St. Vincent’s Academy
An Enduring Legacy Sister Jude Walsh, RSM ‘43 (February 14, 1925 - December 7, 2020)
St. Vincent’s Academy’s
F L A S H WINTER 2021
A Saint Vincent’s Academy Advancement & Alumnae Office Publication
in this issue . . . 4
Letter from the President
EDITOR Loretto Dressel Lominack ‘64
Letter from the Principal
PUBLISHERS Sisters of Mercy of St. Vincent’s Academy
Remembering Sister Jude Walsh, RSM
Convent Renovation Update
Alumnae Highlights from SVA’s Women Who Lead
Spotlight on Alumna, Dr. Angela Sommerset ‘80
Searching for Sister Rock with Pat Durant
Creative Learning at SVA
Trailblazing SVA Graduate
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS IN THIS ISSUE Donna Antonucci Caroline Archer Carl Boehm Maureen Cole Caroline Dove ‘11 Ellen Hogan Ebberwein ‘11 Terri Foote Abby Foster Sarah Hennessy ‘20 Melissa Yao Hille ‘92 Mary Anne Hogan, President Megan Hussey Johnson ‘01 Dao Khamsay Loretto Dressel Lominack ‘64 Neesha Navare Helen Norris Dawn Odom, Principal Betty Peltier Rin Richardson ‘20 Leah Riffle ‘99 Nancy Schreck ‘71 Riley Sheppard ‘17 Nichols St. Louis Sara Jane Stroupe ‘04 Donnell Suggs, Southern Cross Diana Tuten, Athletic Director Kathryn Ann Waller ‘16 Vickie Watson Rachel Westmoreland ‘99 Christina Smith Winters ‘96 SCHOOL PHOTOGRAPHER Paul Camp
22 SVA Special Events Go Virtual 23
SVA Legacy Lovelight
SVA’s Alumnae Association
The Mystery of the Missing Finials
Alumnae Weddings and Baby News
ST. VINCENT’S BOARD MEMBERS St. Vincent’s Academy would like to extend a huge thank you to our generous board members who give of their time and talent as members of the St. Vincent’s Academy School Board and Alumnae Board.
SCHOOL BOARD Mary Anne Hogan, President Dawn Odom, Principal Theresa Feuger ‘82, Board Chair St. Vincent’s Academy enjoyed a special visit from Bishop Stephen Parkes! Thank you so much for sharing your time with us and blessing us in this special way . . . we hope to see you again soon!
Vincent Ferraro Vaughnette Goode-Walker ‘71 Sr. Susan Harms, RSM ‘60 Margaret Daly Heap ‘82 Jennifer Teeple Mountjoy ‘92 David Paddison Kim Michael Polote ‘76 Margaret Mary Russell ‘70 Rev. J. Gerard Schreck Joe Shearouse, Jr. F. Brooks Zeigler
ALUMNAE BOARD Women Who Lead: Congratulations to SVA’s newest National Honor Society members! We are so proud of all of you! Back Row left to right: Ella Claxton, Grace Coleman, Gabby Ferraro, Catherine Moore, McCaillaigh Rouse, Ava Waters, Sloan Kearns, Lindsay Murray. Front Row left to right: Adelaide Jones, Mary Brennan, Natalie Henderson, Emily Henderson, Christine Lundblad, Anastasia Thaller, and Anna Sergi
Michelle Ryan Brennan ‘87, Secretary Kara Hohnerlein Ciucevich ‘87, President Lisa Best Daniel ‘86 Danielle Nicole Ellison ‘87 Lisa Ramsey Fogarty ‘89 Anne Muller Guidera ‘85 Betsy Provost Kameron ‘82, VP Loretto Dressel Lominack ’64, Director of Alumnae Affairs & Advisor Helena Phillips Russell ‘90 Kelli Foran Stuckey ‘99 Kathy Taggart Swanner ‘87 Melanie Roberts Willoughby ‘82, Treasurer Ursula Jones Wright ‘85
SVA student, Rosie Hogan, helps fundraise for AMBUCS Bowlapalooza . . . we are so proud of our students for the outreach they give to our community!
From the President
s we begin 2021, I am filled with hope and promise for good things to come. As a faith-filled community, our trust and peace rest in God alone. On Saturday morning I received a text from our Principal at St. Vincent’s Academy, Dawn Odom. The text had a picture of the book by Matthew Kelly, “I Heard God Laugh,” with the caption, “Awesome book” typed. She asked if I had read it yet and I said no. On Monday morning she brought me a copy. I highly recommend this book! The first chapter talks about the storms of life. Kelly suggests that it’s not an “if” they will happen, it’s a “when” they will happen. He goes on to say, that is why we need to be rooted in our relationship with God and our prayer life. This book is a step by step guide on how to get into the daily habit of prayer. Prayer does so many things for us. It centers and grounds us, and allows us to be open to what God wants for our lives. God calls us to do hard things and puts us in hard situations. It is up to us how we handle them. Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves and wallowing in the pain, we can ask God, “What is the lesson in this for me?” and “How can I use this situation for good?” In March of 2020 (the beginning of the pandemic), I decided that being with God in nature would help me to make sense of the anxious time we were all facing. Every day, my yellow lab Gus and I would start off from our driveway and walk between 3-6 miles. That was my time to let go of my anxiety and time to be with God, Gus, and nature. On our walks, we would see the same people every day. Whether we walked at 6am or 6pm, we seemed to be in sync with our neighbors. I sensed that they were all doing the same thing that I was doing and trying to find peace. After about a week of seeing the same people, I started to pray for each one: the lady with the braid on the phone, the old man who carried the stick to keep people and animals away from him, the kids walking the terriers that kept getting off their leashes, the mom pushing her disabled son in a stroller, the young man running to burn off energy, and the lonely six year old girl that would talk to me every day. I didn’t know any of their names. I prayed each day that they would stay healthy, safe, and that they would know and serve God. Every one of these people had a story that I didn’t know. After about a month of walking, the little girl who talked to me every day told me that her name was Jade. Jade seemed to appear anytime I was walking. She would ride her bike next to me and tell me the story of her life. She would talk about how her Mom just had a baby and no one was sleeping in her house. She told me how much she missed her teachers at school, and how this online learning doesn’t work for “a kid like her.” I asked her what that meant. She said, “Well, I NEED to be with other people in the room to learn. I also miss the birthday parties.” I thought about how profound those words really were to us all. We are meant to be connected, not isolated. Whether we are in happy times or sad times, we are meant to connect. Although we were socially distanced and masked strangers, my prayers for my neighbors connected me to them. Prayer has a wonderful way of showing us the way when we need it the most. Prayer connects us to God and one another. Last week I came home from school and there were three pink camellias (picked from my bush) and a handwritten note. The note said, “I haven’t sean (misspelled) you lately. I am praying for you. Love, Jade”. Thank you, God, for my answered prayer. This sweet little girl knows You and in her 8 year old way was ministering to me. I hope in a small way, I ministered to her too.
Matthew Kelly’s book made me smile. I do know that God won’t let us down, even during the storms of life. Prayer builds our relationship with God. If we listen more than we speak, we will hear Him guiding our steps. Sometimes as many as 6 miles a day! I turned to prayer again on Friday December 11th, when we laid our matriarch, Sr. Mary Jude Walsh, RSM to rest. She spent her 95 years on earth guiding, loving, serving, and praying for those around her. Sr. Jude left a remarkable legacy at St. Vincent’s Academy and an indelible mark on the hearts of all who encountered her. May the angels lead her into paradise. May she rest in peace. I know that she will always watch over her beloved SVA and now is forever a Saint. 2021 will be filled with excitement and a sense of renewed hope in our 175th year at St. Vincent’s Academy. Please pray for the successful completion of our convent renovation project. It is a legacy project that will forever improve the physical space of our beautiful, historic building. Our projected opening date is August of 2021. Join us on the journey by helping support this project at: www.svaga.net My greatest hope was to have Sr. Jude tour the renovated space which was her home for so many decades. I know that she is smiling down and happy that this will be a space for “her students” whom she loved dearly. Two weeks before she died, a faculty member went to visit her and took two students. She made them promise to take care of SVA. “We will Sr. Jude, we promise!” Thank you for the lessons you taught us and for guiding us every day. We love you. May God guide your steps in 2021 and let prayer carry you through 2021 with good health, strength, and peace.
Mary Anne Hogan, President St. Vincent’s Academy
From the Principal
hatever It Takes
The trendiest term in education recently coined proves to be perplexing: “pandemic principal.” I am not sure what to think about this new label, but I do take comfort in knowing that I am not alone on this adventure. Administrators all over the world tackle this pandemic with an adventurous and safety-minded formula. We find new ways to plan, implement the plan, and change the plan and plan again. The difference between me and the other principals on this adventure is that God has blessed me with the most appreciative students, and a patient, flexible staff. Our students have learned resiliency. They have also learned the importance of flexibility and change. They appreciate the simple things in life: carpool, lunch with classmates, and extra-curricular activities. As these young women move forward in education and their careers, they will use the skills they have developed during this pandemic to do whatever it takes to accomplish a dream or a goal. Michele Ruiz says it best, “If people are doubting how far you can go, go so far that you can’t hear them anymore.” “Whatever It Takes” serves as the theme for the 2020-2021 school year. Our faculty and staff have done whatever we needed them to do to make this the best possible school year for our girls. Seven A.M. temperature checks, mandatory masks, social distancing, virtual learning, and quarantines have become the new norm. Our teachers juggle in-person learning with hybrid virtual students since we started school on August 10. Mercy and flexibility go hand in hand while trying to manage the day to day in the classroom with students yearning to be with their friends, teachers, and classmates. Mother McAuley must be so proud of them. Our staff also exemplifies those values that Catherine McAuley possessed, and her words from 1841 stand to lead us today as we continue to move forward: “The simplest and most practical lesson I know…is to resolve to be good today, but better tomorrow. Let us take one day only in hands, at a time, merely making a resolve for tomorrow, thus we may hope to get on taking short, careful steps, not great strides.” Everyday, I am blessed to witness the strength, commitment, perseverance and determination that our staff, our students, student-athletes, and our families demonstrate. I am inspired by interactions with my SVA family. Every opportunity here, on our beautiful campus, is a reward. Every student that walks through our gate comes to us as a gift from God. And every day, I hear the words of Mother Teresa when she said, “I must be willing to give whatever it takes to do good to others. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise, there is no true love in me and I bring injustice, not peace, to those around me.” May God, St. Vincent, and Mother McAuley continue to bless St. Vincent’s Academy and the SVA family.
God Bless You,
Ms. Dawn Odom, M.Ed. CMAA Principal, St. Vincent’s Academy
Remembering an Enduring Legacy Sister Jude Walsh, RSM ‘43 (February 14, 1925 - December 7, 2020)
Heaven has gained a saint of the most extraordinary kind!
Sister M. Jude Walsh, RSM, died peacefully on Monday, December 7 at the age of 95. Sr. Jude was a Sister of Mercy for 77 years! She was a pioneer in education, an archivist and an avid sports fan, and principal of St. Vincent’s Academy for nearly 30 years, where she served for a total of 54 years! The number of lives she touched is extraordinary! She was an inspirational leader who helped guide young Savannah women for generations. Sr. Jude loved SVA with every fiber of her being! Without a doubt she was met at the gates of heaven with the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!” Sister Jude graduated from St. Vincent’s Academy in 1943 and entered the Sisters of Mercy the same year. In an interview two years ago, she said when she was an SVA student, she didn’t want her four years at the all-girls high school to end, and that is exactly where she ended up spending most of her life! Sister Jude earned her undergraduate degree at Mount Saint Agnes College and a master’s in education at Loyola College in Baltimore. She taught at seven schools, and was principal at four, including Nativity, Blessed Sacrament, Cathedral Day and SVA, all in Savannah. The year 1967 is when she began her ultimate long-standing career at Saint Vincent’s Academy. She once said, “Saint Vincent’s is the love of my life.” Sister was a teacher, Principal, Mother Superior of the Convent, archivist, fundraiser, Board member, and all-around cheerleader, among other titles she held for the school. Sister Jude led the school through many years of burgeoning women’s rights and affirmation. She believed in the women who attended the school and fostered not only their learning but their growth as the future leaders of the world.
Her dedication and service to education was recognized in 1993 when Pope John Paul II awarded her the yellow ribboned Benemerenti Award. This award was first given out by Pope Gregory XVI in 1852 in recognition of distinguished work in a civilian or military field. Sister Jude was a gentle giant of wit, intelligence, and energy. On many committees and panels, hers was the voice of logic and thoughtfulness. She was a persistent fundraiser for Saint Vincent’s. Few could refuse her requests when asked for help. Her many years of devoted service were rewarded with the dedication of Walsh Hall, the Saint Vincent’s gymnasium in her honor on the campus in 1993. When not at Saint Vincent’s, most days you would find Sister boating on the back river of Tybee Island in her small wooden boat-The Ancient Mariner (made by the father of SVA’s Buchheit family) being at one with the beauty and bounty of the water. Many learned how to go crabbing under the watchful eye of Sister Jude. In later years, she came to live at Mercy Convent. She loved her religious community, crushed ice, politics, and football games. While at the Convent, she dedicated herself to cataloging photos and memorabilia of Saint Vincent’s, her own family history and those of the Sisters of Mercy. As “keeper of the flame,” Sister was an avid collector of all things Mercy and Saint Vincent’s. Sister was the official historian of both and wrote the book “An Enduring Legacy-The Savannah Sisters of Mercy and St. Vincent’s Academy 1845 to 2015.” Sr. Jude dedicated her life shaping and enriching the lives of so many. Sister Jude said, “The person is important. We have to make more effort to focus on our humanity, and the morals that come from it. My advice for all is to keep learning and live happily.”
Mary Anne Hogan, SVA President, said of Sr. Jude that “Heaven has gained a saint of the most extraordinary kind! Bishop Emeritus J. Kevin Boland remembers Sr. Jude Walsh as a “woman of valor” and “outgoing and friendly beyond measure.” “Sister Jude was a marvelous leader, an educational specialist of the highest order, and the personification of religious life.” In a Savannah Morning News article, Loretto Lominack said of Sr. Jude that “She was a Valentine’s baby, so perfect because her heart was so full of love for everyone, even for those whom most of us find hard to appreciate. She was kind, passionate, intelligent, charitable, merciful, sympathetic, dynamic, gracious, and all other good attributes – a totally amazing woman.” I am sure so many of you have fond memories to share of Sister Jude that will forever live in your hearts! She was extraordinary and now our guardian angel. There is no doubt that she is watching over St. Vincent’s daily. Grant eternal rest to her and may God’s perpetual light shine upon her. Amen.
TO MAKE A DONATION IN MEMORY OF SISTER JUDE, VISIT WWW.SVAGA.NET CLICK ON CONVENT RENOVATION AND THEN CLICK THE “DONATE NOW” BUTTON. NOTE IN MEMORY OF SISTER JUDE.
CONVENT RENOVATION UPDATE Three years ago when the last two Sisters of Mercy living in the convent residence chose to move out, they handed me the keys and said, “Please use the convent for the students.” The upstairs residence was the sacred home for the Sisters of Mercy since 1845. The project to transform the residence into classrooms, meeting space, a conference room, and offices was a daunting task, but truly a gift for SVA. In recent years, St. Vincent’s Academy has outgrown our academic building. As an historic downtown institution, we are landlocked. The additional space gifted to the school by the Sisters is a true blessing. We are currently “borrowing” six classrooms in the old Cathedral Day School that we will vacate this coming August.
We are now entrusted with the care of this beautiful and historic convent. The SVA Board of Directors chose the architectural firm of Lominack Kolman Smith and The Pinyan Company as our general contractor to move forward on our legacy project. Construction broke ground in July and the space is scheduled to be open for students in August of 2021. Sr. Helen Marie Buttimer, RSM and Sr. Jogues Smith, RSM toured the convent in the Fall shortly after the renovation began. The upstairs space was their home for many years. Sr. Helen remarked at how wonderful this project is for the legacy of St. Vincent’s Academy. She said that it brought her great hope for the next 175 years in Mercy education.
The Sisters of Mercy have taught us to pivot and meet the needs of our students. Currently, our students need more space! In 2021, we are preparing our students for college and beyond with a wide array of electives, in addition to our college preparatory core curriculum.
No one loved SVA more than Sr. Jude Walsh, RSM. It was my greatest hope to have her see the students using the renovated space. Sadly, Sr. Jude passed away in early December. She knew that the project was underway and was so excited for the progress. During my last conversation with her, she said, “Oh, if those walls could talk!” It is such a blessing that our 175-year-old home to so many will continue to serve the students of SVA for generations to come.
We started the historic renovation journey during the Summer of 2020. Who breaks ground on a monumental construction project during a global pandemic? St. Vincent’s Academy does, of course! As the Board prayerfully considered how to proceed, this powerful quote from Catherine McAuley (the Foundress of the Sisters of Mercy) came to mind: “Amidst this little tripping about, our hearts can always be in the same place, centered in God, for whom alone we go forward or stay back.”
To help financially with the convent project or dedicate a special place in the newly renovated building to Sr. Jude or to one of the Sisters of Mercy, go to: www.svaga.net, click on Convent Renovation
It is such a blessing that our 175-year-old home to so many will continue to serve the students of SVA for generations to come.
Demolition and prep on one of our current stairwells is underway to prepare for elevator installation. Walls were removed from four different rooms, opening this large multi-use space for it’s new purpose. This space will be one that can be converted for different purposes as needed. The stained glass window which was hiding out in a dead end hallway of the school will be added to this space for Mary to watch over all who enter the room.
Dear Friend of St. Vincent’s Academy, On December 7, 2020, Sr. Mary Jude Walsh, RSM went home to be with God and receive her heavenly reward. I am certain that she was met at the gates of heaven with God telling her, “WELL done, my good and faithful servant.” I often refer to Sr. Jude as the Matriarch of St. Vincent’s Academy. She graduated from her beloved SVA in 1943. She came back to SVA as the Principal in 1967 and served in that role for nearly three decades. She served this school as a champion, cheerleader, and advocate until the day she went to God in 2020. Two weeks before she died, one of our staff members at SVA went out to visit Sr. Jude at Mercy Convent. She took two SVA students with her (her granddaughter and a friend). Sr. Jude absolutely lit up every time she encountered a “Saint.” She delighted in chatting with the students, and before they left, she had them promise to “Take care of St. Vincent’s.” It is our job as alumnae, family members, and supporters to honor the wishes of this remarkable servant leader and to continue the legacy of the school and the charism that she loved. Sr. Jude believed in progress and was a tremendous champion for the Convent Renovation Project. I remember showing her the architectural plans and her positive and hopeful response. She wanted to know every detail about the classrooms and the elevator that will overlook the grotto. She was so proud that her home and the home of so many Sisters of Mercy for the last 175 years was being transformed into a space for our students. We began the project with a sense of great urgency to make sure that Sr. Jude could see the completion of the project. I looked forward to riding the new elevator up to the third floor with her and showing her around our beautiful new educational space. While Sr. Jude will not be able to physically walk with me down the new hallways, I know that her unbreakable spirit and her commitment to Mercy will always resonate in this space. Sister Jude or Saint Jude, as she was often called, has been the face and heart of St. Vincent’s Academy for most of us our entire lives. On February 14, 2021, we not only celebrate Valentine’s Day, but Sr. Jude’s 96th birthday. As a show of love and as a celebration of the life of this servant leader, I am asking you to make a donation to the convent renovation in her name. Help us complete this project of which she was so proud! Help us take care of the future of St. Vincent’s Academy as she asked us all to do. May we all strive to live lives of service and unselfish love as Sr. Jude did for almost 96 years. Eternal rest grant unto her and may perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace knowing that we are taking care of her beloved SVA. To make a donation, visit our website at www.svaga.net and click on Convent Renovation and then click the “Donate Now” button. Note in memory of Sister Jude on the donation. Or, you can mail a check to St. Vincent’s Academy, Attn: Mary Anne Hogan, 207 East Liberty Street, Savannah, GA 31401. God bless you all,
Mary Anne Hogan, President St. Vincent’s Academy
Alumnae Highlights from SVA’s Women Who Lead Sara Jane Stroupe ‘04
MEGAN HUSSEY JOHNSON ‘01
In November of 2020 Sara Jane Children’s Boutique celebrated our 10 year anniversary. I never expected our 10th year in business to be as challenging as our first, but due to the ever changing dynamic of retail during the pandemic it was. Providing top notch customer service, even during a pandemic, was something I refused from which to waiver. Many days I would drive to customers houses to deliver outfits even across state lines- to make sure that our customers are the “best dressed.” Instagram and Facebook lives were the new normal and thank goodness for the support of my customers, employees, family and friends. We were able to make it through it all, even being a mom of a 2 year old and a 5 year old and also running a travel business. Looking forward to our 11th year ahead and throwing a big party once Covid is over!
After more than a decade working in Finance and Accounting at Gulfstream Aerospace, I’m taking on new challenges with a significant career change. I recently joined my dad at Raymond James in Savannah, GA, working as a financial advisor. In my new role, I help individuals, families and businesses plan their financial future. It is a career that my dad has loved for almost 4 decades, claiming that he “loves Mondays,” and I couldn’t be more excited about sharing his passion for helping others in our community. I am particularly focused on motivating women to take a more active role in pursuing their financial goals.
RIN RICHARDSON ‘18 After graduating from Saint Vincent’s Academy in the spring of 2018, I headed to Shorter University in Rome, Georgia. Attending Saint Vincent’s equipped me with characteristics such as leadership, curiosity, a strong faith, and drive. All of these are vitally important to my successes in college, but I will also carry these into my future profession. I am planning to go into the field of Occupational Therapy and will attend graduate school upon completion of my undergrad. Since I am playing college golf, I continue to experience opportunities to exhibit teamwork and leadership that was expected of me during my time at Saint Vincent’s. While in Rome, I enjoy volunteering at the Catholic Church. I teach religious education and help prepare teens for Confirmation. Having the opportunity and being trusted to lead young children in their own faith journey is something that has continually reinforced the pillars of Mercy instilled in us at SVA, modeled by both teachers and my own peers. I am forever indebted to Saint Vincent’s and the remarkable women that I encountered during my time inside those gates.
Like many other working moms, the “new normal” has afforded me the opportunity to spend more time at home with my kids, Will (7) and Suzanna (4), and my husband, Justin Johnson. I like to credit St. Vincent’s for bringing the two of us together. It was a combination of an adult French club led by Madame Shaw, some lifelong fellow SVA friends, and a little bit of fate.
RILEY SHEPPARD ‘17 For those of you who don’t know me, I am Riley Sheppard ‘17 and am in my final year of undergraduate studies at Georgia Southern University. In May, I will graduate with a degree in Child and Family Development. The solid educational foundation provided by St. Vincent’s Academy has enabled me to consistently make the President’s List and Dean’s List. While in Statesboro, I became a substitute teacher at the Georgia Southern Child Development Center, where I discovered a true passion for working with children that really took flight. In 2020, I was honored with the Georgia Association for the Education of Young Children’s ‘Student of the Year’ award. This award is given to an outstanding student in child development and I was honored to receive it. Currently, I am completing an internship with Babies Can’t Wait, an organization that provides early intervention services for infants and toddlers with special needs. Upon graduation in May of 2021, I will pursue my doctorate in Occupational or Physical Therapy.”
Alumnae Highlights from SVA’s Women Who Lead kathryn ann waller ‘16
rachel westmoreland ‘99
In December of 2020, I graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising. I accepted a job as a marketing associate for TTR Sothebys International Realty in Washington, D.C., and started my new position in January 2021. I am working on marketing campaigns and administrative assistance through my new role with Sotheby’s and plan to continue photography in Washington. I hope to expand into more portraiture and documentary photography, exploring the different events and opportunities D.C. offers.
My name is Rachel Westmoreland and I am a c/o ’99 graduate of St. Vincent’s Academy and a proud HBCU graduate of North Carolina A&T State University. I am currently the Sr. Director of Finance and Operations at Oakland Promise, a non-profit organization in Oakland, CA, that provides cradle to career opportunities through scholarships and educational resources for underserved and underrepresented students and families. I began my accounting and finance career as an Auditor with Deloitte, one of the Big 4 accounting firms in the DC area. I’ve had the pleasure of working with large-scale clients, such as Lockheed Martin, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Amtrak; but my passion has always been in the service industry so I began specializing in the non-profit sector with clients such as National Education Association and Special Olympics. In my current role at Oakland Promise, I not only have the privilege of working in Finance and Human Resources, but I am also afforded the opportunity to be a part of a larger mission which is helping students receive the educational resources needed to get them to and through college.
I credit St. Vincent’s in helping me succeed in school and photography and for enabling me to find a position in a city where I have wanted to live since I visited during my senior year with my class! I was never told to hold back or wait for something else to happen to start chasing my dreams. Everyone at SVA, including all of my classmates and teachers, always supported my photography, and now as I am starting a career in a different industry, I credit myself, but I also know SVA is a huge part of why I am who I am, why I’m here today, and why I keep going. The amount of support I’ve received from the SVA community has been unbelievable, and every day I’m grateful for the life-long lessons and values that SVA taught me.
While Finance is where I have centered my career, my passion has always been helping others understand the language of finance, money, and investing. As we grow into our careers, we are taught how to make money but not necessarily how to generate wealth. My goal in life is to change how we think, how we view, and how we talk about finances, especially for the next generation. I live my life based on the scripture “To whom much is given, much will be required” (Luke 12:48). St. Vincent’s Academy has prepared me to be the woman I am today. I am a wife, a mother to three beautiful children, and a God-fearing and career-driven woman. I will forever be grateful for what I have learned thus far and will strive to continue to share those gifts with others.
caroline dove ‘11
I reached the rank of Sergeant in the Marines and was in charge of Training and Development, ensuring that all my Marines met the requirements to perform their jobs and duties proficiently. I always put my Marines first and made sure they were qualified for schools and courses, or enrolled them in courses that would benefit the section or themselves. I’ve taught various classes from professional development to annual classes. I led a small team to redesign the Land Navigation Orienting Course for Marine Combat Training (the next training school after boot camp). I was the Meteorology Chief for Exercise Rolling Thunder, in which two others and I were directly supporting the Artillery Fires Exercise. I was given the billet for the Section Noncommissioned Officer in addition to the Training and Development billet. Before I left the Marine Corps, I was one of the two highest ranking women in this particular job, and we were the first few women in the Artillery Community.
Alumnae Highlights from SVA’s Women Who Lead MELISSA YAO HILLE ‘92
SARAH HENNESSY ‘20
Despite being in the middle of a pandemic, life is busy and life is so good -- I thank God everyday for that. I am currently going crazy as a mom of two teenagers! Having a boy and girl the same age, is not for the faint of heart - here’s to praying the next few years! In between being a mom, I am running my marketing and advertising company, MY Agency, as well as managing our family restaurants. This summer we opened a new restaurant downtown, Bowls & Bubbles, in addition to our three Sunrise locations around town. So needless to say, never a dull moment in our family!
Hello, my name is Sarah Hennessy. I graduated from SVA last year amongst the global Covid 19 pandemic. Although my senior year ended abruptly, my time at SVA was full of great friends, classmates, teachers, and most importantly, memories. I had the opportunity to accomplish amazing things while attending SVA. Most notably performing on live television, along with some of the best people I have ever had the honor of knowing, at the Cobb Center in Atlanta for Georgia’s Shuler Awards. Along with the Shuler Awards, I also was an honorable mention in the ACIS photo contest after submitting a photo taken in Scotland on one of SVA’s trips to Europe.
SVA has influenced many aspects of my life. During my time there, SVA taught me how to be a leader and critical thinker which has helped me run my businesses. More importantly, SVA also taught me how to be the best person I can be - treat people with kindness, learn with humility and fight against social injustice. We have been fortunate enough to own our own family businesses and are proud of the fact that we have had SVA students working at all of our businesses over the years. Sunrise Breakfast: Started in 1987 by my parents, Paul & Agnes Yao. Sunrise is a family breakfast restaurant that has served Savannah for more than 30 years. Currently there are locations on Tybee Island, Wilmington Island and Chatham Parkway. MY Agency: After working 14 years as the head of marketing for Visit Savannah and the Savannah Chamber, I opened my own full-service marketing, advertising, social media, public relations and website development company. Today, we serve a variety of clients all over the Southeast. Bowls & Bubbles and Kung Fu Tea: This summer we opened a new restaurant on Broughton Street - serving authentic bubble tea and poke bowls. Poke bowls are a new way to eat sushi, by deconstructing it and including your favorite ingredients.
I am now entering my second semester of my freshman year at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega. I have since switched my major from Criminal Justice to Psychology. College has been particularly interesting, as most classes started out online the first semester. Although this set up limited my chances of meeting new people, I have found an amazing group of friends. Although the opportunities are limited in regards to musical theater, I still love to sing and try to find time to do so. However, the photographic opportunities have been plentiful. The beautiful mountains, various hiking trails, lakes, quaint downtown area, and occasional snowfall have given me time to improve my skills. Along with all the extra-curriculars, I have also found an amazing place of worship that has allowed me to explore and understand a deeper meaning behind the messages taught at SVA. Saint Vincent’s taught me the importance of connections whether it be in relationships, fellowship, or academics. Luckily a piece of Saint Vincent’s is never far from me as 7 fellow sisters are also attending the university. I’m thankful to have them here as we grow and learn. One of the most important lessons SVA ever taught me was to be a woman who leads, and I will never forget that.
Alumnae Highlights from SVA’s Women Who Lead
SVA Alumnae . . .
ELLEN HOGAN EBBERWEIN ‘11
We would love to hear from My husband and I just welcomed our second child into the world. I work as a dedicated mother and homemaker to Teddy and Emma Bates Ebberwein. I am also the Daughters of Ireland’s Historian and responsible for maintaining the organization’s scrapbook and photo album. I act as a resource person for subjects requiring research pertaining to Irish heritage and customs, and am responsible for preserving all official documents!
LEAH RIFFLE ‘99 Saint Vincent’s Academy has influenced my life in so many ways. I made lasting friendships at SVA. The people we surround ourselves with have a tremendous influence on us. Even now, I continue to see how strong the sisterhood community is at SVA, and how building confidence and self-esteem in young students is important. I feel that SVA also helped prepare me for college in so many ways. After I graduated from UGA in 2004, I moved to Atlanta where I worked for a large retailer. At the age of 26, I was excited to move back to Savannah and open my own business. I co-own 3 boutiques now: Red Clover, Harper Boutique, and Arrowleaf Boutique, and ShopRedClover.com. I know that hard work, family, community, friendship and SVA have helped with my success and influenced my decisions over the years.
you! Let us know the great things going on in your life by emailing us today at email@example.com. We would love to include your accomplishments and news in our next issue of the FLASH! We are so proud of ALL of our graduates and the many ways they are bringing greatness to our world!
Loretto Dressel Lominack ‘64 How many times during your childhood did you decide you were so interested in something that you were going to make your career in that field? Let’s see, my list included, Olympic ice-skater, archaeologist, writer, veterinarian, Sister of Mercy, etc., etc. Never did I plan to get my degree in Speech & Language Pathology! How many times, like me, did you lose interest and declare you were going to “be” something else? Most of us are influenced by the experiences we have on the path to becoming an adult and make our choices from our interests and those influences along the way. Like me, you probably changed your mind at least a dozen times. Angela Sommerset ‘80 grew up in a close-knit, stable, involved, and caring family of four here in Savannah. She and her sister were a year apart in age and both attended St. Vincent’s. Angela and her sister, Michelle, were close, but had different interests. Angela was into the outdoors, dogs, science and also art and music, while Michelle was more of a “girlie-girl,” to quote Angela. However, there are those like Angela Sommerset, who see something and immediately know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she will absorb its very essence to make medicine and science her life. She credits her fascination with all things medical to her beloved father, to whom she was exceptionally close. Angela’s dad was a devoted military medic with the U. S. Special Forces Reserves and spent quite a bit of his time at home looking through his medical manuals. Since they were always available, Angela spent many hours examining his books, especially the photographs, which she found fascinating. She was over-the-top interested in how the human body functioned. “When other girls were playing with dolls, I was experimenting with a chemistry set my father gave me one Christmas,” Angela reminisced. She remembers her father as being kind, incredibly wise, and a very patient man. No doubt, her dad had to be a very patient person, as his “other job” was being a fulltime Assistant Principal in the Chatham County Public School System, with the majority of his career spent at Windsor Forest High School. Any assistant principal has to have the patience of Job.
While in her senior year at St. Vincent’s, Angela received a dare from a few of her friends to run for president of the student council. Not one to back away from a friendly challenge, she tossed her hat into the ring and won the election of 1980! She was the first African-American student ever named Student Council President of SVA! Following four very successful academic and enjoyable years at St. Vincent’s, Angela was off to attend Indiana University to receive her B.S. degree in Biochemistry. From there it was back to Georgia and Mercer University, where she received her MD. The University of Alabama was where she completed her Family Medicine Residency. Angela’s final step on her way to becoming a physician was to attend the University of Alabama, where she completed her Family Residency. Angela’s family, especially her father, prouder than anyone, was there to cheer her on through the years of completing her education to establish herself in the field of medicine. Angela never had doubts about the type of practice that she wanted to pursue. She finds Family Practice the most interesting and perfect for her. The days are filled with a variety of people and illnesses. Her patients range in age from babies to octogenarians and have complaints from a hard-to-remove splinter and simple colds to life-threatening illnesses. It keeps Angela on her toes in terms of maintaining diagnostic skills and intellectual engagement. Not only can she play an important role in treating illnesses, she is able to take an active role in guiding a patient’s decision-making in relation to his/ her health-care. She monitors medications and treatments, counsels and explains healthy life styles, family dynamics, and family planning, among other things. She advises patients on the serious effects stress can have on good health how it can greatly impact illnesses already present. Her days are filled with tremendous variety and interesting challenges. Her twenty-eight year, one-doctor practice has never been dull. It allows her to treat whole patients and coordinate their health care. A great part of her practice is building long-term relationships and treating a patient, or whole family, for 15 to 20 years or more. She enjoys getting to know them, not just their names on a file, but their jobs, children, and other things that can affect their general health. She sees the effects positive and negative life changes have on their health and helps them make choices to improve their health. In her work, Angela does not take a back seat in the practice of medicine.
S P O T L I G H
A L U M N A
LA SOMMERSET ‘80
The phrase “front lines” is a popular expression today and that is right where Angela finds herself. Her role is diagnostically challenging and one that she finds exciting and fulfilling. Medicine may be a huge part of Angela’s life, but it is far from being her only interest. Angela is a multi-faceted person. Her interests and talents lie in in both science and the arts. As a child of five, she began faithfully taking piano lessons from Rose Marie Smith, whom she has known and loved for fifty-three years. Angela also enjoys playing the organ at her church in Huntsville, Alabama. Recently, she composed and produced a piece of classical music that she sent to be copyrighted. Her piano teacher must be beaming with pride! She also enjoys writing poetry and sketching when an interesting person or form happens to catch her eye. I am sure that she will begin producing many sketches, not to mention photos of a certain beautiful little girl named Haven, who came into her life eight months ago as her very first grandchild. Spending time with this sweetheart is definitely a priority these days. It is obvious by the way in which she speaks of SVA, that Angela has a tremendous fondness for her years at St. Vincent’s and acknowledges that SVA helped her along her chosen path. She has wonderful and, as she says, “priceless memories” of St. Vincent’s that will always be with her – the friends and comradery, music with Mrs. Schreck in Les Chanteurs, and art classes she dearly loved. She still speaks sadly and lovingly of her dearest friend and classmate, Alva Powell, who later died of cancer. Of SVA, Angela reminisces that it was “a large piece of the foundation that brought me where I am today.” “Through life’s journeys, there have been many twists and turns, and above all, many challenges. Through everything, God has been there and I have held on to my faith that has sustained me. Time and circumstance happen to us all, but it is what we make of it all that ultimately counts. I really miss my father, and there is never a day that I do not
think of him. I know he is with me in spirit. It has always been his faith and confidence in me that has kept me going, especially in the most difficult times of my life.” She still imagines how her father would handle solving a problem. She always remembers one sage piece of his advice, “True wisdom comes from your mistakes,” as he assured her that no matter what the situation, she would “always land on her feet.” Dad was right! Angela is an impressive woman who does always lands on her feet!
SVA’S Special Events GO VIRTUAL to Great Success Nancy Schreck 2020 was an interesting year for SVA’s Special Events, to say the least. But during this disruptive year of a pandemic, we were forced to “think outside of the box,” which proved to be a very successful way to go! We managed to host our usual socially-close, special events by “going virtual!” From July 27-31, 2020, we held our first ARTraegeous Online Art Auction. Talented, well known, local artists donated some of their masterpieces for us to auction off online. We sold nearly 200 pieces of art and were generously sponsored by 11 corporate and individual donors. The bidding process was fast and furious and turned out to be tons of fun! It was a huge success, exceeding our expectations! To raise funds in support of our own Convent Renovation project, from Oct. 21 to Nov. 13, 2020, SVA sponsored its first Designer Room Makeover Raffle. Tickets were $150.00 each or 3 for $400.00. We are most grateful to our 7 corporate sponsors and 3 interior designers: Sandra Menendez, Katie Crider & Christina McClimans. Our Grand Prize First Place winner was Jamie Burchett. She won full interior design services for a room in her house (excluding kitchens & bathrooms); $5,000 worth of furniture from Whelan’s Furniture; room painting by Southern Home Solutions ($1,000 value); flooring from Culver Rug Co. ($1,000 value); window treatments ($1,000 value) by Budget Blinds of Savannah (Kathy Sheppard Weeks ’85); and $450 worth of shopping sprees at local boutiques. Second Place was a commissioned artwork by featured artist Sandra Menendez, which was won by Anita Harrison. Our Third Place winner of a $250 Shopping Spree from Emily McCarthy was Shannon Hollis. What a creative and unique fundraiser to help preserve and renovate our beloved Convent building! Our beautiful Christmas Candlelight Concert went viral this year! Despite not being able to have this annual, standing room only concert in the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist due to Covid restrictions, our fearless, tenacious Director of Music, Bernadette McDonough Winters ’64, managed to come
up with a wonderful alternative idea: Let’s take it to the people virtually! Our talented chorus was videotaped live by Cathedral Productions (Thank you, Tim Williams) on December 3rd while performing the entire concert in the Cathedral Basilica, with appropriate social distancing. The video was livestreamed on our Facebook page on Sunday, December 6th at 7pm; then it was posted to YouTube after the event, and subsequently aired on WTOC on Christmas morning. As an added attraction, former students and alumnae submitted videos of themselves, singing along with the Hallelujah Chorus, and their videos were spliced into our official video, alongside the chorus as they actually sang. Even 91 year-old Patty Schreck, SVA’s former Music Director who began the Christmas Candlelight Concerts back in 1971, was spotted singing along! This year’s concert was truly inspirational and beautiful! Rising above the disappointment of not being able to have our annual Christmas Shopping Night Event & Fundraiser for student aid and scholarship due to Covid restrictions, we held our first Christmas Online Shopping Event from Dec. 7 – 13th. Local artisans, vendors, boutiques, restaurants, and friends donated gift cards and merchandise for us to auction online, a total of 110 items. Everything sold rather quickly and we surpassed our goal for this new, online effort! I guess you could say we are “cutting edge” and keeping up with technology and the popularity of online shopping!
Searching for Sr. Rock Loretto Dressel Lominack ‘64 Over the years, Pat Durant ‘66 and I touched base several times about numerous things involving my job with SVA’s alumnae. Pat and I were in school at the same time, but two years apart. In October, our last conversation, Pat was looking for a Sister of Mercy who taught us and all the students were absolutely crazy about her! Her name was Sr. Rock and we thought she was just perfect in every way – so pretty, good personality, and a terrific teacher! You simply do not forget some teachers.
So, time has passed and Pat happily had a conversation with her favorite and most admired teacher, Sr. Helen Amos different name, but same impressive lady. No doubt, Sister did not share any of the headlines, articles, or awards she received over the years, but I know Pat shared the important role Sister played in the path Pat chose and how Sister influenced her life.
Since getting back in touch with her seemed so important to Pat, I inquired as to the reason. It seemed that this teacher had a profound influence on Pat and what she chose to do with her life. Needless to say, I absolutely wanted to help her find Sr. Rock. I mean, what teacher would not want to hear that she had such a powerful impact on one of her students?
Pat: “You have been in my thoughts many times over the past years, in fact, just about every time I’ve taught an engineering or a math course.”
Here are a few of the things said in their conversation:
Sr. Helen Amos: “How gratifying to be thanked, even as I know it was your own dedication and giftedness that enabled you to make the most of “It is an inspiration to see the many ways your education. Nevertheless, I am gratified.”
Of course, I looked online and you have used your good thinking for the found where Sr. Rock had been over the years. I was delightPat: “It is an inspiration to see Sisters of Mercy and various medical ed and amazed with the many the many ways you have used organizations. I want to thank you . . . “ newspaper articles about your good thinking for the awards and accolades Sister reSisters of Mercy and various ceived during this time. Our Sr. medical organizations. I want to Rock moved from teaching high school to hospital adminthank you for teaching me algebra, geometry, trigonometry, istration and things healthcare-related. Wow, our former and physics so many years ago. The new math you taught teacher certainly had made career moves. There were us underpins the work I did in industry and the teaching I articles from the Baltimore Sun, Catholic Review, Voice, have done.” and so many national news organizations, magazines, and universities that I knew I could not begin to name them Sr. Helen Amos: “Isn’t it fun to recall that we once thought all. what we were exploring together was ‘new’ math?” One important fact I discovered was our Sr. Rock was now known as Sr. Helen Amos. It is amusing how all the girls at St. Vincent’s were dead-set on finding out “real names” of the sisters who taught us and here her name was in this huge headline - “Mercy’s Sister Helen Amos, RSM, Receives 2018 Catholic Business Leadership Award.” It was all pretty impressive stuff. She collected a slew of awards over the years, from the Maryland Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame to Loyola University’s Business Leader of the Year. The Daily Record has identified her as a “Top 50 Influential Marylander,” and the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council presented her with its Christian Life Award for her steadfast commitment to Christian faith. The list went on and on. I was impressed that Sr. Rock, I mean Sr. Helen Amos, made such a name for herself, not that she intended to, of course; she was only doing the Lord’s work as He expected and wherever she was most needed.
Many more kind expressions of appreciation and affectionate well-wishes were exchanged by the student and teacher from long ago. However, the story does not end here. Let me share exactly why Pat wanted to express her feelings to Sister and tell her about what she did with her life. For this article, I wanted to write about a student’s appreciation for a respected teacher. In relation to that, I wanted to write about a woman’s unusual career for the 1960s. I asked Pat to let me know about her life in engineering, something we did not hear of females choosing in the 1960s, not to mention few women were accepted to Georgia Tech in the 60s. Fortunately, Pat shared much more about her life. Pat began her life’s journey with social work while living in Atlanta in the late 60s and early 70s. She worked on the Vine City project renovating a housing project north of
Georgia Tech, which is where she happened to receive She is an Air Force nurse living in San Antonio, who meets aircraft her degree in physics. Vine City turned out to be a returning the sick and wounded from oversees. Like her mom, Alef one-of-a-kind project, considered to be the “first mod- also has her own cause. Like mother, like daughter. ern grassroots urban renewal project” in the country. Now, we move on to Pat’s interesting and unusual relationship with Romania. Nicolae Ceaușescu, notorious Romanian communist While in graduate school at Arizona State in the late leader and head of state, refused to allow many medical things to 70s, Pat was recruited by The National Urban League be imported into the country. Known for tremendous human rights to create a program for women and people of color abuses within the country, he suppressed and controlled the media to break the barriers that existed in the Construction and press. Starving Romanians were leaving the country as a reUnions in Arizona at that time. They managed to sult of his repression. Many articles were reported in the U.S press secure current tests, which were passed then only by documenting horrendous problems affecting the Romanian people. white males; they taught math and technical sciences Pat was well aware of the problems and, as a human rights activist, necessary for all to pass. Sixty-two of these brave men had a desire to help those so mistreated. Like a dog with a bone, and women joined the unions under this program. she latched on to this cause and became a champion for these The doors finally were opened! people. Americans could enter Romania easily and Pat became a tenacious smuggler, readily admitting to having smuggled certain After graduation, Pat moved to Phoenix to design pro- forbidden items into the country. My friend Pat, a smuggler, and she got away with it! Did she tell our Sr. Helen Amos about her cessing for integrated circuits at Motorola, then Bowillegal escapades? mar, and finally to Colorado Springs at National Cash Register Corporation. She was part of the team that brought the Bowmar Brain, one of the early calculators, to market. Pat told me that it is now in the calculator museum in Washington. At NCR she was part of the team that built the first 4k RAM. Today, everything is in giga memory and higher. NCR introduced it in their cash registers. Computer connected point-ofsales terminals are now everywhere. “We began losing integrated circuit building to overseas and so after getting an MS in Materials Engineering, I moved on to exotic materials machining in the aerospace industry, where I worked for Garrett Corporation for a number of years. My husband and I got the itch to be back-to the-landers and bought a farm in Northern California. Not really able to make a living from the farm, I took a position teaching engineering at the College of San Mateo and my husband Jim, started a medical device company Invivo Corp. in the San Francisco area.“ Yes, Pat actually took the time to meet the perfect person to marry!” There is no doubt that Pat and Jim were soulmates, but not for as long as they wanted. Jim passed away over twenty years ago, but part of him remains with Pat, their daughter, Alef, now thirty-two. Pat DuRant is pictured left and Sr. Rock is pictured right.
Having spent time in Hungary, Pat answered a call in 1995 from Radio Budapest to submit recommendations to improve the lives of women in the country. The planks to the platform she submitted were taken to the UN Women’s Conference in Beijing. The Hungarian Government invited her to Hungary for a week and aired a radio program to discuss those suggestions. “After our daughter was born, we moved back up north. I’ve been teaching mechanics and properties of materials at Humboldt State University since 2010. I’m technically retired but I keep going back to teach one course in materials in the Environmental Resources Engineering Department. I look forward to teaching with Zoom in the spring. We get students who are interested in preserving the earth and protecting our societies. Working with them is a joy.” Pat credits her Catholic school upbringing with making her “blessed life” possible. She still teaches with methods learned from the Sisters at Blessed Sacrament and St. Vincent’s, and she tries her best to follow their example of nurturing the people who come into her life. Writing to me, Pat said, “Thank you, Loretto. I’ve never written a recount of my life before. I enjoyed the reflection and hope you might find some tidbits useful to students.” You are amusing, Pat. You are so innocently unaware of the all the good and meaningful gifts you have given to people with whom you have shared your vast knowledge and your simple kindness. Pat DuRant, you are one amazing woman!
CREATIVE LEARNING at SVA
Mrs. Antonucci’s class created an anatomy and physiology flexion hand model with paper, straws and string!! What a great learning experience!!
Students in Mrs. Toler’s Honors Chemistry Class were assigned a Chemistry of Baking Christmas Cookies project. What a great way to tie chemistry to real life! Students had to choose their favorite Christmas cookie recipe, write the chemical formula for as many ingredients as possible, and convert measurements to grams, explain whether each step created a chemical or physical change, and describe three ways the student knew that a chemical change occurred. They shared cookies with the class! Thank you, Mrs. Toler, for making class so exciting for our girls!
Dr. Melissa Scorza, mother of SVA freshman Kathryn Scorza, spoke to Mrs. Berman’s AP biology class about her career as a dermatologist. She explained the function and anatomy of our skin and presented examples of several dermatological conditions, describing their pathological features and how they’re diagnosed. Dr. Scorza showed them how to perform a punch biopsy on tomatoes and how to use liquid nitrogen to remove skin growths. The ladies were also able to look at their own skin using a dermascope. It was a wonderful presentation and handson experience. Thank you, Dr. Scorza, for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your knowledge with our students!
Dr. Vickie Watson’s Honors Physics class conducted a lab similar to Galileo’s, using a pendulum to calculate the gravitational acceleration constant. What a great learning experience! Thank you, Dr. Watson!
SVA held a Voter Registration in honor of National Voter Registration Day! We are so proud of these Women Who Lead!
Latin students at SVA studying Mythology with Ms. Westgate were challenged to turn themselves into statues from Greek & Roman mythology in her class. What a fun and memorable learning experience!
Mrs. Faucette’s class has been creating Road Maps to the Civil War Projects . . . how creative! Thank you Mrs. Faucette for making learning fun at SVA!!
Dr. Neesha Navare worked on sonnets with her AP Literature class! They are pictured here working on sonnet strips! Each group had a sonnet (Petrarchan, Shakespearean or Spenserian) cut apart into strips and had to work together to determine the correct order of the lines as the author wrote them. Some methods they used to accomplish this included considering the definite rhyme scheme of each kind of sonnet, the Volta, rhyming couplets, whether a question might be posed, etc. It was tough but definitely fun! Thank you, Dr. Navare, for making learning so fun for our girls!!
Religion students at St. Vincent’s Academy participated in a pumpkin-carving fundraiser to support Childhood Cancer for Camp Sunshine . . . awesome job ladies!!
Trailblazing Saint Vincent’s Academy Graduate By Donnel Suggs, The Southern Cross “Savannah, Ga. - Donna Myers (nee Oliver) walked to the corner of Abercorn Street and East Oglethorpe Avenue and pointed her finger north. She described her after school walk from St. Vincent’s Academy (SVA) to the bus stop on Broughton Street. She remembered it like it was yesterday. “I walked Abercorn to Broughton, and in front of Levy Jewelers I would leave the group and then I would walk down Broughton to Friedman’s Jewelers on the corner of Whitaker and Broughton, and I would get a bus there to West Victory Drive,” said Myers, the first Black student in the 175-year history of the prestigious all-girls Catholic school. “Then I would take that bus home to Liberty City, my neighborhood.” Myers, a retired Chatham County educator and a member of the SVA Class of 1967, doesn’t get a chance to visit the school much these days, but despite the time away, couldn’t help but immediately remember stories from her high school days. She continued reminiscing. “At lunch, we could come outside and sit over there,” she pointed to a ledge on the side of the school build-
ing. “Or we could go to the bookstore across the street if we needed anything.” First Among Many Myers and two others, Veronica Johnson and the late O’Linda Douglas, were the first Black graduates of St. Vincent’s Academy, but for the first two years of her high school career, Myers was alone, the sole Black student at the school in 1964 and 1965. Whether she admits it or not, whether she agrees or not, she is a trailblazer for the Black students that attended after she walked through the doors. Today it would not be odd to see Black girls dressed in
the white blouses and plaid skirts of St. Vincent’s crossing Liberty Street on their way to class or heading to Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist. In 1964 Donna Myers stood out in a much different Savannah, and for that matter, America. “I went to St. Vincent’s with full knowledge that I would be the only Black girl in the school,” remembers Myers. “There was never a fear in my mind that I was less than or unprepared.” Catholic school was in her plans long before she was born. Sister Mary Monica, a teacher at Most Pure Heart, had taught Myers’ father and uncles and then taught her. Moving over to a Catholic high school was the obvious next move for Myers, and it may have even been predestined. One day as she and her mother, a native of South Carolina, were driving around town and passed by St. Vincent’s, Myers remembered telling her mother that she would go to that school one day. Myers was oblivious to the fact that in the Jim Crow South, at least at that time, that would not be possible. A few short years later, following the Supreme Court’s 1964 Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawing school segregation, she would be preparing for her first day of classes at St. Vincent’s, — breaking the color line at the school for good. Asked if she was ever scared, she immediately responded, “I don’t have that kind of personality. This was the school my parents sent me to, and it was the school that prepared a young woman for society. Back then, you did what your parents told you to do, and St. Vincent’s was a school that aligned with their values.” Ready for the Challenge Myers has fond memories of her time at St. Vincent’s, readily admitting that she was received well by the nuns, lay teachers, and the students. Myers and her younger brother Solomon Myers III, 69, the oldest living Black graduate of Benedictine Military Academy (BC) and the second Black cadet to graduate from the school, were taught that they too had the right to earn a quality education. Academically the workload and expectations had not bothered Myers because the expectations for her to achieve high marks at home were just as high if not higher. “For me, there weren’t any academic difficulties,” said Myers. “I was the kind of student that would do what was asked of me. I never got in trouble growing up.” Despite being treated fairly for her first two years as the only Black student at St. Vincent’s and then as a junior and senior alongside Douglas and Johnson,
Myers does remember there was a time her intelligence and dreams were questioned. A teacher assigned the seniors to write about where they wanted to apply to college. Myers wrote about applying to her dream school, Middlebury College, a private Liberal Arts college in Vermont and one of the best of its kind in the country. Myers was dreaming big, the teacher didn’t agree. She requested that Myers’ father come to a parent/teacher conference. The meeting was to possibly discourage his daughter’s high post-high school expectations. All that meeting did was further fire Meyers up. She would graduate from St. Vincent and attended Middlebury, later graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in French, Sociology, and Anthropology. Myers came home to Savannah following college graduation and began a 40-plus year career in education, teaching within the Chatham County public school system. She became an administrator and a principal at Hodge Middle School before retiring. Some of the students Myers taught would raise funds for summer trips to Europe which gave her the opportunity to have them use the French they learned in her classes in the real world. She also spent years traveling to the old Soviet Union to teach English to teachers there. Sometimes she would stay in the homes of host families, most likely being the only Black person to ever have stepped foot in these people’s homes. Again she was breaking new ground and blazing new trails. “I enjoyed being immersed in their culture; it was fine,” she said of her four trips to the Soviet Union. Her time at St. Vincent’s Academy helped craft an exciting and impressive life and career. “The experience at St. Vincent’s reinforced what my parents taught me and gave me real-world experience,” added Myers, who attends St. Benedict the Moor Church in Savannah. “Having done that alone for two years, I’m sure having that many years at a young age in that situation probably prepared me for anything. And everything. Consider the trail blazed.”
Editor’s Note: This article, written about an St. Vincent’s Academy graduate, was taken verbatim from a recent edition of the Southern Cross. I would like to express St. Vincent’s appreciation to The Southern Cross, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Savannah, and to its publisher, Bishop Stephen D. Parkes, Bishop of Savannah for permission to reprint this. – Loretto Dressel Lominack, Editor
FROM THE ATHLETIC DIRECTOR
Congratulations to Kiffin Brun who signed with
Congratulations to Emma Beddow who signed to
Congratulations to Amber Beddow who
the University of Montevallo for Track & Field.
play Soccer at Columbus State University.
signed to play Soccer at Young Harris College.
While SVA Athletics continues to experience unprecedented times due to COVID-19, our coaches and Saints continue to flourish despite the pandemic and the challenges it brings. This fall, our volleyball team finished 22-12 overall, and 4-4 in area region play for a 3rd seed ranking going into GHSA A Private state playoffs. Coaches Nichols St. Louis, Mike St. Louis, and Catherine Levdahl led the Saints to the Elite 8 with huge wins over Eagles Landing and Brookstone before being eliminated by a talented St. Francis team. First Team All-Region players for SVA were Emma Cowart, Catherine Moore and Mattie Lynch. Belle Jackson and Maeve Mobley were named to the Second Team. Congratulations to Emma Cowart for finishing her volleyball career with an astounding 222 career blocks!
Coaches Brooke and Joey Sims continue to build a solid Cross Country program within St. Vincent’s Athletics. This season, our Saints finished as Savannah Area Runners-up and Region 3A Private Runners-up. The girls continued to state and placed 16th out of 31 teams (GHSA Region A Private is top-to-bottom one of the most competitive classifications in the State). The state roster included Alden Groover, Reese Groover, Jillian Jones, Elizabeth Baran, Isabel Calimlim, Sophie Bibby and Hannah Eades. This year’s season senior runners included Elizabeth Baran, Reese Groover, Adelaide Jones, Anna Sergi, Ella Claxton and Maddox Eades. Congratulations to freshmen runner, Alden Groover, for being named to the South of the Border All Freshmen Team, and for finishing with the fastest times in all of our regular season meets!
Pink Night this year had a new look due to restrictions from COVID-19, but the creative thinking of Head Coach Nichols St. Louis, and the hard work and leadership from seniors, Emma Cowart (Co-Captain), Anastasia Thaller (Co-Captain), Catherine Moore and Doree Herb created a new tradition and a lot of success. The seniors each had a team they drafted amongst the season’s JV and Varsity players to compete for the largest amount raised, and for the ultimate winner in the Pink Night tournament play held on October 8, 2020. This year, the girls also decided not to have a speaker from an organization, but instead to dedicate the night to a long time SVA supporter and catholic educator that recently lost her battle with breast cancer, Paulina Tawil. Paulina had three daughters that graduated from SVA (two of which played volleyball and participated in the Pink Night tradition) and one son that graduated from BC. The girls began the night with a beautiful dedication to the Tawil family from SVA President Mary Anne Hogan, and “Played for Paulina” while her family cheered on from the crowd. And while team Cowart was victorious on raising donations and tournament play, the ultimate winners were all the women that benefitted from St. Vincent’s donation of just over $12,000 to the Mary Telfair Mammography Fund. Thank you to all that gave your time and donations to make this year’s Pink Night a night to remember!
The 2020-2021 Saints softball team competed in a new region and area classification this year. Marie Dotson and Sarah Taylor coached the girls against some great competition. SVA finished the season with an overall record of 8-9, with an area record of 3-4 which gave the team a 4th seed finish to not only qualify for, but to host the first round of state. Although the girls lost in a nail biter best two out of three series against the talented North Cobb Christian, they were able to compete in state competition for the first time since the 1980’s! Seniors Lindsay Murray (Co-Captain), Amber Beddow, Natalie Henderson, Emily Henderson, Kiffin Brun (Co-Captain), and Priya Patel (manager) led the team to this incredible success. First Team All Region players were Hayden Aliotta and Kyleigh Wheeless, while Second Team was awarded to Lindsay Murray and Reagan Aliotta, and Honorable Mention accolades went to Amber Beddow and Abbegail Nowell. Thank you to our amazing parents and families for following our guidelines and protocols to keep the girls healthy, safe and in competition! We certainly would not be able to keep everything running without you. Thank you also to Laura Hancock (Athletic Trainer) and Dr. Alexander (Team Physician) for tending to our Saints’ injuries. Lastly, thank you to Southern Motors of Savannah for supporting SVA Athletics!
ST. VINCENT’S ACADEMY LOVELIGHTS Each year, donations are made in memory and honor of loved ones and beautiful angels and lights are placed upon our Lovelight tree for each person honored. This year, we offered a place in our newly renovated convent that will open next year to have a loved one listed on a plaque. Here is a list of all of those honored and remembered by their loved ones this Christmas season in support of our Convent Renovation project. Thank you to all who supported this project and God bless you.
Jeanne Bandy Barragan-Schreck Family Claire Peterson Barsic Gertrude Kehoe Beytagh Sr. Michael Mary Brabner Kathleen Howard Burke ‘33 Margaret Kain Cox Cecil Brux DeLorme Peg Flanagan Dressel ‘38 Mary Agnes Johnson Marjorie Hodges Johnson Joan Cartwright Madison Mary E. “Bet” Mathews Margaret B. Mathews Mary Catherine Collins Mesaros ‘60 Marie Griffith O’Brien ‘39 Clara McDonough Russo ‘61 Patti Summerlin Robison Stephanie Summerlin Ross Teresa Odette Spillane Janet Teresa Spillane Sarah Monahan Stapleton ‘26 Lisa Summerlin Sr. Jude Walsh, RSM ‘43 TJ Womack
Margaret R. Ganem Mr. & Mrs. Ben Gill, Jr. Graziano Family Phillip Leonard Hall Monica Jung Rose Mary Kelly Fr. Ernie Kennedy Gene Kelly Michael Kelly Jerry & Loretto Lominack Fr. Larry Lucree Fr. Robert McGowan Sr. Ellen McSorley J. Fred Muller, Sr. Mr. & Mrs. William E. Mullis, Jr. Fr. Ed Murphy Hubby Nelson Theresa Purvis Timothy & Mary Ellen O’Brien Molly K. O’Rourke ‘24 Henry Patton, Sr. Hilda Patton Joanna Levine Poston Santiago Family Clarice Shuman Fr. John Simonin Dennis Sink Michael Sink Miriam McLendon Smith Sheila Piper Stubbs Sullivan Family Sr. Mary Jude Walsh James R. Walsh (Coach) Cory Wilson Robert Yeager
Margaret Mary Davis Bradley William E. Bradley, Jr. Esther R. Brown Laura Brown Nancy Brown Sidney Jene Brown Susanne Butler W. L. & Marie Clapp Louise R. Causey Nancy C. Chattin Sheila Woodward Cobb Jamie M. Coleman ‘01 Pete Conneff Roy Eugene Covenah Ashlyn & Dalton Couey Larry Crawford Marie Lyons Crider Frances Currie Sr. M. Kieran Davis, RSM ‘43 Deceased Members - Class of 1950 Deceased Members - Pounder Family Deceased Members - White Family Tim Dotson Kathleen S. Dyer Linda Hancock Dyer Neil Fischer Mabel R. Fleming Jack Fogarty Agnes Furlong William Furlong Florence Brennan Futch Evelyn M. Ganem Louise M. Ganem Marion DeFrank Gannam Lawrence Gaudry Marcia Gavin Judy Gilley Cecil Gilley Ann Hopkins Grady Mrs. Patricia Graffagrino Ronald W. Groff, Sr. Loretta S. Grover Patty Hahn Jack Hahn Helen J. Hagan Milton E. Hagan Phillip Hall Mrs. Mary R. Harte Mozelle Hodge Mary Daily Holmen ‘50 Nancy Fay Jackson ‘65 Chris Janda Elizabeth Gannam Jorde Monica Jung Mildred Jurgensen ‘35
ANGELS All who have died from Covid-19 All the deceased members of the Class of 1952 Jeanne Bandy Barfield Family Fr. Joe Bernardin Lt. Col. Paul F. Brauer Marie Muller Bresciani Juli Busken John F. Jack Buttimer T.S. & May Chu Dianne Pinckney Cobb Frank Coffey Margaret Kain Cox Mary deCurnou Cecil Brux DeLorme Marie Diamond Carlyle Dorroh Fr. Tim Flarity Fr. John Fitzpatrick John Joseph Fogarty, Jr. Raymond Ervin Foote, Sr.
WHITE LIGHTS Dolores Abelson George Abelson, Sr. Billy Adams Christopher Adams MaryAnn Anika Patty Armfield Helen M. Balcom Sis & Boo Barnhill Sr. M. Fidelis Barragan ‘43 Barragan-Schreck Family Pat Barry Claire Peterson Barsic Herschel & Ida Beville Karl Bowers Brad Bradley
WHITE LIGHTS Edna Kenny Nick Kenny Pat Kenny Robert Kenny Patricia Kelly Jill Lepo-Weiniewitz Doreen Long Richard C. Lutz, Sr. Joan Madison ‘52 Anthony C. Mathews, Jr. Tony C. Mathews, III Fr. Jerry McCarthy Teresa Jaugstetter Mangan Theresa & Norman McCarthy Lee McCurry Kay Bradley McDermott Chris O’Connor Mock Celeste S. Montgomery George W. Montgomery, Sr. William “Billy” Mullis, III David & Georgia Nash Doc O’Connor Blanche Parr Josephine Peterson Marion T. Peterson Emily Pickles Eleanor S. Pierce Mack Pierce Dennis J. Pounder, Jr. Toby Purdy Betty & Bernie Purdy Clancy Powers Marilyn Carpenter Price ‘49 Brittany Anne Reardon Ellen O’Connor Rigsley Katherine E. Roach Jean S. Rousseau Charlie Rousseau Carmel Rovolis Anne F. Ryan Joseph Sanders Philip Saraf Joseph C. Schreck Gregory E. Sciarratta Eugene J. Sciarratta Gregory G. Sewell Jack Sheppard Harry Shuman Frankie Simmons Ellen L. Smith John “Bubba” Smith Mrs. Elizabeth Stanley Elizabeth Fleming Sullivan Duanne Talley Rochelle B. Threkeld ‘52 Sam D. Tootle, Sr. Mary J. Valenti ‘49 Gloria L. Valenti ‘65 Coach Jim Walsh Sr. M. Jude Walsh, RSM ‘43 William Watts Gloria Watts Anne Smith Wayne
WHITE LIGHTS Susan Whalen James O. Wheeler Sharon J. Wheeler Mr. & Mrs. Billie Williams David Shawn Williams Joan & Bill Wong Mr. Bob Workmon Lester & Jack Wright Mary Ann Zierak
RED LIGHTS Evelyn Mills Cory Rebecca Deedrick Natalie Deriso Anne Diamond Margaret Dorroh Judy Downing Anne Sapp Ferraro Mary Forbes Betty Fulton ‘64 Mary Anne Hornkohl Mary Margaret Lemburg’ 22 Julia Cory Remion Patty Remion Mrs. Jenny Palin Skinner Betty Rovolis Sullivan Lindsey C. Wilson ‘17 Julia Whalen Liam Whalen
NEW SVA ALUMNAE ASSOCIATION MERITBASED SCHOLARSHIP The St. Vincent’s Alumnae Association is proud to announce a new scholarship they will be awarding! The scholarship is valued at $1,000 and is a merit-based scholarship. The scholarship will be given to a rising Senior who is in good standing with conduct, academics, service hours and activities. An essay must be submitted in order to apply for the scholarship, using one of the following tops: How do you think St. Vincent’s will influence your future?, What does being a St. Vincent’s legacy mean to you?, or What has St. Vincent’s given to you that you can give back to the world? Submissions will be accepted beginning February 1st with a deadline of March 1st and should be sent to kara.ciucevich@ gulfstream.com. The recipient will be chosen by the SVA Alumnae Board members. Please do not include your name on your essay, but include it in your email. The award will be presented to the student at the spring awards ceremony.
WE ARE PROUD OF OUR STUDENTS!
Congratulations to SVA Senior Avery Gayle Hannah Eades, who was was awarded the selected to participate “Women of Excellence in a Cambridge Gifted Award” in Air Traffic Youth Program course Management and the and awarded the CCIR “Dean’s Scholarship” at Humanities Scholarship. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University!
SVA Senior Sloan Kearns was awarded the Exchange Club of Savannah’s Student of the Month Award!
- SVA ALUMNAE ASSOCIATION ACTIVE MEMBERSHIP The Alumnae Association is committed to helping the school by donating scholarship funds and financial aid for students, gift cards to teachers for classroom supplies, and other items that SVA needs. As a graduate of St. Vincent’s, you automatically are a member of the Alumnae Association, however we would like you to consider being an “active” member. As an active member, you would pay dues to help defray the costs of alumnae supplies and events. Amazingly, an active membership will only cost you the year of your graduation. For instance, if you graduated in 1999, put a decimal in the middle and it becomes $19.99 – your dues for the year! You might also consider a lifetime membership for $200 and forget about paying yearly dues! SVA Alumnae dues can be paid by visiting www.svaga.net and choosing “Join the Alumnae Association” or by mailing a check to the SVA Alumnae Association, P.O. Box 11202, Savannah, GA 31412. Membership runs July 1st through June 30th. Thank you to those who have already joined this year, listed below. Those noted with an asterisk* are lifetime members. We are streamlining our dues process and at the same time reaching out to alumnae hoping to increase active memberships. Thank you so much!
Mrs. Jeanenne Shippy Adams ‘78 * Mrs. Molly McNamara Adams ‘91 Ms. Carole Anthony ‘64 Mrs. Jenny Buchheit Bartholomew ‘79 * Mrs. Jennifer Denney Borden ‘89 * Mrs. Michelle Ryan Brennan ‘87 Mrs. Krista Gilbert Brown ‘93 Dr. Kathleen M. Burke ‘71 * Mrs. Betty Ann Flynn Ciucevich ‘61 Mrs. Kara Hohnerlein Ciucevich ‘87 Mrs. Amelia Russell Conte ‘94 Mrs. Catherine Fleming Cooper ‘65 Mrs. Carol Sanders Coppola ‘91 Mrs. Rachel Kimble Finley Cosme ‘07 Mrs. Krista Ashman Cummings ‘85 Ms. Nancy Cunningham ‘60 Miss Robin Deaux ‘81 Marie Dotson ‘73 Mrs. Rekha Prakash Drysdale ‘91 Mrs. Brooke Lewis Finland ‘98 * Mrs. Angie Shearouse Foran ‘68 Mrs. Cheryl Edmondson Ganem ‘68 Miss Evelyn Ann Ganem ‘71 Mrs. Mary Buttimer Garrett ‘81 * Ms. Michelle Gillikin ‘74 Mrs. Stephanie Wade Giorgio ‘88 * Miss Jada Godbee ‘84 * Anne Muller Guidera ‘85 Miss Gabriella Grace Guidera ‘20 * Miss Isabella Guidera ‘22 * Mrs. Lucy Distefano Haviland ‘57 Mrs. Ellen Grevemberg Hogan ‘58 * Miss Shawntia M. Holcey ‘95 Dr. Maria Del Rio Hoover ‘68 * Mrs. Elise Wheeler Huhn ‘91 Mrs. Mary Beth Whalen Janda ‘87 *
Mrs. Mola Chu Jung ‘56 * Ms. Terese Jung ‘80 * Mrs. Clare Lowenthal Kellar ‘80 Miss Jillian Marie Kender ‘16 * Mrs. Patricia Kameron Levin ‘76 Mrs. Miriam Dingle Liggett ‘78 Mrs. Bridget O’Neil Holmes Lipman ‘01 * Mrs. Loretto Dressel Lominack ‘64 Mrs. Mary Jo Harte Long ‘47 Ms. Shari Deborah Matz ‘84 * Mrs. Mary Carr Mayle ‘68 * Mrs. Patricia Taylor McDevitt ‘95 Mrs. Dianne McDonald ‘77 * Miss Linsey McDougal ‘99 Mrs. Carrollyn Sieber Meehan ‘62 Mrs. Morgan Derst Miller ‘11 Dr. James and Mary Ann McCarthy Miller ‘62 Rosemary Ware Morris ‘83 Mrs. Megan Elizabeth Mahoney O’Neil ‘04 * Miss Lavonda Oglesby ‘97 Mrs. Agnes Flaherty Pinckney ‘63 Ms. Therese Powers ‘73 Mrs. Phyllis Wrenn Sackariasen ‘82 * Mrs. Kathy Daly Salter ‘73 Mrs. Celeste Coleman Shearouse ‘69 Mrs. Magdaline Caparisos Sideris ‘72 Mrs. Mary Gene Murphy Sikes ‘76 Nancy Pruitt Snideman ‘60 Mrs. Matilda Laird Stacy ‘46 * Mrs. Erin Smoak Stanley ‘00 Mrs. Mary Finocchiaro Sweeney ‘75 * Mrs. Carol Mummery Tulk ‘79 Mrs. Teah Stillings Weiss ‘86 Mrs. Patricia Kelly Whalen ‘60 Mrs. Melanie Roberts Willoughby ‘82 * Ursula Michelle Wright ‘85
Why does the SVA Annual Fund need my support annually? The St. Vincent’s Academy Annual Fund impacts every girl, every day, to develop their unique qualities as women who lead. We are asking you to help us reach our goal this year to continue serving women who lead by making your donation in the enclosed envelope, or you can donate online at www.svaga.net by clicking on “support us,” and then “donate.” By combining gifts of all sizes, the Annual Fund provides an SVA experience that is exceptional for all students!
Please use the enclosed envelope to donate today to SVA’s Annual Fund or our Convent Project. We are most grateful for your support! God bless you!
“ T h e s i m p le s t a n d m o s t p r ac t ic a l le s s o n I k n o w. . . i s t o r e s o lv e t o b e g o o d t o d ay, b u t b e t t e r t o m o r r o w . ” - C at h e r i n e M c A u l e y
INSIDE THE GATES
FACULTY & STAFF SHARE THEIR INSIGHT ON SVA . . .
Neesha Navare: What is your take on a Mercy education, coming in new to Mercy schools? Autonomy is one of the greatest gifts God gave us; and mercy, to me, is about being cognizant enough to use that autonomy to choose empathy. It’s easy to react to situations, to respond to a perceived defiance or slight, to believe that everything that happens is intentional and about “me, me, me” but it is much harder to consider what others are going through: the invisible albatrosses that sway from their necks, the imperceptible bruises they nurse in their hearts, the sleepless nights or aged mindsets they carry, echoes from all the times voices that mattered didn’t pause to consider the heft and influence of their words. Yet, we are creatures of id and ego, designed to satisfy our most primitive urges and desires, to seek self-satisfaction and care for ourselves first and foremost. Mercy, however, requires us to actively work against our instincts and apply our desire to self-care to others. The locked screensaver on my phone is a passage by David Foster Wallace from a commencement speech he gave where he said “The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline and effort and being able to truly care about other people and to sacrifice for them in myriad, petty little unsexy ways every day.” This is what I believe, through mercy, we are called to do. One thing I have cherished most about coming to St. Vincent’s is the mercies I see imparted between students and faculty and staff every day: the kindness and compassion. What’s more, though, is that the extended mercies are infectious. If a student is aching over a break-up or the loss of a loved one, her classmates envelop her in love and laughter, pouring their own joys into her to sustain her through the difficult times. When a faculty or staff member asks for help, they are responded to tenfold with offers to assist. Through these smallscale acts, the SVA community nurtures and cultivates mercy daily so that when we leave the halls of SVA, we carry that into the world as a matter of habit rather than a conscious reminder; it becomes a part of who we are and how we interact with the world around us. This is what, I believe, the Sisters of Mercy understand and choose every day: to love another person--to truly sacrifice even our own self-serving thoughts for that person, their happiness--is to truly see the face of God.
Terri Foote: Tell us about an exciting project you did with your class this year? I had the wonderful opportunity to introduce installation art to my Sculpture students. Installation Art is designed to bring attention to a space as well as the three-dimensional work of art. My students had to consider location, the message they were trying to convey and how it visually relates and transforms the space. The girls loved the project because they, with help from a partner, created life size human forms of themselves. As part of the project, they had to keep in mind the position of the tape form so it fit within the space. Each tape sculpture required 5-6 rolls of packaging tape and the entire process took about three weeks to complete. Unfortunately, due to Savannah humidity and constant weather changes, most of the sculptures did not survive the elements and lost their form. Overall, the project was a huge success and I look forward to teaching this lesson again for years to come.
Nichols St. Louis: You had a stellar first year heading up Pink Night! Tell us about that project?
Abby Foster: What is the most meaningful thing you have done with your class this year?
This is only my second year with SVA and last year I didn’t know what to expect from Pink Night. I showed up in my pink, we played, we had our speaker, and we raised around $1,000 to support the cause. It was tradition to play Calvary and in 2019 we beat them in the annual Pink Night, which was really exciting.
When I was asked to contribute to this issue of The Flash about a meaningful experience with one of my classes this year, I knew immediately that I wanted to talk about my Homeroom. I have 16 girls in my Homeroom and most of us have been together since they were Freshmen. This year has been particularly exciting as they experience their Senior Year, even though some things have definitely been different than the usual Senior Year. Two of the highlights have been the Door Decorating competition at Halloween and the Gingerbread House competition during Wellness Week. Although we did not win either of those competitions (and we think we were robbed of both of them), the amount of teamwork and camaraderie we had was a sight to see and it was this way with everyone; all I did was mention the competitions were coming up and they got to work – planning, coordinating, working on individual parts, working as a group. Absolutely everyone in our Homeroom participated in both competitions in some way, be it planning the themes, using their artistic skills, finding unique materials when we ran out of something, baking materials to use, or putting the final touches on our Hocus Pocus door or our Gingerbread Ark. I know the goal of these events was to create excitement for Halloween or help relieve stress at the end of the semester, but ultimately, it helped our Homeroom bond and become even more of a family than we already are – we have our highs, and we have our lows, and we experience them together as Homeroom CA8 (or 10C, when we were in the Convent) and get through it all together. I am so proud of the person each of them is becoming and I will miss them so much once they graduate.
When 2020 rolled around, Calvary declined playing us so we rescheduled with Savannah Arts. Due to COVID, the public schools were put on restriction and they had to cancel on us. I brought our seniors together and we started brainstorming what we could do. We were determined to put something together and not let the tradition die, so we decided to play ourselves. The format split our current Freshman, JV, and Varsity teams into 4 groups, each led by one of our four seniors. We held a Pink Night Draft with our seniors so they could select their teams and each team was in a competition as to how much money they could raise to support the cause through a round robin tournament play. The night was a huge success! The girls raised over $13,000, our seniors stepped up as leaders, and everyone had an incredible time. Senior Team “Emma Cowart” won both the fundraising award and the competition award, but it was a hard fought battle by all teams. With the amount of success this year had, I don’t think I will ever go back to the traditional Pink Night format. The 2020 Pink Night was a perfect example of these young ladies stepping into leadership roles, advocating for those in the community that aren’t able to afford mammograms, and joining together to create strong bonds through this incredible service project. I am so proud of everyone that jumped in to make this night happen. The SVA community rallied together to make history, and we all had so much fun doing it!
Dao Khamsay: You are new to SVA. Tell us what you think about St. Vincent’s? When I applied to work at St. Vincent’s, I already had some limited experience with the students, staff, and alumnae. From that experience, I expected a close community and to be surrounded by motivated people. I have seen that, but much more. Through all the trials that 2020 has put the whole world through, the staff and students of St. Vincent’s have done nothing but persevere and find joy and comfort in their community. Thanks to the school’s tech gurus Abby Foster and Paul Lentz, traditions where in previous years everyone could physically be together did not get lost. Things are different, but instead of being afraid of the change, the faculty and students have found ways to problem solve and support each other through it. Of course, a big part of this is feeling support from the administration here. No matter how many hats they are wearing, they always find time to check on the staff and express their appreciation. Every piece of good news is celebrated, and any loss or sadness in anyone’s life is respectfully shared and prayed for as a community. Ideas flourish and new faculty members like me, feel free to bring up potential improvements and can always find guidance when lost. It truly is a loving and safe environment for women to grow, learn, and flourish. I feel so lucky to be accepted into such a community. Vickie Watson: Tell us about innovative learning in your classroom. I began my teaching career in 1986 when I was hired as the Planetarium Director for the former Savannah Science Museum. As part of my job (and because we had a very limited budget), I had to create most of our astronomy programs from scratch. My students ranged from preschool to college age and I learned very quickly how to be flexible with teaching strategies and to use resources creatively. Later on, when I transferred from an informal museum teaching situation to a more traditional public high school classroom, those skills remained valuable. I found that my students learn best in an environment that balances traditional teaching methods with laboratory investigations and individual practice. At St. Vincent’s Academy, I have found that the values and objectives of a Mercy education match well with my own, creating an environment where I can maximize the benefits of my experiences with traditional classroom and “hands-on” experiments that enable my students to master complex concepts in science while having a bit of fun at the same time! Physics students Madelyn Long, AnneMarie Hanna and Abigail Goodwin work on calculations to determine the relationship between force, mass and acceleration as predicted by Newton’s Third Law of Motion, using a balloon rocket.
Betty Peltier: You came back to SVA this year to help out! What do you think about being back at SVA? The other night my great granddaughter, Eva, walked into the room wearing her new BC cheerleading uniform. Suddenly, I was transported to a chilly fall evening in 1954 at the old Grayson Stadium. The BC football team was running onto the field, and the St. Vincent’s cheerleaders in their white circle skirts and maroon sweaters were welcoming them with their usual enthusiasm. To my right, towards the end of the bleachers, the SVA girls, seated together, spontaneously stood as one, and began to cheer and applaud. AS a student at another school, I vividly remember my outright envy. Whatever their individual differences might have been, on this night, they were unified; they knew who they were, and they were darned proud of it. I am so happy that Eva, along with her sister, Madison, and her mom, Coleen, is now a part of that wonderful sisterhood that I so admired many years ago. And I’m proud to say that, even though I sneaked in through the back door, I too am now a Saint!
Caroline Archer: Tell us about your new role as Admissions Counselor? At the beginning of the 2017 school year, I began working at St. Vincent’s as the Advancement Assistant, helping our Directors of Advancement and Alumnae process donations, send out our thanks to our generous donors, and complete our mailings as we try to stay connected with our alumnae, friends and parents. I have loved being a part of the SVA community as an employee almost as much as I loved being a student here. My four years at SVA were so much fun that they would be hard to top! At the beginning of this school year, Admissions Counselor was added to my job description. In this new role, I get to reach out to all of our prospective families and walk them through the admissions process. This includes inviting them to our Shadow Days and Open Houses, as well as making sure that their daughters are signed up for our placement test and that they have turned in all of the documents needed for registration. My favorite part of being the Admissions Counselor is sharing with our prospective families how amazing SVA is! Even though it’s been a little while since my days as a student, I can attest to these parents that this school is enduring in its commitment to providing young women with an opportunity to learn and grow and most importantly, be themselves. It is easy for me to make this pitch. I couldn’t feel any stronger about this place and its people!
Maureen Cole: Tell us about the retreats you head up at SVA? Each year, class retreats provide an opportunity for students to connect with each other and with their faith. Year after year, alumnae return with memories from their class retreats. We are so blessed to have so many graduates come back and share their stories about how God used their time and relationships at SVA in their adult lives. Other retreat speakers are women in our community that are living out their faith lives in beautiful and important ways. One of our speakers is a stay at home mom who followed God’s plan when a challenging pregnancy became part of her story. Another works to equal the playing field for women in business and in the financial world; and another immigrated from Africa in the middle of a civil war to live in a country she had only ever learned about in school. As women, we are told the lie that resources are few and there isn’t enough room for all of us to shine. This is simply not true. We work to teach our young women that with Jesus, there is always room for one more at the table and that resources are plentiful. Sharing our stories as women helps connect our lives and our worlds. Time together in scripture and in community here at SVA plays an invaluable role in the women we are sending out to build the Kingdom. I am proud of our girls. The future of the Church is bright in their eyes and I cannot wait to watch them shine.
Helen Norris: What is the most meaningful thing you have done with your class this year? In November, French students at all levels took a break from the text to focus on learning a supplemental topic of their choice. After voting, we focused on la mode (fashion), une visite de Savannah (touring Savannah as a French person), and l’histoire du ballet (the history of ballet). In the time of Covid, it was all about allowing students to direct the show a bit. It was a special time for me as well to get to know the students better. The picture(s) I have included is of French III when we took a field trip to Paris Market as a Savannah tour destination. It was fun to dream with the class about traveling to Paris and about realizing their cultural goals. And what a memorable time it was during the holidays to enjoy un cafe au lait and une pâtisserie chauffée together! Merci SVA French pour m’inspirer! Donna Antonucci: Tell us about your thirty years teaching at SVA. When I interviewed with Sr. Michael Mary and Sr. Jude in the Spring of 1991, I had no idea I would begin a lifelong, 30 year career teaching at St. Vincent’s. Three decades and three major lab renovations later, here I stand in room 202, as happy as ever to be a Natural Science educator. It has been an amazing transformation of learners and equipment, starting out with a beloved chalkboard and overhead projector, to whiteboard and technological projections. When I started in the nineties, there were a few cell phones but no internet. This all changed after the millennium with an explosion of connectivity and a rapid increase in teenage smartphone and laptop use. So I guess my career can be subtitled, “From textbooks to laptops; The Evolution of Learners, from page turners to icon tapping, page swipers.” But this revolution of technology, with all its instantaneousness, didn’t change my role as “Engager in Chief” in room 202, always seeking a way to get a look of astonishment and glee out of my lovely young ladies. Constructing engaging narratives, keeping us on track no matter how inventive my students were at asking offbeat questions, was great fun. I thank each and every one of my students and colleagues for inspiring and supporting me on this journey as a lifelong learner and entertaining presenter. Making connections with each of you has made my career most rewarding! Carl Boehm: What is the most meaningful thing you have done with your class this year? On certain Wednesdays you will find SVA students leaving the comfort of the school campus to descend upon the streets of the Hostess City. Why abscond from the beauty of the convent building or the shadow of the twin spires of the Cathedral Basilica? These Saints search for the infamous, spooky, and historic stories that give character to our hometown. So far, the students have learned that unmoved graves line the runway of the Savannah International Airport. They have stood outside the building where General Sherman sent his Christmas Eve correspondence to President Lincoln. And they have debunked the legend of Rene Rondelier haunting Colonial Park Cemetery. “I joined the club because I love about ghost stories and I wanted to learn more about Savannah,” said junior Elizabeth Penniman. Isabella Guidera, another urban explorer in the club, noted that “I like getting a chance to walk downtown and getting all of the history.” Although the club has not yet experienced a paranormal encounter, there is one spectral figure guiding its steps: The Holy Spirit.
SVA has a new look for our courtyard! Our St. Joseph statue in memory of Monica A. Jung ‘82 has been moved from the back gardens to the courtyard where St. Joseph can watch over all of our students throughout the day. Pictured is Mola Jung, Monica’s mother, with the beautiful statue of St Joseph!
THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING FINIALS Loretto Dressel Lominack ‘64
- IN REMEMBRANCE For those who passed away from August 16, 2020 to February 1, 2021. Margaret Ellen Burnett ‘42 Tessa Marion Fine ‘02 Shannon Formby Fillmore Gassen ‘93 Connie Thompson Frazier ‘69 Kristi Ann Kent Jones ‘88 Catherine (Kay) Moss Lisicia ‘56 Dorothy Frances Gooley Peltier ‘57 Helen DeVere Tarver ’45 Sr. Mary Jude Walsh, RSM ‘43
- IN GRATITUDE We are most grateful for those families who, from August 16, 2020 to February 1, 2021 specified that gifts be given to St. Vincent’s Academy. Thank you for thinking of St. Vincent’s in your time of sorrow.
Catherine (Kay) Moss Lisicia ‘56 Anthony C. (Tony) Mesaros Helen DeVere Tarver ’45 Sr. Mary Jude Walsh, RSM ‘43
Back in November of 2020, I was thrilled to see that the long-awaited finials, missing from the foot of the Convent stairs years ago, finally had been replaced. They are gorgeous! So, you are wondering why, after so long, would this make a difference? Well, let’s go back to 2004, the year of the first Tour & Tea. On a steaming hot day in August, I was walking through the gardens to see what we needed to do to make them more presentable to the tour-goers for our very first Tour & Tea. That was when I noticed something peculiar about the two main staircases on Liberty Street. At the bottom of the east stairs there was a beautiful decorative finial, only one, on one of the newel posts. Now, if you have two newel posts, one would think, there should be two finials. Curious, I went to examine the west staircase and it had no finials at all. Upon close inspection, I could see where two had been bolted in place, like the remaining one still sitting proudly on its newel post. The function and design of a newel are interesting in and of themselves. Found at the end of a staircase, a newel post’s primary purpose is to anchor the railing. They often reflect many styles that changed throughout history. Found inside as well as outside of a building, the design reflects the style that was popular when they were constructed. Remember, the Convent was built in 1845. Well, around 1840, newel posts began to appear similar to the Greek Revival columns seen on the exterior of buildings that were popular at that time. * Recorded history has provided some fascinating discoveries of noted newels. Such a structure, from the Titanic’s tragic history, was even found among floating remnants that marked the ship’s sinking on April 15, 1912. Carved from English white oak and bearing a fruit, vegetable, and floral motif, the newel was part of the ship’s Grand Staircase. **
So, in addition to having a vital purpose, newels also have a decorative function. Tours of the Historic District of Savannah can help you discover the exterior newels were often topped with knobs, heavy moldings and carvings. The newels of the Convent are attractive, alone. Would it make a difference to have more than the one, solitary finial? There are staircases that do not have such ornate additions. Each of the newels, alone, are beautifully designed. Ah-ha, but perched atop the newel is an intriguingly fashioned finial. The finial completes the newel. Furthermore, the finials of St. Vincent’s Convent had also been here for a long time. The remaining structure showed that the original stunning and ornate finials probably dated back to the 19th or early 20th century. Additionally, the lone finial told a story of the unique parts that were chosen for its construction. Each was made of wrought (hammered) iron to provide a grand welcome for all who entered. Each finial has more than a dozen separate parts that include two bases, a fluted urn, a band with six flowers and is topped off with a design that resembles a carved flame. It is hard to imagine the delicate efforts that must have been given to deconstruct and extract each part to use for a mold to create the four new finials. Our mystery may never be solved… Many years later, perhaps as long as a century or more, in a room at St. Vincent’s, members of the 1845 Foundation were meeting and discussing the possibility of placing copies of the finials back in their rightful places on the newel posts at the foot of the stairs of the Convent of St. Vincent de Paul. This was going to be possible due to a steady stream of funds from the St. Vincent’s Tour & Tea. Most do not realize that the entire purpose of that event always was to make money for the support of the two Convent buildings: preservation, restoration, and renovation, as needed. Suddenly, while perusing this new Tour event, a light bulb went off in my tiny brain. Thinking of the possibilities of a tour of homes, I commented to Sr. Jude, “What a fun idea to have Savannah’s lovely old homes help support our lovely old home; then we make it extra special by adding a delightful and proper tea!” And, by George, it worked beautifully! In October of 2005, I signed our Articles of Incorporation for the 1845 Foundation and they were sent to Georgia’s Secretary of State for approval. The Foundation was the “child” of the Tour & Tea.
Locally, the company would be Dan J. Sheehan & Co. to remove the remaining original finial that was sent to Alabama. Allen Architectural Metals used the original finial to produce four iron copies. Dan J. Sheehan & Co. reattached the new finials and prepped the staircase to make our building look complete once again. John Wallden, who did the welding on this project is very connected to SVA - his mom, Camille Koncul Wallden ‘70 and sister Kelly ‘96 are SVA “Saints.” The finial project consisted of numerous years of intense work by dedicated members of the 1845 Foundation led by Foundation Chair Mary L. Hill. The chair for this special time-consuming project was architect Christian Sottile assisted by Emily Polgardi; Historic Preservation Consultant Ellen Harris; and all members of the Foundation consisting of the following present members: Elizabeth S. Bremer, Treasurer, Bill Broker, Sr. Helen Marie Buttimer, RSM, Foundation Co-Chair, Vincent Ferraro, Ellen Harris, Project Consultant, Mary L. Hill, 1845 Foundation Chair, Mary Anne Hogan, Loretto D. Lominack, Kathleen McCarthy, Secretary, Sr. Gilmary O’Hayer, RSM, Diane C. Parker, Cindy Rochefort, Nena M. Schivera, Celeste C. Shearouse, Christian Sottile, Finial Project Chair, Vaughnette Goode-Walker, and Sr. Mary Jude Walsh, RSM (RIP). The relic of the Titanic has been preserved and is now on display at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Fortunately, the foundry, Allen Architectural Metals, that so skillfully reproduced new finials, has reassembled the original finial. This beautiful piece of the history will be preserved and placed on display for us to enjoy, not at the foot of the stairs, but in a special location inside the Convent. We hope you will enjoy this special remnant and appreciate the four new finials that complete both of the beautiful staircases of the St. Vincent de Paul Convent. * After this success, I think we can put to rest the Fitful Fixation with Finials! Job well done! Please Note: If you ever are walking past the Mercy statue on the corner of Abercorn and Liberty, continue a few feet, read the bronze plaque on the wall of St. Vincent’s Convent, and see just some of the recognition this impressive building has received:
From 2004 to 2019, our Tour & Tea was generously supported by the community of Savannah’s Historic District and every penny, after bills were paid, went into the Foundation and then into the Convent of St. Vincent de Paul. We are proud to report that well over $300,000.00 was sent to the Foundation to be used for Convent projects from 2004 through 2019. So, now we will go back to that meeting. After much discussion and investigation, it was decided to use Allen Architectural Metals, Inc. in Talladega, Alabama. Their credentials and awards were impressive. Some of their projects included: The U.S. Capitol Dome, SCAD’s Ruskin Hall, College of Charleston, and Independent Church in Savannah. The Vice-President of Operations, Chris Lacey, was most informative, and remained extremely helpful throughout.
* History of the Titanic: Newel Posts and Newel Postlore by Bill Kibble in Old House Inspections, Old House Terminology, Old House History for Old House Web Blog.
** This Old House article: New Turns for Old Newels by Amy R. Hughes
- Wedding Belles (Follow the photos from top to bottom to match with their beautiful wedding photos!)
Katie Massey ’12 and Shu Doi were married on January 16, 2021, at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta. The reception was held at the Atlanta History Center. SVA Graduates in Katie’s wedding party were Megan Mowers, Cecilia Ireland, and Brittany Boyden. Katie and Shu met 2 years ago at a football game at their alma mater, Georgia Tech. They live in Atlanta where Katie is at Coca-Cola working in Global Procurement and Sustainability and Shu is a Civil Engineer at Arcadis, working to solve the Atlanta traffic issues! Congratulations!
Chloe Paddison ’10 and Ryan Eddleman were married on October 24, 2020, outside at the Paddison’s home in Savannah. SVA graduates in Chloe’s wedding party were Chelsea Bremer, Caitlin White, cousin Kathleen Robertson Abbott and sister (Maid of Honor) Caroline Paddison. The couple lives in Savannah where Chloe works as an entrepreneurial dietitian. Ryan is one of the top farriers in the southeast (blacksmith for horses) and that is how the couple met . . . through their love of horses! Congratulations!
Linsey McDougal ’99 and Cale Blocker were married on August 22, 2020 at St. Thomas Chapel on Isle of Hope. The reception was held at the McDougal’s home in Savannah. Linsey is a real estate agent, and now has a step-daughter named Alissa and another baby girl on the way (due Spring ’21). Double Congratulations!
Jessica Raczka ’97 and Josh Cothran were married on October 3, 2020 at The Farmhouse at Hundred Acre Farm in Madison, Georgia. For a wedding trip, they chose the stunning island of St. Lucia. The couple resides in the Atlanta neighborhood of Kirkwood, where they decided to make their home. Congratulations!
- Special Deliveries (Follow the photos top row left to right and move down a row left to right to match babies with their amazing mothers!) Ellen Hogan Ebberwein ‘11 and husband Patrick, welcomed Emma Bates on January 5, 2021. Emma Bates was 6lbs, 6oz and joined big brother Teddy, who is almost two years old. Stephanie Shearouse Beall ’07, and her husband Stephen, welcomed Madeline Shea Beall on January 12, 2021. Madeline was 6lbs, 11oz and is the Beall’s first child! Look for Madeline in the SVA Class of 2039, following many family generations of SVA women before her! Megan Mahoney O’Neil ’04 and her husband Kevin, welcomed Anna Kate on November 4, 2020. Anna Kate was 7 lbs, 13 oz and is the O’Neil’s first child. Megan says Anna Kate has been such a blessing and a gift from God. Look for Anna Kate to be doing great things in the SVA Class of 2039! Molly Holmes Hollowell ’05 and husband Guy, welcomed Edward “Eddie” Anderson on October 20, 2020. Eddie was 7 lbs, 8 oz and joins his big brother Guilds, who is16 months older. The family is excited to have just moved back to Georgia and are residing in Atlanta. Camille Buckhaults Leonard ’05, and her husband Stephen, welcomed Vivian Margaret on June 1, 2020. Vivian was born 7lbs, 6 oz and joined brothers Henry and Joseph. Her house full of boys easily became smitten with Vivian the day she came home and she now thoroughly enjoys watching the nonstop action going on around her! Caroline Sydow Cannon ‘06 and husband Andrew, welcomed Coleman Patrick on October 4, 2020. Coleman was 6 lbs, 12 oz and is the couples’ first child. Grandma Carmella Pedicini Brown ‘71 is ecstatic to have her first granddaughter and Morgan Sydow ‘10 is a very proud aunt! Laura Summerlin Lemieux ’05 and husband Brennan, welcomed Thomas Brennan on July 1, 2020. Thomas was 7lbs, 15oz and is the couple’s first child. Dr. Stephanie Tootle’05 delivered this beautiful baby and Grandmother Laura Mell Summerlin ’72 has been enamored with her new grandbaby! Mallory Morin New ’08 and husband Christian, welcomed Collins Elizabeth on August 29, 2020. Collins was 6lbs, 8oz and is the New’s first child. Collins joins a long line of SVA graduates including her aunts, Lindsay Morin ’10, Meghan Morin ’13 and Kristin Morin ’18, Grandmother Renee Lutz Morin ’83, and Great-Grandmother Barbara Ann Purdy Lutz ’63. Caroline Kennedy New ’05 and husband Brandon, welcomed William Arthur on April 21, 2020. William was 8 lbs, 2 oz and joins siblings Claire (8), Sally (6) and Samuel (4). William surprised their family by being born on his mom’s birthday! Grandparents Sally Brennan Kennedy ’79 and Beth Tootle New ’77 and Great-grandmother Rose Saraf Tootle ’55 are in love. Will is pictured with his cousin, Collins New, who is four months younger. Hailey Blakley Greene ’05 and her husband Josh, welcomed Hatch Mathews on July 31, 2020. Hatch was 8lbs, 12oz and joined his brother, Sanders. Lauren Camp Amberson ’01 and husband Lee, welcomed Legrand “Grand” Hamilton III on August 7, 2020, weighing 7 1/2 lbs. Grand joins his siblings Celia, Kate and Lizzie.
Catherine Levdahl, SVA English Teacher, and her husband Christopher, welcomed Ronan Owen on November 11, 2020. Ronan was 8 lbs and is the couple’s first child. Ronan loves looking at turtles and frogs and loves car rides. He also likes cuddling on the couch with his two best friends, the family pets: Clyde and Zoey. Lauren McCarthy Hendley ’09 and husband Stephen, welcomed Patrick Harris on March 25, 2020. Patrick was 8 lbs, 15oz and is the couple’s first child. Patrick Harris was named after his maternal Granddaddy (BC Class of ’76) and his Daddy and Great Granddaddy. Patrick enjoys eating, playing outside with his dog, and laughing at his Mom and Dad. Lisa Gray Tyson ’05 and her husband Van, welcomed Stephen “James” on September 30, 2020. James was 6lbs, 7oz and joined siblings Will, Gray and Waylon! The Tysons are now a family of 6, with their oldest being 6 years old and the youngest 4 months. The couple says they are excited to know that their kids will attend the same high schools they did -- SVA and BC. Shannon Weeks Meier ’11 and husband Andrew, welcomed Margaret “Maggie” Katherine Meier on October 24, 2020. Maggie was 7lbs, 5oz and is the Meier’s first child. Maggie was born while Shannon was finishing up writing her doctoral thesis. and she completed her PhD in biomedical research and breast cancer. Wow! Grandma Kathy Sheppard Weeks ‘85, Great Grandmother Patty O’Hayer Sheppard ‘57 and Great Great Aunt Sr. Gilmary O’Hayer are hopelessly in love with Maggie! Kelsey Lee Smith ‘09 and her husband Matthew, welcomed Margot Isabel on August 24, 2020. They’re completely in love and look forward to the day that this future Saint joins the SVA family. Grandmother, Marti Davis Lee ‘82, is elated as well! Leila Taleshi Sheehan ’01 and husband Eamon, welcomed Ava Elizabeth on July 1, 2019. Ava was 6 lbs, 6 oz and loves her brother Knox Timothy Sheehan who is 4 years old. After spending nearly a decade living on the west coast in Los Angeles, the family moved back to Savannah in August of 2019 and are so happy to be home near family! Grandmother Linda Sanchez ’65 is equally happy to have them in Savannah! Laura Hancock, SVA’s Trainer, and her husband Blake, welcomed Taylor Ann on June 11, 2020. Taylor was 7lb, 1oz and joins her brother Landon who is 3 years old. Taylor arrived on her Dad’s birthday! Brooke Sims ‘06, and her husband Joey, welcomed Grier Grace Sims on August 1, 2020. Grier was 8lbs, 6oz and joined sister, Nolan (5) and brother, Luke (3). Her big sister and brother adore her! Three of our graduates of the class of 2005 have already gotten their sweet babies together. Left to right are Thomas Lemieux (mother Laura Summerlin Lemieux), Vivian Leonard (mother Camille Buckhaults Leonard), and Hatch Grene (mother Haley Blakley Grene.) These cuties are sure to be lifelong friends.
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