St. Joseph’s Academy honored the class of 2020 with the 54th annual Honors Convocation, pre-recorded by the Academy’s leadership team on May 12 and shown on May 15 as a Premiere on the school’s Facebook and uploaded to its YouTube channel.
President Jan Rhorer Breen opened the virtual ceremony with a welcome and prayer. She also inducted the members of the class of 2020 – the Academy’s 143rd graduating class – into the Alumnae Association and said the red roses they will receive at their graduation ceremony on May 17 symbolize their union with 10,218 women who graduated before them. Breen is a member of the Academy class of 1969.
Dean of Women Erika Angarita announced the senior class favorites: Claire Holder, most athletic; Caroline Feduccia, most talented; Shreya Reshamwala, most likely to succeed; Jordan Mathis, most school spirit; Madison Roy, most friendly; Mary Catherine Daniels, most studious; Katherine Counce, most witty; Flora DeMoss, best personality; and Faith Woods, best all around.
Angarita honored the 112 seniors who gave at least 50 hours of service during each of their four years at SJA. Also recognized were the students chosen by the faculty and their classmates to crown Mary at this year’s virtual May Crowning ceremony on May 1: Mary Catherine Daniels, Caroline Dazzio, Flora DeMoss, Emma Durnin, Jordan Mathis, Angelle McCormick, Emily Reynaud, Mary Claire Saia, Claire Marie Tate and Faith Woods.
SJA’s four major athletic awards were given. Virginia Rose Dirks received the SJA Scholar-Athlete Award for academic excellence and athletic success. There were two winners of the Sister Ursula Harelson Award, given to an outstanding student and dedicated athlete who is hard-working, selfless, competitive yet humble. They were Melanie Hasenkampf and Claire Holder. Madison Henderson was named the recipient of the Sherri Troxclair Award for courage, determination and perseverance in overcoming obstacles while excelling in sports and making major contributions to the school community. Isabelle Brown was named the SJA Outstanding Athlete for excellence in sports and for being both a strong leader and role model for her peers.
Dean of Curriculum and Instruction Aimee Wiles ’93 announced the recipients of the Distinguished Quality Awards for 2019-2020. Faith Woods received the Medaille Outstanding Classmate Award as the outstanding member of the class of 2020. Emma Durnin received the Downtown Kiwanis Courtesy Award, voted on by the senior class and given to the senior who is considerate and respectful of others’ thoughts and feelings. Mary Catherine Daniels was given the American Legion Award, voted by her classmates on the principles of courage, honor, leadership, patriotism, scholarship and service to God and the community.
Annie Blanchard was awarded the Knights of Columbus Patriotic Award, given to a senior who exemplifies the qualities of hard work in academics, love of God and country and patriotic actions in her daily life. Madison Roy received the Breaking Barriers Grant, established by Laureen Callo ’83 and given to a senior planning to attend an out-of-state school and pursue a major that has not been traditional for women. The award is given to a senior with a demonstrated record of academic and co-curricular achievement and a commitment to service.
Principal Stacia Andricain announced the recipients of SJA’s special memorial awards. Janie Morgan received the newly established Kirstin E. “Libby” Honoré Award, given to a graduating senior who is compassionate, fun loving, hardworking and scholarly. It also awards outstanding academic accomplishments and acts of servant leadership. A’ine Lusker received the Allison Grace Honeycutt Memorial Award, given to a senior known for her gentle, caring manner and free-spirited approach to life and who loves working with young children. Flora DeMoss was the recipient of the Courtney Myshrall Memorial Award, given to a senior who is kindhearted, nonjudgmental and whose outgoing nature and joy for life touch those around her.
Madison Roy received the Jeannette Svendson Memorial Award, given to a senior who exemplifies love and kindness, who is always positive and who is filled with appreciation for life. Faith Woods received the Frank and Maria Bologna Award, given to the senior selected by the faculty as the hardest-working student. Angelle McCormick received the Cyrus A. Greco Service Award in recognition of her service to the school, her classmates, community and the faculty.
Wiles recognized the 75 recipients of the Seal of Bi-literacy, given to seniors who successfully completed a level four foreign language course and earned qualifying scores on the English and reading sections of the ACT. Also recognized were the seven students on track to earn an AP Capstone diploma. AP Capstone give students the opportunity to tackle in-depth, long-term research assignments. The diploma is earned by successfully completing two yearlong AP courses: AP Seminar and AP Research.
Outstanding students in each subject area were recognized. They were Mary Usher, art achievement; Morgan Burke, art service; Allee Rogers, band; Caroline Feduccia, chorus achievement; Jordan Mathis, chorus service; Cameron Mincin, dance achievement; Isabelle English, dance service; Annie Blanchard, English; Sara Mayeux, French; Mary Catherine Daniels, Latin; Mary Marchand, Spanish; Mae Thompson, family and consumer science; Michelle Lorio, health and physical education; Shreya Reshamwala, mathematics; Rachel Sanchez, media arts achievement; Megan Hodges, media arts service; Shreya Reshamwala, science; Faith Woods, social studies; Allee Rogers, technology achievement; Carreigh Broussard, technology service; Bret Burns, theater achievement; Rhianna San Soucie, theatre service; and Mary Catherine Daniels, theology.
Wiles also recognized the 62 students who earned second academics for maintaining a 3.0-3.499 cumulative grade point average throughout their SJA years.
Dean of Academics Aubrey DeJohn honored the 102 students who earned first academics for maintaining a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 during their high school years.
DeJohn also announced the 16 students who earned the Principal’s Award for receiving all As for semester grades in every class taken over four years. They were Brette Bankston, Sydney Boneno, Mary Catherine Daniels, Emma Durnin, Victoria Funes, Megan Hodges, Grace Houser, Adele Jacobsen, Mary Kate Lee, Mary Marchand, Sara Mayeux, Mary Claire Saia, Catherine Smith, Lark Smith, Paris Vercher and Caroline Webre.
Sixty-three students were awarded an honors diplomas for maintaining a minimum 3.8 cumulative GPA while taking at least 11 honors or advanced placement courses during the past four years.
Andricain announced this year’s salutatorian, Mary Catherine Daniels, and valedictorian, Shreya Reshamwala.
Andricain congratulated the soon-to-be graduates and honored them as women who inspire the future with their talent, dignity and potential to make a difference in the world.
Amelia Buffone ended the virtual ceremony with the singing of the Alma Mater.
The red roses presented by the Alumnae Association are donated each year by Liz Batchelor McKowen, class of 1972, in memory of her parents, Alymer Price Batchelor and Audrey Batchelor.
Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Images by Holly Sonnier Browning