2020 January OLP Magazine

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Mental Health & Well-Being

Cover Art by Anapaula Rios Miranda '21

Dr. Lek with students during Finals Week

Dear OLP Pilot Community, Each edition of the OLP magazine aims to provide something new and compelling for families as they learn more about all that life has to offer at the Academy of Our Lady of Peace, both on campus today and as alumnae. We often say that OLP is here for the journey--both in high school and beyond. This edition of our New Year 2020 magazine is focused on a singular topic from many different angles with the goal of helping all of us learn more about it and consider strategies for support. For several years, our OLP faculty and staff have been carefully attuned to the changing landscape in our country, our nation, and worldwide around adolescent female mental health. As a community,

we care deeply for these young girls who have been entrusted to us to not only provide them with an academic education, but provide them with the holistic love and care needed during this journey.

It is our hope that this special issue of the OLP magazine can be used as a resource for all of us to rely on, to guide us, as parents and the larger community, to help light our path and navigate these uncharted waters. It was actually the Time magazine special edition in 2018 that sparked my own

interest in doing something similar, in particular the article on “The Loneliness Epidemic” by Markham Heid, in which he shared that “[f]eelings of isolation are so widespread in the U.K. that, in early 2018, Prime Minister Theresa May appointed the nation’s first-ever ‘minister for loneliness’ to oversee efforts to address this issue. A report there found that millions of adults consider TV to be their main source of company.” Saying that there is an increase in the rates of depression or anxiety, or that we had to look more closely at the mental health crisis was not enough. Collectively at OLP, we have all felt we had to begin to do things differently. Faculty and staff have worked to integrate intentional practices into our routines and be better attuned to changes in our students. We recently spent a day on our campus celebrating a “Wellness Friday,” and on page 22 you can see close to 100 students on Vista Point participating in this day. We also welcomed Dr. Lisa Boesky in November to provide more training for all faculty and staff around teen suicide prevention. Our new construction project will also intentionally incorporate more places for small and large group gatherings, in interior spaces as well as biophilic designs, to bring nature indoors as additional efforts to support the health and wellness of our students.

The Academy of Our Lady of Peace admits students of any color, race, ethnic origin or faith to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. The school does not discriminate on the basis of color, race, ethnic origin or faith in the administration of its educational policies, scholarships, financial aid programs, athletic and other school-administered programs.


There is no question that parenting in 2020 is so very challenging! Thinking back to my own childhood, my parents had a road map that did not look drastically different from their own. As Dr. Lisa Damour discusses in her article, “It’s the girls who suffer more: Why young women face increasing anxiety,” technology has radically changed how our girls communicate, but not the desire for constant communication. Dr. Damour discusses how our generation was just plagued with bad technology, not a different need for connection. As I read her article, along with the others, it began to help me look at our girls through a different lens. Similarly, in Dr. Anthony Rostain’s article, he asks us to consider, “What is Social-Emotional Readiness & Why is it Important?” He talks about helping our pre-collegiate teenagers develop skills like conscientiousness, self-control, self-acceptance, and grit as just four of the eight essential tools needed to help them succeed in college and life. Throughout this edition, we have incorporated research-based articles from many of our partners and collaborators to help shed light on this subject, each one helping to create a tapestry of work to ultimately support our girls in becoming women of heart, faith, courage, and excellence. The demands on these young women can often seem overwhelming. The work of Dr. Callahan and Dr. Cameron at the University of San Diego Mental Health Ministry is a testament to the power of faith, counseling, and mental health services coming together. Their article, included in this edition, shares that “faith can offer a place of refuge, solace, comfort, hope and a deeper sense of purpose and meaning.” Many of the issue’s articles are accompanied by artwork from Mr. Michael Stringer’s students in our AP Art classes. As I look to our courageous Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and the many tribulations that they encountered on their way to start the order or to reconstitute after the French Revolution, their trek to the new world or here to San Diego, the start of the first school for black girls in St. Louis or the first deaf school, the launch of the first school for all girls in San Diego--each act came with great adversity. The journey of our teenagers today comes similarly with many hardships, only complicated further by social media, depression, and anxiety. We are still seeking to understand all of the many complexities of female adolescent mental health, and the stakes are so high. Our hope is that this magazine is just the start of this important conversation. Blessings,

Lauren Lek, Ed.D. HEAD OF SCHOOL

CLASS NOTES should be sent to Jeanette Handelsman at jhandelsman@aolp.org TO UPDATE YOUR ADDRESS, please contact Nelson Kim at nkim@aolp.org

O U R M I S S I O N STAT E M E N T Founded and rooted in the Gospel values of the Catholic church and the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, the Academy of Our Lady of Peace empowers young women in an innovative learning environment that honors the individual while fostering community, and develops faith-filled leaders dedicated to the “love of God and the dear neighbor without distinction.” OLP MAGAZINE





Academy Of Our Lady Of Peace Head of School Lauren Lek, Ed.D. Assistant Head of School Jessica Hooper Leadership Team George Battistel, Ph.D. Rivka Bent Chris Boyer Marlena Conroy Angela Gascho, Ed.D. Aaron Gonzalez Stephanie Kanaski ’99 Jessica (Goncalves) Occhialini ’88 Emily Pippin ’06 Toni Russo Contributors Susan Antolin ’06 Sally Boettger Wendell Callahan, Ph.D. Erika Cameron, Ph.D. Kelli Flodman Corder ’09 Lisa Damour, Ph.D. Becca Fink Lorran Garrison Jeanette (Prantil) Handlesman ’64 Nina L. Kumar Suniya S. Luthar Kelly Marshall Bridgette Ouimette Anthony Rostain, M.D., M.A. Alyse Saucedo ’21 Rachel Simmons Justin Tracy Design Hollis Maloney ’07 Copy Editor Lisa Danaher Board of Directors Lauren Lek, Ed.D., Head of School Damian McKinney, Board Chair Coreen G. Petti, Board Chair Francesca Castagnola Clair (Cunningham) Kennedy ’81 Diane Koester-Byron Deacon Lane Litke Gayle McMahon Sister Ann Bernard O’Shea, CSJ Carrie Sawyer Timothy Truxaw Danitza (Ramirez) Villaneuva ’98 4 | OLP MAGAZINE Sister Maureen O’Connor, CSJ Provincial














A PASSION FOR THE CARE OF OTHERS Photo Credit: Julianna Jackson '21




6 | OLP MAGAZINE Photo Credit: Robyn Scherer

More than 100 OLP students participated in our fall production of Hamlet as part of the cast and crew. We had the unique opportunity to have a 100% female cast and crew, which was illegal during Shakespeare’s time. Thanks to OLP's community of tremendous supporters, we raised $22,655 to support our incredible theater program on Giving Tuesday! This number includes the generous $10,000 match pledged by the Strazzeri Family.




It’s the Girls Who Suffer More

Why young women face increasing anxiety BY LISA DAMOUR , PH.D.

Artwork by Abby Gutierrez '21

At work, I’m able to observe and learn from girls in so many ways, and when I’m home, I gain another perspective on them as the mother of two daughters. Girls are my world, and if I’m not with them, I’m often chatting about them with teachers, pediatricians or fellow psychologists. In the past few years, my colleagues and I have spent more and more time discussing the scores of young women we’ve met who are overwhelmed by stress or who feel intensely anxious. And we talk about how it wasn’t always this way. Alarmingly, what we are observing on an intimate daily scale is confirmed by sweeping surveys. A recent report from the American Psychological Association found that adolescence can no longer be characterized as an exuberant time of life, full of carefree experimentation. Except for during the summer months, today’s teens now, for the first time, feel more stressed than their parents do. They also experience the emotional and physical symptoms of chronic tension, such as edginess and fatigue, at levels that we used to see only in adults. Studies also tell us that the number of adolescents reporting that they are experiencing emotional problems and are highly anxious is on the rise. For example, one study found that twice as many teenagers reported experiencing five or more symptoms of depression or anxiety in 2006 compared with 1986.



DAUGHTERS EQUALLY. IT’S THE GIRLS WHO SUFFER MORE. As confirmed by report after report, girls are more likely than boys to labor under feelings of psychological stress and tension. A 2017 study found that a staggering 31 percent of girls and young women experience symptoms of anxiety, compared with 13 percent of boys and young men. Studies tell us that, compared with boys, girls feel more pressure, and that they endure more of the physical symptoms of psychological strain, such as fatigue and changes in appetite. Young women are also more likely to experience the emotions often associated with anxiety. One study found that the number of teenage girls who said they often felt nervous, worried or fearful jumped by 55 percent from 2009 to 2014 while remaining unchanged for adolescent boys over the same time period. A different study, from last year, found that anxious feelings are becoming more prevalent among all young people but are growing at a faster pace in girls. These gendered trends seen in anxiety are also mirrored in the climbing rates of depression – a diagnosis that can serve as a proxy measure of overall psychological stress. Between 2005 and 2014, the percentage of teenage girls in the United States experiencing depression rose from 13 to 17. For boys, that same measure moved from 5 percent to 6 percent. While we hate to see emotional distress rise for our daughters or our sons, we should probably be paying attention to the fact that girls between the ages of 12 and 17 are now nearly three times more likely than boys to become depressed.

A staggering 31% of girls and young women experience symptoms of anxiety, compared with 13% of boys and young men.

31% of girls

13% of boys

When mental-health professionals hear and read about statistics such as these, we jump to attention. From there, we typically adopt an appropriately skeptical stand and wonder whether there has actually been a dramatic change in the number of girls who are feeling pushed to the limit, or if we are simply getting better at detecting problems that have been present all along. Researchers who study these questions tell us that we haven’t just pulled our heads out of the sand to discover a crisis that we have long ignored; the available evidence tells us that we are truly seeing something new. Nor does research indicate that girls are now simply more willing than they have been in the past to tell us that they are suffering. Rather, the situation for girls does actually seem to have gotten worse.

Experts point to a number of possible explanations for this emerging epidemic of nervous girls. Studies, for example, show that girls are more likely than boys to worry about how they are doing in school. While it’s nothing new for our daughters to strive to live up to the expectations of adults, I now hear regularly about girls who are so fearful of disappointing their teachers that they skip sleep to do extra-credit work for points they don’t need. Research also tells us that our daughters, more than our sons, worry about how they look. Although teens have always experienced moments of high anxiety about their physical appearance, we are raising the first generation that can, and often does, devote hours at a time to fretfully curating and posting selfies in the hopes that they will receive an avalanche of likes. Studies also suggest that girls are more likely than boys not only to be cyberbullied but also to dwell on the emotional injuries caused by their peers. There are also sexual factors that apply uniquely to girls. Our daughters hit puberty earlier than our sons do, and the age of puberty for girls keeps dropping. It is now no longer unusual to see a fifth grader sporting an adult woman’s body. To make matters worse, girls develop their grown-up bodies while being inundated by images communicating the strong and distinct message that women are valued mainly for their sex appeal. In years past, these images were at least limited to those put out through conventional media outlets. Today, girls are just as likely to come across a sultry selfie posted on Instagram by a sixth-grade classmate.




T H A N K S T O D I G I TA L T E C H N O L O G Y, O U R D A U G H T E R S N O W C O N D U C T T H E I R S O C I A L L I V E S O N M U LT I P L E P L A N E S A N D , A S W E K N O W, R U N I N T O C O N F L I C T S B O T H I N P E R S O N A N D I N C Y B E R S PA C E .

But even when girls are getting along online, they can find that their social-media

activity takes an emotional toll. Growing up in the digital age almost certainly plays a role in the spiking levels of stress and anxiety we see in today’s teenagers. While the available evidence does not support exaggerated claims that smartphones are turning our kids into psychologically stunted screen-zombies, omnipresent technology has, beyond question, changed how we live. Not all of those changes are for the better, and adults are still coming to terms with what it means to raise children in a fully wired world. The more that we, as parents, understand how the digital environment shapes our daughters’ interpersonal lives, the better equipped we’ll be to help them ease some of the tension that comes with being plugged in. Experts note that adolescents aren’t enthralled by technology – they’re enthralled by the peers on the other end of the technology they happen to be using. Indeed, teenagers have always been obsessed with their friends. Decades ago, we wanted to connect with our peers just as desperately as our kids now want to connect with theirs. At this point, you might be thinking, “Okay, fine. But not like today’s teenagers. With their surgically attached phones and their mortal fear of missing out on even the most frivolous peer communication?

W E W E R E N E V E R A D D I C T E D T O E A C H O T H E R L I K E T H AT. ” A C T U A L LY, W E W E R E .

To plug into our own peer-obsessed pasts, we need to remember how we employed the connective technologies of our time. I, for one, can easily summon the memory of that hot, damp and even slightly painful ear sensation that would set in after spending hours with the family phone pressed to the side of my head. I even recall that, most evenings, a point would arrive at which my ear became so uncomfortable that I finally had to interrupt my friend at the other end of the line to say, “Wait … hold on a minute … I have to switch sides.” To which she would reply, “Yeah. Me, too.” And do you remember when call waiting came out? That changed everything. Before call waiting, there would come a time each evening when my mother would interrupt me mid-call to say, “You have to get off the phone. Someone might be trying to reach us.” I’d stall, hang up eventually, and – now completely disconnected from my friends – sullenly resign myself to doing my homework. With the arrival of call waiting, I became the selfappointed family receptionist who commandeered the phone for the entire evening on the promise that I would hand over the line if (and only if) my parents happened to receive a call or wanted to make one.

W E R E A L LY W E R E N O D I F F E R E N T F R O M O U R O W N C H I L D R E N . W E J U S T H A D L A M E T E C H N O L O G Y. Once we recognize that there’s nothing new or strange about young people’s intense desire to be connected to one another at all times, we can remember something else: Being connected to one’s peers can be very stressful. As much as I loved being on the phone with my friends, there was often a lot of drama going on. Even with our limited technology, we found ways to simultaneously script and follow the latest episode of our own adolescent soap opera. We’d get together to listen in on each other’s conversations, maintain a frenzy of connections by ending one call to take another before calling the first (or second or third) person back or use call waiting to toggle back and forth between two conversations at once. When my mother eventually kicked me off the phone for the night (even, sensibly, after we had call waiting), I’m sure that my outward resentment was secretly lined with a modicum of relief.

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Girls’ relationships with one another have always been charged. Today’s unprecedented capacity for connection only makes these interactions more complex, consuming and flat-out stressful than they ever were before. In the old days, we took muchneeded breaks from interacting with our friends, simply because we had no choice. Now, we need to help our daughters push the pause button on their social lives – to engage in some conscious compartmentalization – so that they can get their much-needed breaks, too. Accomplishing this can be fairly straightforward, but you should not measure the success of your approach by how enthusiastically your daughter embraces it. Limiting a young person’s access to technology is rarely a popular decision, but making unpopular decisions is, to be sure, an important part of being a parent. You can reduce the resistance to any rules you make by holding the whole family to them. Many parents (myself included) are as absorbed in their technology as their teenagers are and can benefit from placing some limits on their own use. It can also be easier to draw lines around the time we spend on digital media when we make it clear that we’re not so much against technology as we are for other things. Here are some aspects of your daughter’s life that you might actively look to protect from the intrusion of technology: enjoying face-to-face conversations with family members, having uninterrupted time to concentrate on homework, being physically active, pursuing hobbies, playing outdoors and being able to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep through the night. Needless to say, digitally mediated social interactions pose a threat to each of these. Involve your daughter in deciding how she wants to implement any rules you lay down. Some will be relatively straightforward, such as setting the expectations that phones are never guests at your dinner table, that her technology shuts down by a certain time each night and that she engage in meaningful activities that require her to take breaks from social media. Others rules will be trickier to make and enforce. It is often the case that teenagers use digital technology to do their homework together, each from her own home. Accordingly, you’ll need to talk with your daughter about how she’ll know when being connected to her friends while doing homework lowers her stress by helping her get her homework done or when it only adds to it. Don’t underestimate your teenager’s capacity to come up with smart solutions. Plenty of girls figure out that they complete homework more efficiently when they use “do not disturb” settings to turn off pinging text notifications and site-blocking software to silence the siren song of their favorite social-media sites. A colleague who works at a girls’ school discovered a particularly inventive way that several high school juniors barred themselves from social media for the duration of finals. They handed over their passwords to one another and authorized their friends to change them, setting them back again once the exams were over.

Excerpted from UNTANGLED by Lisa Damour, Ph.D. Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Damour, Ph.D. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, A Penguin Random House Company. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Lisa Damour writes an adolescence column for The New York Times, maintains a private psychotherapy practice, consults and speaks internationally, is a Senior Advisor to the Schubert Center for Child Studies at Case Western Reserve University, and serves as the Executive Director of Laurel School’s Center for Research on Girls. She has written numerous academic papers and books related to education and child development. She is also the author of two New York Times best selling books, Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood and Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls. OLP MAGAZINE




For Better Mental Health Teens Need Responsive Faith Communities

W E N D E L L J . C A L L A H A N , P H . D* & E R I K A R . N . C A M E R O N , P H . D UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO * Fa t h e r o f S a r a h Ca l l a h a n ' 2 0


s many of us have heard or read, suicide rates are increasing among teenagers and young adults. Indeed,

the American Medical Association reported in June 2019 that the rate of U.S. adolescents and young adults dying of suicide has reached its highest level in nearly two decades. As parents, educators and supporters in the Catholic preparatory and university setting we are keenly aware of this trend and seek to advance knowledge of mental health and mental illness in our communities in an effort to reduce the stigma associated with talking about mental health problems and especially the stigma associated with seeking help for mental health problems. For teens, faith can offer a place of refuge, solace, comfort, hope and a deeper sense of purpose and meaning— especially in times of tragedy or crisis with grief and despair. The research generally affirms that faith, religion, and spirituality have a profound and dynamic impact on mental health and mental health counseling. At its core and within the individual, a person’s spiritual orientation often represents the defining value system from which cognition, affect, behavior and relationship flow. A person’s religious beliefs and practice often serve as a positive source of interpersonal strength. Studies consistently report that people involved in a religious or spiritual group of some kind have a lower risk of premature death or illness than those not involved. Finding fellowship, goodwill, and emotional support offered by religious or spiritual groups may also promote healthy living and mental health. Some faith communities offer pastoral counseling services, which can be an additional support to therapy and/or medication, and may help people cope with mental health challenges. Self-help coupled

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"Faith can offer a place of refuge, solace, comfort, hope and a deeper sense of purpose and meaning."

with support from a faith community and its leaders can be very important to an individual’s coping, recovery, and wellbeing. Studies have found that seeking therapy or counseling that addresses faith can empower and improve the coping skills of the client. Our work in Catholic Mental Health Ministry is one method to advance knowledge in order to help parishes and other Catholic communities become more responsive to and welcoming of our community members experiencing mental health problems. We have established the Catholic Institute for Mental Health Ministry (CIMHM), located in the School of Leadership and Education Science (SOLES) at the University of San Diego. Informed by the Gospel of John, "I have come that they may have life and have it to the full." (John 10:10); we seek to enable the Church to be a healing presence to help people find wholeness and peace in the midst of mental health problems and illnesses. The CIMHM has trained a responsive network of mental health ministry leaders in Dioceses and parishes throughout the United States. The mental health ministers serve as “prayerful companions” for parishioners experiencing mental illness, provide them with referrals, walk with them through the treatment process, and provide parish-wide education on the subject of mental health. Mental health ministry leaders and teams do not take on the roles of psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors. Rather, they supply prayer, accompaniment and human connections as an adjunct to standard treatment of mental illness. For more information on the CIMHM and mental health resources, visit www.sandiego.edu/cimhm

ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Dr. Wendell Callahan (Ph.D., University of California, San Diego) serves as Executive Director of the Catholic Institute for Mental Health Ministry at the University of San Diego. Dr. Callahan is also a Professor of Practice and Counseling Program Director in the Department of Counseling and Marital & Family Therapy at the University of San Diego. He is an active member of the Mental Health Ministry in his home Parish of St. Brigid in Pacific Beach. Dr. Callahan and his wife, Dr. Evette Baiocco Callahan are proud parents of Sarah Grace Callahan (OLP, 2020), James Francis Callahan (SAHS, 2018) and Phillip Carl Callahan (SAHS, 2016).

Dr. Erika Cameron (Ph.D., University of Missouri, St. Louis) serves as an Advisory Board Member of the Catholic Institute for Mental Health Ministry at the University of San Diego. Dr. Cameron is also an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Counseling and Marital & Family Therapy at the University of San Diego. Dr. Cameron specializes in mental health and counseling interventions for children and adolescents. She and her family are active members of St. Gabriel’s Parish in Poway.





The New Rules of Stress Culture (And How It’s Hurting Teen Girls) BY RACHEL SIMMONS

Have you ever talked to teenage girls about their schedules? I’ll be honest, I sometimes feel tired just hearing about everything they do. Did you know that the American Psychological Association found that adolescent girls get the least amount of sleep out of any group of Americans? Why? Consider every role a girl plays in a 24-hour day. Maybe she’s a best friend and confidante. Late-night-studying student. Leave-it-all-on-the-field athlete. Devoted volunteer. Witty Instagram caption writer. Snapchat streak keeper. Daughter, granddaughter, sister.

Psychologists call this role overload: when you have too many roles to play. It leads to stress. Lots of it.

I love raising my own daughter at a moment when she can be and do anything. But let’s be real: all this opportunity is not without its costs. Girl power has been transformative, but I often wonder whether it’s set girls up for some real unhappiness. After all, it’s not like our culture said to girls: “Hey, go ahead and focus on being an engineer, or an entrepreneur. No need to worry about that bikini body anymore.” Society has offered girls something far more complicated: “Hey, go be an engineer and enter that robotics competition…But you better stay sexy, have lots of friends, and post a killer Snapchat story on Saturday night.”

Truth bomb: we haven’t let up on the unfair, oldschool pressure that girls have always had to bear. We’ve just added to it. So how do we help? First, we tap into the messages they’re internalizing from the culture about how to pursue success. The good news is that these rules are pretty similar for adults, so they likely won’t come as a surprise. 14 | O L P M A G A Z I N E

Artwork by Anapaula Rios Miranda '21

My research has uncovered four toxic “rules” our culture enforces for girls around stress, achievement and failure:


Be amazing at everything you do: excellence is the goal in every domain, whether it’s school, sports or Instagram. Don’t forget to make it look effortless while you’re at it. Everyone is doing (and being) more than you are: they’re getting better grades and scores, doing more to get into college, and probably having a better social life, too. Being overwhelmed is the new normal: if you’re not feeling like you can barely survive your workload, you’re not working hard enough. Stress makes you worthy and competent: feeling overwhelmed means you’re working well and achieving your potential.

I think these toxic messages are part of why girls suffer disproportionately from depression and anxiety. So what can you do to combat them?

HOW TO STAND UP TO STRESS CULTURE FOR YOUR DAUGHTER Try to avoid saying, “You’re putting too much pressure on yourself,” which implies that if she just calmed down, the world would suddenly stop expecting so much of her (it won’t). Tell her this isn’t her fault. She is growing up at a time when the culture is sending girls — and all of us, really — unhealthy messages that tell us nothing, and no one, is ever enough. Tell her she’s not alone. That feeling she has, where she worries she can’t keep up, and that everyone else is doing better? Everyone else feels the same way. Just because people don’t talk about it doesn’t mean it’s not true. Be willing to talk back to those unfair rules. She needs your courage. Most importantly, remind her every day why she is enough. What do you love about her that has nothing to do with her accomplishments? Start there. Fortunately, when girls know why they are enough as they are, those external voices don’t have the same hold. Talk to her. Trust your instincts. I believe in your power just as much as you believe in hers.

---Rachel Simmons is the author of Enough As She Is: How to Help Girls Move Beyond Impossible Standards of Success to Live Healthy, Happy and Fulfilling Lives, and the New York Times bestsellers Odd Girl Out and The Curse of the Good Girl. As an educator, Rachel teaches girls and women skills to build their resilience, amplify their voices, and own their courage so that they—and their relationships—live with integrity and health. OLP MAGAZINE



Artwork by Zasha Makebenta '20

Mitigating Perfectionism Among Girls in High Achieving Schools S U N I YA S . L U T H A R A N D N I N A L . K U M A R


hildren in high achieving families are often seen as “having it all�

but in fact, are now recognized to be an at-risk group, contending

with serious challenges around unrelenting pressures to excel.

Growing up surrounded by parents who are financially well off, and peers who are experiencing the same pressures to succeed, can build a highly stressed environment that engenders various adjustment problems in these students. Students in high-achieving schools show higher rates of serious depression, anxiety, rule-breaking, and substance use as compared to the average teen.

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Girls, in particular, face high, often competing demands from both peers and adults. While they are expected to achieve just as much as boys in academics and sports, they are also supposed to be kind, caring, and attractive. As these young women feel they have to meet high standards across multiple spheres, they can be prone to envy of others whom they see as doing much better than they are.

"...parents’ modeling good behaviors and values is especially important." Because of fears of failing (where they feel they aren’t measuring up to multiple lofty standards), some of these young women shy away from taking chances in their lives. Further, ongoing competition with peers can threaten the development of the strong relationships that are necessary to bring comfort, support, and affirmation of their true selves. All of this ultimately results in an underlying sense of anxiety, self-criticism, and conviction that no matter how hard they try, they will never be successful enough, attractive enough, popular enough, or admired enough. This mask of perfection, further exacerbated by unrealistic, deceptive portrayals on social media, often prevents these young women from seeking the help that they need.

---Nina L. Kumar, Co-Founder and CEO, Authentic Connections

WHAT CAN PARENTS DO? Being a “good enough parent” is a daunting and challenging task, but there is much that parents can do to help reduce their children’s stress and distress. In these communities, parents’ modeling good behaviors and values is especially important. Like their daughters, well-educated mothers are often also held to unrealistic standards of perfectionism; mothers must be mindful of what they are conveying to their daughters via their own behaviors and standards. Parents must also be particularly conscious of over-emphasizing achievements versus personal decency or integrity. Our research has shown that students with the healthiest profiles are those who report that both parents have middle to low emphasis on achievements relative to integrity, compassion, or decency. Parents must be vigilant about keeping children firmly grounded in intrinsic values. Finally, it is critically important that parents themselves receive ongoing care and support. Parents – and for that matter, teachers – cannot be effective first responders to their children’s stress unless they are psychologically refueled themselves. In summary, although it is true that students in high achieving schools face unrelenting stress and pressure, it’s equally true that we as parents, educators, and researchers can work collaboratively, supporting each other, in truly helping our children to thrive.

For further reading, please see www.authconn.com or www.SuniyaLuthar.org

---Suniya S. Luthar, Co-Founder and Chief Academic Officer, Authentic Connections




What is Social-Emotional Readiness & Why is it Important? A N T H O N Y L . R OSTA I N, M D, MA Co-author of The Stressed Years of Their Lives: Helping Your Kid Survive and


Thrive During Their College Years (St. Martin’s Press, 2019).

ollege students are arriving at American campuses with excellent academic training, but they are often underprepared to handle the complex demands of living on their own and coping with the challenges of being away from home. As it turns out, “social emotional readiness skills” (often referred to as maturity or resiliency) are extremely important predictors of college success. These skills can best be acquired through practice, reflection and ongoing dialogue with parents, teachers and other important adults in an adolescent’s life. They include:

Conscientiousness is the ability to “own”

Self-Management is the ability to take care of

Interpersonal Skills form the basis for getting

Self-Control (or “willpower”) is the ability to set

Risk Management involves the ability to have

Grit is the ability to cope with frustration, disappointment

Self-Acceptance (or “self-compassion”) is the

Open Mindset/Help-Seeking

one’s actions and to take responsibility for their behavior. Conscientious individuals say what they mean, mean what they say, admit their mistakes and face the consequences accordingly. Reliability, predictability, honesty, integrity and trustworthiness are all vital aspects of conscientiousness.

along with others such as working in teams, making and keeping friends, maintaining good communication with classmates, handling conflicts appropriately, and participating in the social events at school. Forging close and intimate relationships also requires an ability to share one’s feelings and to show empathy for others.

fun and experiment with risky behaviors without taking foolish or dangerous chances. Many college students engage in mildto-moderate amounts of drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and marijuana, and sexual encounters. The critical issue to decide is at what point do these behaviors move into the realm of serious risk taking.

ability to accept one’s faults, tolerate one’s mistakes, and deal with one’s shortcomings without excessive amounts of guilt and shame. It is a cornerstone of mental health and has been found to be highly protective against anxiety disorders and depression in college students.

day-to-day activities on one’s own. This means being able to wake up on time, prepare for the day, remember tasks and carry them out, develop routines, adjust one’s schedule as needed, and fall asleep at a reasonable time each night. It also includes carrying out mundane chores like washing up, preparing meals, doing laundry and straightening things out.

limits on oneself and to resist urges/desires when necessary. It results from the interaction of two sets of forces – those that trigger us to seek rewards and those that help us to hold back as needed. The tension between drives/desires/cravings and the ability to exert self-control/will power is a consistent feature of young people’s mental landscape.

and failure, and to persist in the face of setbacks and obstacles to success. The ability to keep going in the face of delayed gratification or of unexpected hardship is highly predictive of success in later life.

involves the ability to recognize when things aren’t going well and to ask for help when problems appear to be impossible to solve. It involves a willingness to overcome “denial” that anything could be wrong, and to accept the idea that “tincture of time” isn’t always the best way to approach potential problems.

Taken together, social-emotional readiness skills prepare individuals to become more self-sufficient and resilient. Parents and kids need to look over these issues and discuss skill areas that are lagging. It’s never too late to begin practicing these skills, but as with many things, the sooner the better. 18 | O L P M A G A Z I N E

International Perspectives on All-Girls’ Education

BY BRIDGETTE OUIMETTE On October 4, 2019, I had the privilege of speaking at the Association of State Girls’ Schools Conference at Central Hall Westminster in London. The theme of this year’s conference was “The Heart of Education - What Matters?” At the conference, I was a key speaker, presenting research on both why girls avoid risk and research-based instructional strategies teachers can use to build risk tolerance in girls.

Two days prior to the conference, I arrived in London to meet with local all-girls’ school leadership from both Girls’ Day School Trust and the Association of State Girls’ Schools, and to do observations at two all-girls’ schools. During my visit, I was able to compare characteristics of girls’ schools in the United States and the United Kingdom. In my conversations with other girls’ school educators it became clear that their students are facing many of the same challenges as ours: achievement pressure, maladaptive perfectionism, and the riskaversion commonly associated with both. To address these phenomena, there are several unique interventions being implemented in UK girls’ schools. The Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST), an organization of 23 girls’ schools and 2 academies, has employed an application called Positive Programme. Using this app, teachers in each GDST school allocate daily class time for students to reflect on and record their daily moods. The focus of the program is on strengthening psychological protective factors to help participants stay well, rather than responding to issues once they have arisen. There is also an emphasis on personal agency—that is,

on giving participants the knowledge and confidence to take control of their own mood-state and positively influence the way they think, feel, and behave. Staff and faculty also record along with their pupils as a means of modeling emotional health in a genuinely ‘whole school’ strategy. Frances Bardsley Academy (FBA), an all-girls’ school in Romford, England, serving girls aged 11-18, has adopted a very unique approach to address student well-being. The campus includes a small farm, which is open to the girls during the school day, where they may feed or play with the animals. Many students rushed out of the campus buildings at break time to get to the farm and take turns engaging with the animals. Julian Dutnall, Frances Bardsley’s Headteacher, explained that this has proven a successful, albeit unexpected, means of alleviating stress among students. FBA has also implemented assessment strategies that seek to emphasize student growth versus performance. These include providing both teachers and students with “green sheets,” or interactive handouts, that are exchanged between teachers and students in conjunction with summative assessments and pertain to different content standards. As a result of adopting this approach, FBA has seen a decrease in assessment anxiety as grades are no longer connected to one’s identity and there is a reflective cycle associated with assessment that emphasizes progress, and not perfection. Although girls’ schools themselves within the United States and the United Kingdom differ, the girls within these schools do not. The students I encountered in the UK were equally interested in Lizzo and concerned about standardized tests as our girls. I found them all to be passionate, earnest, and caring. But most of all, like our girls, they too were in need of our compassion and support in navigating the many challenges that are often exacerbated by the experience of their gender. This experience was a reinforcement of my dedication as an educator to identify global interventions that may help to alleviate the obstacles our girls face. OLP MAGAZINE



Teaching Subtle Lessons through Children’s Books BY JUSTIN TRACY AND LORRAN GARRISON


rainboy and Bob: The Very Hungry

Maggot is a children’s book about Bob, a twelve-year-old boy whose brain jumps out of his head. Literally. Bob has to prevent his impulsive brain from causing chaos, no easy task. Brainboy and Bob is a figurative take on how Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) can cause a young person to behave. While we’ve seen a 42 percent increase in the diagnosis of ADHD/ADD in the United States in the last eight years, the disorder is often misunderstood. Brainboy and Bob: The Very Hungry Maggot is an introductory look at everyday disabilities for the neurodiverse brain in school-age children. This book is the first we have written together, and our next books will explore the other 13 disabilities, as defined by federal educational laws, such as autism, specific learning disabilities, emotional disturbance, and traumatic brain injury. Topics will also include depression and anxiety. Although these disabilities are serious in nature, we approach these heavy subjects in an entertaining way that is light-hearted yet sincere and at times surprisingly deep. Lorran is studying to become a school psychologist and has found that when families first experience the process of their child qualifying for special education, it can be confusing and often overwhelming. These books aim to help families understand that despite their child having a disability, whether it is autism or a learning disability, the child is still the same person as before the assessment, only now the family has more information. Our books aim to help ease the transition of learning new information about one’s child. Both of us remember our own challenging experiences as children, as well as all the difficulties in raising our own son. Lorran grew up on Guam and was raised in a multicultural family with African-American, Vietnamese, and Filipino roots. In the books,

20 | O L P M A G A Z I N E

Lorran adds the different flavors and experiences she grew up with, surrounded by local stories and the elements of magic realism. Justin grew up in upstate New York and was a creative and rambunctious child. He said, “Sometimes my brain starts popping with ideas, they aren’t always related, and it can get pretty hard to follow. When I was a kid, people often had no idea what I was talking about, this is something I’ve worked on a lot as an adult: to slow down, and to frame my ideas and context so that what I’m saying makes sense.” When Justin taught preschool with the AmeriCorps program, he noticed how often some of the children experienced similar reactions from adults as he did when he was a child. “It was amazing to see how differently kids react to certain situations, especially bugs. One family loved spiders so much and they taught us about the Phiddipus, the jumping spider. I couldn’t help but think about how so many people are arachnophobic, and it made me consider my own prejudices. I happen to hate maggots, they really weird me out. But they too are God’s children.” The idea of the innocent love of a child, plus the mind of a person with ADHD combined, became this book about Brainboy and Bob. “Since I was teaching preschool and our own son, Kanoa, was preschool aged, I had been re-introduced to the amazing canon of kid’s books. Eric Carle has always been one of my favorites, and the Very Hungry Caterpillar was a touchstone for me. Seeing that little caterpillar eat so much and grow and change was so magical for my preschoolers. Maggots, of course, are known for being willing and able to eat anything, so we thought it would be funny to make a picky eater for a maggot. And we also thought it would be funny if it liked to eat something very expensive, like sushi—one of our son’s favorites.” “Stories are essential, they try to teach us lessons and enable us to live so many lives, to see from so many perspectives. Brainboy and Bob present a number of subtle messages: friendship, grit, acceptance—but through a fairly silly and gross lens that is reminiscent of Captain Underpants, Calvin and Hobbes, and others.”

---Justin and Lorran are currently residing in San Diego and have sent their book to publishers and agents. Lorran has spoken at ComicCon, Cos-losseum (a cosplay convention), St. Augustine University, and will be a guest speaker on the podcast and YouTube channel Organized Messes with Boonie Sripom. Justin is the Drama Director at OLP. This fall, he directed Hamlet and worked with the students of Drama 3 for their production of the play I Never Saw Another Butterfly about a group of Jewish children trying to survive the Holocaust. He is working with Spring Sing and is directing OLP’s production of Annie, performing April 30-May 2 in the Holy Family Event Center.

Justin and Lorran with their son, Kanoa




OLP girls practicing yoga during a wellness day on campus.

Practicing Mindfulness through Yoga BY K E L L I F LO DMA N CO R D E R ' 0 9

With much enthusiasm and a bit of trepidation, 63 young women at the Academy of Our Lady of Peace began practicing yoga and meditation on a consistent basis this semester. Many began their yoga journey with a limiting stereotype of what a yogi should look like. Fears, anxieties, and feeling too inflexible to practice yoga are some of the many perceived limits and restricting beliefs that can steer many away from testing the waters. Such a huge sigh of relief, literally, is felt when yoga asks us to accept ourselves just as we are.

22 | O L P M A G A Z I N E

Isela Quinones ’20 said, "When starting yoga, I didn't expect much from it, it was just a class I needed to fulfill my graduation requirements, but quite frankly, I have come to rely on every practice. It's a place where I can stretch my body and my mind. Both mentally and physically, I have felt much better than I have before. There is a sort of accepting and peaceful love I have come to feel because of yoga.�

In 2019, Sally Boettger finished her 4th full Ironman Triathlon in Tempe, Arizona.

Relieving Stress through Exercise BY S A L LY B O ET TG E R

With the ever-increasing demands that pull teens in multiple directions, it is no wonder that stress and anxiety are common feelings among many OLP students. I have a favorite saying for my students: “If you’re looking for that one miracle pill that may act as a cure-all to most ailments, exercise is your miracle!” There are many known health benefits to a regular exercise

While the movement on the mat is transformative for the physical body, the philosophy and science behind yoga allows a shift in

program that include protection from heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and the list goes on. While we know the physical benefits of exercise, it is not always

perspective and a new way of interpreting information that combats

common knowledge that exercise also benefits our mental

life’s stressors. Learning the powerful life skill of tuning into the

health. People who exercise often have a greater sense of

needs of the physical body increases students’ awareness on and

well-being, more confidence, more energy throughout the

off the mat, complementing their daily life. Students are provided

day, and they sleep better. Many OLP students have met their

the opportunity to give their body and breath the same attention

closest friends through their PE classes.

to detail that they give to academics, athletics, family, friends, and community, for just a fraction of their day.

Incorporating exercise into your routine can significantly

"Walking across campus, mentally preparing for my

One current Block F PE student says, “Even though I may be

next class, I always smile and sigh with relief when I realize I have yoga. Yoga gives me a chance to pause and breathe (literally!). I get 80 minutes to step out of the clutter of my mind, be kind to myself, and self-check in," shared Katie-Marie Zickert '20. Practicing mindfulness through yoga and meditation has

allowed these true ladies of Kelli Flodman Corder '09 (left) with Virginia Lopez-Bunnemeyer '87 at an alumnae reconnect event on OLP's campus

peace to advocate for the health of their global community, starting with the self.

improve your mental health!

sweaty after class, I find myself really happy after this class. I learned my happiness is directly related to what we do in class because exercise releases endorphins and endorphins are chemicals in our brains that make us happy.” My Block F class has even changed what PE stands for: “PE stands for Positive Environment; we learn how to get fit and healthy in a positive environment.”

“Physical Education is a great stress reliever. It’s a good way to let negative energy out and have fun with our OLP Sisters.” - Current OLP student




Carondelet Circle Student Ambassadors

OLP Clubs Foster the Development of Social Bonds

Students of all different grade levels, backgrounds, and


Capilots, and the Fashion Design Club, just to name a few. Students


experiences come together to pursue their interests beyond the classroom, engage in experiential learning, and build both social awareness and relationship skills through a variety of clubs and activities. They have the opportunity to pursue their creative passions through the art of food with the Culinary Club, the art of writing with the Literary Magazine and the Creative Writing Project, the art of dance through Ballet Folkorico, and the art of acting, singing, and designing through clubs such as Thespians, the Angel Choir, the A engage in healthy discourse by constructively expressing their opinions through clubs such as Women in Politics, Pilots Podcasting, and academic teams such as the Speech Team, Mock Trial, and Model

I N A 2 0 1 9 P E W R E S E A R C H S T U D Y focused on U.S. teens experiencing anxiety and depression, an astonishing 90 percent of teens identified the pressures of academic achievement as one of the driving factors of anxiety. Furthermore, the study indicates how the pressures of academic achievement can oftentimes lead to isolation, impacting students’ mental health and social wellbeing. At OLP, we believe in providing students a well-balanced, holistic approach to learning. Taking into account social and mental factors, we prioritize celebrating the uniqueness of the individual girl while providing the time and space for the cultivation of healthy relationships over shared passions. One of the many ways we strive to foster social and emotional well-being is by encouraging students to participate in and bond with peers through any of the 75 student clubs and organizations available on our campus.

24 | O L P M A G A Z I N E

United Nations. Students bond over important values through clubs that promote body positivity such as The BeYOUtiful Project. Students collaborate to find innovative solutions for social justice issues through clubs such as Girls Learn International, the Thirst Project, Feeding America, the Fair Trade Commission, Hogar Infantil, and Humans 4 Humanity. Students relieve their stress by participating in fun, friendly games with the Kickball and Badminton clubs or by experiencing a calming yoga session with the Women for Wellness club. Central to social and emotional well-being is the sense of belonging. With such a diverse array of clubs and activities, there truly is a place for every single student on our campus beyond the classroom. In connecting with their peers through passion projects and stress-relieving activities, students are developing social bonds that positively impact their mental health and pave the way for productive community building.

OLP Clubs by the Numbers







100% 75 18

2019 BeYOUtiful's Conference
























9.5% STEM


5.5% FAITH



*This club serves to empower young women, providing them with the tools and motivation necessary to live confidently through their own identity and beauty. OLP MAGAZINE



AOC Club members with Julia Daviy

STEAM: Incorporting Sustainability into Fashion B Y A LY S E S A U C E D O ’ 2 1

THE FUTURE IS FEMALE, THE FUTURE IS INNOVATIVE, AND THE F U T U R E I S H E R E . On October 31, 2019, the Architects of Change Club welcomed trailblazing inventor, designer, and fashion pioneer Ms. Julia Daviy to OLP to share her unique sustainable and environmentally-friendly line of 3-D printed clothing. Flying all the way across the country from Florida to attend our live conversation, Ms. Daviy shared with the OLP community the exciting new technology behind 3-D printed clothing and the obstacles she overcame when faced with the daunting task of being a female engineer creating seemingly impossible clothing. As Ms. Daviy so beautifully stated, she hopes that her clothing will “empower us to create” and with her inspiring story our OLP students were given a living example of what it means to be a catalyst of positive change.

26 | O L P M A G A Z I N E

During the research period of finding an Architect of Change to feature, the AOC club immediately recognized Ms. Daviy for the role model she is by her admirable, out-of-the-box approach to sustainability in an industry often overlooked despite its significant contribution to our world’s pollution: the fashion industry. This creative approach, combined with her refreshingly humble disposition, made her a prime candidate. After Ms. Daviy graciously accepted the invitation, preparation for the event began promptly, months before the October presentation, with components such as publicity for the event, fashion consult conferences, and constant production rehearsal to ensure that Ms. Daviy’s message would be delivered on a platform worthy of the important message that she carried through her voice and creations.

Valeria Dominguez Rios '20

Katie Sundstrom '22

AOC members Wessley Edmonds '20 and Sofia Rojo-Kratochvil '20 were the co-facilitators who interviewed Ms. Daviy on the stage. As a leader in the STEM field and pioneer in the fashion industry, Ms. Daviy confidently explained her calling to better our world through her talents, and emphasized that when you are truly dedicated to a cause, nothing can stop you. This event, however, was a bit different from the AOC’s usual conversation format, in that a fun, interactive fashion show was incorporated within the conversation. Our very own Holy Family Event Center was transformed into a fashion runway built for Ms. Daviy’s tangible creativity to be exhibited. AOC members modeled an array of Ms. Daviy’s fashion, ranging from colorful “kaleidoscope shorts” to an impressive 4-D printed skirt that changes length based on temperature, showcasing the true genius behind Ms. Daviy's work. Ms. Daviy truly is an Architect of Change who challenges what is, imagines what can be, and moves humanity forward, and it is because of her inspirational work that we as an OLP community are empowered to utilize our voices and talents to create a more sustainable, wholesome, and beautiful world.

Katiana Yazdani-Bosdet '22

Lauren "Ella" Brazil '20

Photos of OLP girls modeling Julia Daviy’s 3D-printed clothing at the Fall AOC Live Conversation.






Going P laces

She Is...

This panel features inspiring young women who are only a few professional and educational steps ahead of our brilliant students! Attendees will be inspired to create their own path based on the guidance and stories of these impressive women. In a world where paths can be predetermined, this panel challenges the societal constraints and pushes boundaries to imagine what can be. It discredits the generational stereotypes that young people cannot meet standards of success normally achieved by those with more extensive professional experience.

Is she enough? Is she capable? Is she worthy? The answer to all these questions is: yes. Everyday double standards, comparisons, and gender stereotypes give women the impression that they are inadequate. In this panel, participants will share experiences of those societal pressures that women and girls often face while in pursuit of all of which woman is capable.

She Is...


She Is...

She Is...

This panel addresses the reality that women must overcome many personal and professional challenges, the types of adversity women face, and how they have overcome these obstacles. It will focus on the pivoting that is sometimes required when plans change, the risk-taking that is so critical but often difficult for women and girls, our responses to inevitable failure and the self-compassion that is then required. These women will be speaking from their own experiences, spotlighting their resilience throughout their lives and how it has made them stronger and more determined to accomplish their goals.

28 | O L P M A G A Z I N E



She is passionate, she is a risk-taker, she is driven, she is bold -- she is daring. In this panel, you will have the opportunity to meet women who were the “1st’s” in their careers, facing challenges like the gender gap and socio-economic stereotypes in the workplace. These trail-blazing women will elaborate on the challenges they faced while bravely reaching for their goals, whether they be overcoming the fear of failure and self doubt, or learning how to deal with the unexpected when adversity came their way.


Cindy Gatlin, CDFA, CSNA Sara Valine Harris ‘08 S EN I O R V. P. A N D W E ALTH

Gigi Goldman

Karla Ruiz '95


M A N A G E R , D E L P HI





Ale Ramirez ‘15

Roshan Roeder

Melanie Silverman

Vanessa Valiente





ROUNDTABLE SPEAKERS CONFIRMED* *Roundtables are not open to the general public. Current OLP students may appl y to participate in roundtable discussions.

Holly Smithson

Rana Sampson

Debra Simmons










S A V E T H E D AT E !

Spring Sing 50th Anniversary S A N D I E G O C I V I C T H E AT E R

S AT U R D AY, F E B R U A R Y 2 2 , 2 0 2 0

30 | O L P M A G A Z I N E



W E H A V E 51 STUDENT LEADERS THIS YEAR! Our Spring Sing 2020 theme is Game Night! Each class chose a board game as their subtheme (listed below), and they are hard at work preparing for a memorable show. • Frosh: CLUE • Soph: LIFE • Junior: MONOPOLY • Senior: CANDYLAND

This beloved OLP tradition has been celebrated by our community for decades and remains one of the most

FACULTY ADVISORS: • Mrs. Marlena Conroy - AP

memorable events of the year. Our production this year will be

• Ms. Kelly Marshall –

held at the beautiful San Diego Civic Theatre, which provides

Production Supervisor and

an incredible opportunity for our students to perform on a

Choreography Advisor

grand stage. It is truly incredible to witness an evening-length

• Dr. Anne-Marie Dicce –

production created and directed entirely by students. Their

creativity year after year is impressive, and this year will be no

• Mr. Justin Tracy –

exception. Students write the script, hold auditions, direct the

actors, choreograph the dances, coach the chorus, design the

• Ms. Laura Rodriguez ’07 –

costumes, build the props, and everything else in between!

The skills they learn from their leadership experiences are

• Mr. Michael Stringer –

invaluable, and the memories they take away from Spring Sing

Music Advisor Stage & Theatrical Advisor MC Advisor Props Advisor

will last a lifetime. Along with our amazing 50th anniversary show, there will be special moments commemorating all of the 49 shows that have come before.

CLASS MODERATORS: • Frosh: Mrs. Alma Kim &

Mrs. Sabrina Vasconcelos

• Soph: Mr. Aaron Gonzalez,

Mrs. Jessica Hooper &

Mr. Gilberto Moreno

• Junior: Ms. Stefini Ma'ake '98 &

Mrs. Brigid Malheiros '04

• Senior: Mrs. Lori Favela




A Passion for the Care of Others BY JEANETTE (PRANTIL) HANDELSMAN '64 On a recent afternoon, Anita (Nevin) Heveron '00 and Virginia Lopez-Bunnemeyer '87 shared a conversation involving their passion and dedication to the mental well-being of the young people in their respective professions. Two alumnae offering their individual expertise and their support to each other, a beautiful moment to observe.

Anita (Nevin) Heveron ’00 is very excited to return to her alma mater as a member of the OLP Counseling Department. She was born in Mexico City, raised in San Diego, and spent her college years in Idaho, where she received a BA at Northwestern Nazarene University. After teaching high school in Idaho and then in Los Angeles and San Diego, she earned her MA in Education at Point Loma Nazarene University. She served as head counselor at Vista Innovation and Design Academy before returning to OLP. Anita had and has a strong calling to help youth who suffer from mental health issues. She returned to OLP wanting to make a difference on campus by helping to create a healthy school environment for students. Studies show that having just one trusted adult on campus can make all the difference in the world to a student suffering from mental health issues.

REAC She meets with students on a regular basis to help them

manage their academic load and set realistic expectations,

and establishes a safe place for them to learn and grow. Anita helps them develop

32 | O L P M A G A Z I N E

Virginia Lopez-Bunnemeyer '87 is a proud member of the OLP class of 1987. She graduated from UCSD in 1991 and continued her graduate work at Smith College and graduated in 1994. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has made it her mission “to destigmatize mental illness and empower people to take charge of their emotional health.” As a mental health advocate, she believes everyone can benefit from therapy and asserts that “mental health support is as important as eating right and regular exercise.” Virginia spent over 20 years as a child and adolescent psychotherapist at Rady Children’s Hospital, where she witnessed the resilient spirits of her young clients and feels privileged to have been part of their mental health journey. Along with her time at Rady’s, a highlight of her career was working at Hoover High School, providing psychotherapy to students and their families. Over her career she has found that people enter therapy in emotional pain and are looking for relief and support—they want to feel heard, seen, and understood. In her words: “This is truly the core of psychotherapy and the heart of OLP.” To healthy coping skills to decrease their anxiety and gives them a

her, OLP provides a safe harbor for its students to explore,

place where they can talk openly about stressors and the ups and

create, learn, and thrive; Virginia credits her alma mater with

downs of teenage life.

not only establishing a base for her academic success but most importantly helping her build a sisterhood of support that has

This year the Counseling Department has focused on Rachel

accompanied her on every step of her life’s journey.

Simmons’ book, Enough As She Is, to help our OLP students understand that while they are told that they can be anything they

Since leaving Rady Children’s Hospital, Virginia has continued

want to be in this world, they don’t have to be EVERYTHING.

her mission to help others by building an Oil Wellness

Anita looks forward to providing support to our students’ parents

business to aid others on their path of natural health. She

as well, so together they can guide their daughters through these

is involved in workplace lunch, learning, and teaching

developmental years. Looking ahead, Anita and the Counseling

psychotherapists how to integrate essential oils into their

Department are planning more mental health breaks for the students

clinical practice. Her current goal is to bring aromatherapy

during stressful times on campus, more parent informational nights

into Rady’s, so patients and their families will experience

and guest speakers, and a year-round small group/advisory program.

comforting support from essential oils. Virginia says she is

At the end of their conversation, Anita and Virginia, our two

“improving healthcare a drop at a time!”

alumnae, pledged to work together to achieve their common goal,

CHING OUT to dedicate their joint effort to the mental well-being of youth and OLP students in particular. What a bright future our students have to look forward to!




OLP’s Leadership Class attended the CADA/ CASL Student Leadership Conference in September

a DAY i n the LIFE OLP's Annual Candelight Procession

Faculty and staff with Dr. Steven Jones at the 2019 NAIS People of Color Conference (PoCC)

Student Leadership hosted holiday lunchtime celebrations

Halloween at OLP

34 | Mock O L P MTrial A G Aattended ZINE OLP’s their first scrimmage of the year

Pilots went to Student Night at the Opera

OLP’s Varsity volleyball team won the Silver Division Champions in the Scripps Ranch Invitational Grandparents Mass at OLP

It was a beautiful day for seniors and their mothers as we hosted our annual Mother Daughter Brunch

Our OLP girls on Saints Homecoming Court

Pilots participated in the AntiDefamation League’s (ADL) annual No Place for Hate® student leadership conference. OLP has been recognized as a “No Place for Hate” institution since 2016

O L in P M AG A Z Iyear N E were | 35 Students with more than 100 hours of service the past recognized with our annual Dear Neighbor Service Award


4 8 6 0 O R E G O N S T, S A N DI E G O, C A 92 1 16

The Academy of Our Lady of Peace invites you to

Beyond ABOVE &


35th Annual Gala and Auction Saturday, February 8, 2020 Purchase your tickets or sponsorship today!

w w w.aolp.org/gala

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