Our first Student Voice column offers four student perspectives on returning to campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Good news! All of the students agree that in-person schooling has benefits they cannot experience at home.
My first day of returning to school after Covid- 19 was uneasy. I say going back was uneasy because I got used to doing work at home and only showing my face on screen. The first day of school at St. Mary’s Academy was odd, especially because we had to wear masks. I do not like wearing masks every day and every minute because it is uncomfortable. But over the months I have been in school I have been getting used to wearing my masks every day. It was a fast adjustment for me. During covid online learning changed. We had to use more technology than we usually used before covid. Instead of turning in our assignments in the classroom we submit to Google classroom. Now that we have come back to in person school we still use more technology and we still submit assignments on google classroom. When the pandemic is over I am looking forward to not wearing a mask every day, going to see my family without worrying where they went and if they have Covid, going to restaurants, and spending time with my family. When covid started in 2020 I was scared because I did not want to get covid. During 2020 I barely went to go see my family. In the beginning of 2021 my auntie had gotten pregnant, and every day she would come over and eat dinner with us. Then when she had her baby named Kane we went to go see them every day. To help her out because that is her first baby. Now my mom and sister and I would go to their house maybe once or twice a week. And now I would go visit them on the weekends. Transitioning in person was hard because I could get my work done on time, but now it is hard because I have soccer and other classes to worry about. For online school I would get good grades, like all A’s. But now I have three c’s,one b,one d and an a-. For online school I did not have a lot of things to worry about but now I do:. dealing with grades, sports, classes, and earning ourare green ties. When covid passes I hope I will graduate with a great senior year. Because right now for freshman year I am not feeling joy. The reason why I am not feeling joy is because I feel overwhelmed with having soccer every day, and having to do my homework after, and having to study for tests all the time. I can’t wait to go to movie theaters, go to malls, and go shopping when covid is over.
Covid-19 has affected everyone, whether it is a small insignificant change in their everyday lives or a major crashing change. The sad part is that no one asked for this change, no one asked for so many people to die, no one asked for a global pandemic. Even though no one wished for this, it still affected families and businesses. Many adults lost their jobs or their only source of income, while for others, Covid took away many resources that certain companies needed to succeed. Many schools also shut down, whether it was the lack of resources or lack of students.
Students were also greatly impacted by Covid-19. From being able to raise their hand and ask a question, to being afraid of speaking to the teacher through a computer. From seeing friends who felt like family every day, to texting them once a week. From academically understanding lessons, to looking for videos and lessons online to help them understand. Some students were told that it would just be three weeks; we all said goodbye to our friends…and saw them again one year later. Graduation was through a computer and a new school started through a computer. Sadness and disappointment of having to graduate online…dressing up to wave goodbye through a computer…the awkwardness and nerves they must have felt of having to meet new teachers and friends through a screen.
It has been two years with Covid-19, we have learned to adapt to new guidelines to keep ourselves and others safe. Even at school, students have many guidelines they need to follow in order to not increase the spread of Covid. Covid-19 has also prevented students from opportunities and experiences. My freshman retreat was originally a sleepover in the school gym. To us, it would have been an amazingly great experience. A difficulty I faced was looking for hospitals that are accepting volunteers, it is especially difficult because of the spread of Covid-19.
School definitely isn’t the same as how it was before. We can’t hug our friends or stop wearing facemasks. Although many of us are vaccinated, we still shouldn’t risk the spread of Covid-19. It will take time and effort but I am beyond excited to see the pandemic pass.
When I was in 8th Grade, I wasn’t at a particularly new school, or a nice one. I thought all my friends had left and that everyone was going to bully me and be mean. Therefore, I had so much anxiety that I almost passed out. I was fidgeting and my palms were sweaty and I felt like I couldn’t breathe at all. I imagine you wouldn’t know how it feels, but if you do I’m sure you could assume that I was blue in the face and that I thought I was going to die. When Covid busted the door down and the School District shut down, my mother immediately pulled me out of school. I felt like I was watching through a window while fire raged through the city and the ground rumbled until houses fell and people were running for their lives while I just sat there… watching.
I went to Minnesota early that summer. I went to see my Dad and my brothers and sisters. It was weird but it felt good. I wasn’t depressed or anything, I was reveling in my alone time. When Trump became president things went wrong, more wrong than they already were. We were locked in our homes, we had to wear masks everywhere, a curfew was put in place, all because of a worldwide pandemic which affected everyone in so many ways. Then there were wildfires which burned through forests and caused ice caps to melt, global warming became distressing (not that it wasn’t before). Then there were the deaths of colored people by police, riots and peaceful protests that turned into warzones. Everything became worse. SO MUCH WORSE. There was more disappointment and weird people that believed in weird things and chaos. It was upsetting and I felt like I wasn’t doing anything. I was disappointed.
Then I was in California again, but this time a different school. It was nicer and the teachers, despite intimidating (I find everyone intimidating), were pleasant and wanted to help. It was easy to ease into and they weren’t as demanding as my other teachers. Even if it was online and I kept going to the wrong classes and stressing over everything and having to be precise with my time. It wasn’t as chaotic as some of my family pictured it to be. I always wanted to be homeschooled and my wish had been granted.
When I went into high school I felt I wasn’t prepared, but I didn’t have any anxiety. Two years and I think the pandemic helped. Don’t get me wrong. It was stressful and mind-racking and suicide rates had gone up, but at the same time I feel like I’m in a park with birds and flowers and rainbows, the wind is running through my hair, and thanking me for my patience. I don’t get anxious when I know tests are coming up and even if I still do fidget there’s a type of tranquility with it. I feel like I’ve been subdued, like a rock that’s been eroded over the years. It’s been nice.
Covid was hard. It was a tough time for everyone in the world. Personally, I’ve had some losses because of Covid. I lost one of the most important people in my life, someone I knew for years growing up. He was kind of like my father but he passed away about a week or two after my birthday In March. I still remember the day like it was yesterday, I couldn’t move. I cried all day and I had class, so I still attended my classes online but I was crying during all my classes. It hurt so much to lose him but he’s in a better place now. I go visit his restaurant every Sunday and I remember him and his kindness that he showed me. He was there for me when no one else was. Soon after, a lot of my mom’s side of the family also had covid and passed away, or they had it but it was hard on them. My family and I also had Covid earlier in the year in February. It was hard for us but eventually we all came back negative. However, now I get out of breath faster than others, and it’s hard for me to breathe, especially with a mask.
After Covid happened and we went back to school it was hard to adjust to the new setting. We had to always wear masks and have shields on our desks, we had to be three or six feet apart. The doors and AC were open and on. Every morning we had to get our temperature checked and during lunch, sanitizing during our classes and breaks. It was hard at first but I got used to it after a while. After that it just became instinct and I don’t mind all the excess cleaning and the rest. Soon after I guess I was happy to finally be out of the house besides school. Being at home started to feel like a prison and it felt like there was nothing to do and I felt annoyed, always angry and irritated easily. But eventually summer came and I guess my parents finally decided to let me have fun and go out once in a while, but I had to stay safe not only for myself but for my younger siblings.
Soon after we started high school. It was different than I imagined but it’s okay from what I can tell. It’s fun and, personally, I would’ve never thought this is how I’d spend my freshman year. I don’t think the pandemic will ever just pass through and everything will go back to normal. It’s a part of us now, we all still have that in our head to be extra careful around people and places. The world is never going to be the same again, especially after losing many loved ones and after everything we had to endure – the raids in stores for food, the cases, the amount of times we had to be careful to even step outside the house. It’s always going to be with us but I think the world after a while could go back to normal a little bit.
It’s important to acknowledge independent women, especially in today’s society. Nowadays, women seem to stand their ground. However, it wasn’t always like it is now. Years ago, you could say it was “normal” if women didn’t step their foot forward and stand their ground.
We should strive to be women that are not afraid to fight and stand out for what is right. We all have different idols, we shall take them as an example and try to follow in their shoes. Idols don’t always have to be someone famous or well-known. For example, my idol is my mom. I look up to my mom because she’s the strongest and most independent person I know. My mom became a single mother when I was two years old. She provided many things for me, and still does. She never let me see her break down and cry, she never once complained. That’s why I enrolled in St. Mary’s Academy, my mom trusts that SMA will continue to help her build a young, hard working and independent lady.
My mom taught me that if I put my mind to something, I will always achieve it. Since I’m an athlete, she warned me that in the sports industry it’s harder for women to become successful. It saddens me that just because I’m a female it’s harder for me to be acknowledged and supported.
In the sports industry, women are paid between “15% to 100%” less than men, depending on the sport played.
|Basketball (NBA & WNBA)||$8,321,937||$75,181|
|Golf (PGA & LPGA)||$1,235,495||$48,993|
|Soccer (MLS & NWSL)||$410,730||$35,000|
|Softball/Baseball (MLB & NPF)||$4,031,549||$6,000|
|Tennis (ATP & WTA)||$335,946||$283,635|
Table from Adelphi University
Looking at the difference in these numbers upsets me, and I know a lot of women agree with me. These hardworking women have to push themselves twice as hard to prove themselves to society. Men are glorified for breathing the air while playing the sport they love, but women are looked down on and their sports are less popular. Little girls look up to these female athletes and dream to become them, but little do they know that it took their idols a while to have those smiles on their faces.
These men and women play the same sport, but why is there such a difference in the numbers? I can’t help but wonder if it’s because of the difference in the genders. To put it into perspective here’s an example to think about: The highest paid player in the WNBA, DeWanna Bonner, makes $127,500 while the lowest paid player in the NBA, Luguentz Dort, gets paid $155,600.
Some young ladies want to be professional athletes, to do what they love, but question the pay. People will try to pressure them by saying, “Maybe think about becoming a doctor” or “You’ll change your mind.” They may even laugh at their dreams. We can do it all. If I could, I’d tell all the young female athletes who are discouraged by low pay to make a difference. I’d tell them to not be afraid to stand out and speak on what women nowadays are tired of. We must have equal pay. Lastly I’d remind them that we all support one another, we are united.
We, as women of this generation, should stand up for one another and support each other, no matter the skin tone, race, or different beliefs we may have. We shall not let those things divide us! Remember what Madeleine Albright once said, “It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.”
Chart from “The Gender Pay Gap in Sports.” Male vs. Female Professional Sports SAlary Comparison, Adelphi University, https://online.adelphi.edu/articles/male-female-sports-salary/.
Madeleine Albright quote from “60 Empowering Feminist Quotes from Inspiring Women.” Harpers Bazaar, 20 Feb 2020, https://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/features/a4056/empowering-female-quotes/.
“Highest paid players in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) in the United States in 2019.” Statistics.com, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1098893/wnba-highest-earners/#:~:text=The%20highest%20earner%20in%20the,her%20performances%20for%20Phoenix%20Mercury.
In our everyday lives, we have this safe space called St. Mary’s Academy, a place where we can be ourselves and not be judged by our race, ethnicity, or color of our skin. The St. Mary’s community is mostly made up of women of color.
St. Mary’s Academy uses Integral Student Outcomes (ISO) – Live, Love, Learn, and Serve – to teach us how to be good Christians and right-minded persons. We learn to love by the stream of a moral foundation, “upholding Judeo-Christian values, and promoting respect for [ourselves] and others.” By promoting respect for ourselves and others, we are learning to love one another without thinking about our ethnicity, race, or skin color. By doing this we learn that we can do anything we put our minds to and we can be anything we want to be. If we want to be the first Latina president, we can. We help inspire all of those little girls who surround us and count on them to be the next Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or the next Kamala Harris.
The day I found out that Kamala Harris was partnering with Joe Biden for Vice president, I thought about my nieces. I thought about how all girls in Catholic schools would continue to spread awareness, and how that could be them one day. This country needs a woman with a high powered position. We need the reassurance that when we are tempted to fail, if they can do it so can we.
I recently joined a class through the Stanford Pre-collegiate Program, “Election 2020: A Panoramic View of America’s Decisive Election.” I was able to hear MSNBC´s analyst Ruth Marcus, about how she and her daughters were extremely saddened by Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death. She said that her daughters had admired Ginsburg from a young age. She also talked about how she would tell her daughters that they could do what Ginsburg did. She talked about the hatred and disrespect Kamala Harris is receiving, simply because she is a woman of color. The reason why people aren’t in agreement with Harris is that they cannot see themselves listening to a woman of color and doing what she asks. People of color, especially women, need to learn how to earn our respect because not everyone in a high powered position will give it.
I live by a quote that says ¨Do not tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon.¨ Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and cannot do. The people that you need with you are people who are going to tell you that you can do anything. St. Mary’s Academy provides resources to make sure women of color are safe to speak up to issues and take high powered positions in our society.
Photo by Spencer Platt/ Getty Images
Students held a robust club fair to introduce and recruit members for new and existing clubs and organizations for the 2019-20 school year. The organizations have an application process and recognize students who excel in various disciplines. The clubs were all proposed by our students, are open to all students, and are student run under the guidance of adult moderators. Kudos to our Belles for having so many interests and sharing those interests. Sign-up lists were overflowing!
Since 2002, ACE Los Angeles has enabled over 1,500 high school students to discover the exciting potential of careers in Architecture, Construction and Engineering (ACE). ACE brings Architecture, Construction and Engineering professionals into high schools twice a month to teach students and mentor them. Mentors are from nearby architectural, engineering and construction firms. A typical team matches half a dozen professional mentors with two dozen students in grades 10 through 12. They meet after school every other week, approximately sixteen (16) times during the academic year. Their scholarship program has grown, and to date, they have awarded over $1M in scholarships to local ACE students in support of their pursuit of A/C/E careers.
Members of the Student Leadership Council foster a spirit of servant leadership at SMA, were leaders serve a positive examples of responsibility and SMA character for the student body, SLC is comprised of who want develop their leadership skills as positive, selfless, respectful, and reliable leaders who will encourage others to engage in campus life and do so with the charism of the CSJ Sisters. SLC is open to rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors only. To learn about other requirements needed for each position and to be considered eligible to run for a position students must attend a mandatory leadership training in the spring and receive favorable evaluations of character and work ethic from faculty members.
Carondelet Circle is about building a community of people who want to “serve the dear neighbor” and find strength in sisterhood. This clubs is the spiritual life blood of SMA. Students lead and plan liturgies, retreats, service opportunities, and other opportunities for the spiritual growth of students. We will walk in the footsteps of our founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, by praying together, visiting our CSJ sisters at the convent or writing them, participating in bible study, making sandwiches for the poor, and other community service events.
Student Ambassadors help recruit new students and families to SMA and represent the school for Alumni and Donor events, allowing students to develop leadership habits and provide an opportunity for young women to gain appreciation and awareness of multicultural perspectives, customs, public speaking, critical thinking and decision-making skills. Student must apply to become an Ambassador. Applicants must have (and maintain) a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better to become eligible, submit a letter of recommendation from a campus faculty and/or staff member with their application, and complete an interview with the Admissions Director.
SMA Today is a student-run organization & broadcast news outlet featuring original reporting, editing, interviewing, and writing. BY SMA students, FOR SMA students!
The National Honor Society (NHS) recognizes students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, service, leadership, and character. The organization has been committed to four main goals since its inception: to create enthusiasm for scholarship; to stimulate a desire to render service; to promote leadership; and to develop character in the students of secondary schools. These are the criteria used to select members, which is done by a faculty committee. Members of CSF and NHS at SMA join forces to support an academic culture and to provide academic support to their peers through mentoring and tutoring. The mission of the California Scholarship Federation (CSF) is to recognize and encourage academic achievement and community service among middle and high school students in California. Members qualify by meeting eligibility requirements based on their grades each semester. Members of CSF and NHS at SMA join forces to support an academic culture and to provide academic support to their peers through mentoring and tutoring.
National Art Honor Society inspires and recognizes those students who have shown outstanding ability in art. Students must have 1 year of a visual arts class with a grade of B+ or higher as well as a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher to apply. Its purpose is to assist student members to attain their highest potential in all forms of art, and to raise awareness of art education throughout the school and community.
Art Club is open to all students, regardless of artist skill or experience. Members of NAHS will host an art club where they will provide opportunities for students to learn to build their art skills.
Anime Club is a special interest club where students can bond and learn about anime-related media, art, literature, music, popular culture, and social activities and the cultural contributions of those who produce Anime. Anime Club members also have a prominent role in producing the Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Assembly in the Spring.
Believers’ Club is a student-run club who participates in various walks/events or raises money for organizations and foundations dedicated to cancer research and support for cancer patients.
Young Entrepreneurs aims to enable young women in developing professional skills in the workforce prepared and empowers them to create their own business. This club will encourage girls to become innovative and invest in their human capital.
Culture Club gives Belles the opportunity to learn about the many cultures that exist around the world, especially those that students are unfamiliar with, and educate themselves on what makes each culture special and unique. Learning about other cultures can also help us reflect on our special culture at SMA, including the Christian values and sisterhood we have. Being informed on what else is out there besides what we’re used to will make us become more well-rounded, and help us work better with others who may not have the same beliefs as we do. The United States in itself is a melting pot full of an immense amount of cultures, and learning to respect each other and our values because of our similarities and regardless of our differences will help us work together as a community.
Global Citizens Club promotes the importance of being an active global citizen, and inspires awareness and learn how to advocate against injustice happening in other countries. It will also encourage others to travel and will help with more youth exchange program awareness. Furthermore, it will give a background on different countries.
Book Club strives to have fun and bond over a love of reading. This club will give students the chance to come out of their shell and connect with fellow bookworms.
Writing Club introduces students to different types of creative writing, encouraging them to have fun with writing and use it to explore new talents, relieve stress, and express themselves in new ways.
Health & Wellness Club seeks to promote better health and safety habits of the student body, as well as promote club member participation in community events and projects that better the health, safety and welfare of the community and our families.
The FUTURE (Future Understanding Through Unity Reflecting Environment) Club aims to educate our Belles regarding environmental issues and our stewardship of God’s creation. The club hopes to bring out a respectful and loving attitude toward nature within the minds of St. Mary’s Academy students and faculty.
Interact Club is associated with the Rotary Club of Inglewood. We are a service organization that promotes charity and goodwill to our surrounding community.
FIDM Fashion Club exposes students to the fashion industry and learns about different fashion tips/hacks. Fashion club members talk about trends, careers in the fashion industry, attend Fashion Club Day at FIDM, create different outfits, and have mini fashion shows.
Participants in Debate Club learn statesmanship as they engage in structured debate and discourse on a variety of topics. They cultivate leadership skills, challenge one another to think critically, advocate their own opinions, develop respect for opposing views and learn to rise above self-interest to created and informed citizenry and promote the public good.
The SMA Robotics Team, SMArtBots combines the excitement of a varsity sport with the rigors of science and technology. The Robotics Team provides SMA students interested in all academic areas the opportunity to compete in the FIRST®FRC international competition. Under limited resources, time limits, and strict rules that change every year with a new game, SMA students design and build a robot that competes in a regional tournament with a field of top competitors.
Ms. Escobar is joining SMA as a Religion teacher. She graduated from Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles with a B.A. in English. It was during those four years that she discovered her love of ministry, and proudly served as a Campus Minister/Liturgy Coordinator all four years. Her love of liturgy prompted her to seek out ways to understand it more in depth, so she moved to South Bend, IN where she pursued her Masters of Theological Studies with an emphasis in Liturgical Studies. She continued her ministerial duties during her time at Notre Dame by working with Campus Ministry as a catechist for Sacramental Prep and as the Graduate Student Minister. After receiving her M.T.S., Barbara moved down to Louisville, KY where she worked as the Pastoral Associate for St. Peter the Apostle Parish. She is very excited to now join the SMA family. Barbara loves to travel, read, jam out to musical soundtracks, take trips to Disneyland, and relax with her two cats.
Ms. McKenzie begins her first year at SMA teaching Language Composition I, AP Literature, and Choir. She joins St. Mary’s after eleven seasons with the Los Angeles Master Chorale (LAMC), resident choir of Walt Disney Concert Hall. Prior to her time with LAMC, Caroline taught English at Ramona Convent Secondary School, Keio Academy of New York (a satellite school of Keio University in Tokyo, Japan), and New York University. She holds an AB in Romance Languages from Princeton University and a Masters degree in English from City University of New York. Caroline enjoys crossword puzzles, sushi, live theatre, road trips with her husband and events that bring together people from different walks of life.
Mr. Pham is excited to join the SMA community as a Religion and History teacher. He received his BA in Liberal Studies and MEd from the University of California Riverside. Long has spent the last fourteen years teaching at Cathedral Chapel School in Los Angeles. His interest includes campus ministry, student government, and academic decathlon. He enjoys spending time with his family at parks, museums, beaches, and especially at Disneyland. He is looking forward to an exciting new school year and is thrilled to join the wonderful SMA faculty and staff.
Ms. Sandoval joins SMA as a Spanish teacher with eight years of classroom teaching experience. She received her bachelor’s degree in Spanish at Cal State University, Los Angeles, and is currently working on earning her Credential and Masters. In her free time, she enjoys reading Spanish literature and considers herself a novice poet in the Spanish language. She offers her passion for the teaching profession, love of languages and commitment to student success to the school community. She is looking forward to collaborating with faculty members to develop curriculum that is fresh and engaging. Elizabeth is excited to give students the opportunity to create, explore, and develop their skills, talents and abilities.
Mr. Tran begins his first year at SMA as a long term substitute for Algebra 1. Prior to joining the teaching profession, he worked as an actuarial pension consultant in the private sector for just over twenty years. He is hoping to show students how useful math is in the real world (and it can be quite challenging as well). Henri is from Hong Kong originally. When not working, he enjoys traveling, spending time with friends, and volunteering at his parish.
To celebrate the 130th Anniversary of St. Mary’s Academy, a festive fundraising gala was hosted at The Historic Millennium Biltmore Hotel on Saturday, April 13, 2019. The sold out event honored school community members and alumnae, and highlighted the amazing talent of both current Belles and alumnae. During cocktail hour as guests browsed the silent auction, and wine pull bottles, cleverly disguised as nuns (the habits were created by alum Angelique Morales, Green Tie ’97), a string quartet, made up of two alumnae, Dale Breidenthal, Green Tie ’77 and Juliana Rodriguez, Blue Tie ’16 performed in the Emerald Ballroom.
Student Ambassadors from all tie colors guided guests to their tables in the Gold Ballroom where dinner was served. Serving as emcee for the evening was Pamela Black, Red Tie ’79, and the evening’s prayer was lead by Bishop Joseph Sartoris. Guest singer, Lauren Michelle wowed the audience with her beautiful rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer,” and during dinner, Rene Nourse, Blue Tie ’72 shared her success story in the world of finance, and how her education at SMA made a lasting impact on the woman she is today.
Students gave an encore performance from the recent Spring Production of Sister Act, lifting everyone’s spirits. In addition to our rousing live auction and fund a need, student speaker, Retha Little, Red Tie ’19 gave a moving speech about what attending St. Mary’s Academy has meant to her and her education. Retha spoke about the impact of an all girls’ Catholic education, and the community of women who have supported her and allowed her to develop and meet her potential.
Five honorees were acknowledged for their contributions to the school and community. This year’s honorees were Bernita and Robert King, Sr. Kathleen Kelly, Blue Tie ’52, Theresa Gartland, and Kim Thomas-Barrios, Red Tie ’79. We are incredibly grateful for the positive impact each and every one have contributed, and the difference they continue to make in the lives of the young women of St. Mary’s Academy. The evening ended, as it began, on a musical note, with the Pullum Center Youth Jazz Ensemble. All in attendance had a wonderful evening, and we were able to raise a significant amount to support the school’s Financial Aid Fund so we can continue this legacy of educating young women for another 130 years!
Below, please enjoy the introduction videos for each of our honorees!