St. Agnes and St. Dominic students in grades 7-12 were big winners at the annual Wordsmith competition held recently at the University of Memphis. St. Agnes Academy was the 1st Place Overall School Champion in both the Grade 7 and Grade 10 Divisions and finished in 3rd Place Overall in the Grade 9 Division.
The Wordsmith competition brings 200 middle and high school students from 30 area schools to the University of Memphis annually to test their writing and creative thinking skills with a series of quick writing exercises known as dashes.
Wordsmith Individual Results:
Sophia Carroll was the Overall Silver Medalist for Grade 7. Sophia placed first in both the 80-Word Dash and the 40-Word Dash.
Anna Heck placed second in the 80-Word Dash and earned Honorable Mention recognition in both the 40-Word Dash and the 400-Word Main Event.
Walker Henderson earned Honorable Mention recognition in the 40-Word Dash.
Luke Shah was the Overall Bronze Medalist for Grade 8. Luke placed first in the 40-Word Dash.
Emma Stark was the Overall Bronze Medalist for Grade 9. Emma placed second in the 120-Word Dash and second in the 80 Word-Dash.
Karis Pepke earned Honorable Mention recognition in the 40-Word Dash.
Ruth Ellen Berry was the Overall Gold Medalist. Ruth Ellen placed second in both the 120-Word Dash and 40 -Word Dash and third in the 400-Word Main Event.
Denise Geronimo was the Overall Bronze Medalist for Grade 10. Denise placed second in the 400-Word Main Event and earned Honorable Mention recognition in the 80-Word Dash and 40-Word Dash.
Ellen Lemm placed third in the 120-Word Dash.
Kendall Stallings placed third in the 40 -Word Dash.
Pictured are the members of the Upper School Wordsmith Team.
Pictured are the members of the Jr. High Wordsmith Team
Over 350 St. Agnes Academy Upper School students continued the Day of Caring tradition as they spent a day offering a helping hand to 27 local nonprofit organizations throughout the city of Memphis. This year marked the School’s 23rd annual Day of Caring. Following a prayer service, students boarded buses and headed to various locations for a day that included preparing food for the homeless, tutoring children and visiting with the elderly.
“The Day of Caring offers the St. Agnes student the opportunity to respond to the call to be servants for others, said Gretchen Kirk, Director or Religious Education at St. Agnes-St. Dominic. “It also gives our students a better awareness of the needs in our community. As our students become adults their experiences from this day of serving, empowers them to carry that message of outreach into their workplace, families, and neighborhoods,” Mrs. Kirk added.
Day of Caring sites included Little Flower, St. Michael, St. Patrick, St. Augustine, St. John and OLS Catholic Schools where the girls tutored students and assisted teachers. They visited residents at Ave Maria, Heritage Nursing Home and the Villages of Germantown. Students sorted clothes at Birthright and Room at the Inn, stocked shelves at the Food Bank, and cooked and cleaned at the Dorothy Day House. Other sites included Madonna Learning Center, Perea School, Neighborhood Christian Center, Shepherd’s Haven, Paige Robbins Center, Catholic Charities, Special Kids and many others.
“During Day of Caring this year we visited Shepherd's Haven at Bellevue Church for disabled adults, said Gracie Hall, SAA10. “I loved spending the day with Shepherd's Haven, their joy radiated and their faces lit up when we walked in. We gained so much from this experience knowing that we had an impact on these people's lives. I distinctly remember right when I walked in a sweet old man with a big smile came up and welcomed us. We could tell by the look on his face that he was so excited that we were there, and I will never forget that.”
In addition to the Day of Caring, students at St. Agnes Academy-St. Dominic School participate in numerous service activities throughout the year including a Make-A-Wish Project, weekly visits to the St. Vincent de Paul soup kitchen, several food and clothing drives, and regular visits to Madonna Learning Center.
The St. Dominic sixth grade class started the season of Lent with a day of reconciliation and community service. The boys attended a reconciliation service in the St. Catherine Chapel led by Msgr. Edwin Creary. During the service Msgr. Creary explained to the class that the penitential season of Lent has two prongs, penance and almsgiving, which help us grow closer to God.
Following the morning of reconciliation, the class undertook “almsgiving” by serving at the Mid-South Food Bank warehouse. The boys assembled cardboard cases and then inspected, sorted and packed donated canned goods. They sealed the cases and stacked them on pallets ready for delivery. During the day the boys had the opportunity to learn about the non-profit, volunteer-dependent nature of the Mid-South Food Bank, which as a member of the Feeding America initiative helps to supply food to 423,000 food insecure families in the Mid-South. “Mr. Mike”, a Food Bank employee who coordinated the boys’ work, thanked the sixth graders and invited them to return. A number of the boys expressed an interest in volunteering again in the future with friends and family members.
St. Agnes Academy senior Savannah Stovall was crowned Miss St. Agnes 2018 during the school’s annual dance on February 24. Meghan Fleming was first alternate and Rebecca Winchester was second alternate. Ladies-in-Waiting were Lauren Bean, Kendall Stallings and Annie Wray. Class Representatives were Liv Shallow SA9, Summer Edwards SA10, Mary Katherine Kruczek SAA11and Kennedy Hall SA12.
Miss St. Agnes is a special honor bestowed annually since 1947 on a senior who has been nominated by her classmates and voted on by the student body. The nominees exhibit integrity, strength of character, and respect for self and others, as well as a devotion to St. Agnes that is exemplified by leadership and support for the school.
The 2018 Miss St. Agnes Court pictured from l. to r. Annie Wray, Kendall Stallings, Rebecca Winchester, Miss St. Agnes 2018-Savannah Stovall, Meghan Fleming, and Lauren Bean.
And Justice For All
The St. Agnes 2018 Mock Trial Team had an outstanding showing in the recent Mock Trial Competition advancing to the second round of the District Competition. The team has been working since November to prepare themselves for the event, which included three nights of intensive competition. The team is coached by SAA alumna from the Class of 2010 Rachael Bakowicz, who is an attorney with Legal Aid in Arkansas.
The following students received commendation from the presiding judges and jury.
Best Attorney: Talia Shadroui SA11, Kayla Cochran SA11, and Bridget Weldon SA11;
Best Witness: Sarah Grace Price SA10, Talia Shadroui SA11, and Kayla Cochran SA11.
“As a team they are happy to have reached their goal of advancing to Round Two and have set their sights on greater accomplishments in the years to come,” said Sara Nearn, World Language teacher and sponsor for the team. “This academic competition is unique in that it is intellectually rigorous while requiring a great deal of self-discipline and self-motivation -- their performance and success during competition is directly proportional to the time, effort, and preparation these young ladies invest on the forefront. Memorization of case and character summaries, analyzing and organizing trial action-plans, practicing witness directs, and preparing for opposing counsel are just a few of the laborious endeavors undertaken by our SAA Mock Trial team over these past few months,” Mrs. Nearn said.
Mock Trial Competition strives to give students a fuller understanding of the American justice system by allowing them to experience the legal process first hand. Through role- playing as lawyers, witnesses, plaintiffs and defendants, students develop an awareness and appreciation for the mechanism our society has chosen to resolve its disputes.
Pictured are the members of the SAA Mock Trial Team - (Row 1): Bridget Weldon SA11, Mary Katherine Kruczek SA11, Kayla Cochran SA11; (Row 2): Sophia Rouse, SA11, Talia Shadroui SA11 and Sarah Grace Price SA10; Not pictured - Avery McPherson, SA10.
St. Agnes Academy senior Caroline Melancon has been named a National Merit Finalist. Caroline has been accepted for admission to the University of Notre Dame and Loyola University Chicago.
An outstanding student, Caroline has earned numerous academic honors. She was the recipient of the Rita T. Ross Math Scholarship and is a member of the Aquinas Chapter of the National Honor Society.
Caroline is a four-year member of the National Beta Club and Key Club, as well as a member of Mathletes and the Forever Friends Club. She volunteers her time as a tutor in the Math Lab at SAA and serves as a group leader on the retreat team that plans and coordinates retreats for the Upper School. Active in the school’s theatre program, Caroline is a production assistant, working lights and sound for the various school plays and musicals. She was awarded the schools Presidential Volunteer Service Award for completing over 100 hours of service within a year. Caroline plans to study astronomy in college and pursue a career with NASA.
St. Agnes artists were honored for their talents in the annual Mid-South Scholastic Art Awards. St. Agnes Academy Upper School received 26 awards this year including Gold and Silver Keys. The Scholastic Art Awards is an annual juried student art exhibition presented by the Brooks Museum League and the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. It is an affiliate of the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. Our local exhibition recognizes outstanding achievements of students in grades 7 through 12. All artwork earning Gold Key recognition at the local level will be entered in the National Scholastic Competition in New York.
SA12: Amelia Hancock -2 Gold Keys, 3 Silver Keys, 1 Honorable Mention; Jordan Cardell - 2 Silver Keys, 4 Honorable Mentions; Riley Bartlett - 1 Honorable Mention; Brenna Clark - 1 Silver Key; Ellen Lemm - 1 Honorable Mention; Haylie Mills - 1 Honorable Mention; Mary Elizabeth Whitmire - 3 Honorable Mentions;
SA11: Grace Becker - 1 Honorable Mention; Lucy Brennan - 1 Honorable Mention; Lauren Capocaccia - 1 Silver Key; Caroline Cianciola - 1 Honorable Mention; Gabi Nunnelee - 1 Honorable Mention.;
SA10: Haley Andre - 1 Silver and Rachel Heck - 1 Silver.
Pictured are the newest members of the SAA Alumnae Hall of Fame: Donna Hild Russell '62, Therese Brennan Hebert '78, Kelly Lynch Mungle '97, Kathy Menkel, Maria Kastner Smith '82, Lisa Krupicka '79 and Lauren Pierotti Mitchell '99.
St. Agnes Academy honored six outstanding women during the School's recent 18th annual Alumnae Hall of Fame ceremony. The 2018 inductees are Donna Hild Russell ’62, Therese Brennan Hebert ’78, Lisa Krupicka ’79, Maria Kastner Smith ’82, Kelly Lynch Mungle ’97, Lauren Pierotti Mitchell ‘99, and Kathy Menkel. These women have made remarkable contributions to their community and churches, distinguished themselves in their careers, and supported the St. Agnes Academy mission.
The St. Agnes Academy Hall of Fame was established in 2001 on the School's 150th anniversary. The Hall of Fame honors those exceptional individuals who command respect within their careers and civic or charitable endeavors and are devoted to the mission of St. Agnes Academy, contribute to the community, and exemplify the standards instilled at St. Agnes Academy.
2018 Hall of Fame Honorees:
Donna Hild Russell ’62: Donna Russell is truly devoted to the mission of St. Agnes and has carried her education and training throughout her life. Donna attended college at the University of Mississippi where she was Captain of the Rebelettes, an officer in her sorority, a member of the Marching Band and Concert Band, and a member of the University Dancers. She was named Miss University of Mississippi and Top Ten Miss Mississippi. Donna was crowned Mrs. America in 1985, and she was named 3rd alternate to Mrs. World and voted Mrs. Congeniality. She continues to be actively involved at Ole Miss as a Lifetime Alumni Association Member and Vice President of the Rebelette Alumni Association. She volunteers as an SAA Class Agent. She has served as president of the Town Club of Mississippi, president of the Symphony League of Mississippi, and as a representative for the Mississippi State Republican Women Second Congressional District. She also served as a member of the Board of the Goodwill of Mississippi Society and Chair of the Mississippi State Republican Women Convention. Donna has excelled as a pharmaceutical sales specialist. She was named Rookie of the Year for Whitehall Labs, the “Reach the Peak” Winner for Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Most Impactful SPC Rep in the region for Schering Plough. Donna and her husband have been married for 41 years and have two children, Heather and Jason, and six grandchildren.
Therese Brennan Hebert ’78 †: (Therese passed away on February 1, 2018, just a few weeks after the Hall of Fame ceremony. Please keep her family in your prayers.)
Described by her friends as generous, kind, knowledgeable, honest, and emotionally perceptive, Therese Hebert embodied the characteristics central to the vision and mission of St. Agnes Academy. She took the lead in making the world a better place for her classmates, sisters, friends, family and strangers in need. Therese had a long and distinguished career in the health insurance business starting out at Heffernan, Ballanger, Pounds, and Yarborough. She became Mr. Ballanger’s right hand person and worked there for over 20 years in Corporate Insurance. Most recently she was an Account Manager III at Regions Financial. Therese generously assisted friends, families, and strangers as they navigated the difficult and confusing terms in their healthcare coverage. She spent hours unraveling the maze of issues related to the coverage for classmates undergoing treatment for catastrophic illnesses. Being Christ-like is what is important, and Therese demonstrated this throughout her life, quietly and without drawing attention to herself. Therese had two children, Joel and Jordan Hebert.
Lisa Krupicka ’79: After graduating from St. Agnes as valedictorian of the Class of ’79, Lisa Krupicka enrolled at Rhodes College where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. She then attended law school at Duke University graduating with high honors. Lisa joined the law firm of Burch, Porter and Johnson, PLLC in 1987. Her practice is focused primarily on representing employers on a variety of employment- related matters, including employee handbooks, training, wage and hour issues, labor relations, and employee discipline and termination. She has won numerous awards in her field and is highly respected among lawyers throughout the community. Lisa currently sits on the Board of Directors for the National Civil Rights Museum. She served on the Board of Directors for The Work Place, Inc. and was a Commissioner for the Memphis Landmark Commission. Lisa serves as legal counsel for St. Agnes Academy-St. Dominic School. Lisa’s daughter, Samantha, graduated from SAA in 2013. Following in her mother’s footsteps, she was also the valedictorian of her class.
Maria Kastner Smith ’82: In her role as a Counselor in the Upper School at St. Agnes, Maria Smith has been guiding and mentoring the Dominican Charism to every freshman for 22 years. Maria has made a tremendous impact at SAA through her dedication and leadership. She established the very successful Freshman Student Orientation program, which is coordinated annually by the seniors to welcome all new freshmen. Maria serves as the sponsor of the Upper School Beta Club. Maria has played a key role in establishing the Costa Rica cultural exchange program, and every June she travels to Costa Rica with SAA students for three weeks. She organized the Peer Mentor program and worked with the peer mentors to establish and endow the Leadership Scholarship. Maria was instrumental in organizing Anna’s Closet, a fundraiser created in the memory of Anna Menkel. Maria attended the University of Memphis, earning a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration and a Master Degree in Counseling and Personnel Services. She and her husband Michael have one daughter, Caroline Clare, SAA Class of 2014.
Kelly Lynch Mungle ’97: After graduating from the Academy, Kelly earned her Bachelor Degree in Science from the University of Mississippi and Master Degree in Education from the University of Memphis. She returned to her alma mater where she has taught Kindergarten for the past 15 years. She is the lead teacher for St. Dominic School Kindergarten and serves as a member of the Faith Formation Team. A dedicated and compassionate teacher and colleague, Kelly is a mentor to new teachers. She creates a welcoming, nurturing environment in her classroom and makes learning fun. She always has a “can do” attitude that instills self-confidence in her students. The Diocese of Memphis honored Kelly for her excellence as a teacher when they presented her the St. John Bosco Award for the Total Christian Formation of Students. Recently Kelly worked with former classmates to organize the dedication of the new Learning Garden in memory of their classmate, Mary Gattas Parker. Kelly and her husband Jay have two daughters, Emma (SA5) and Mary Caroline (SA3).
Lauren Pierotti Mitchell ’99: Lauren Mitchell attended the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Speech Pathology. She then earned her Master of Science in Education, Counseling and Personnel Services Degree at the University of Memphis. Lauren started her career as a guidance counselor at St. John Catholic School. She continued her work as a school counselor for the Shelby County Schools. Her job included coordinating a mentoring program for students in grades K-5, providing individual and small group counseling, teaching study skills, conflict prevention, and character development. After working in public education for 10 years, Lauren returned to work in a Catholic school as the guidance counselor at St. Louis School. You can see the Dominican Pillars of Community, Study, Prayer, and Service woven into her work with the students at St. Louis. She teaches students to be their personal best by actively engaging them in lessons on “filling each other’s buckets” and spreading kindness. Lauren is married to John Mitchell.
Kathy Menkel: Kathy Menkel searched for the best high school for her two daughters, Anna and Wesley ’03, and she chose Saint Agnes Academy. In 2005, during her junior year of high school, Anna was killed in a tragic car accident. Kathy has proudly honored Anna’s memory with positive acts demonstrating to students and adults alike, how a tragic event can help others. In 2007 Kathy and her husband Dale started Anna’s Closet, a second hand dress sale to honor their daughter and her generous spirit. Since its founding, Anna’s Closet has raised over $27,000, and SAA students have collected over 5,000 dresses. The proceeds benefitted the Anna Caroline Menkel Scholarship and the Emmanuel Center, and any unsold dresses have been donated to the Emmanuel Center for high school girls to wear to their prom. As the funds from Anna’s Closet grew, Kathy and Dale established a second scholarship, Anna’s Angel Fund, to provide financial assistance to an SAA family experiencing a crisis.
The tradition continues!
Members of the St. Agnes Academy Class of 2019 received their class rings during a Mass and ceremony at St. Louis Church. Mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts and cousins who are SAA alumnae were on hand to join in the presentation of the rings.
The design of the St. Agnes class ring is filled with tradition and symbolism:
- The black onyx triangle represents the three persons of the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
- The round gold setting on which the triangle is mounted stands for our unity as a class, with God in the center as our guide.
- The nine white pearls symbolize purity.
- The black triangle together with the white pearls symbolizes the traditional habit of the Dominican Sisters, who founded St. Agnes in 1851.
- The ring is worn with the base of the triangle pointing toward you until graduation, because we are still learning about ourselves. After graduation, it is worn with the base pointing out to the world.
Delaware Bay separates the state of Delaware from which state to the northeast?
Jackson Lake, located in Grand Teton National Park, is in what state?
Yokohama and Kobe are two of the busiest ports in which Asian country?
St. Agnes and St. Dominic students impressed the judges with their mastery of geography as they successfully navigated these and other difficult questions during the school’s recent geography bee. Congratulations to our St. Agnes champ, Lizzie Sander SA8, and our St. Dominic champ, Houston McIngvale SD7. Runners-up were Sophia Van Horn SA7, and DR Nunn SD8. Our champions will now take a placement test online to qualify to advance to the State Geography Bee.
Students were selected to participate in the Geography Bee through a preliminary test that they took in social studies. The test was provided by National Geographic Geography Bee. Thank you to all who competed in the bee: Mary France Berry SA4, Olivia Weems SA4, Mary Anna Kalb SA5, Ashlee Peden SA5, Lizzie Kobler SA6, Veronica Soldan SA6, Alex Clark SA7, Corinne Emanuel SA8, Wes McIngvale SD4, Will Plummer SD4, Michael Enright SD5, Jack Lamanna SD5, Hudson Shoaf SD6, Hogin Barker SD6, Jacob Clark SD7 and Tim Bula SD8.
St. Agnes Academy students traveled to Washington, D.C. this weekend to participate in the March for Life. Twenty-nine sophomores, juniors and seniors along with St. Agnes-St. Dominic president, Tom Hood, and several faculty members, made the annual trip to our nation's capital. They attended the Mass for Life prior to the March.
"Our trip to the March for Life provides our students a place to pray for, stand up for, and witness to several of the foundational principles of Catholic Social teaching: the dignity of the human person, rights and responsibilities, and solidarity," said Dorissa Filopoulos, Upper School Theology Teacher.
The St. Agnes Upper School has a pro-life club, Stars for Life. Their mission statement is to protect and defend the most fundamental right of humankind, the right to life of every innocent human being from the beginning of life to natural death. "This trip offers a hands on way to accomplish our mission on a national scale," Ms. Filopoulos said.
St. Agnes Academy-St. Dominic School has been selected as the WINNER in the “Education - School” category for The SPARK Awards 2017! The SPARK Awards is the Mid-South’s annual televised award show on WKNO focused on honoring individuals and organizations making a difference in our community. The SPARK Awards celebrates and recognizes the efforts of individuals, nonprofits, corporations, and schools in 13 different categories who are igniting change and making a positive impact in the Greater Memphis community.
Back in August, the public was invited to submit nominations as an opportunity to recognize and help publicly thank the organizations and individuals who are leading by example and making a difference in the Mid-South. Once the nomination phase ended, all nominations were provided to the Midtown Memphis Rotary Club, who served as the independent judges for the awards show. The criteria for judging was based on taking a leadership role in initiatives or efforts that better the Greater Memphis community, volunteerism, and impact.
“We are so honored by this award. For us as a school it is about instilling in our students that desire to make the world a better place. We want to empower our students to know that they can make a difference. We strive to create in them the awareness and then guide them to make connections and show them how to serve,” said Tom Hood, President, St. Agnes Academy-St. Dominic School.
St. Agnes senior Caroline Pietrangelo was recognized as the Scholar Athlete of the Week by Local 24 News. Caroline plays three sports, soccer, basketball and soccer, all while maintaining a 4.0 G.P.A.
Watch this video highlighting Caroline and her accomplishments.