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OLP M a ga zi n e

Student Athletes Soar to #1 Academy of Our Lady of Peace {Spring 2015}


In This Issue {spring 2015}

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Leadership OLP student Milly O’Connor ’16 shares the experience

of the Summit Leadership Conference for local high schools.

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Women

CSJ Heritage

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CSJ Associate Laura Impastato

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Athletics

Go behind the scenes at the OLP Women’s Symposium-a great day of learning and leadership from top women leaders.

Get caught up on all the latest athletics news in our sports wrap up section.

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BeYOUtiful OLP student Sophia MartinCarloz ’15 details the

amazing day of learning and friendship at the recent BeYOUtiful Project event.

takes us inside the recent CSJ retreat held on campus and shares how they are working to “create something new.”

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OurMission Statement The Academy of Our Lady of Peace is a Catholic, liberal

arts oriented, college preparatory secondary school dedicated to the education of young women. As a Catholic school, it is committed to helping its students become active participants in building Christ’s kingdom of justice, love and peace. As a school rooted in the values of the Sisters of St. Joseph, it promotes the cultivation of “gentleness, peace and joy” as we respond to the needs of the “dear neighbor” both in our midst

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Alumnae Alumnae from all years share their news, announcements and updates in our Pilots Take Flight section.

and in our human community. Through its college preparatory program, its mission is to empower its students to become knowledgeable in those skills needed to achieve success in post-secondary studies, and to make informed and valuesdriven decisions in the context of today’s world. As a result of these endeavors, and working with parents as our educational partners providing a family context of faith-in-action, the Academy of Our Lady of Peace strives to graduate responsible women educated to the needs of society.


OLPMagazine Letter From Head of School Dear OLP Pilot Community,

It is with great pride that we offer a glimpse into the past few months of activities; the adventures in Mock Trial, OLP athletics, and the charism of the Sisters lived on as seen from two inaugural events, BeYOUtiful and the Women’s Symposium, both of which bloomed further out into the San Diego community and beyond. We were delighted to welcome to campus women leaders from throughout San Diego and California to participate in multigenerational panels as they shared insights with the future leaders and innovators of the world. Panel discussions covered a wide array of topics aimed at helping the next generation of women leaders manage the many aspects of being a woman in the work force. Learn more about this inspiring event on page 8. In spirit with our Lenten, Easter season we also have much gratitude for the generosity of our many supporters as evidenced in the successful outcome of our Vive La France auction and gala. What an honor for us to celebrate the origins of our visionary Sisters who heeded the call from Le Puy, France in 1650 to eventually bring the legacy of our charism to the United States and ultimately to the founding of the Academy of Our Lady of Peace in 1882. The transformation of our campus for the event was truly spectacular and we are ever appreciative to all who participated. You can read more about the success of our gala, and see photos, on page 14. As I write this, I am happy to greet my own gift of spring, my third child and first daughter, Emma. With her arrival we welcome Sr. Ann Bernard O’Shea, CSJ, who will spend a few months with the OLP community and ensure our beloved institution continues on in its work and the indelible mark upon young women that has sustained us these past 133 years. I do hope you will stop by and welcome Sr. Ann Bernard while she is here, until my return in July. In this magazine edition, you will also get a deeper glimpse into this year’s 2015 commencement speaker, Dr. Mary Lyons. Dr. Lyons has served as the third President of the University of San Diego for the past twelve years and will be retiring this year. We are honored to welcome her to join us in this year’s celebration. No doubt, as you read the enclosed stories you will find inspiration and joy, just as I do, for the work of our school is ripe with purpose and consideration of “the dear neighbor” as well as the academic rigor for which OLP is known. I am truly honored to share in the blessing of educating young women to become “all of which woman is capable.” May each and every one of you enjoy the gift of Easter and the reconciliation provided through the message of the cross.

Lauren Lek Head of School

Head of School Lauren Lek Assistant Head of School Jessica Hooper

Spring has sprung and with it OLP has much to share. From the amazing stories of our 750 students, the highlights of OLP alumnae, the continued work of the CSJ Sisters and the faculty and staff of OLP, we have a wealth of history in the making as presented here in our Spring 2015 OLP Magazine.

Peacefully Yours,

Academy of Our Lady Of Peace

Assistant Principal, Director of Campus Life Jeanette Handelsman ’64 Assistant Principal of Instruction Sheelah Keeter Director of Institutional Advancement Margot Meier Howard Director of Communications Emily Pippin ’06 Contributors Pitrina Gilger ’15 Iliana Douraghi ’14 Riley Stenehjem '15 Sophia Martin-Carloz ’15 Milly O'Connor '15 Caroline Flagg '15 Laura Impastato Katherine Kamrath '71 Allison Weatherford Laura Rodriguez ’08 Christina Harmes '05 Coach Crane Skyler McCurine '04 Kirsten Rauber Hadzicki ’81 Board of Directors Lauren Lek, Head of School Mike Coughlin, Board Chair Patricia Boer ’55 Msgr. Richard Duncanson Dr. Nora Faine-Sykes ’78 Michael Guerrero Susan Hause Clair Cunningham Kennedy ’81 Damian McKinney Gayle McMahon Martha McRoskey Sister Jill Marie Napier, CSJ Coreen G. Petti Barbara Picco Sister Virginia Rodee ’53 Antonina R. Sciuto-Morales ’76 Peg Stehly

Class notes should be sent to Kirsten Rauber Hadzicki ’81 at alumnae@aolp.org

To update your address, please contact Chris Abdenour at cabdenour@aolp.org


Don’t Miss Geek Girl Tech Con OLP has partnered with Geek Girl again this year to provide a limited number of scholarships to their annual Geek Girl Tech Conference in June. We’re also offering $40 off for all OLP friends and family. Use code AOLP2015 when purchasing online. Students interested in applying for one of the scholarship spots should contact Ms. Keeter.

Women In Business CLUB BY

Caroline Flagg ’15 New to OLP, the Women in Business club has experienced success in helping students become more knowledgeable about the financial world. We have been blessed to have many wonderful speakers visit and educate us on subjects including stocks, credit and entrepreneurship. Recently, we had the pleasure of listening to Ms. Peg Eddy speak. As a Certified Financial Planner for more than thirty years, she stressed the importance of saving money early in life as well as being a smart consumer. We talked about the pluses and misuses of having a debit card versus a credit card and she warned us against spending more money on our credit cards than we could pay off the following month when the bill is due. With a similar message on fiscal responsibility, Judge Latham, who is a bankruptcy judge in California, spoke to the Senior class and the Women in Business club. He emphasized the importance of establishing credit at a young age and challenged us to look at our purchases and determine if they are needs or if they are just wants. He shared with us the shocking statistic on the national college debt for students and helped us understand the types of loans given out to students. Throughout his talk we also learned about responsible spending, saving and budgeting and managing our money. Not only does the Women in Business club work to bring in speakers to help educate OLP students, but we have set up activities that will allow students to get a better understanding of the topics covered. Check the OLP event calendar for our next speaker visit.

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Political Cartoons Make a Statement Political cartoons drawn by seniors in Government class were recently on display in Aquinas Hall. The theme is censorship and, with the help of art teacher, Ms. Kelly Schnorr, the students made very impressive cartoons about our First Amendment right.


Only Soaring after the Summit A LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE FOR CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOLS

BY

Milly O'Connor ’16

It was only fitting that the leadership conference owes its beginning to senior Nika Haleftiras ’15. Las year Nika came up with the idea to hold a conference with the many other amazing high schools that share our beautiful city and beautiful faith. “Often, we only experience competition among these schools, and we wanted to remember that we all have one major thing in common: our faith,” said Nika, who attributes the idea to Mrs. Handelsman, assistant principal of OLP, who is known for her passion for leadership. The conference took place February 19, 2015, coincidently also Nika's 18th birthday.

“This allowed us to feel connected since we go through much of the same struggles here at OLP. We can realize we are all so similar if we focus on the main principles that established our school.” —Ale Hernandez ’16 Leadership teams from Vincent Memorial Catholic High School, Cathedral Catholic High School, and Mater Dei Catholic High School all arrived early in the morning to join the Council of Ten in beginning the day with a reflection to center our hearts and our minds. “Breathe in positivity, breathe out stress,” Bridget Hulburt ’15 said. The day continued with Mrs. Lek giving a keynote speech to all of the schools including the five pillars of leadership, the importance of servant leadership, and a song with an inspirational message. She even included a video featuring the Kid President. As the day progressed, each leadership team shared what made their school special and how they incorporated their faith into activities for their student bodies. They also discussed challenges they face in these tasks. This leadership conference was not just a day away from the classroom. It was an amazing platform for growth in all of the ways that we approach leadership at our schools. A need for collaboration was one of the main reasons for founding the new model of the Council of Ten, however, this collaboration is not limited to the four walls of Villa Montemar. It should extend across the world. This conference was just the beginning for the collaboration the students of OLP are seeking out to spread their message and next year’s conference at Mater Dei should prove to be just as successful!

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Announcing Dr. Mary Lyons,

President of University of San Diego, as 2015 Commencement Speaker

BY Pitrina Gilger ’15 The Academy of Our Lady of Peace Class of 2015 is honored to welcome Dr. Mary Lyons as our commencement speaker for our graduation ceremony. Mary Lyons is the president of the University of San Diego, and she embodies all of the qualities that young women at OLP strive for. Mary Lyons attended an all-girls Catholic high school similar to OLP. It was Ursuline High School, sponsored by the Ursuline sisters in Northern California. This year she celebrates her fiftieth graduation anniversary. Eventually, her school closed, but she still believes that the educational opportunities found in a single-sex environment are very special. She says, “Among the things that are very strong [in a single-sex educational environment] are generally girls’ confidence in pursuing STEM related studies… Young women often do feel as if they have the ability to take a few more risks and be a little bolder and a little more courageous.” She states that even at the college level, girls in an all-female environment are more likely to take risks.

Young women often do feel as if they have the ability to take a few more risks and be a little bolder and a little more courageous. Dr. Lyons grew up around strong female role models, which helped her to break past societal limitations placed on women. She feels that an all-girls education is very beneficial, surrounding young women with a strong community of support while they work toward goals. Dr. Lyons is the first of her family to attend college. She entered the convent right out of college, the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Orange, believing that this would be the best next step in her education. The options for women in her generation were generally nursing, teaching, and homemaking. “I just remember thinking that I certainly didn’t want to be a nurse, and I really liked school,”

The author, Pitrina Gilger ’15, pictured with Dr. Lyons Lyons reflects. “You are good at what you like.” Becoming a president of a school in the '60s and '70s, there were a lot of people who were very skeptical about Lyons’ leadership as a woman. Skepticism was not uncommon. Her challenge was to do superb work to prove that she could handle “a job deemed too difficult for a female.” Lyons was raised in an environment of Catholic faith and prayer, and her parents were the first in her family to graduate from high school. The women in her life, especially her grandmother, were strong and hardworking, and they pushed her to excel.

My passion has always been being in and contributing to an educational environment. In her career, Dr. Lyons has worked with almost every student demographic. After studying English and Rhetoric, she joined the sisterhood for some time. She then went on to work in various educational leadership positions in the roles of president of a Catholic women’s college in Minnesota, president of Maritime Academy (a college that is predominantly male), elementary school teacher, Naval officer on active duty teaching in a program for minority sailors and Marines, and even teacher in a seminary. “Education is the one consistent thing throughout all [my career].” Dr. Lyons always saw herself working in education, so it is no surprise that she became the president of such a prestigious university as the University of San Diego. She says, “My passion has always been being in and contributing to an educational environment.” Lyons is a strong supporter of a Catholic education, as well as the spiritual aspect that it incorporates into curriculum and daily life. She reflects that most religiously affiliated universities have very strong academics and an added dimension of spirituality and decision-making grounded in faith and the dignity of life. “There are opportunities for the community to get together for prayer…and programs that help young people…an opportunity to explore the spiritual dimensions of their own lives.” At the University of San Diego, Dr. Lyons treasures her ability to interact with young minds and foster curiosity with education and spirituality. USD is one of the first universities to offer a degree in Peace Studies. True to OLP’s own aspiration to “serve the dear neighbor,” the Peace Studies program, supported by a Joan Kroc donation, offers the opportunity to create a formal school of Peace Studies as well as the Institute of Peace Studies. Lyons discovered, “There were no

blueprints to create this school… what it has provided for us is the opportunity to bring together faculty and graduate students who are already invested in advocating for peace and justice in the work that they do.” Students go into their fields and work for nonprofit agencies, making a significant contribution to their world thanks to the opportunity provided by the University. Dr. Lyons is a genuine educator, leader, and friend. She reflects that “Friendship is about reciprocity; it’s about exchange. The relationship with a friend really is opening oneself to the exchange of gifts… the exchange of the gift of oneself.” She affirms that friends provide you a sense of trust and confidence, and that this exchange “creates a relationship that brings out the best in both people… there’s mutual exchange and respect which means there’s equality.” Friendships such as these have been formed and fostered at OLP, and with nurturing they will continue as the class of 2015 moves out into the world. Dr. Lyons says that she feels a special connection and honor in speaking at the commencement of OLP, as it is so similar to the school she attended in her own high school years. “I was honored to be asked…I am a product of a Catholic women’s high school. That is what formed me.” She also speaks fondly of her special ties to the Sisters of Saint Joseph, with whom she shares roots in her own time with the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Orange. Instead of words of advice for seniors preparing to graduate, Dr. Lyons offers a congratulations. She admires all the work OLP girls have put into their academic careers and applauds them on their accomplishments, both as a class and as indiviudals. She assures that we have gotten very far up to date, and there are only more adventures awaiting us on our paths. These truly are inspirational words that OLP girls need to hear. We look forward to hearing more from Dr. Mary Lyons at the OLP Class of 2015 Commencement Ceremony on May 28, 2015.


Tech Internship @ OLP BY Iliana Douraghi ’14

Mock Trial Season Comes to an End

BY Riley Stenehjem ’15

The 2014-2015 Mock Trial season has

come to an end. Mock Trial is a statewide competition that simulates a real-life trial. Every team in California was given the same case, and then had months to choose roles and prepare each side. There are numerous roles team members took on, from attorneys to witnesses to bailiffs and timekeepers. Competition began with the pre-trial motion. This year, there was a question of unlawful search and seizure. After that, the trial began, complete with opening, direct examination, cross examination, and closing arguments. An actual judge presided over the case, and a “jury” of lawyers scored the students on their performances.

During my senior year

I took both computer applications classes that OLP had to offer, and I found that I really enjoy working with, and learning about, computers and technology. As graduation approached, I realized that if I truly wanted to pursue a degree in computer science or engineering I would need to have some hands-on experience first. I proceeded to ask Mr. Boyer, Director of Technology at OLP, if he would be open to me volunteering or interning for him the following summer. I asked Mr. Boyer not only because he is the Director of Technology, but also because I knew that he could use all the help he could get. He is often busy with big picture projects when students and teachers need him for the little things and I thought I might be able to help him. Happily, he said yes and told me to contact him before the start of school to meet and plan and prioritize projects. Fast forward to the start of the new school year. I decided to ask my friend Abby Martinez '14 to join me in my quest for knowledge in the field of technology.

The first week consisted with setting up the Chromebooks that would be available for student use at OLP. The weeks after that entailed Abby and I taking inventory of what technological devices we had on the campus and sorting out Mr. Boyer’s new office. We have done various other projects since then, including networking cables, setting up and taking apart the desktop computers, and disposing of a lot of excess cords and plugs. We also built a TV cart stand for the new counseling department. Personally, one of my favorite tasks was using my critical thinking skills, which I had acquired in the process, to help fix Mr. Kirschbaum’s computer. Over the course of the internship I have learned so much about the way computers work and their mechanics. It’s really nice coming back each week and seeing familiar faces and knowing that what I’m doing has a positive impact not only on the teachers, but the student body as well. I’m really glad I was able to give back by volunteering my time to a school that was my "second home" for four years. Thanks for the opportunity, Mr. Boyer!

Our team of 25 dedicated girls worked on the case since late October with the help of Ms. Nagem and our three attorney coaches, Jim Eischen, Luiey Haddad, and Victor Pippins. This year, the case was an art theft. It all started on the Fourth of July, when defendant Evan Shem (Jessica Meehan ‘15) allegedly stole a painting from her employer, Professor McCulloch, and swapped it for a fake. Shem had shown a fascination with the painting for months, says McCulloch (Anna Williamson ‘15). While knowledge of the case and law is important, theatrics is a big component of a successful Mock Trial. Prosecuting attorney Pitrina Gilger '15 remarked, “The emotion and character a student has while playing a witness shows that they are devoted to the role past just memorizing the case facts. A good witness makes the trial more animated and realistic when he or she really develops the character and becomes the witness.” To prepare, the team met twice a week for months. Getting to know the facts of the case backward and forward is the first step, and then the real work begins. While other schools have an entire class dedicated to the trial, members of our team did most of their work outside of the weekly after-school practices. It all culminates in four competitions, where each side (defense and prosecution) goes twice. For the first time, OLP made it into the top ten, ranking ninth out of more than twenty teams. The team this year was made up of eight seniors (Anna Williamson, Anna Ivanjack, Alexa Ornelas, Erika PichardoLey, Jessica Meehan, Tori Mullenix, Pitrina Gilger, and Riley Stenehjem), six juniors (Alejandra Hernandez, Milly O’Connor, Emily Stowe, Lorea Mendiguren, Marina Ramirez, and Sasha Ramirez), four sophomores (Alexa Ripa, Crystal Coriano, Elizabeth Hanczor, and Katie Kreiger), and three freshman (Anitza Velazquez-Marquez, Lorena RamirezLopez, and Marsha Meyers). Congrats girls!


The Women’s Symposium offers the young women of OLP an opportunity to learn and grow from their interactions with top female influencers. Programs like this serve our mission of helping generations of young women become ‘all of which woman is capable,’ a motto seen throughout the work of the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Lauren Lek Head of School

From top left: Dr. Patricia Marquez, Dean of the Kroc School of Peace and Justice at USD; Roxana Velásquez Martínez del Campo, Director of the San Diego Museum of Art; Kathleen Radecke, Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Monterey; Barbara Noerenberg, Vice President, Corporate Research and Development at Qualcomm with Emilie Hersh, CEO of InterKnowlogy; Dana Springs, CEO, Arts & Culture Commission of San Diego speaking to OLP students; Regina Buckley, Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Girl Scouts San Diego; Tracy Chou, Software Engineer at Pinterest.


Women’s Symposium A Great Success OLP hosted its inaugural Women’s Symposium recently. The symposium featured prominent women leaders on multigenerational panels as they shared insights with the future leaders and innovators of the world. Panel discussions covered a wide array of topics aimed at helping the next generation of women leaders manage the many aspects of being a woman in the work force. The Women’s Symposium was a first-of-its-kind event for OLP. School leaders imagined an event where students

could interact with key female business leaders in the community, and make valuable connections with women who have found success in the working world. Sponsors of this event included title sponsor I.E.-Pacific, Inc., MobiFuse, Neyenesch, Pep Creative, Silvergate Bank, Visual Antics, Urban Girl Accessories, RCP Block & Brick, Nerium International, Rachel Mollering, CPA, Green Dragon Tavern & Museum, Urban Plates, Menard Family Foundation and Lois Marriott.

There is nothing more important than educating our next generation of women leaders. OLP's inaugural Women's Symposium provided a unique educational opportunity for these young women to directly connect with female role models in a diverse range of professional fields. I was thrilled to be a part of it and share the story of the path that formed my career and insights into the challenges that women face in my industry. The greatest thing we can do for our youth is serve as positive role models. Thank you for allowing me the privilege of assisting OLP in shaping our future leaders. ---Paola Avila '93, Vice President of International

Business Affairs for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce


By Sophia Martin-Carloz ‘15

BeYOU

September 2013 was when the epiphanies started.

They started out small, as little comments scribbled in the margins of our copies of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s "The Scarlet Letter," or as answers on class discussion worksheets. My classmates and I felt that something was amiss. That was the first wave. The second came when we read “Song of Myself” by Walt Whitman—a rather lengthy poem that celebrates the grandeur of life itself. What struck us most from the poem were the parts where Whitman describes the individual, more specifically, the beauty of the individual and how much the individual has to offer. Reflecting on Mr. Whitman’s wise idea, we realized that we as young women have so much to offer to the world. We have compassion, intelligence, passion, and strength. We have the capacity to become brilliant people. Actually, we are brilliant people. With this idea in mind, we decided to inspire others, particularly young girls, to go out and make a difference in the world. After all, this is our world. As gargantuan and frightening as the world seems at times, we are going to be here for a while, so we might as well make it a better place. However, before we pursue making a positive change in the world, we must first pursue making a positive change within ourselves.

...We as young women have so much to offer to the world. We have compassion, intelligence, passion, and strength. We have the capacity to become brilliant people. Actually, we are brilliant people. In order to make this happen, we decided to bring the BeYOUtiful Project to OLP and set forth our own mission to bring about this positive change: “The BeYOUtiful Project is an initiative created by young women to empower other young women to rise above society’s standards of beauty and womanhood in general. We have three main goals. Our first goal is to help young women understand the correct definition of feminism, which is: the advocacy of

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women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men. Our second is to raise awareness on the negative ways women are portrayed through media, and teach young women the importance of knowing their own immense worth. Through workshops and mentoring, we intend to help female adolescents boost their self-confidence and take charge of their own image. Our third is to inspire. We wish to give young women the motivation to go out into society and defy gender roles and unrealistic standards of beauty. Being beautiful is being true to your values and strengths. Being you.” Not only had we dreamt of inspiring our fellow classmates with our mission, we had envisioned inspiring young middle school girls as well.

The BeYOUtiful Project is an initiative created by young women to empower other young women to rise above society’s standards of beauty and womanhood in general. One year after the dream had first started, on January 17, 2014, the dream was realized. After months of studentled meetings and training sessions, OLP’s first BeYOUtiful Project was born. With the help of a student leadership


Utiful experience OLP’s mission through the BeYOUtiful Project. Accordingly, Mrs. Flannery said, “What made BeYOUtiful special from the teacher perspective was watching girls find their voices and using them to educate others. As teachers here at OLP, it is our vocation to challenge our students to make the world a better place. I had the amazing opportunity watching our girls live out the OLP mission.”

team including project coordinator, Katherine Prevo ‘15, and a handful of supportive, patient, and brilliant teachers and administrators including Mrs. Jamie Flannery, Mrs. Jessica Hooper, and Mrs. Susan Antolin ‘06, OLP students of all grade levels were able to organize a day in which more than 200 young girls from all over San Diego County and Mexico would learn about confidence, leadership, and above all, about empowering one another to realize the beauty each holds. Fundamentally, these young students had the opportunity to

What made BeYOUtiful special from the teacher perspective was watching girls find their voices and using them to educate others. The action-packed day began with a video and introduction speech created by OLP seniors addressing the question, “What does BeYOUtiful mean to you?” Shortly after, the 6th 8th grade girls were split up into groups that were led by OLP students. Each group was named after an inspirational woman who made a unique difference in the world. The groups rotated through six stations throughout OLP’s campus that allowed the girls

to explore concepts of confidence, beauty, and empowerment. Essentially, the BeYOUtiful Project’s mission had manifested itself into student-produced posters, studentproduced speeches, inspirational music, self-love bead bracelets, the identification of distorted images through a magazine project, a photo booth project, a scavenger hunt in which girls were able to learn more about themselves and each other, and, of course, the formation of friendships that will last forever. Our Keynote speaker, Ms. Skyler McCurine ‘04, described the event, “Everything from the sign-in, to snacks, and activities were strategically designed to inspire the girls to think bigger, love themselves more, and honor women of caliber. The day was designed to shock the girls, of course with grace, by having them step outside of their comfort zones-- they were placed in groups with fellow leaders they didn’t know, they were asked to participate in activities that required courage, etc. The entire day was soaked in the mission of the event; that’s what made it so special.” The BeYOUtiful Project was a complete success. Our very own BeYOUtiful Project member Lauren Amaral ‘18 summed it up best when she said “...the BeYOUtiful event was very helpful to the middle school girls. It taught them so much about building self confidence, and being their best selves. It showed them that beauty is not about being perfect, but just being you.”

Spring 2015 | 11


Thank You! On behalf of each OLP student present today and on behalf of our future students, we extend very special recognition to the following generous contributors. Their gifts have ensured that the strength of character and academic excellence achieved by the young women of OLP continues. Cathy and Dave Smith Veronica and Steve Mantanona Sarah and Julian Parra Sandra Smelik Manzer & Larry Manzer Luz '81 and Daniel Culp Mary and Herbert Morgan Marjorie and Edan Antoine Caron and Jurg Rohrer Elaine and David Camara Aletia and Daniel Prevo Gail and Kevin Rugee Lorena and Eduardo Fimbres Christine and Thomas Abdenour Nancy and Peter Orcino Kathy and Michael Littlefield Diane and Barry Williamson Elizabeth and Joseph La Costa Denise Mathes Kimberly and Daryl Newton Tali Ocello Velazquez and Sigfrido Velazquez Gabriela Esteves-Litke and Lane Litke Fabjola and Mikel Lorja Debbie and Bill Pollakov Patricia and Michael Melton Susan and William Suglich DeLora Faaborg '08 Melinda Diamond Teresa Coriano Liliana and Albert Armenta Theresa and Peter Ripa Kelli '87 and Anthony Balistreri Lisa and David Sarnowski Marcela and Paul Palid Belia '78 and Mohamed Douraghi Lauren Morse '06 Monique Teixeira '06 Mary and Brian Genovese Adrienne Wing Lucy Deleyja-Hanna Ann Navarra '63


CREATING SOMETHING NEW

The Call of Our CSJ Sisters Facing the challenges of their future as a community while “creating something new,” 23 Sisters of St. Joseph and CSJ Associates, who live in the San Diego area, gathered at OLP on Feb. 22 for a day of prayer, reflection and dialogue. The fivemember Province Leadership Team led the meeting. Each gave reports on the areas of community life which they are responsible for. Topics included the relationship with the world and each other, current needs, and the struggle, and opportunity, to redefine the mission of serving the “dear neighbor” despite dwindling resources.

While optimistic that the community will survive, attendees discussed the very real challenges that need to be addressed: their diminishing numbers, the aging of the community, their existing ministry commitments, health care and appropriate housing for Sisters who are growing older. The example of a butterfly emerging from its cocoon was used to demonstrate the struggle of creating “something new” — something beautiful to bring God’s love to a world in need. The Sisters of St. Joseph have faced many challenges since their founding in 1650 and have overcome them to establish many

Four OLP faculty members had the rare privilege

Poignant scenes were filmed including an exchange between a young Afro-American man kindly inviting a white policeman to pray with him and being brutally refused answering, “Pray in your OWN black church. I’m not praying with YOU!” We all have seen footage of the fire hoses, dogs and people being killed. But behind the famous scenes were women of faith, courage and heart. They were our own Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet who joined with the Sisters of Loretto and supportive priests. Despite warnings from their bishops, these brave sisters were in the front lines of the march. Wearing their three layers of surge they marched through the mud and the streets full of passion for what they believed. Many people who were there on that bridge were interviewed. Powerful statements were made: “Walking arm in arm, on the bridge, they were attacked, they had been crucified.” “We were told to turn our cheek. It was better to have scarred our skin rather than scar our souls.” The CSJs said “We are here to witness our love and the violation of rights. We are silent witnesses and proud to be here.” The CSJs gave the Afro-American students a sense of solidarity.

CSJ Associate

different ministries throughout their history. The final prayer of the day, written by deceased Sisters Judy Lovchik and Clare Dunn, seems most appropriate for this time in CSJ community life: “ We will need courage, We will need energy, We will need vision, We will need to be at ease with ourselves and our decisions Above all, we will need to keep our eyes fixed on God…”

OLP Faculty Members Attend “Sisters of Selma” Viewing to view “Sisters of Selma,” an inspirational documentary by Jayasri Hart as part of Women’s History Month Film Series at the Women’s Museum of California at Liberty Station. The footage traced the historical 1965 march in Selma fifty years ago.

By laura Impastato

By Katherine Kamrath '71

CSJ Associate

“The CSJs were always there.” “The leaders made you promise to be nonviolent. If you couldn’t promise, you couldn’t march!” The follow up panel discussion consisted of two former Sisters of Loretto. Terese has retired and is now a hospice volunteer. Chris left the Loretto Community and is now a full-time activist. The third panelist was the film director Jayasri Hart. Surprisingly, sitting in front of me was a woman who identified herself as an OLP alumna. She had been taught by the Dominican Sisters before coming to OLP. “The Dominicans were very strict. When I came to the Academy, I was a boarder from the Imperial Valley and the CSJs were so human on a daily basis.” In closing, I asked the Sisters of Loretto “If the heart of a CSJ is unity and reconciliation, what is the heart of the Loretto and what is the common theme between the two communities? How did you unite your voices in Selma?” Terese responded, “The common theme was hopefulness and we can do it together. Move and do what your conscience tells you. Make change. Get up and move. Lingering defeat is huge. Support each other and encourage each other. We are the Eternal Dreamers. As long as some of us have the Dream there is Hope. Remember what President Obama said on the 50th Anniversary...

“ We the people, We shall overcome, We are one.”

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The Eye of Newt » Aerialists put on a stunning performance.

VIVE LA FRANCE SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS

It was a night to remember as the OLP Campus was transformed

Joseph Elson

St. Augustine High School

into the French Riviera! The annual

Brigid Patricia Howard ’04

Cheryl & Jim Hernandez

Clair ’81 & Mark Kennedy

Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet

OLP Auction and Gala, Vive La France was well attended and resulted in a record breaking amount of revenue raised to benefit each OLP Student. Upwards of $120,000 was netted this year thanks to our generous contributors. That’s a 50% increase over last year.

Coreen & Kevin Petti Nora Faine-Sykes ’78 & Michael Sykes T.B. Penick & Sons, Inc. Kennedy & Souza, APC Law Firm Camarata Family Gayle & Derek McMahon Mary Caratan Sloper ’58 & Don Sloper Peg Stehly Lisa & Robert Burner Elizabeth Pecsi Guerrero & Michael Guerrero Neyenesch Printers Dr. Mary & John O’Connor 14 | OLP Magazine

Green Dragon Tavern & Museum Hornblower Cruises & Events Michel Malecot The Modern Honolulu— Damian McKinney Sandra Smelik Manzer & Larry Manzer Paro Wines—Robyn & Robert Scherer Pep Creative Greg & Dawn Sacco Sabuku Sushi TD Portaits

Thanks to every one of you who contributed an item for the auction, sponsored a CSJ Sister, purchased a ticket or raised your paddle to "Fund a Pilot."

Be sure you save the date for next year! SATURDAY, MARCH 12, 2016


Clockwise From Top Left Carondelet Circle Ambassadors served delicious bites from The French Gourmet. Board Member and alumnae parent, Gayle McMahon participated in the Live Auction. Auctioneer Gerry Spears helped raise a significant amount during the Live Auction. Each guest received a handmade piece of lace, which was hand-carried from Le Puy, France, the origin of the CSJ Sisters. Guests viewing the silent auction offerings. A view of the party on North Terrace. Macaroons from The French Gourmet were served for dessert. The Carondelet Circle Ambassadors welcoming guests. Julian & Sarah Parra participated in "Fund a Pilot." Head of School, Lauren Lek with our CSJ Sisters. Lauren Lek with Sister Maureen Petrone, CSJ.

Spring 2015 | 15


Student Athletes Take the Courts, Fields & Oceans of San Diego County BY

Allison Weatherford Laura Rodriguez ’08

Christina Harmes ’05 Coach Crane

Cheer

Though the season for the 2014-2015 cheerleading program has come to an end for the year, these girls have a lot to be proud of. They have put in a lot of hard work, time, and effort—practicing over the summer, practicing before and after school, practicing over three-day weekends and holidays, cheering at games for two schools, performing at halftimes and rallies (not to mention finding time to study and maintain solid GPAs)—and it has definitely paid off!

Thank you!

Dr. Melinda Blade has developed and fostered the OLP athletic program for over 25 years. She was appointed to the position of Director of Athletics in 1989 by Sister Dolores because of her own past sports participation in high school and college at University of San Diego. Dr. Blade was recognized as the first OLP National Girls & Women in Sports Day honoree during the Winter Sports Assembly February 11, 2015. She has been a vital part of supporting all of the student-athletes at OLP, continuing to expand the athletic opportunities available at OLP and grow the athletic program to what it is today. Dr. Blade’s hard work and commitment to the studentathletes at OLP through the years is exceptional and will always be a part of her legacy and OLP history, which is her true love. Thank you, Dr. Blade!

16 | OLP Magazine

Over the past few months, our cheerleaders competed in five competitions, placing high in all of them. Starting in January, the Silver competition squad placed first at USA Regionals, with Blue placing second in their division. Later in the month at the

Cheer Pros competition, Blue placed third in their division, with Silver again placing first. During Valentine’s Day weekend, both teams performed in Fullout, a competition held locally in Mission Valley. Each team did really well, with both Blue and Silver placing first in their divisions—a first for OLP in this particular competition. According to head coach, Casey Popp, “We’ve been going to this competition for years, only to place second every time. These wins really mean a lot to us and show how far we’ve come with the program.” Along with Silver’s win, each cheerleader on this team will receive a pair of cheer shoes free of charge for next season. At the end of February, both teams traveled to Nevada to compete in a national competition held by JAMZ Cheer and Dance, in Las Vegas. Being able to attend JAMZ Nationals was a great opportunity for the cheer program and was by far the largest competition of the season. Despite having so many competitors, both teams performed very well, with Blue and Silver placing third in their divisions. Both competition squads ended the season by participating in USA Nationals in Anaheim, where Blue and Silver placed third in their divisions. This year’s competition season has been a great learning opportunity for our cheerleaders as well. This is a program where students form lasting friendships


that come out of an environment of constant support and encouragement. When someone is attempting a more advanced tumbling pass for the first time or when a group struggles to successfully complete a new stunt variation, the support really comes through. These are instances in which bonds are formed and leadership skills are tested, but mostly, this is where students from various grade levels experience what it means to be part of a team. For this reason, the hard work, the obstacles, the failures, and all the joy that comes from their successes are worth it. COMPETITION RESULTS USA Regionals: Blue - 2nd place, Silver - 1st Place Fullout Cheer Challenge: Blue & Silver - 1st Place CheerPros: Blue - 3rd Silver - 1st Place Jamz Nationals: Blue & Silver - 3rd Place USA Nationals: Blue & Silver - 3rd Place Blue’s division - Large JV Show Cheer Novice Silver’s Division - Large Varsity Show Cheer Intermediate

Surf Heading into the final contest of the seaons versus Classical Academy, we were undefeated. The STA/OLP team--now and official OLP sport--brought home the win, ,aking Coach Mekrut and I happy and very proud coaches. Sunday was a beautiful day, and our surfers showed amazing skill and progress since the first day of practice this year. Coach Mekrut and I are very happy and proud

coaches. In light of the season win, the league will be moving us into Division 4 from the current Division 5. The only real impact this will have is a higher level of competition and contests will be on Saturdays next year.

Softball The OLP Pilots Softball team began its season with tryouts starting on February 21st. Nine players led by Senior Captains Lauren Brown '15 and Katherine Prevo '15 returned from last year’s team, and were again selected for the varsity team along with three talented freshmen. Head Varsity Coach Thomas Angioletti returning for his sixth season at OLP, and the other Varsity and Junior Varsity coaches were also impressed by many of the underclassmen assigned to this year’s Junior Varsity team. Following a scrimmage against perennial power Cathedral Catholic, the Varsity team began the season playing in an eight-team tournament sponsored by the Madison High School Lady Warhawks. OLP finished the Tournament with a 5-1 record and second place finish. The Pilots played with character and tenacity throughout the tournament, especially while playing three games over eleven hours on the final day. Lauren Brown pitched brilliantly throughout the tournament demonstrating why she has been recruited to play for the University of California San Diego next year. Shortstop Katherine (Kat) Prevo was a team leader throughout the tournament stepping up at the most challenging times with her fielding, hitting, and pitching. Other Pilots contributed with outstanding defense and clutch hitting. Catchers Maria

Balistreri '16 and Kaleigh Lane '18 worked tirelessly and effectively behind the plate, Janet Paruleski '16 was a solid contributor at third base and shortstop, and Jaime Neyensch '16 played very well in center field and as the leadoff hitter. Many Pilots were impressive while playing multiple positions: Olivia Alves '15 first base and outfield, Marin Musicant '18 first base, third base, and pitcher, Kelsey Way '18 second base and pitcher. Varsity players Julia Camara '15, Fairleigh Quinn '15, and Bailey McCormick '16 also contributed and saw significant playing time. Nearly all the Pilots had important hits during the Tournament. On St. Patrick’s Day, the luck of the Irish was with the Pilots as they rallied in the sixth inning on a double by Janet Paruleski and a resounding clutch homerun by Maria Balistreri '16. Lauren Brown '15 wrapped up another stellar pitching performance for a 2-1 victory over Division 1 opponent, University City. A key player from last year, Jessica Carreon '16 returned to the team for the UCHS game, after recovering from a foot injury during soccer season. The win over UCHS marked the 98th victory for Head Coach Angioletti, which the players celebrated after the game. The Pilots have also welcomed two new members to Coach Angioletti’s staff this year, Varsity Assistant Coach Steve Crane and Head Junior Varsity Coach Breanna McMillan. The JV team presented Coach McMillan with her first win on March 16th with a 22-2 victory over UCHS. Throughout the season to date, the Varsity and JV teams have received tremendous support from parents, family members, and friends of OLP. This support is greatly appreciated by the players and coaches. We hope to reward you with an exciting and successful season.


Spring Sing is one of our most cherished traditions at OLP. But what is its history? In the words of some of our graduates and former faculty members, here is everything you need to know about this musical extravaganza!


Spring Sing grew from the inspiration of our Principal Sister Mary Sheila, who invited the ASB officers to incorporate a brand new student council activity into our event calendar. When we met with her in the summer of 1970, we learned of her hope to bring groups of students together with faculty for a fun and entertaining night of music and dance, along with a little bit of friendly competition too!

Cathy Conway Barrack ’71

FORMER ASB MEMBER AND OLP TEACHER When I was asked by Cathy Conway (now Barrack), to chair a musical competition, I had no idea that we were starting a tradition that has continued to this day! A young, and very energetic, “cool” teacher, Miss Deb Bottoms (now Lefevre) had participated in “Spring Sing” at her college and had the idea to bring it to OLP. She helped us create the format which is still used today. It was a simple concept: Create a theme, have each class design a musical/dance production around that theme, and have a panel of judges who would choose a winner. The winning class would receive bragging rights and the coveted paper mâché “Snoopy” trophy which was the school mascot. The entire school was excited and after our very silly presentation (we acted like bouncy springs), the classes were off and running, creating skits, songs and dance routines!

Kathy Aramendia Castagneto ’71

FIRST SPRING SING STUDENT DIRECTOR Spring Sing started in 1971 as a way to offer students something a little different from their studies and sports. The idea was not only to showcase talents and skills, but to help students discover abilities they never knew they had. Yes, it was about music. But the best thing about Spring Sing was you didn’t need to sing a note to participate! There was staging, costuming, lighting, directing, organizing practice schedules...and even opening and closing the curtain in the old auditorium. While the sound system in those early years consisted of a microphone and the “special effects” were created by a spotlight on loan from Saints, the students organized and produced a spirited and engaging musical performance that the audience absolutely loved! “Everyone knew that Spring Sing was a hit when the 'SRO' crowd gave Kathy Aramendia, our talented student director, and the cast an enthusiastic standing ovation. The following Monday, the Academy’s office was flooded with phone calls asking about 'next year’s show' and requesting that OLP stage Spring Sing for two nights-not just one. And so the tradition began…”

Deborah Bottom Lefevre

SPRING SING FACULTY MODERATOR 1971-72

What Spring Sing Teaches… I definitely learned leadership, time management, teamwork and patience. Being a director is a big honor, but also very stressful. Balancing school and Spring Sing wasn’t easy, but it had to be done. Gaining the trust and respect of the class, and organizing all the groups was challenging as well. Dancers, actors, and chorus members are all equally important and need equal attention. All of us had to come together to make the final product a success.

Michele Fournier ’84

SPRING SING DIRECTOR

My best friend Betsy Flodin and I were the co-chairs for our class for at least two Spring Sings. I remember sleepovers at her house to create the script. Then Sheri Evenson and Jenni Smelik would take the script and create the most amazing dances. I remember one year they did a dance on roller skates. It was so much fun. The moms helped with costumes. It was a way to throw all your creativity into one production. It was the beginning of learning how to manage time, to work with a community toward a goal, and then to compete and perform. So many great experiences and skills learned!

Michele Schiele ’85

I learned a lot from being a Spring Sing director. It was basically an introduction to project management. Deadlines had to be met, budgets adhered to, and your product had to be ready for delivery. These are all valuable skills I still use today. But I think the most valuable lesson was the power of sequins and a good hot glue gun!

Madonna Moreno ’98

The Importance of Spring Sing… I feel that the value of Spring Sing lies in the fact that every class member can find a way to be part of the show. Whether you’re an on-stage talent or a behind the scenes crew member, every girl helps to make the show a success and feels a sense of pride in the show. It also brings everyone closer as a class, and provides lasting memories. I don’t know if someone who’s not a former Spring Sing member can understand what it means to us, and I think most of us would have a hard time putting it into words. I know it helped me develop very strong bonds with the girls in my class, and I remember the lyrics to about 30 songs that I can still perform with those women at the drop of a hat! Spring Sing is a wonderful tradition at OLP, and one of the great memories of our high school years.

Michelle Fournier ’84

I loved every part of Spring Sing, the singing, the dancing, the costumes! I participated in a lot of activities at OLP (ASB, cheer, yearbook, theater) but Spring Sing will always hold a special place in my heart. To this day, I will see something at a half-time show or in a movie and think 'That would be great for Spring Sing.' Spring Sing was the activity everyone could participate. You didn’t have to be the best dancer or have the acting bug. With so many jobs, chorus member, writing the script, painting the props, getting the costumes ready, there was something for everyone. The competition was serious but still lighthearted. We were excited to see the shows of the other classes. For me, Spring Sing is the epitome of OLP…creative, smart, talented girls who accomplish amazing things year after year. At the end of the night, all of those girls on stage (and many in the audience who remember their own turn on the stage) singing “to Villa Montemar, where our hearts will be always,” which serves to unite all the classes.

Madonna Moreno ’98


{ A l umn a e Ne w s }

Pilots Take Flight

40s

Sr. Grace Ann Loperena ’44 & Sr. Kathleen Martin ’44 were both

honored as 70 year Jubilarians on March 22 at the CSJ Jubilee Celebration. They have enlightened and touched so many lives through their ministries of service to the “dear neighbor.” We are grateful for all they have done and celebrate with them!

60s Mary Nan Sweeney Moser ’62

loved her years at OLP and is a graduate of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem. She serves on the Alumni On Admissions Committee and would love to be a resource to any student interested in the university. Let the alumnae office know if you need contact information.

80s

90s

Jill schall thames ’80 retired

after 24 years as a deputy district attorney in San Diego and moved to Denver. The reason? She met and married a wonderful widower who was related to her godmother. Finding true love after all these years, Jill is excitedly looking forward to being a grandmother to her stepdaughter’s new baby son and volunteering as an advocate for children in the foster care system in Denver. Jill says, “My days at the Academy are some of my fondest and most rewarding memories. The Sisters and faculty inspired in me a love of learning.” After living “down under” for a few

’94

Stephanie Escajeda recently had a guest role on The Big Bang Theory.

’98

Julie kiendra married John Barceloux on New Year’s Eve. One of the day’s best highlights was the performance of the show tune, “Sisters,” by her sisters, Lisa ’00 and Jennie.

00s emi koch ’07 graduated from

recently retired from her nursing career at Kaiser Permanente after 42 years of service.

70s ’74

announce the arrival of Sophia Elizabeth Kurschner born January 9th. She is welcomed by big sisters, Makayla ’16 and Hanna ’23.

’82

years, Elizabeth morlino is back in San Diego working as an instructional designer with a local healthcare company. While in Australia, she ran the technical support department for a global company and did customer training. She says, “It was a great adventure and I got to see more of Australia and the region than most Australians do!"

Ann Burkhardt Simmons ’68

After a stint at Thanksgiving Coffee (where she served as CEO & CFO until 2013), Janet Vesey Aguilar has started her own business, companyONE, LLC. In the last issue, Janet’s last name was incorrectly listed as Mading; we apologize for the error.

Larry and Melissa Chipp Kurschner ’93 are thrilled to

Third time’s a charm! Carol

’84

is back at OLP russell durr with her third daughter, Anna ’17. Carol has two older daughters who are graduates, Katie ’09 and Marianne ’11.

Georgetown University with a degree in psychology and concentrations in anthropology, and justice and peace studies. She is the founder and director of the nonprofit, Beyond the Surface International. Their latest project is Coast 2 Coast (C2C) which partners youth from diverse socioeconomic coastal communities worldwide through innovative audiovisual and creative-learning projects on ocean conservation. See their work here: www.coast2coastproject.org


ana paula garay ’08 is in the

master’s program at University of San Francisco pursuing an MFT degree. She works at Mission Neighborhood Centers, a nonprofit in San Francisco, where she provides case management and support services for low income families with pre-school children in the Head Start program. She is also a volunteer board member for a nonprofit organization that helps fund and run a preschool, dental clinic, water line, and land acquisition projects in a remote mountainous village in Guatemala. She’s traveled there several times, most recently this past June.

kimberlee cody ’10 graduated from Concordia University Irvine in May 2014 with a BA in graphic design and a minor in marketing. In July 2014 she started full-time employment with Worldwide Facilities, Inc., Irvine location, as a technical assistant. Just recently, she received her CA Dept of Insurance Property/Casualty Broker license.

ashlee guay ’11 was named

one of 30 finalists for the Senior CLASS award given to an NCAA Division I senior who has notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. This award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages these students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. During her time at CSUN, Ashlee has been the basketball team captain (since her sophomore year). She helped lead her team to its second-straight Big West tournament championship. She’s won her league’s Player of the Year two years in a row. She is CSUN’s all-time leader in career steals and is only the third player at the school’s history to surpass 1500 career points. A child development major, Ashlee has made the Dean’s List four times and has an extensive history of mentoring, tutoring and participating in service projects.

InMEMORIAM We remember our beloved alumnae who have gone to their eternal rest. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Doris Sullivan Wright ’41 Gloria Doris Gullett ’50 Carol Johns Stock ’50 Gail Graham Wheatley ’55 Beverly Shearer Dodd ’60 Francese Calabrese Kowall ’64

’12

kayley edgin attends Marquette University where she is a junior majoring in corporate communications, with a minor in Asian studies. She spent the fall semester studying abroad in South Korea. In Kayley’s words, “OLP always taught me to expand my horizons, but I never fully realized the importance of stepping outside of my comfort zone until I studied abroad and lived in South Korea. I cannot fully express how valuable the experience was to me as a person, but I can say that my time at OLP prepared me for a lifetime of curiosity!” Spring 2015 | 21


La Vie en Rose SKYLER MCCURINE, OLP ALUM TURNS HER LOVE OF FASHION INTO A REDEFINITION OF BEAUTY IN AMERICA. Learn more about Skyler and her business at leredballoon.com.


At the age of three, I used to lay out my clothes and pick my outfit for the day. My father remembers me saying,“which one daddy? Magenta or chartreuse?” Most little kids know blue, green, red, purple...not varying hues. Every once in a while he’d let me pick out his bow-tie or suspenders for work, a treat that I reveled in. I learned about style via osmosis: watching my grandmother, mom, and aunties claim their audacity through their garments. The women in my family buzzed their hair (during a time when women were using irons to align with the crippling gender norms and beauty standards of the '60s), wore massive frames that even Elton John and Jackie-O would envy. Fashion, style; I wasn’t classically trained, I didn’t attend design school or study Diana Vreeland . I just knew what went together and what didn’t. I took my upbringing, holistic understanding of style, experience in retail and carved a space for my voice, vision, and business and my mission of redefining the standard of beauty in America. I had never really seen myself as beautiful growing up. I never saw photos, models, actresses who looked like me...dark skin, natural hair, thick figure. I saw Barbie and felt that I didn’t measure up. It didn’t help that I was one of the only persons of color in my elementary school. I remember hanging up pictures of models—white models—filled with frustration by the card of genetic inequality I’d been dealt. While I was blessed to have incredible examples of beauty, diversity and brazen individuality in my own family it took me years to understand that I, too, could express myself this way.

I... carved a space for my voice, vision, and business and my mission of redefining the standard of beauty in America. My knack for timing lent to me graduating in the worst recession since the Great Depression, 2008. I moved back to San Diego and returned to my job at a high-end department store. No one was shopping, which heightened the pressure to push merchandise, but I didn’t want to trade my integrity for a commission check.

I started spending more time with my clients in the dressing room and running through the store to find them the perfect piece. This enabled me to see how women behaved in the dressing room from their shopping trips to finding a fun dress for a wedding, new swimsuit or jeans. They began to highlight their flaws, criticize their curves, and make nasty comments about themselves, something I had mastered. It hurt me to watch their harsh self-evaluations. I wanted them to see all that I could, that they were powerful beyond measure and so beautiful.

I wanted them to see all that I could, that they were powerful beyond measure and so beautiful. One of the clients who inspired me to launch Le Red Balloon was a breast cancer survivor whose treatment had left her breastless. She was worried about finding a dress for her daughter’s summer wedding and didn’t like anything she tried on. She cried in the dressing room while I stood outside of her door, wishing I could do more to make her see how magnificent she was. I saw this woman for whom and what she was: a radiant fighter. I knew she felt ugly and foreign because she, too, didn’t measure up to the standard of beauty produced, exploited and exported by our country’s media. This experience, coupled with my other client’s self-deprecating talk, was my tipping point. A documentary screened by my favorite college professor, Dr. Kyra Pearson, about the media’s influence on women, men and their body images inspired me to start doing more research. The more I researched, the less I cared about my weight. Every book, documentary, and story I read empowered me to see my world, others, and myself with more grace, forgiveness, and wisdom. How foolish to spend so much precious time worrying about my appearance, time I could have spent helping others, combating bigger issues and making the world better. This paradigm shift was the catalyst behind my business and mindset. I knew

my task on Earth was to wipe the blur and occasional tear from others’ eyes and help them see the incredible people they are. Under my manifesto of, “create what you don’t see,” I custom-made a shopping experience that didn’t exist in the marketplace—one rooted in the celebration of others’ idiosyncrasies, “flaws” and perfect imperfections. I also started speaking for/ partnering with nonprofits throughout San Diego educating teen girls on conscious media consumption, anti-bullying, leadership and self acceptance. This led to my TEDx invitation and talk: Hey, it’s not about you, calling the world to focus their energies around serving others over self. The Dalai Llama made a bold declaration a few years ago: Western women will solve the worlds problems. I believe this is possible, but it can not be done if we are consumed with our appearance, weight, hair, etc. My work with young women shows them the system we are living in, Photoshop and misogynistic leadership deems what is beautiful. Their feelings of I am “less than” are a marketing ploy to get their dollar. I show them they advocate with their viewership, when you watch reality shows that demean women or dance to/download music calling women derogatory terms, we in fact support that message. I inspire women to think on a higher level and ask themselves “how do I impact the world” versus simply what do I look like. We are multifaceted beings and must cultivate a holistic identity not a onedimensional view.

I inspire women to.. ask them-self “how do I impact the world”.

I am redefining the standard of beauty in America. Every time my client walks out of the door, feeling deeply confident, they broaden the lexicon of beauty. They teach others about real beauty, by simply being themselves; something other than advertisements boasting Caucasian skin, long hair, and the coveted thigh gap. Tomorrow, when you leave the house, walk in the knowledge that you were brilliantly designed. Show others what real beauty is, help redefine the standard to something holistic, inclusive, and powerful.


ACADEMY OF

OUR LADY OF

PEACE FOUNDED 1882

4860 Oregon St. San Diego, CA 92116

! e t a D e h t e v a S

Join us for the Endless Summer Event Friday, August 14, 2015 | 6:00 p.m. on North Terrace Tickets available at aolp.org soon

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April 2015 OLP Magazine  
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