St. Joseph’s Academy juniors received their class rings during the 2023 Ring Ceremony, held May 5 in the Academy Student Center. The class of 2024 and their parents gathered for the traditional event, which commemorates the juniors’ three years at SJA and marks the point at which they make the transition to their senior year.
Principal Stacia Andricain welcomed the large gathering and introduced guest alumna speaker Morgan Miller, SJA class of 2013, who was a two-sport athlete at St. Joseph’s Academy. She played volleyball at Southeastern Louisiana University while earning her bachelor of science in nursing, graduating magna cum laude in 2017. She worked as an ICU nurse before returning to graduate school to earn her doctor of nursing practice, nurse anesthesia from Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University. Miller works as a nurse anesthetist at Ochsner Baton Rouge.
Miller said SJA is much more than a high school. It’s also a faith community, a place where dreams are formed, where skills are developed and a where network is built that will serve its graduates for the rest of their lives. She shared a story about her own Junior Ring experience 10 years ago. “When I tried to remember what I was thinking about, I remember thinking about how excited I was to get to wear red shirts and where my friend group was going to go get dinner,” she said. “What I didn’t remember about that night was who spoke to us, what was said, who from my family attended with me or what I learned at my Ring Ceremony. I didn’t remember any of that because I never sat back and enjoyed the ‘in between.’ I always had a go-go-go mentality. And while part of that has helped me become successful, it wasn’t until I learned to enjoy the process, enjoy the highs and lows and learn from each experience that I truly began to enjoy every second of life.”
She advised the juniors to “stop and smell the roses” as they embark upon the new journey of their senior year then college. “I challenge you to make the most of the time in between,” she said. “In the time between now and graduation, dress up, go to the game, go to the dance, talk to someone new, show up and support your Sticker sisters, stay motivated and don’t be complacent, but also don’t let your goals blind you from the process. When times seem uncertain or when you are planning your next goal, trust in God, trust the process and don’t underestimate your potential.”
Miller said that because SJA is a faith community, it is a place that lights one’s fire for the Lord and keeps it burning throughout the high school years. “As you approach your senior year, I challenge you to work hard to build your flame,” she said. “Support each other and connect in faith. Because when it comes time to graduate and move on to college or the next step in life, it will be in your own hands to keep that flame burning. In times of stress, hold tight to your values and faith, lean on your family, your support system and, most importantly, the Lord. Always know God is walking this journey with you and using your light to inspire others.”
Maggie Kate Brickey read from St. Paul’s first letter to Timothy. Gabriela Cuadra read a message entitled Journey Through Life. Leading the prayers of the faithful were Hannah Crochet, Jolie Primeaux, Elise Brown, Hanley Hidalgo and Camille Curry.
Helen Schliewe, junior class president, presented the class accomplishments, reflecting on the challenges and successes to date. “When we accept our rings tonight, let us think of the transformation we’ve had from freshman year, and let us embrace the year ahead of us,” she said. “Let’s build on the foundation we’ve created so far. Let’s cherish these moments, live day by day and truly enjoy every minute we have left at this home away from home. Create memories, get to know all of your classmates and take advantage of all the great opportunities here at SJA.
“Let’s be servant leaders to the whole SJA community,” Schliewe added. “Rise to the challenge of leaving a lasting legacy and leaving the school even better than we found it. This is an incredible group of women for others. Take your ring, wear it with pride, use all God has given you and look forward to being the best senior class we can possibly be.”
Caroline Tullier explained the rich symbolism of the school ring, which is offered in two designs: the traditional black onyx and the red barrel stone. SJA Pastoral Care Minister Sister Chris Pologa blessed the rings, and Dean of Academics Aubrey DeJohn called forth each junior to receive her ring from Andricain.
Anna Foco led the closing prayer.
Lilly Manson invited the juniors to participate in the traditional turning of the rings. Charley Fernandez led the singing of the Alma Mater.
Danielle Laird directed the freshman and sophomore members of the choir, and Aimee Urdiales was the pianist.
Junior class co-moderators Katie Comeaux and Jeanne Boudreaux were the Ring Ceremony coordinators.
Mindy Brodhead Averitt