Ambassador to its convention. She is a Governor’s Teaching Fellow and professor. She has taught at UCLA and the University of San Diego and her present appointment is National University. Nicole earned her BA in English, her M.Ed in Teaching & Learning from the University of San Diego, and her EdD in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine University.


Veronica Lewis, Blue Tie of 1996, is the Director of the Homeless Outreach Program/Integrated Care System Division (SSG/HOPICS) where she oversees more than 30 million dollars in annual funding for 30 different programs from 10 funders for mental health, substance use disorder treatment, reentry support, homeless and housing services, and trauma-focused services; and a multidisciplinary team of 180 employees. She has spent the greater part of her life working to educate, empower and provide resources to underserved youth and families. She is a recognized leader in LA County in the homeless services and reentry sectors. Veronica graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Business Administration, Business Law Concentration and received her Master of Public of Administration degree from California State University, Dominguez Hills.


Major Lydia Lygon Thomas, Blue Tie of 1968,  is a member of the California State Military Reserve (CSMR), the official State defense force. She is currently embedded with the 578th Brigade Engineer Battalion as the Behavioral Health Officer. In this role, Lydia provides psychological support for Soldiers and family members. Every month she drills at the National Guard Armory in Manhattan Beach, and once a year she accompanies the Battalion on Annual Training field missions to Camp Roberts, Fort Hunter Liggett, or Camp Pendleton where she provides emergency crisis intervention for Soldiers at risk, and presents training briefs on suicide prevention, PTSD, combat stress and resiliency. Lydia was awarded the California Commendation Medal and the Army Achievement Medal for her service to the National Guard. She was also featured in the California National Guard magazine, Grizzley, for her pioneering work as an embedded therapist. Before her retirement career as a Soldier, Lydia served the Department of Social Services for over three decades as a Branch Chief with Disability and Adult Programs Division, Los Angeles South Office, and District Manager of Community Care Licensing Offices in Culver City and the San Fernando Valley. Lydia is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) with a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University. She is an active member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Lydia resides in Los Angeles where she has a private practice.


Pamela Martin-Polk is a graduate of the historical HBCU Howard University in Washington D.C. with a professional degree in Occupational Therapy. She also attended Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama.  Ms. Martin-Polk has worked in various settings such as The National Rehabilitation Hospital (Washington D.C), Queen of Angels Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital, Skilled Nursing Facilities extending from East LA to Palos Verdes, Home Health Care, Suburban Medical Center and the Great Daniel Freeman that was once located across the street from St. Mary’s Academy. Besides being a career woman and Clinical Instructor, she is compassionate and enjoys serving others as God has opened several doors for her. Her greatest accomplishment is being the proud mother of Kennedy and Kyla Polk – Green Ties Class of 2021 – at St. Mary’s Academy!


Kimberly Morris, Gold Tie of 2002, critiques self-identity, ideas of beauty, popular culture, and race in America via video, sculpture, photography, and painting. She inserts herself into her work by casting her own body, using her hair, and portraiture—all forms struggling with the constraining expectations society imposes on women of color. She writes “Through the lens of beauty, I examine my position in the diaspora. Pressures of fitting into what the majority culture defines as normal: neater hair and constrictive body type casting, dictate my daily routine.” Kimberly has a BA and MA from California State University Northridge and her MFA from California State University Long Beach. Recent exhibitions include Biomythography: Currency Exchange at Claremont Graduate University, Who Are You? at the Museum of Latin American Art, Insights at the CSULB University Art Museum.


Cristina Nieto, Green Tie of 1997, is the Associate Director for Data and Quality Assurance at Homeless Outreach Program/Integrated Care System Division (HOPICS). She manages several rapid rehousing programs for families and singles, employment services, data integration, and quality assurance. In former professional roles, Cristina worked as the Associate Director for Hearings at a Social Security Disability law firm and interned at the San Diego Mediation Center where she decided to pursue a career working with families and individuals  She earned a Bachelor’s degree in International Security and Conflict Resolution with an emphasis on Mediation, Negotiation and Conflict Resolution from San Diego State University.


Tressa Smiley is the Host and Executive Producer of VIP Live Empowerment Talkshow, creating a positive platform designed to educate, elevate and empower all seeking life advancements. She also serves as the Associate Producer and Social Media Manager for Women In Film, assisting with PSA productions with nonprofit organization charity Access Book to promote literacy within public schools. Tressa has served as a co-host for the Red Carpet VIP, interviewing high profile celebrity and non-celebrity guests during pre and post award ceremony. She was also a co-host News Anchor Ed.TV and News for the Long Beach Unified School District helping to identify stories, subject and guests for the daily program. In 2009, Tressa was a Talkshow Contestant for the Oprah Winfrey Network. She has an Early Childhood Education and Teaching degree from Brenau University.


Captain Brenda Threatt, Red Tie of 1971, currently serves as the Executive Director for U.S. VETS- Long Beach. She directly oversees 15 programs with a 7.1 million dollar budget providing daily housing, services and support for over 600 veterans. Brenda’s mission is to ensure that men and women who have served our country in all positions, in all wars, from every walk of life, receive the dignity of life and a place to call home. Prior to U.S. VETS, Brenda served as the shelter system manager with the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, overseeing the 14 winter shelters including 3 National Guard Armories, housing 14,700 persons countywide. She facilitated services and shelter for homeless veterans and other homeless individuals.Previously, she was director of veteran outreach, acting as sole liaison to the veteran community for the City of Los Angeles, during Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s Administration. Her rank is Captain serving as a military chaplain in the California Guard as the Southern Regional Command Chaplain at Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training base. Her duties include advising the Commander on religious matters, providing religious support, deployment support, chapel services, marriage and family counseling and support for chronically homeless veterans at the VALBMC.Brenda was the designer of the California 9-11 personalized license plate which memorializes the lives of the victims who perished September 11, 2001. This plate has raised millions of dollars in funding to support the families of the victims and funding for anti-terrorism in California.


Wenonah Valentine, Blue Tie of 1972, is the founding director of iDREAM for Racial Health Equity, a project of Community Partners®. She is passionate about her ministry to improving Black maternal health and birth outcomes. She was recently featured in the L.A. Sentinel Religion section as a “Champion of Faith”, providing an opportunity to highlight ordinary people inspired by their faith to make a difference in the community. In recognition of Women’s History Month, L.A. women will be showcased during the month of March. Wenonah’s faith in Christ is a three- braided cord and her worship is expressed through alumnae collaborations, lived experience and service leadership. Wenonah has a BA degree in Black Studies and Economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a MBA degree in Christian Business and Professional Leadership from Azusa Pacific University.

Arts Career Path Update

The Arts Career Path Program concluded last semester with a site specific performance by our dance class.  The dance students worked with their instructor from Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre to create and execute the performance on the stairs of the library’s reading room.  The Mayor of Inglewood, James T. Butts Jr., even came to give some opening remarks.  We’re so glad to have his support of arts education.  We have another exciting performance in store for this semester too!

The after school dance class with Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre continues this semester as well.  The entire dance class went on another field trip to Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook to do a workshop on a fish sculpture with professional dancers.  A few girls even performed the dance they learned in the workshop for the public the next day at Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre’s Ebb & Flow Festival.   It’s so fantastic that they’re not only receiving instruction and collaborating with professional dancers but also getting the chance to perform what they’re learning.  Way to go girls!

Continue reading

College Center News

As part of celebrating National School Counseling Week , we thought this is the perfect time to thank our College Counselor, Mrs. Tyesha Hemmans, and celebrate the accomplishments of the Gold Ties’ college acceptances so far!  Mrs. Hemmans, our seniors and parents have put in countless hours after school and on weekends to complete college applications.  We’re so glad all their hard work is already paying off!

The College Center has posted a United States map on the bulletin board to show where all of the colleges are located that our Belles have been accepted to so far!

Continue reading

Catholic Schools Week: How Your Donation Today Impacts Catholic Education Tomorrow

“I feel that it is very important that young women receive a good Catholic education. They are our future.”

– Cheryl Oram ’60, Blue Tie

Sponsored by the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA), National Catholic Schools Week (CSW) is an annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States.

This year, NCEA created a new theme to celebrate this annual week “Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.” to include key teachings and values within Catholic schools across the nation. In addition, NCEA recognizes how parents make sacrifices to afford the cost of tuition as an investment in their child’s values, faith and academic development. Many families rely on financial assistance, scholarship opportunities and development support from schools to bridge the gap. As a new initiative to reconnect people with Catholic school communities, NCEA is launching the Many Gifts, One Nation: A Day of Giving to Catholic Schools to support the existing development and advancement efforts from Catholic schools. Scheduled for January 30, 2018, 9 AM EST to January 31, 2018 9 AM EST, this is a time for individuals to give back to local Catholic schools.

Since 1889, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet have ensured the graduates of St. Mary’s Academy were exposed to the core teachings of Catholic education. By educating young women to become lifelong learners and to serve the “dear neighbor”, St. Mary’s Academy is instilling character, compassion, and moral values in each student to fulfill its mission of developing the future women leaders of our communities.

St. Mary’s Academy invites alumnae, friends and local community members who have been impacted by Catholic school education to celebrate this national day of giving back by making a donation today to our school’s Greatest Needs Fund.

 

Help ensure the financial sustainability of St. Mary’s Academy!

Donors who invest in our school are essential to our future growth and ability to provide a learning environment with advanced technology, Christian service, student leadership and college preparation Continue reading

A New Year’s Message from the Principal

Welcome back SMA!

It’s a blessing to be welcomed back into the new year. I wake up every morning excited and grateful to start and end my work day with my SMA community. Before we look ahead into the Spring Semester, I want to take this moment to highlight some of the wonderful things that took place Fall Semester. We implemented some major facility upgrades to continue to enjoy our beautiful school. One of the most apparent upgrades is heating and cooling in every classroom. This has kept our students and teachers happy and comfortable so that more learning can take place. In the curriculum world, writing has been a major push this year. Overall, students are writing more and improving in their writing and analytical skills. Also, our alumnae presence is becoming stronger and more vibrant. Toastmasters, for example, was started this year by one of our blue tie Alumnae Jill White. This organization has helped our young women build their skills in leadership and public speaking. We have also held a number of career path and college field trips like the Little Company of Mary hospital, UCLA and USC schools of engineering, ACE construction sites, LACMA, musicals, and various colleges to provide overall enrichment for our girls. We have also welcomed in a stellar freshmen class who did an amazing job singing the Alma Mater, presenting their mascot and saint, and creating and singing their class song to earn their green ties. Their energy and positive spirit has been infectious and a wonderful addition to our school culture. In addition, red ties received their class rings earlier this year and have been a strong presence in our Advanced Placement courses. They are thriving in their academic studies and are diligently preparing to take their SATs in a couple months.

These were only a handful of the wonderful things that took place last semester. I wanted to thank everyone who contributed to the successes of Fall Semester, especially Dr. Nah, who served as Acting Principal while I was on maternity leave. I am grateful for his leadership and commitment to our mission.

As we move into the 2018 Spring Semester, there is much to look forward to. In just a few days, we will witness our blue ties perform at their Sophomore Showcase. They have worked incredibly hard for this big event, and we are all excited to cheer them on. Lastly, I am looking forward to seeing our kind-hearted, respectful, and loving gold ties finish strong this semester as they prepare for their journey beyond high school. I have seen this special group of young women grow and while I will miss them, God has a special plan for each one of them beyond these SMA walls. I can’t wait to see where the road leads them.

It truly is a blessing to be back. I am so thankful to have had the past few months just being with my son, who is now almost five months. I am excited to develop both my roles as a new mother and new principal. While my journey may not be easy, I know that God will guide me through it all. I am excited to be back and I am ready! Let’s do this!

Mrs. Batungbacal

« Older posts

© 2018 Belles Blog

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

Subscribe By Email

Get every new post delivered right to your inbox.

Please prove that you are not a robot.

Skip to toolbar