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!
This week St. Mary’s Academy celebrated our 130th founding anniversary. St. Mary’s Academy was founded in 1889 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet as a private high school for young women. It is the oldest continuously operating Catholic high school in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The six sisters who founded St. Mary’s established a tradition of academic excellence, sisterhood and service to the “dear neighbor.” Our founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, continue to show us what it means to serve the dear neighbor and respond to the needs of the times.
Our faculty and staff started off the second semester with a retreat at Mount Saint Mary’s University‘s CSJ Institute, where we learned more about the history of our founders and reflected on how we can continue carrying on their mission. In an effort to preserve their history, lift up their achievements and inspire the future, the The CSJ Institute at Mount Saint Mary’s University is capturing the spirit and contributions of our sisters on film. Some of the videos have been shared in a previous blog post. The videos below have been produced since we last shared the series. We hope you enjoy learning more about our founders and are as inspired by them as we are!
Learn more about the founding of St. Mary’s Academy here.
Mount Saint Mary’s University has interviewed 55 of our Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet (CSJ). This video introduces our CSJ Oral History Project and how it is giving us momentum to advance the CSJ commitment to serve all persons without distinction, respond to the needs of the times and prepare fearless visionaries for a just future.
What draws someone into a life dedicated to service? Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet share what inspired them, and describe how they saw religious life as a way to make the greatest difference in the lives of others.
“We’re here for a purpose.” Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet reflect on the power and responsibility of leadership, and how they strive to use their leadership skills to lift others up.
Ever wanted to ask a sister for advice? Listen up! This video features words of wisdom from some of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in Los Angeles. Advice like: Try something new. Make mistakes. Be a good listener. And whatever you do, stay active.
Sister Clare Dunn, CSJ, was the first and only Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet to serve in elective office. She served in the Arizona state legislature, assisted by Sister Judy Lovchik. Learn more about how they advocated on behalf of those in need, and served the dear neighbor in public office.
Each year, Mount Saint Mary’s University offers a number of faculty, staff, alums and partners the chance to travel to Le Puy, France, where the Sisters of St. Joseph first formed in 1650. The pilgrimage enables participants to journey alongside CSJ sisters from Los Angeles, learn from CSJ sisters based in France, and take home new inspiration for their work here at the Mount.
Sister Mary McKay, CSJ, shares a story about a serendipitous encounter with another Mount Saint Mary’s alumna — one she taught at the Mount 26 years before.
Watch all of the CSJ Oral History Project videos here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list…
Not content to rest on their laurels, many of our Belles were busy with a wide array of camps, programs, and volunteering across the country this summer. Over 50 students used their time away from campus to broaden their horizons, make new friends, and enrich their SMA experience.
Locally, students participated in programs like Camp Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), USC’s Diversity in Health Care Leadership summer enrichment program, Camp Neuro at USC, Cinemagic film making, Charles R. Drew University Science Day, Design Immersion Days at Southern California Institute of Architecture, work experience at Payden & Rygel, the Envision Medical Program at UCLA, Sports Medicine Camp at Mira Costa High School, shadowing at MLK Hospital, and volunteering at hospitals like Providence Little Company of Mary, Cedars Sinai, Ronald Regan Hospital, Kaiser Permanente West L.A., and St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood.
SMA student athletes honed their skills in camps for soccer, Indoor, and Beach Volleyball, and several of our basketball players traveled to Kentucky, Georgia, and Arizona for tournaments.
Girls in the Economics for Leadership program got a chance to participate in workshops and classes within the program on the following university campuses: UC Santa Barbara, Oberlin College, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Washington University, Brown University, Rice University, and University of Washington.
Other programs our Belles joined include National Youth Leader Forum: Medicine at UC Berkeley, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s Engineering Possibilities in College, Just the Beginning Law Program at Loyola Marymount University, the University of Colorado Denver’s CAP ACE summer camp, Create Summer at Sacramento State University, Black Girls Lead at Columbia University, and even volunteering at clinic in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Let’s hear it for our Busy Belles, and celebrate their many wonderful accomplishments:
Udoka Abada ’19- Economcs For Leadershop, WashingtonUniversity
Danielle Adeniji ’20- Economics for Leadership, Brown Univesity
Samael Al-Alim ’21- Cinemagic
Morgan Betts ’22- Indoor Club, Volleyball
Kimberly Casarez ’19- EPIC– Engineering Possibilities in College, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Raqeul Ceron ’19- Volunteeer at MLK Hospital
Isr’ael Conerly ’19- Volunteer at Providence Little Company Of Mary Hospital
Alexis Cortez ’19- Camp CHLA & Volunteer at Providence Little Company Of Mary Hospital
Kaliah Davis ’20- Economics for Leadership, UC Berkley
Olivia Dixon ’20- Volunteer at Kaiser Permanente, Baldwin Hills
Elizabeth Elliott ’21- Basketball Tournaments in Kentucky, Georgia, Arizona and Los Angeles
Raylyn Fergerson ’22- Basketball Tournaments in Kentucky, Georgia, Arizona and Los Angeles
Lesley Flores ’21- LMU, Just the Beginning, Law Program
Terrianne Furlough ’20- LMU, Just the Beginning, Law Program
Nayeli Gomez ’20- National Youth Leader Forum: Medicine, Berkeley & Work Experience at Payden and Rygel
Isabella Gonzales ’21- Basketball Tournaments in Kentucky, Georgia, Arizona and Los Angeles
Monica Gonzalez ’19- Cinemagic
Araceli Gonzalez-Herrera ’20- Economics for Leadership, UCLA
Angelique Hale ’19- Economics for Leadership, Rice University & Camp CHLA & Volunteer at Kaiser Permanente, West LA
Kayce Hansford ’19- Volunteer at Westchester Convalscent Home
Alyssa Harding ’20- Economics for Leadership, UC Berkley
D’Ajah Hayes ’19- Cinemagic
Karla Jordan ’20- Clinic Volunteer in Guadalajara, Mexico
Heaven Joseph ’19- Design Immersion Days at SCI-Arc
Meron Kahsai ’19 CAP ACE Summer Camp, University of Colorado, Denver
Zainab Kashim ’19 Camp CHLA
Oceanna Lenon ’19- Create Summer Academy, Sacramento State University & Cinemagic
Retha Little ’19- Basketball Tournaments in Kentucky, Georgia, Arizona and Los Angeles & Volunteeer at MLK Hospital
Jasmine Love ’19- Teen Volunteer Program at Cedars Sinai & Charles R. Drew University Science Days
Ashley Mancia ’19- EPIC– Engineering Possibilities in College, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Briseida Marquez ’21- Cinemagic
Trinity May ’20- Beach Volley Ball
Imani McGregory ’19- Basketball Tournaments in Kentucky, Georgia, Arizona and Los Angeles & Volunteer at Cedars Sinai, Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Facility
Leslie Melendez ’19- Economics For Leadership, Oberlin College & SEP Program, USC & Sports Medicine Program, Mira Costa High School
Victoria Miranda ’19- Economics For Leadership, UC Santa Barbara
Amarri Moody ’19- Volunteer at Kaiser Permanente, West LA
Mia Muir ’20- Black Girls Lead at Columbia Univesity & Beach Volley Ball
Bethael Mulugeta ’19 Volunteer at Kaiser Permanente, West LA
Daniela Ortega ’20- Envision Medical Program, UCLA & Camp Neuro, USC & Camp Cardiac, USC
Rebecca Pozos ’19- Create Summer Academy, Sacramento State University & Volunteer at Kaiser Permanente, West LA
Frida Santiago ’19- Volunteer at Ronald Reagan Hospital , UCLA
Alexza Tejeda ’19- Sports Medicine Camp, Mira Costa High School
Giuliana Toscano ’19- Volunteer at Providence Little Company Of Mary Hospital
Jaslyn Usher ’22- Indoor Club, Volleyball
Demilynn Vazquez ’21- Cinemagic & Work Experience at Payden and Rygel
Nicole Washington ’19- Envision Health Career Leadership Program, UCLA
Elycia Wright ’21- Basketball Tournaments in Kentucky, Georgia, Arizona and Los Angeles & Volunteer at St. Francis Medical Center, Lynwood
And these are just the Belles that shared information! Keep it up Belles!!!!!!