Tag: belles

Student Voice Series- “Footprints on the Moon” by Arlene G., Blue Tie ’24

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

Top 5 Reasons our Belles say #WhySMA is their High School Choice

A group of our Belles from each class and tie color were asked to share #WhySMA is their high school choice:

1. Faith and Prayer

One of the benefits of attending a Catholic school is the importance of incorporating faith and prayer throughout the school day. At St. Mary’s Academy, we begin each morning with a prayer, each class with a prayer, and our weekly Faculty/Staff meetings with a prayer. The SMA community is committed to leading the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet as we develop young women to grow in their faith.

2. Career Path Programs – Arts, Business, Engineering and Health Careers

The unique academic and career based path programs at St. Mary’s Academy provide our students with curriculum that incorporates theories, hands on projects and community partnerships. The Career Path Programs are connected to local organizations and universities including Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Loyola Marymount University, US FIRST and Mount Saint Mary’s University.  School field trips to Raytheon, SpaceX, Deloitte and Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center expose our students to innovative leads in the STEM fields.

Providing an after school music program through Harmony Project and student performances through Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre, enables our students to receive an Arts education in a time when budget cuts are affecting art programs. In addition, St. Mary’s Academy is proud to be the only all-female Project Lead the Way high school in Southern California.

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2016 in Review- #belleoftheweek

Last semester we started a weekly feature on social media called  #belleoftheweek.  Below is a recap in case you missed any of our fantastic students that we are so proud of.  Happy 2017!!!

Karen Villatoro, green tie ’17, is in the Arts Career Path Program and Health Careers Program. She took AP Studio Art in Drawing last year and is taking AP Studio Art in 2D Design this year. To round all that off she is also a very active member of the SMArtbots Robotics Team and the senior class Vice-President!

Kynnedy Oden, green tie ’17, is in the Arts Career Path Program. She took acting her freshman year and is now a teaching assistant in acting class as well as one of our anchors on our news show, SMA Today. We look forward to many entertaining performances from Kynnedy this year.

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A Visit to Carondelet Center

For the second year in a row, St. Mary’s Academy was invited to visit and present to the senior Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet at the Carondelet Center. Principal Mrs. Portillo attended the special visit with one student from each grade level/tie color. Each visit has provided opportunities for learning and teachable moments.

The wonderful visit allows for students to meet and speak with Sisters, many former SMA faculty, staff and of course alumnae! And each year, the blue, red, gold and green provide special moments of connection, nostalgia and sisterhood between the alumnae and the visiting SMA Belles.

During the live in-person and televised visit, Mrs. Portillo provided an overview and an update of the many growing school experiences and opportunities SMA had to provide. And each student presented on a different aspect of student life at SMA–all areas they found special and individually self-selected, whether it was the academic programming or the career pathways, the athletic programs, clubs, connecting to the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph or just speaking from their heart about meeting the best of friends and being cared for by the school community.

There are many unforgettable moments and cherished memories created each visit for the students, the principal and the Sisters. One thing we will all remember will be the smiles, the laughter and the joy that filled the room and filled our hearts.



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In Everything Give Thanks…

St. Mary’s Academy is truly thankful for each and every one of our students.  They are all so special and have so much to offer.  They’re always very gracious as well.  Happy Thanksgiving from SMA!

20161121-093625.jpgSt. Mary’s Academy is truly grateful for the many Alumnae and Friends that continue to support the mission and charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. This year on Tuesday, November 29, SMA is participating in #GivingTuesday, a global day to give back. We invite you to join our #bellesgiving campaign to help us raise $25,000 towards student scholarships. Donate today at our #GivingTuesday weblink to make a difference for a Belle!


A Message to My St. Mary’s Sisters…

Emily Ayala, a #Collegeboundbelle

Emily Ayala, a #collegeboundbelle

I recently had the pleasure to speak with a Gold Tie graduate of 2002 during my college bound Belle campus visit, and had a very insightful conversation with her. We talked about the campus life, new clubs that have been formed, and even talked about our memories of Mr. Salehi. Eventually, we came around to the topic about advice. I asked her if there were any advice she would give to her high school self that she wished to hear from someone who went through the four-year experience. She was glad I had asked the question and she gladly gave her insight…

“I would tell myself [to] take each day one at a time. Also, not to be afraid to take risks and don’t care too much what others say. Lastly, I would say to always remember to stay true to myself.”

I took these words to heart because they served as good advice for not only myself, but other young adults who are on the journey of discovering their self-identity as well. I then proceeded to ask her if she had any advice for the Green Tie Seniors as they prepare for adulthood. This is the knowledge that she passes down to the Green Tie Class of 2017:

“My advice to you girls is to stay positive. Don’t get discouraged. Going through college applications and looking for schools isn’t the easiest and it takes a lot of patience. It doesn’t matter what family or friends might think because it can [sometimes] be negative. Always look for those who give you the positive vibes and positive energy.

 Sometimes going far is the best thing to help you look for new adventures [and] to help you open up more. It’s a new journey. A new but long journey. Be ready for the world and all that’s out there. And don’t be too trustworthy with anybody either. Have a guard, but don’t be too guarded.”

These words have much impact and importance to hear during the school year, as Senior Year is probably the most hectic year of a high school student’s life. Applying to colleges, working on grades, and even picking out a prom dress can prove a difficult task. Sometimes we feel like there is no one to consult on these issues, or we even just need a few words of encouragement to help us de-stress.

It is always a great experience to connect with other Belles and get the perspective of their high school experience and what they liked the best or disliked about their four years. They not only hold plentiful knowledge to pass down to others, they also share kinship and understanding with their younger sisters.

One last message that this alum wished to share with all Green, Gold, Red, and soon to be Blue Ties is this:

“No matter what, always put yourself first. Always look out for yourself. Friends will always be there, as long as you know who they truly are, but don’t put them first. Second, always make sure your grades are up there. Grades are important, especially if you’re striving for the best. Don’t settle for less, always think of Princeton, NYU, Stanford, even if you feel you might not get into those [schools]. It doesn’t matter. Have a box in your own goals and say “hey, I’m going to strive for that, and if I don’t get there, well, at least I know I did my best.” Lastly, don’t ever let anyone bring you down because you are the best. You will always be the best version of yourself, no matter what.”

It is always important to ask for insight from others, especially if you feel like you are drowning in all your school work and personal work. You never know what others can help you with until you ask, and don’t be bashful when it comes to talking to a stranger who recognizes your tie because she wore the same one many years before because she can tell you things you may not have known could help you get through some of the stresses high school. Remember Belles, nothing is far when one is determined to get there.

“Celebrating our Partnership” Donor Appreciation Dinner

On Sunday,  September 25, 2016, alumnae and friends of St. Mary’s Academy enjoyed an evening of appreciation with faculty, staff, students and parents of St. Mary’s Academy. The guest speakers included current students, an alumna currently attending college, and a long time friend of the school, Robert Bartshe. Wonderful food, great conversation, music, and a student and alumnae led rendition of the Alma Mater, all made for a festive evening full of gratitude for our generous benefactors.ba0a1633c6e3c3d5a5f6274d9be4753e

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Blood Drive, Pink Ties and More from the Health Careers Program

The Red Cross Health and Wellness Club helped with the biannual SMA Blood Drive recently.  Many students, staff & faculty, parents, and community members donated.


2016-09-15-10-24-072016-09-15-10-23-14Students ran the registration table

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Our students have so many different passions and interests that they recently shared at our club fair.  One of those clubs, FUTURE CLUB, participated in a beach clean up at Dockweiler Beach and was featured on the local news.  What a great start to the school year for our clubs and organizations.

2016-09-14-12-17-24SMArtBots Robotics Team

2016-09-14-12-09-27National Art Honor Society

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Busy Belles

Our students were very busy this summer.  Check out some of the exciting things they did:


Green Tie, Victoria Bravo ’17, inspects M-2 .50-caliber headspace and timing gages during a summer internship at Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Corona Division. Summer interns, identified through programs at area schools and colleges, provide NSWC Corona with opportunity to identify and develop potential candidates for future technical positions. (U.S. Navy photo by Greg Vojtko/Released)


Mike Lortz, Measurement Science and Technology Laboratory Dimensional Metrology technician, seated center, demonstrates inspection techniques to summer intern Green Tie, Amy Pinto-Quintanilla ’17 (left), at Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Corona Division. Summer interns, identified through programs at area schools and colleges, provide NSWC Corona with opportunity to identify and develop potential candidates for future technical positions. (U.S. Navy photo by Greg Vojtko/Released)

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