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June 2017

Posted Wednesday, Jun 21, 2017 
Students build Holy Cross connections at Sisters' mother house in South Bend, IN.

For over 20 years, Holy Cross students have travelled to Clintwood, VA to work with Sister Jean Barbara Korkisch, CSC on the St. Joseph Housing Repair Program. Sadly, this program ended in 2016. Emily Anderson, the Academy’s Director of the Holy Cross Social Justice Program, searched to find a new service trip that would allow our girls to build relationships with those being served. As we stand on the brink of our 150th year, Emily realized that returning to our roots in South Bend, IN would provide “a great way to learn our important history as well as why our connection to the Sisters and community matters.” So the Spes Unica service trip was inaugurated. Emily, fellow faculty member Lauren DeZinno, and 11 girls (Katherine Beall ’19, Theresa Brogan ’18, Nicole Dao ’19, Caroline Floam ’18, Emily May ’18, Samantha Miller ’18, Grace O'Connor ’19, Caroline Ryan ’18, Margaret Ryan ’18, Ella Torp ’19, Alexandra Whittington ’18) traveled to the mother house of the Sisters of the Holy Cross at Saint Mary’s from Saturday, June 10-Saturday, June 17.

During their trip, the girls worked with Sisters at the Broadway Christian Parish, serving a breakfast shift and making and distributing lunches during a second shift. They also visited the Sisters who are residents of Trailpoint nursing facility with the novices of the Congregation. Additionally, the girls worked in the “stamp room” at Saint Mary’s with Sisters who raise money for their missions by clipping stamps off letters to be mailed to collectors—this was a big hit with our girls.

The group was hosted by Sister Helene Sharp, CSC, the Director of US Vocations. They stayed in Regina Hall on the Saint Mary’s campus. During their downtime, the girls shared several meals with the Sisters and enjoyed listening to their stories. A special treat for the group was being able to visit with Sister Grace Shonk, CSC. The group attended Mass at the Church of Loretto. They also visited the archives of the Sisters of the Holy Cross and learned about Holy Cross heritage. The girls also visited the University of Notre Dame and toured the Basilica and the Lourdes Grotto there.

Each night the group shared their day’s highs and lows and participated in a reflection written by the girls and ended in prayer. Additionally, on Friday, The Division for Mission hosted the girls for a lunch and then a campus tour. Our students spoke with and met students from St. Mary's College, enjoying a great exchange.

The Academy is part of a larger, global family of Holy Cross. Through the Spes Unica trip, Holy Cross connections past and present have been built.



Posted Thursday, Jun 15, 2017 

Holy Cross recently welcomed a delegation of Sisters of the Holy Cross who are participating in the International Renewal (Tertian) Program. The visitors included 11 Sisters from Bangladesh, one Sister from India, one from Peru, and four from the United States. The Sisters shared lunch with our staff, heard about our program from President Katy Prebble, met students on campus for summer enrichment classes, and toured the facility. It was a most-enjoyable visit for all!

The International Renewal allows the Sisters to deepen their faith, develop and strengthen friendships, and establish goals for ongoing formation within the Sisters’ community.   


YouTube video of the Sisters singing a song of thanks for the visit.


Posted Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 

The Class of 1967 recently attended celebrations for their 50th anniversary of graduation from Holy Cross.

On Sunday, June 4, nearly 50 alumnae gathered on campus and enjoyed rekindling friendships and reminiscing about their high school years. One alumna traveled from Australia to attend. The celebration was organized by a small committee of ’67 classmates, who ensured a good time was had by everyone. The Ladies of the Academy remembered favorite teachers and events that impacted their lives. A wonderful slideshow was a highlight of the evening. Several of the women shared about the impact Holy Cross had on their lives. They encouraged one another to look for opportunities to be involved in the school community today–either by mentoring or financial support. A special display remembered the class members who have passed away.

On Monday, June 5, a group of the 50th anniversary alumnae attended a luncheon on the Holy Cross campus and the Commencement ceremony at the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The ladies led the procession to begin the ceremony and were given the front row seat in front of the Class of 2017 graduates. 

Posted Tuesday, Jun 13, 2017 

The 119 girls in the Class of 2017 celebrated their graduation from the Academy with Cap and Gown Honor Awards, Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremonies to mark the occasion.

The Cap and Gown Honor Awards ceremony took place on Tuesday, May 30. The Class of 2017 were recognized for their academic accomplishments, seniors who are alumnae legacies received Legacy pins, and the girls in the IB Diploma Programme received their IB medals. The Congressman Jamie Raskin Public Service Award was presented to Mary Schech ’17. A representative from the United States Coast Guard Academy presented an appointment scholarship to Grace Tarbrake ’17. A representative from University of North Carolina-Charlotte presented the Levine Scholars Award, a four-year scholarship that includes full tuition, room, board, a grant to implement a service project, and four summer experiences, to Faith Frayman ’17. Valedictorian Julia Urban ’17 and Salutatorian Euthymia “Emmie” Stratakis ’17 received honor medals for their accomplishments. To conclude the program, Senior Class President Mikaela Mooney ’17 gave a final address to the assembly.

On Sunday, June 4, the Holy Cross community gathered at Holy Redeemer church in Kensington, MD, for Baccalaureate Mass. During the Preparation of Gifts, graduates carried mementos from significant activities, academics, clubs, etc. in remembrance of their time at Holy Cross.

On Monday, June 5, the Commencement ceremony took place at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Members of the 50th anniversary Class of 1967 walked in the procession.

In Emmie’s salutatory address she reflected on her classmates, “Debating real world and historical problems in religion, and hearing about the Catholic perspective has ingrained in us a set of ethical values we would not have gotten from a different type of environment. Being in an all-girls school has allowed us to develop, knowing that strength and intelligence have nothing to do with gender.” She then offered, “So, take that moral compass and education Holy Cross has given you and the experiences, knowledge, and skills you will also get in the next four years and go disturb the universe for the better.”

In Julia’s valedictory address she suggested that though we are only a tiny component of the universe, each of us matters. “Decades from now, we may not remember each other’s names. We’re not going to remember who was captain for which sport, who had the lead in which play, or who was the president for which club. But I promise, I will remember the way each and every one of you made me feel.” As she remarked on the fact that many people question if they do in fact matter, Julia concluded, “we were born by no choice of our own and into circumstances we couldn’t control.  With so much left to chance, it can be difficult to see meaning. Some of us will find it in God, or the relationships we make, or the work we do.  At the end of the day, finding meaning is up to us.”

Sister M. Veronique (Wiedower), C.S.C., President of the Sisters of the Holy Cross Leadership Team gave the commencement address. In her address, she noted: “Each of you has contributed your thread to the tapestry which is the tartan, the lavender and white crossings which the Academy has embraced as its symbol.  Those threads will always be connected to the people, the memories, the experiences of your time at the Academy. “Once a Holy Cross girl…always a Holy Cross girl.” Those threads will also continue to be spun out, empowering you to weave new patterns and to be connected to new colors that will shape your future.” 

Following the conferring of diplomas, President Kathleen Prebble and Principal Melissa Huey-Burns presented The Sisters of the Holy Cross Award (Faith Frayman ’17), the Spes Unica Award (Lizanne Passaro ’17), the Sister Grace Award (Evangeline McNabb) the St. André Bessette Citizenship Award (Hugh Zhang ’17), and the Cardinal Award (Theresa Rogers). At the conclusion of the ceremony, the graduates met family and friends outside the Basilica in the beautiful spring weather.

The Class of 2017 has earned over $10,200,000 in college scholarships. See additional details about the Class of 2017 here.

Posted Monday, Jun 12, 2017 

Debbie Brown, Holy Cross Onyx Club moderator and Director of Human Resources, is the recipient of a $1,000 grant from the Big 12 Conference, in partnership with the College Football Playoff Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers program. More than 100 student-athletes featured in the “Big 12 Champions for Life” campaign have been given the opportunity to recognize a teacher who made a lasting impact during their academic journey.

Alumna Lanay Montgomery ’12, who is one of the “Big 12 Champions for Life” student-athletes nominated Debbie for the award. In her nomination, Lanay wrote, “She had a great impact on my high school transition. With the help of Ms. Brown, I grew to love and learn a lot about my alma mater!” In addition to moderating the Onyx Club, Debbie is a passionate Holy Cross basketball supporter and fan. She remarked, “I am extremely honored and appreciative of this recognition. Lanay is a wonderful young lady and I have been so proud of her accomplishments at West Virginia University. I look forward to her continued success in the WNBA.” 

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby noted, “One of our goals with this initiative is to tell the often-overlooked stories of our student athletes. A huge part of these stories are the teachers and coaches who have helped our student-athletes grow as individuals and have left a lasting, positive impact.”

Debbie will designate the grant to support technology assistance in the classroom.

Posted Friday, Jun 2, 2017 

The Senior Project internship program has been part of the academic experience at the Academy since 1973. Every year, our seniors research sites, contact sponsors, coordinate the internship responsibilities, manage their 60-hour requirements, communicate with their faculty/staff mentors, and write reflections. The Class of 2017 attended their internships beginning on Monday, May 8. Their internships took place at numerous organizations and businesses in fields such as medicine, education, engineering, law, communications, marketing, social work, journalism, and many others. For some students, Senior Project confirms their career aspirations. For others, it helps them narrow their interests or determine a direction.


On Wednesday, May 31, nine seniors gave presentations about their Senior Project internship at an all-school assembly.

Jennifer Case ’17 interned at The Washington Post where she interviewed Holy Cross alumna Lanay Montgomery ’12 who recently signed to play with the WNBA. She also sat in on a meeting that included Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep and Steven Spielberg, who are doing research for a new film. “That was the highlight of my Senior Project,” Jennifer remarked.

Shadowing nurses in the Suburban Hospital emergency room helped Megan Conley ’17 confirm that nursing is the right career field for her. She witnessed several traumas during her internship and was allowed to help with some of the treatments. “The whole experience was incredible, and something I would have never imagined seeing,” she remarked.

During her internship at the Kennedy Krieger School, Emily Halm ’17 shadowed teachers of students who have intellectual disabilities. She worked one-on-one with students in classrooms and observed the teachers as well as the therapists for the students. The experience helped Emily realize that she may be better suited to working in one of the specialized therapies for children with special needs (physical, speech, occupational, etc.). Of the experience, Emily remarked, “I am now ready for the next chapter of my life, and it all wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for Holy Cross.”

Before Senior Project, Jessica Falcinelli ’17 wasn’t sure which career path she wanted to pursue. Then came the Frederick Flight Center. There she shadowed instructors, learned maintenance, and taxied and piloted different types of planes. Her internship has been extended throughout the summer and Jessica plans to earn her private pilot license. She is grateful to Holy Cross for the experience and encouraged the Juniors to take full advantage of the opportunity next year.

Isabella Orgel ’17 interned at the NIH/ National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Isabella plans to major in public health in college and the internship gave her a sampling of many different aspects of public health specialties. She remarked that though her experience consisted of a lot of reading and research, she found the opportunity invaluable. Isabella remarked in her speech, “I wouldn’t say that the purpose of Senior Project is to have fun, or even to figure out what exactly you want to do in your life. I think it’s about acclimating to the workforce and gaining an advantage in the professional world.”

Reann Philogene ’17 plans to major in art with a concentration in photography in college. Her internship was with freelance photographer and artist, Dominique Fierro. During her project, Reann learned strengths and weaknesses about herself and how to capitalize her strengths and minimize her weaknesses. She noted, “Working with Dominique helped me to realize that even though it is difficult it is always worth it to pursue your passion.”

At the Shady Grove Rehabilitation Center Bryn Strzelec ’17, shadowed physical therapists both for inpatient and outpatient services. She learned that many of the patients who receive physical therapy at Shady Grove have experienced strokes. She noted in her presentation, “I knew before that I wanted to go into Neuro Physical Therapy, but this hands-on experience has helped confirmed my plans for the future.”

Ingrid Torp ’17 interned at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. She spent time reviewing information, attending meetings, visiting police headquarters and providing office assistance where needed. Ingrid noted that she enjoyed learning how the ATF was “helping the police with some violent crime areas.”

During her internship, Hugh Zhang ’17 researched information for the Gender Task Force of her sponsor, Global Communities. Her research included evaluating international organizations on their practices of gender sensitivity. During her project, Hugh also created and gave two presentations to groups within the Gender Task Force. She noted of the experience, “I had to be clear and concise and well-prepared for all sorts of questions. Through the research and the presentations, I practiced my writing and public-speaking skills which will be extremely useful in my future college and career life.”

Senior Project Coordinator Lois Gobbi will retire at the end of this year after 10 years managing the program. She noted how much she has enjoyed working with hundreds of students. During the Cap and Gown Awards Ceremony on Thursday, June 1, President Katy Prebble thanked Lois for her commitment to the program.


Posted Thursday, Jun 1, 2017 

Kate Axelsson ’14 was recently featured in the St. Edward’s University article “How Improv Makes You a Better Student.” Kate is a junior at St. Ed’s and helped to bring improve to the campus. She developed her passion for improve at Holy Cross under the direction of faculty member Dale Placek. She has also spent a month with The Second City, an improvisational theater troupe in Chicago. At the 2017 Performing Arts Gala, Kate was the keynote speaker.

Read the entire article here.

Kate has previously been a TEDx speaker at St. Ed’s.

Photo: Morgan Printy
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