December 21

On this first day of Winter, 2020, I’d like to share with the entire Saint Dominic Academy family the Christmas reflection I sent to my own beloved family and friends this year. I hope its words are a source of comfort and inspiration as we head into Christmas.
Let nothing you dismay…
Tidings of comfort and joy…

Old lyrics take on new meanings this year.
As we draw closer to our inner circles,
Full of sadness perhaps ,
at this time of celebration.

We long for the days of gathering with
Loved ones near and far,
Of late night trips to the shops,
Of hot chocolate with friends,
Of cuddles on Santa’s lap.

Pause for just a moment…
Look up to the stars…
And remember long ago,
A tiny family, gathered in the stable,
Had all they needed in each other.

So too, do we this year, and always…
At our own quiet hearths, we have what matters most.

Believe…

It’s the word of the season, isn’t it? This is the season to believe with all of your heart, even when it’s hard, even when it’s a struggle, even when you may feel as if you have nothing left to believe in.  For our youngest family members, to believe in December means to have faith in the fact that they’ve made the nice list, that Santa will come down the chimney, that their dreams will be wrapped up in packages under the tree on Christmas morning. For those of us who are older, to believe in December is to be able to renew our faith in God’s eternal gift to us, his only Son, by recalling with joy the story of His birth in a stable in Bethlehem, spotlight by a star.  This year more so than ever before we all need to be able to believe in that central Christmas story, for it is what matters most.

I focus my thoughts on the idea of believing in something today, because I along with everyone else at Saint Dominic Academy know just how hard the months from March to December have been on our students, our faculty and staff, our alumnae, parents and families. To be sure, there have been many times over the past months when I’ve wished I could be spirited away to some beautiful place, where masks aren’t worn and curfews aren’t enforced and yes, even toilet paper is not hard to come by. I’m sure all of my readers here have longed for the same thing—to visit some place of beauty that brings joy to the heart and soul.

Well, we at Saint Dominic Academy are not miracle workers, but that does not mean we can’t make magic happen every now and then.   It is my pleasure today to invite each of you to come away with us in March of 2021…so save the date of March 26 or March 27 and take a journey with us to a place far, far away. How do you get there, you ask? Well, it’s simple really. The directions are as follows: Second star to the right, and straight on until morning.  What do you need to bring? Oh, not much just three important things:  Faith, hope and pixie dust! 

If you haven’t guessed it by now, the Theater Arts Department of Saint Dominic Academy, under the direction of Ms. Stephanie DeSarle will be putting on a production of Peter Pan this March.  An all virtual production, with auditions being held via Zoom  next week, this is an new and unexpected undertaking for our program, but one that we are certain will bring happiness and joy to all who join us in Neverland this coming March. Ms. DeSarle has brought to life the streets of NYC during the Depression, the hills of Austria, the far away land of Siam and the lively TV studio in Baltimore during her time with us at Saint Dominic Academy and with her at the helm, we’ll be off to Neverland faster than you can say “Captain Hook is a codfish!” I thank her for being so willing to take on this creative directing project! 

So please, CLAP your hands if you BELIEVE in the shining stars at Saint Dominic Academy and come away with us to Neverland in March of 2021…it will be a magical journey you’ll remember for a lifetime!

December 7

My house is filled with music these days.  Alexa wakes us up with Christmas songs, I’m using Schoolhouse Rocks to teach Abigail the branches of government, and at night I’m binge watching Glee on Netflix. ( Believe it or not, I never watched the show when it was on!! Shocking, I know.) And then, there’s a song before bedtime most nights and of course the general singing that goes on during the course of the day—a voice older than her 9 years belting Broadway songs from the shower, my not to be heard in public voice singing as I make dinner or fold laundry or do the dishes. Sometimes, I wonder if my husband and stepson would have put a proviso on all this singing before we became a family! I joke, but I do think my husband at times shakes his head in awe ( or maybe annoyance) at the sheer amount of lyrics my daughter and I hold in our heads.  

I know that so many of our SDA families understand this; current families and our alumnae as well. Saint Dominic Academy, for over 40 years, has filled Jersey City, Hudson County and regions as close as New York City’s stages and as distant as the Vatican in Rome with the literal “sound of music” under the vocal direction of Mr. Joseph Napoli.  To be sure, Christmas would not be Christmas in Jersey City without the voices of the Glee Club and Dominoes raised in song at tree lightings, in rehearsals in ELAN, and of course under the domed roof of Saint Aloysius Church at the annual Christmas concert.  Sadly, this year those trees will be lit without our voices, ELAN is silent and those who venture to Saint Aloysius for Mass this December do so in masks, their voices muffed and hushed, not raised in song. 

However, at this most beautiful time of year my heart is hopeful that the houses of every member of the Saint Dominic Academy Glee Club and Dominoes, past and present are filled with song the way my house is filled with it.  We may not be able to raise our voices together as one large choir in person, but that does not mean that the music of the Advent season or even the music that lives within all performers has to remain muted and silent right now.  Sing— in your kitchen, in your shower, out on your front steps, as you do your homework, as you drive to and from places—-and sing as if you were in ELAN, at Carnegie Hall, and at Saint Aloysius.  Raise your voice and spread some cheer—and the sadder your heart is, the louder you should sing; that I know from experience. 

And, Mr. Napoli, every young lady who has shared her voice at Saint Dominic Academy has  you to thank for that gift of song she brings into her home this year.  We knew you could not let this Christmas Season pass by with whispers and hushed voices and so, it is my pleasure this week as Head of School to share with our community that Mr. Joseph Napoli and the Executive Board of the Glee Club have been working all fall on a virtual Christmas performance, featuring the voices of our current SDA students, as well as our alumnae and on a number or two, even a glimpse into the future voices of SDA.  

This performance will be released closer to Christmas and it is my  hope that this gift of music will be one of the greatest gifts you receive this Christmas season. It has been my honor to work to coordinate this with Mr. Napoli and I thank him daily for the gift of music he has brought to so many lives over the years.

Follow our social media all December long and the link will also be sent via email!  Sing out, Saint Dominic Academy and lift your voices, ALWAYS!