St. Mary’s Dominican High School’s annual Homecoming Weekend kicked off on Friday, April 24 with 100 guests attending a Mass and reception on campus. On Saturday, April 25 an estimated 215 alumnae, representing 44 classes, attended the homecoming luncheon at Metairie Country Club where they also saluted two of their fellow alumnae. Patricia J. Blanchard, a 1956 graduate, was honored as 2015 Alumna of the Year and Sandra Lozano Somerville ’64 received the 2015 Sr. Mary Angela Mulhern, O.P. Service Award.
Click here to see the photo gallery from Friday and Saturday!
Patricia J. Blanchard ’56 – 2015 Alumna of the Year
Born on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, into a devout Dominican Catholic family that represents a three-generation Dominican Legacy, may have been foretelling of Patricia “Pat” Blanchard’s journey as an educator at a school founded by the Dominican Sisters from Cabra, Ireland. This Irish connection from St. Patrick who used the shamrock to explain the Trinity as he preached the Gospel throughout Ireland, begins with Pat’s early Dominican education at St. Matthias Catholic School in the Broadmoor Neighborhood of New Orleans and continued through St. Mary’s Dominican College, after she entered the Dominican Sisters Congregation of St. Mary.
Pat’s love of learning led her to earn a master’s degree in Administration and Supervision from the University of Oklahoma, a master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling from the University of New Orleans, and a Master of Religious Education awarded by Loyola University, New Orleans. Throughout her career, Pat’s love of the students, study, and her excitement about teaching have always been evident. She first taught at Catholic elementary schools in Hammond and Independence, Louisiana, and in Lizana, Mississippi. At Dominican she taught English III and IV, and gave of her time and experience on numerous Southern Association of Colleges and Schools visitation committees, as moderator of the National Honor Society, The Star newspaper, Class Coordinators, and student retreats.
For nearly 15 years she served as Assistant Principal at Dominican. As Vice-President of Dominican Catholic Identity, the position she held for 16 years until her retirement, she greatly assisted with the articulation and strategic plan for maintaining our Dominican Catholic school identity well into the future.
Retirement has been a continuation of Pat’s involvement in church and community. This includes her commitments at St. Angela Merici Parish and volunteer work at the Archdiocese of New Orleans Chateau de Notre Dame. Some of the most rewarding experiences for Pat have been her membership in prayer and study groups with her Dominican friends and Sr. Rose Bowen, O.P.
Pat has always chosen a path that reflects the passage from St. Timothy, “I charge you to preach the word, to stay with the task whether convenient or inconvenient – correcting reproving, appealing – constantly teaching and never losing patience.”
Sandra Lozano Somerville ’64 – 2015 Sr. Mary Angela Mulhern, O.P. Service Award Recipient
Sandy’s early volunteerism can be traced to a move to Lakeview and joining St. Dominic Parish. There she discovered Dominican graduates who were involved with the parish. Her fellow alum taught her what it meant to volunteer. She was room mother for her daughters’ classrooms. The Mother’s Club members soon took Sandy under their wings and encouraged her to say yes to everything! She served as club treasurer, vice-president and president.
She chaired St. Dominic’s annual Spring Fair. When the pastor asked for help forming the first group of women to serve as Eucharistic Ministers, Sandy said yes to a commitment that has lasted 20 years. Sandy and her husband, Ron, opened their home and hosted evenings for engaged couples, sharing their insights into married family life. The Somerville home also is where the Supper and Substance program began. Sandy and her fellow parishioners accepted the pastor’s request to organize the program that has lasted more than 15 years. For several years she was an Assistant Girl Scout Leader. Sandy returned to work when her daughters started at Dominican. For 15 years she was with Career Services at Tulane University and served on Dominican’s Alumnae Association Board. Asked to be the Alumnae Association Director, Sandy graciously accepted this wonderful honor and enjoyed every moment of her 10 years as director.
Sandy learned about Dominican alumnae who support Boys Hope Girls Hope, serving on the volunteer board and helping with daily meals. Sandy continues to give of her time to the organization, cooking delicious meals for the girls and boys. Active in her condo association’s Board of Directors, through the years she has held different positions and is their recently elected president.
Sandy continues to answer the call of service. The Dominican Sisters of Peace were planning a garage sale of Sacred Heart Hall’s furnishings, but needed volunteers. Sandy sprang into action and called on three faithful alumnae – Lee Pittman, Amilyn Clesi and Jeanne Silva, for help. Today Sandy serves on Dominican’s Alumnae Association Board. She is an active and faithful supporter of all events. Sandy is a true example of service.
The Class of 1965 – 50 Year Reunion Class
The Class of 1965, celebrating their 50th graduation anniversary, received wood boxes Dominican students created and personalized. The boxes are made of local wood and were etched with the Veritas shield. Each box was then etched with the students’ initials.