One-hundred fifty-six students were conferred diplomas from St. Mary’s Dominican High School during a pre-recorded video of the Baccalaureate Mass and Commencement for the Class of 2020. The video went live at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 16, the date that was scheduled for an on-campus commencement. It received more than 1,400 views.
The Baccalaureate Mass was celebrated by Fr. David G. Caron, O.P., member of Dominican’s Board of Directors. President Dr. Cynthia A. Thomas gave the keynote address. Vice President, Principal Mrs. Carolyn F. Favre conferred the diplomas and presented a profile of the 2020 graduating class. Mrs. Wendy Grubb, Chair of the Counseling Department, presented graduates.
The Class of 2020 achieved numerous honors and awards. In the class, 72 students merited the distinction of honor graduate, earning grade point averages above 3.5. Forty students graduated summa cum laude, 11 magna cum laude, and 21 cum laude.
One of the highest academic honors a high school student can receive is National Merit recognition for outstanding academic ability as determined by the student’s scores on the PSAT administered in October of her junior year. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation recognized Celeste Patron among the 2020 National Merit Finalists.
As of May 16, graduates earned admission into 89 different colleges and universities throughout the country. A total of 374 scholarships and awards were merited by 114 seniors. These scholarships and awards totaled more than $11.5 million.
Although there were no spring testing programs this year, as of May 5 there were 27 seniors that qualified for advanced placement college credit through Advanced Placement (AP) exams, for a total of 127 credit hours. Many of these students were placed into honors programs because of their high scores on the placement tests. Additional college credits will be awarded in July based on AP exams during the first two weeks of May. Twenty students earned another 117 hours of math credit through math dual enrollment with Louisiana State University. The Class of 2020 completed more than 28,845 hours of community service.
In the Fine Arts of Music, Drama, and Visual Arts, the graduates are among the most talented in the state. Athletically, members of this class participated in 8 out of 10 sports offered at Dominican, breaking individual records. Additionally, these students captured several titles, including, Louisiana High School Athletic Association All-Academic Teams and All-District Team Members. This year, Dominican also captured District and State Runner-up titles. Senior Olivia Peyton signed a volleyball scholarship with Spring Hill College.
Salutatorian Elise Dorothy Bourg received the Salutatory Award for achieving the second highest cumulative grade point average in her program of studies. Elise is the daughter of Dr. Florence Bourg and Michael Bourg of Harahan. She plans to major in theatre management at the University of Oklahoma Norman Campus that offered her the Award of Excellence scholarship. An AP Scholar with Honor, she was a Student Preacher, Eucharistic Minister, Choir president, Drama Club secretary, and member of Liturgical Music, Mu Alpha Theta, National Honor Society, and Tri-M Music Honor Society.
Valedictorians were Lyndsey Paige Jones and Tessa Louise Paul. They received the Valedictory Award, presented to the honor graduates who have achieved the highest cumulative grade point average in their program of studies.
Lyndsey Paige Jones, daughter of Kesha Jones and Larry Jones of Gretna, will attend Xavier University of Louisiana that awarded her the Board of Trustees Scholarship. She plans to be a psychology pre-med major. Her senior year she was vice president of the National Honor Society. Other memberships included National English Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, Color Guard 11th grade co-captain, and Student Council’s 10th grade Coordinator and 9th Grade Homeroom Representative. She received the Frederic Douglass and Susan B. Anthony Award from the University of Rochester in recognition of an outstanding commitment to social justice, Dartmouth Club of the Gulf Coast Book Award acknowledging hard work and leadership abilities, National Spanish Exam 8th-10th grade bronze medal and two silver medals, and attended District Rally 8th-12th grade.
Tessa Louise Paul is the daughter of Sandee Paul and James Paul of Kenner. An AP Scholar with Honor, she plans to major in kinesiology pre-med at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The university awarded her the Live Oak Scholarship. At Dominican, she was a member of the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, and Biotechnology Club. She also ran Cross Country and Track and Field.
The Mother Mary Magdalen O’Farrell, O.P. Service Award was presented to Elise Bourg. The award recognizes a student’s outstanding, dedicated service to St. Mary’s Dominican High School. Dominican life and growth are mirrored in her reflection of the school’s philosophy by belief in God and respect for the dignity of all human beings.
The Sr. Mary Ambrose Reggio, O.P. Alumnae Award was presented to Mary Alexander, selected by her classmates for representing Dominican Spirit. Dominican’s motto: “To Praise, to Bless, to Preach” is an integral part of the honorees’ lives, as is their commitment to truth, VERITAS.
The Ancient Order of Hibernians Inaugural Award was presented to Elise Bourg for exemplifying the order’s motto of friendship, unity, and Christian charity. America’s oldest Irish Catholic Fraternal Organization started in May 1836, the order’s members greeted the seven Dominican sisters from St. Mary’s Convent in Cabra, Ireland, when they arrived in New Orleans on November 5, 1860.
Graduates Mary Alexander, Madison Bertucci, Alyssa Helwig, and Gloria Thomas were selected by leadership, administration, and faculty to receive The Veritas Award, the most prestigious award presented to a St. Mary’s Dominican High School graduating senior. The recipient of this award demonstrates exemplary understanding of the Dominican Charism. Following the example of St. Dominic de Guzman, founder of the Dominican Order, the Veritas Award recipient faithfully strives to seek Truth through prayer, study, community, and service. She preaches the Truth of the Gospel through the example of her life and calls forth the best in others.
In addition to the valedictorians and salutatorian, those graduating Summa Cum Laude (4.0 and above) were Annamarie Nicole Allen, Emma Claire Barnes, Madison Marie Bertucci, Catherine Ann Bickerton, Brooke Anne Boyd, Alexandra Lee Brothers, Victoria Yei Chan, Gabrielle Ann Chevalier, Grace Olivia DiFranco, Natalie Phuong-Thao Dinh, Ashley Elizabeth Dufour, Anna Karen Fayard, Lucy Ann Harper, Kate Alexandra Heller, Zoee Noelle Hunter, Alexandra Glynn LaNasa, Bryce Martz Leonhard, Vivian Celing Liu, Hallie Victoria Matherne, Sara Emelina Medina Garcia, Kennedi Elizabeth Melancon, Sara Ann Miller, Mattie Camille Morel, Meagan Elizabeth Morici, Isabella Gracen Ockman, Celeste Aimee Patron, Kennedy Rene’ Payne, Reagan Jane Perry, Elexis Kathryn Raymond, Rachel Catherine Schlosser, Margaret Mary Schmidt, Celeste Lynn Schonberg, Julia Ann Slattery, Tai Alejandra Sutherland, Grace Claudia Wood, Irene Yu, and Catherine Marie Zimmerman.
Graduating Magna Cum Laude (3.75-3.99) were Mary Louise Alexander, Jordyn Alexis Brown, Olivia Mai-Ye Cheung, Holley Anne DellaCroce, Aline Jane Firmin, Myriel Shabrell Green, Gracie Mae Manthey, Shelby Elizabeth Morris, Mia Huong Nguyen, Onyinyechi Crystal Okeke, and Chloe Gerald Townsend.
Graduating Cum Laude (3.50-3.74) were Kylie Hunter Barre, Julia Su’nae Celestain, Grace Isabel Davila, Aimee Claire Denenea, Tionne Jayna Duncan, Regan Andree Ellis, Alexis Sayre Favalora, Macy Dolores Freeman, Emily Marie Gaudin, Hunter Alexanderia Gettridge, Mary Olivia Harty, Elise Marie Landrum, Courtney Sade Mercadel, Morgan Clare Muscarello, Jade Marie Nguyen, Audrey Marie Owen, Iyian Mykiel Paige, Erin Elise Sequeira, Emma Virginia Sprague, Dasia Kaylin Thomas, and Emilie Catherine Wensel.
Also graduating were Isabella Nadina Aguirre-Schneider, Ariana Marie Allison, Sofia Barros Casanova, Ally Elizabeth Baudouin, Blake Rose Beaulieu, Atravian Tranice Bickham, Amanda Ann Bolden, Victoria Diana Bordelon, Olivia Ann Boudreaux, Ariale Semaj Brock, Abigail Michel Brown, Elisabeth Ann Brown, Lauren Elizabeth Cage, Chloe Elizabeth Candies, Natalie Allie Canizales, Reese Marie Centanni, Rileigh Rose Centanni, Laila Elizabeth Cook, Bailey Madison Dauzat, Maci Milan Duplessis, Pelarr Breionka Meeks Edwards, Emma Elizabeth Fitch, Madeleine Rose Fitzmorris, Addison Clare Folse, Cecilia Vanessa Fontes Andonie, Marie Thérèse Lin Francioni, Morgan Elizabeth Gunnels, Julianne Jolie’ Hebert, Emily Allison Heim, Alyssa Gabrielle Helwig, Adele Elizabeth Hoth, Muosekalo Lois Ituah, Kirsten Lynn Jones, Reva Valencia Keller, Britney Alexis Kelly, Olivia Evy Kelly, Sophia Claire Landry, Julia Ann Lecler, Kaitlin Josephine Lee, Gabrielle Nicole Leveque, Sophie Anne Madere, Chloe Alyssa Mahl, Emma Claire Mantooth, Erin Jae’la Marrero, Sarah Alice Masson, Makenzie Rose Miller, Isabella Elizabeth Morel, Sophie Elizabeth Mysing, Zoë Cherice Nelson, Grace Ione O’Connor, Abby Marie Ordoyne, Alyssa Michele Ordoyne, Jaelyn Breanne Payton, Nia Dionne Payton, Kylen Claire Perronne, Olivia Maria Peyton, Julia Delaney Pittman, Isabelle Elise Plaisance, Abigail Lee Pratt, Natalie Anne Queyrouze, Joy Christiane Richardson, Gabriela Elena Rivera, Laine Marie Roberts, Sarah Rose Rogers, Miriam Elizabeth Romero, Martha Natasha Salas, Elle Jane Salomon, Emily Gabriela Schneider, Abigail Claire Sire, Bailey Catherine Sudderth, Mia Ellen Taylor, Alondra Daliana Teran, Emily Lauren Thayer, Gloria Elizabeth Thomas, Nayah Requell Thomas, Kayla Danielle Tobin, Kellie Lynn Tucker, Isabella Denali Wagner, Molly Ann Walter, Julia Marie West, Anita Bouanchaud Whitner, Audrey Virginia Wilson, Amaya Michelle Wiltz, and Jennifer Ann Yrle