From the Executive Director's corner
"A Dominican education cultivates a life-long love for learning through self-discipline and motivation.In the tradition of the Order of Preachers, the ultimate goal of study is to gain knowledge and skills to advance the Gospel for the good of the whole community; in this way knowledge, the fruit of study is always at the service of truth." (Annual Report-St. Pius X High School," Houston, TX)
As we once again celebrate National Catholic Education week this month, let us acknowledge with genuine pride the multitude of young people who have received their Catholic education within the Dominican tradition. Let us recall that Dominicans have always been connected to schools. As soon as Dominic received papal approval for the Order of Preachers in 1216, he enrolled his friars at the Cathedral school of Toulouse. He then sent them to study theology in other University centers: Spain, Paris, Orleans, Montpellier, Bologna, Cologne and Oxford. In the first formal foundation at Toulouse, Dominic's prime concern was to erect a cloister of cells sufficiently commodious for study and sleeping. Far from being something of an exception, study became one of the fundamental elements of the Order. Dominic, who always carried the Gospel of St. Matthew and the Epistles of St. Paul, urged his early followers to study the Old and New Testaments "unceasingly."
The tradition of study as essential to teaching and preaching has remained through these 800 years a recognized pillar of the Order of Preachers. In the spirit of Thomas Aquinas, Albert the Great and Catherine of Siena, let us as Dominican educators continue to find our authentic voice in the simple words of a man who urged his followers to share with others the fruits of their contemplation.
DASS Representatives Gather for Annual Meeting
Representatives from DASS member schools gathered for their Annual Meeting at St. Agnes Academy/St. Dominic School in Memphis, TN on October 21, 2009. Many of the representatives arrived a day early to participate in a special in-service day which focused on "racial and cultural diversity in our school communities." Participants spent the morning session in a directed tour of the Civil Rights Museum in downtown Memphis. The tour was followed by a visit to St. Peter's Church, the home of the national shrine dedicated to St. Martin de Porres. The morning session concluded with a Mass celebrated by Fr. John Pitzer,OP. Following a delicious lunch provided by the St. Agnes/St. Dominic School communities, Fr. John talked with the group about the history of St. Peter's Church and the national Martin de Porres shrine. The afternoon session concluded with a discussion about challenges we face in dealing with racial, cultural and religious diversity in our schools.''
After the Annual Meeting session the following morning, members had the opportunity to visit the long distance Learning center and Cybary on campus (Descriptive brochure available on website: www.saa-sds.org)
Midwest Campus Ministry Gathering
Theology teachers and Campus Ministers from our Midwest Dominican schools gathered for their second annual meeting this fall at Rosary High School in Aurora, IL. The focus of the day was "Who is God in my Life." Sr. Ann Willits, OP presented and facilitated the day's session. The group decided to meet again next fall at Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, IL. It is our hope that similar gatherings will take place in other regions of the country later this year.
Congratulations are in order
Sister Marion O'Connor, OP, Social Studies Chair at Regina Dominican High School in Wilmette, IL, who was named one of the six recipients of the NCEA Secondary Schools Department award for 2010. Sister Marion who began her tenure at Regina Dominican in 1964 will receive this national award during the Secondary Schools Departments' annual Convocation on Wednesday, April 7th at the NCEA Convocation in Minneapolis-St. Paul MN.
Our Lady of the Elms High School in Akron, OH which was ranked 13th among all public, private, and charter schools in the state of Ohio. This ranking was based on the school's performance on the 2009 Ohio Graduation Test.
The many students from our schools who have earned Semi-finalist and Commended status in the 2009 National Merit Scholarship Program. Additionally, we congratulate the host of other students from our schools who have been recognized for outstanding achievement by state and foreign language associations. Many of these students are listed on school websites. (List of school websites is available on www.DominicanSchools.org)
Special mention to: Claire Fitzgerald, a senior at St. Mary's Dominican High School in New Orleans, who earned a perfect score on her ACT test.
The St. Dominic Academy's (Newark, NJ) chamber choir who returned to sing in the Continuo Arts Foundation's first annual "Christmas Time in the City" concert. The Dominoes are no strangers to Carnegie Hall; this is their fifth appearance since 2001.
The Engineering Team from St. Agnes Academy in Houston, TX who recently competed in the regional competition in Kingwood, TX. Members of the all-female team brought skills in writing, mathematics, construction, wiring, and artistry to produce a winning robot and capture first place in the web-design portion of the contest.
And our Rose Bowl Connection...
The Marian Catholic High School Band who were invited to perform in this year's Rose-Bowl parade. "The grand stage will be nothing new for the accomplished program at the Chicago Heights school. In the last three decades, the Spartan band has become one of the nation's premier high school programs, collecting over 625 award and honors. Since 1980, the group has claimed 30 consecutive Illinois marching competition state titles and earned the Bands of America Grand National Championship seven times, the only band to ever capture more than three titles." (www.catholicnewworld.com)
Additionally, the Queen of the 2010 Rose Bowl Parade was Natalie Innocenzi, a senior at Flintwood Sacred- Heart Academy in LaCanada-Flintwood CA. Also, Kathleen Hernandez another senior student from Flintwood Sacred Heart Academy was a member of Natalie's court. (video available on www.fsha.org website)
Programs of Note
The groundbreaking of St. Catherine of Siena Scholars Program is unique to Queen of Peace High School in Burbank, IL. Similar to a college-level independent study, this program invites student to choose a topic they are especially excited to research, beyond their normal course load. Catherine Scholars study under mentors from the community; a Chicago Tribune sports editor, a professor at Rush Hospital and a senior vice-president at Northern Trust Bank are just a few of the people who have volunteered to mentor students. At our Catherine Congress in the spring, students present their research to parents, teachers, mentors, and other Catherine Scholar candidates. (www.queenofpeace.org)
Check out Rosary High School's (Aurora, IL) website where the daily prayer is posted each day of the school year. (www.rosaryhs.com)St. Pius X High School and St. Agnes Academy in Houston have put together a succession plan. They gathered information from other schools (some Dominican schools) and synthesized it into a packet of information. Numerous schools have been working on a succession plan. The St. Pius/St. Agnes plan is posted in the "Member's Only" section of the website. You may feel free to use it or any part of it if it meets your needs.
Preaching in Action
Dominican Academy in New York City collected toys for the Edego Foundation in December. Endego is an independent not for profit organization dedicated to improving the future of children in Haiti by rebuilding dilapidated schools, supplying students with learning materials and nutritional support. The school that Dominican Academy supports collapsed during the recent earthquake. Fortunately, no students were in the school at the time of the earthquake occurred.
Fenwick High School in Oak Park, IL raised $25,000 to benefit the people of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Baudin, Haiti.
Three juniors from St. Agnes Academy in Houston who are working this year to raise awareness of issues related to poverty and peace this school year after attending the Dominican High School Preaching Conference in June. The three students generated support for "Nothing but Nuts," a non-profit aimed at reducing the spread of malaria through the purchase of bed nets for the people of Africa, and Food for the Poor, an international Christian relief service dedicated to helping the poorest of the poor in the Caribbean and Latin America. (www.st-agnes.org)
At St. Mary's Dominican High School in New Orleans, LA, members of the Dominican Preaching Team have devoted their preaching efforts to bringing the Dominican spirit into more aspects of student life. One of the group's major objectives is to make the Preaching team a more vocal presence in the school community. Team members have spoken at numerous assemblies, including the Faculty/Staff retreat, the Eighth Grade and Freshmen Days of Reflection, and at all school liturgies. (www.stmarysdominican.org)
At St. Agnes Academy in Memphis, the students adopted a city school for Christmas. Each student was paired with a student at Hanley Elementary school in Memphis. 125 students from St. Agnes boarded buses and went to Hadley with their gifts. Santa even made an appearance. The St. Agnes students energized about the meaning of giving from the heart returned home deeply aware of the blessings they gained that day.
Please Mark Your Calendars
The 2010 DASS Convocation will be held at the Hilton Post Oak Hotel in Houston, TX beginning Thursday evening, October 21st and concluding at noon on Saturday, October 23rd. The theme of the Convocation will be the "Sustainability of Our Schools." The target audience for this event are those individuals who represent the school as administrators, board members, institutional development personnel, recruitment, alumni, financial, and public relations officers. Specific descriptive materials and registration information will be sent to all schools in June, 2010.
2010 Dominican High School Preaching Conference
Siena Heights University @ Adrian, MI 49221
Contact: www.domlife.org/opteens for further information
DASS Executive Office Director: Sr. Pat Brady, OP 7701 Walmsley Ave. New Orleans, LA 70125
Phone: 504-865-9401, Ext. 142 Fax: 504-866-5958 e-mail: email@example.com web: www.dominicanschools.org