Let’s take a moment today, to reflect on the following numbers:
American Soldiers Killed In War
American Civil War 1861-1865: 755,000 lives lost
World War II 1941-1945: 405,399 lives lost
World War I 1917-1918: 116, 516 lives lost
Vietnam War 1961-1975: 58,209 lives lost
Korean War 1950-1953: 36, 574 lives lost
American Revolutionary War 1775-1783: 25,000 lives lost
War of 1812 1812-1815: 15,000 lives lost
Mexican American War 1846-1848: 13, 283 lives lost
Iraq War 2003-2011: 4, 576 lives lost
Phillipine American War 1899-1902: 4, 196 lives lost
Spanish American War 1898: 2, 246 lives lost
War in Afghanistan 2001- Present: 2, 216 lives lost
The Gulf War 1990-1991: 294 lives lost
Together, let us pray for the 1, 438, 509 men and women who died serving and protecting our country.
Today, Memorial Day – they live on in our hearts and their service is not forgotten,
“All Powerful God, We honor today those men and women— Our sons and daughters, Husbands and wives, Fathers, brothers, sisters, mothers— Who have laid down their life for their country. Whether weary or emboldened, quiet or defiant, Vulnerable or ready when You called them home, Their sacrifice is too humbling for words except these uttered in prayer. Loving Lord, bless them forever in Your eternal peace… Cherish their spirit, honor their commitment, send them our love, and will never forget the service that they gave.”
I knew this video was coming; when it arrived in my inbox on Friday afternoon, I was ready for it. I had some tissues next to me and Abby curled up against my side. As soon as those baby faces flashed across the screen, I had tears on my cheeks. No, I was not watching old family movies- I was watching a video, designed by Nicole Borrero class of 2020 and the Saint Dominic Academy Yearbook Staff. It showcased our beloved seniors from 9th grade until now. Their 9th grade year was my first as Head of School and I can look back and reflect how much growing and maturing has taken place, both on their part and my own.
Four years ago, I was sending a child off to kindergarten, and their mothers and fathers were sending these graduating seniors off to their first day of high school. Four years ago, I was nervous and unsure as I sat behind my desk with that title of Head of School on my door. Four years ago, they were perhaps just as nervous as they sat in ELAN with Link Crew members, getting ready for the start of their freshmen year. We made it through- they and I and after four years have grown, become more confident, and have had many life changing experiences- some that made us cry and some that made us stronger.
I’ve said it often over the past almost 70 days- these young ladies in the class of 2020 are the strongest young women I have known and these obstacles that were hurled into their paths this past March would have made many people just break down and weep. I know I’ve done just that, late at night, on more than one occasion from March until now. Perhaps many of them have as well- but you’d never know it from their dedication to their classes, their spirited Instagram posts, their energetic emails to teachers and administrators, and most of all their continued love for each other and for the sisterhood of Saint Dominic Academy.
As I heard the end of the slide show, one thought hit me so hard I was almost knocked off my stool. As photos of Disney came on the screen, I realized- these are the last photos of the class that will appear in the show- at least photos of them together in large groups. And if I had not already been crying, that would have done it. What I have to believe, and what the class of 2020 has to believe- with all of our hearts is that those won’t be the last…not really. We will find a way to gather again- although we’re unsure when it will be. In the meantime, the memories captured here in this video will, I hope, make you smile, make you laugh, and I’m sure make you cry. And if the group photos contained within it end in the most magical place on earth, then that’s not a bad place to hit “pause” until we are all together again.
My love and congratulations to the class of 2020 on finishing all of your classes at Saint Dominic Academy…consider this blog a virtual hug from me to you.
Over the past two months, if you haven’t looked at, posted, recieved a text featuring, or laughed over a coronavirs themed meme, then I’m going to assume you either have no internet access or you are a more focused person than I am. They’ve been making the rounds pretty much since the stay at home orders began and there’s no sign of them stopping anytime soon.
Have you seen the one that jokes about the summer and shows Godzilla walking across the ocean?
How about the one, that came out early on, saying we’re three weeks away from knowing everyone’s real hair color? ( I personally have passed that point..I am in need of some dye, ASAP).
How about the ones showing Tom Hanks from Cast Away and giving us a countdown to when a volleyball will become our new best friend?
Or the ones with the home layouts, renaming every room so it seems as if you’re going somewhere other than your house?
Then there’s the memes that joke about cruise prices going down, about people going to Zoom meetings from their beds, about dogs loving their humans being home and cats hating it.
For Disney fans, there’s the one that changes the lyrics to the Gaston song, and just try to read it without singing it in your head! Or Elsa has the school nurse, freezing kids coming near her because they might be carrying the virus. Or the Monsters Inc spoof…instead of a 2319, we have a COVID- 19.
The fake diary entries detailing how people are eating their stockpiled snacks, the ones that tease about the panic over toilet paper and hand sanitizer… the ones where women list the things that are driving them crazy about their husbands….chewing, snoring, basically existing.
And then of course there are the myriad of “Home Schooling” ones. You know, the things such as “ don’t worry if my kids are in the same pjs every day, my home school has a uniform.” ” Don’t worry if you see me talking to myself, I’m having a parent teacher conference.” ” If you see my kids locked outside, don’t panic, we’re having a fire drill.” “Alexa…homeschool my children.” ” How do I get my child transferred out of my class?” The list is endless…there’s a new one every single day.
My personal favorite was one that I sent to the SDA faculty and staff a week or so ago. I’ll share it…
I’ll admit it; I’ve texted the memes, I’ve laughed at the memes, I’ve posted the memes, I’ve shared the memes. Why? Because we all need to laugh a little bit and because some of them truly do capture the reality of this almost unreal situation. We need to smile, we need to find a reason to laugh, we need to not focus on the internal frustration, stress and anxiety that each one of us must be feeling on a daily basis.
However, there’s perhaps one more thing we need to do. There’s a time, every day when, at least in my house, I get very serious. It’s every day, when our Governor announces the death toll for NJ. 8, 952 people in New Jersey have died from COVID-19 since March. That’s a high number, a serious number, and a number that will hit 10,000 before this week ends.
And so, perhaps in the midst of our frustration, in the midst of our smiles, there should also be the following:
Moments of prayer– for our essential workers, for those suffering with the virus, and for the families of those who have lost someone.
Moments of silence– for the over 8,000 people in our state alone who have lost their lives and for the lives lost all across America and the world.
Moments of mourning– for all the things, big and small that have been taken from our daily lives- lunches with friends, hugs from grandparents, First Communions, Graduations, Weddings, and even the ability to go lay flowers on a family member’s grave as they are laid to rest.
The Bible tells us:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace…
At any given moment over the past two months, it has been each of those times for each of us at some point or another.
Let us all, remember, each and every day to pray…prayers of thanksgiving that we are still healthy and safe, prayers of sorrow for all those we have lost, and prayers of petition, that the days and months ahead get brighter for us all.
This past Friday our seniors were surprised with a beautiful “gift” from their alumnae sisters. The work that went into this, the words of encouragement, praise and positivity, and the thoughtfulness behind the 15 minute video truly exemplify the SISTERHOOD that is Saint Dominic Academy. Is this time of year ideal for our class of 2020? Of course not, but they have over 140 years of sisterhood holding them up, bracing them against this current crisis, and embracing them virtually, with love, with good wishes, and with prayers from heaven.
My thanks to Gigi Correa Diaz for putting together this gift for the seniors…I hope all of you enjoy it as much as the young ladies did.
As we entered into Holy Week yesterday, with Palm Sunday masses on our televisions instead of in churches, many of us may feel as if Easter and the joy it brings will not fully touch our lives this year. Amidst all this fear and sadness and frustration- we must remember all that Jesus suffered during this week. Betrayal from a close friend, denied by another close friend, teasing and mocking, beatings and whippings, the passion of his death on Good Friday and the despair his mother and friends felt when His life was over. We think all too often these days of our own sadness and suffering, however we know deep in our hearts that nothing we face can ever be as hard as the fate Jesus knowingly faced and carried out, in order to save us all.
Normally, the school would gather together this week and pray before recessing for Easter break. We’d plan a mass of celebration for the week we returned from break. Although we cannot gather together physically, the students, faculty and staff will gather together to pray this Wednesday, April 8th from 11 to 11:30am. Each member of the school community will have a copy of the prayer service, and our remote classes will cease for 1/2 hour, so that we can all pray together. Additionally, the prayer service, led by four senior young ladies, and their mothers, who are all SDA alumnae, will be posted on our social media via a You Tube link. While the school prays together, they will use this link to see the prayer service led by thier SDA sisters, past and current.
Today, I invite each of you to mark the day and time on your calender, look for the link Wednesday am on our social media and join the young women of Saint Dominic Academy and their teachers as we pray together during Holy Week. I call to mind today what I was taught during my elementary years at Our Lady of Mercy. CHURCH is not a building, but a community coming together. So please, come together with us, pray with our school community, and together we can look toward brighter days ahead, gifted with God’s love.(Prayer service is below!)
Here I am, another Friday afternoon and its the end of our second full week of remote learning. Our second full week of me teaching 3rd grade (I’m getting better at the math!!), of no dancing school, no playground, no play dates with friends, no date nights, no mom hangouts…I know the list is endless and each of you could add to it. It’s been so hard, and in spite of the warm sunshine today, I have a feeling it will just get harder before it starts to get easier.
Each of us must be missing so very much the things we used to take for granted. I miss the hour of downtime with my friends while our daughters went to dance class on Wednesday nights. Just that one hour a week where we could talk without cutting up chicken tenders, or monitoring how many toys were pulled out of a closet now seems to have been an hour of pure bliss. I miss going to a restaurant and having someone there do the cooking and the cleaning. I miss looking at a wine list and picking a new and interesting wine to pair with dinner; even though prior to this, I almost always ordered the same type of meal and same glass of wine when I went out to dinner. I miss the ability to go to the store: T J Maxx to browse around, Costco for bulk supplies, Michael’s for seasonal decorations, and I even miss hearing Abby beg and beg for a toy every single time we walked into any of those stores. All things I took for granted before; I miss now.
And then there’s those intangible things as well. I have not gone this long without hugging my mother or my father in my entire life. It’s making my heart literally hurt. I can’t go put flowers on my grandfather’s grave. I can’t go to church and exchange a smile and a sign of peace with total strangers. I can’t buy Abby an ice cream cone from an ice cream truck and then scold her when it drips on the floor. It seems, right now, all of our lives are just too full of “ We Can’t” situations and although each of us is trying so hard to stay strong and positive, it can truly be a struggle.
I am writing this not to whine and to bring people further down, but just to give you some examples so that my upcoming statement sounds “impressive.” Until yesterday, March 29, at 4:15pm, I had not cried about all of these “I Can’t” issues. I’ve worked hard to get up, be positive, teach Abigail, and try to help her and in so doing, help myself, adjust to this new normal until it goes away. I’ve smiled, I’ve sung songs, I’ve learned new dances via the Apple TV, I’ve played Barbie and with our new Star Wars DROID, and together she and I have used up an entire box of Crayolas. I’ve been a “strict” 3rd grade teacher and made her complete each and every task each day- even when she’s tired and losing interest. I’ve held my own classes at SDA to that same standard as well. All this, I’ve done and each of you have lists like this as well. The one thing I had not done was cry. What was the point? Yes, I’m sad, yes I’m frustrated, yes I miss my friends and family so much it hurts, but what good comes of crying over it?
My readers know that Abigail has been doing Theater since she was five years old. She does SDA theater and has been very active in a Theater Group in Bayonne. Earlier in the week, parents got email from that theater teacher, saying there would be “Virtual” Theater Group on Thursday afternoon. Now, after a day of virtual learning with Mom and being made to eat her vegtables and clean her room, and so on, I was not sure how Abby would feel about having to go to this remote activity. But, I told her I wanted her to go and that it was important, I thought, to try and continue the activity she loves so much, even if it was in a new way. I logged her in on the IPAD, downloaded the script on my phone and prepared to clean my floors while she went to Theater.
Then, I heard voices, the voices of kids as small as six and as old as thirteen, singing together in this Zoom meeting. And the tears just spilled down my cheeks and I cried and cried. I’m crying now as I write this. It was the most beautiful moment of this whole mess thus far. These kids coming together, because they WANTED to, and trying to learn something new and keep up their routine of performing, even with all this chaos in the world around them. I cannot fully express in words how beautiful it was, and how it gave me so much hope that I didn’t even know I needed.
The show WILL go on…for all of us. This show we call life WILL go on…of that I have no doubt. We’ll emerge from this changed in ways that we may never be able to fully articulate and more appreciative of things we took for granted before. In the meantime, the amazing director of Abby’s Theater Group and those little voices have given me the hope I need to continue on in these scary days. They reminded me that no matter what “show” we each participate in: work, sports, dance, school…THE SHOW MUST GO ON!
I wondered all week, was there even a reason to write this blog? In the grand scheme of things right now, who is going to be looking to me for any words of insight, wisdom or even just matter of fact information? All week I had a debate with myself in my head and here it is Friday at 3:00pm and I’m sitting down to type. Why? Because, for the past week all of us have had to adjust to the “new normal” and if we are going to go to school remotely, have meetings remotely, and even see our loved ones remotely via social media apps, then there’s no reason for me to not continue to do what I have done since I became Head of School, and reach out remotely on a weekly basis to share some thoughts.
What has this “new normal” looked like for all of you? I can only imagine, but I can share what it’s been like for me and how quickly my child has adjusted in the past seven days. Her new “teacher” is Miss Mommy and she understands that sometimes the teacher needs an extra few minutes to “review” the math lesson before it is taught to the student. She understands what a virtual tour of a museum is, she understands how to submit work online via a laptop and email and she even knows how to log onto her school website and see what tasks she has for the day. All things my 8 year old did not know how to do a week ago. She’s having “library” each day with a book selected by yours truly and music class this week involves learning the score to “Wicked.”. Even with all this change in routine, she is restricted to one hour on her tablet daily for fun on the internet.
This week, I’ve seen Barbies having a pool party, Fisher Price toys stowed away long ago come back out for a full afternoon of Disney themed fun, and American Girls go camping under a bed. I’ve seen snowmen built out of Play- Dough and countless pictures colored in intricate detail. I’ve played Clue and Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit and Mad About Movies. I’ve taught a different “princess” each day- no uniforms means costume time at “school” and it’s been fun to teach Princess Leia, Princess Belle, and Princess Mulan so far. ( We had a visit from Hermoinie one day- Harry Potter styles and she rocked green on Saint Patrick’s Day of course!) I’ve seen hard work from an 8 year old- 4 plus hours daily on all her subjects.
What I haven’t seen perhaps is what surprises me more than all that I have seen this week. I have not seen whining about the work. I have not seen foot stomping, door slamming, or frustration at the fact that her new teacher is not always as quick to understand some of the lessons and the requirements of the 3rd grade classroom. I have not seen arguments about bedtime or refusal to brush teeth or a desire to sleep until 10am. She’s adjusted- quicker than I have as an adult and she seems to know that this is the way it will be, until it isn’t anymore. Complaining will do no good. Crying will do no good. We have to try our best to adjust to the new normal until we can go back to our old ways of life.
It’s been a hard week, of this there is no doubt. And we have harder weeks ahead, you and I- as parents, as employers and employees and as the home school “principals” of our daughters’ educations. We have opportunities as well- to draw closer to our loved ones, to really see what our children are learning each and every day, and through that process, learn some new things ourselves. I’ve learned in just 7 days, to be more patient, to be more creative, and to set up a daily routine that makes my daughter feel secure in this new, scary world we are inhabiting right now. I’m sure you have all learned that as well…and I’m interested…
What has your first week been like? Email me: email@example.com and share your wisdom, your insights, and your experiences. This blog will benefit from shared stories right now and I’d love to have your voices heard when I sit down to write next week.
Be well, be safe, be healthy. And try, every single day, to BE HAPPY. Hug your children, kiss your spouse, and just thank God for the days together. You are all in my prayers.
Last Friday, our 8th grade students celebrated their Moving Up Ceremony. As they transition to high school, I was invited to give them some advice on how to approach their future as young ladies. Today, I share with you the words I shared with them.
Good morning ladies and congratulations on your Moving Up Ceremony. Today marks a very monumental day in each of your lives, as you make that transition from middle school to high school. I am certain if you asked any of our seniors who graduated this past Sunday, they would tell you that the next four years will go by in the blink of an eye. It may seem to you that it took forever for you to reach high school, however, the older we get the faster times seems to move. So, treasure the next four years because they will pass by quickly.
You’ve heard me during the year offer advice; to the entire school, to the graduating seniors, and today I have some advice that is just for you. Let me begin by telling you a little bit about my favorite TV show. It’s not on anymore, but it ran on network TV from 1999-2006 and now, thanks to Netflix, etc, I can binge watch it whenever I feel the need to be inspired. My favorite TV show is Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing…which I am sure most of you are not familiar with, but perhaps some of your parents are. In reflecting on the advice I wanted to offer you today, two key phrases from that show really stood out to me and so, I will share them with you.
The premise of the show is a good one; White House Senior Staffers advising the president, the President faced with difficult decisions and the day to day running of both The White House and the country. President Bartlett, the fictional president on the show, is fond of asking his staff the following question many times throughout the series.
What’s Next? At times he means simply, what’s next for the day, and at times he means what comes next when he is faced with a difficult decision to make. I want each of you to take just a moment now to look toward September and think…what’s next? What is next for you as a student? What’s next for you as a friend? What’s next for you, within your own heart, as you grow as a person. All during your high school years, the pace may be frantic at times. You’ll have to make difficult decisions sometimes. What you can never do is just stop and shut down. You always have to be ready to ask yourself what’s next? and then move on to the next goal or challenge, whatever it may be. I ask myself that question every single day and it keeps me motivated.
The other piece of advice from the show I want to share with you is a very simple one. At times, throughout the series, someone will ask the President what he is thinking about. His answer is always the same…Tomorrow.
And today, on this very special occasion, that is what each of you should be thinking about as well. Not just the literal tomorrow; waking up to no school, no homework and a summer ahead of you, but of all the tomorrows that are yet to come in your life. Look forward always and think about what the future may hold for you. Be ready to greet each and every day with the mindset that tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it. Imagine what you can accomplish in a lifetime of tomorrows. And let that be your motivation to succeed every single day.
Two short phrases; that is my gift to you today. Ladies, whether I will see you in September or your future is outside of Saint Dominic Academy, I hope you remember always to ask yourselves What’s Next? and to always, always, focus on Tomorrow.
This week, I share with you the remarks from the Valedictorian of the Class of 2019- Miss Hannah Dobronsky.
Good afternoon Ms. Degnan, Mrs. Farrales, Sister Mary Lou, Ms. McLean, faculty, families, friends, and the beautiful class of 2019. I want to start by saying thank you to all of our guests for taking time to celebrate this special occasion with us and by reflecting on the magnitude of this ceremony.
Graduating from high school can mean something different for everyone.
It can be a time of great change as we pursue the next chapter of our lives.
It can signify that we are one step closer to finally turning our passion into a career. It can symbolize our hard work that we have accomplished these past four years. While each of these points is true of any high school graduation, graduating from Saint Dominic Academy means a little bit more. Most importantly, it means that we are prepared and empowered to take on any challenge that comes our way. I have had the privilege of knowing all of the incredible young ladies being celebrated tonight, and I can confidently say that each one has everything she needs to excel in the next era of her life. You all have become like sisters to me in every sense of the word; I know that each of you has the courage to get back up after a setback, as well as the character to help another who has been knocked down. I have seen unmatched resilience, creativity, intelligence, passion, and drive demonstrated time and time again by each and every one of you.
Not only have you taught me so much about what it means to be a strong woman, but all of you have constantly inspired me to be the best version of myself. This is the kind of class that can get through anything life throws at them. From arts to sciences, finance to communications, and in any other field we are going into, each of you is amazingly talented. I cannot wait to see the great impact you all will make on the world, and the success that is a sure part of our future. I will end by saying something that I think everyone needs to hear sometimes. There are many things that must be considered when you come to a crossroads and are faced with a tough decision. The best decision will always be the one that makes you happy.
It might take a long time to figure out what path satisfies this happiness, but each and every one of you deserves to follow your heart. It may not always be the easiest choice to make, but remember that you can always count on these sisters of yours to help you with anything, no matter how many miles away. I am so grateful to have known each of you these past few years, and today is not an end, but a beautiful beginning. Congratulations to the extraordinary class of 2019. Thank you.
Congratulations to the Saint Dominic Academy Class of 2019! Today, I want to share with you my remarks from yesterday’s graduation ceremony.
Good afternoon, everyone. My dear seniors, this is the last time that I will stand before you and be able to offer you advice, insight and “wisdom”, although I am not always sure how wise I truly am. What I can tell you, is when I look out at you, I see my own little girl, ten years from now. And so, I did some reading and some reflecting on what advice I will someday give to her, as she heads out into the world. I am certain all of your mothers and fathers have given you valuable advice and life lessons that you will carry with you always. Now, if you will indulge me for just a few moments…here are some life lessons I learned as a young woman, and as your “school mom”, I’d like to share them with you.
Spend the money on the dress you love. Your OWN money, not your parents money. There will be a day where you find the dress of your dreams..the one that when you put it on, it makes you smile. And then…you’ll look at the price tag and put it back on the rack. Pick it up again- spend the money, treat yourself. Because when you feel you look your best, that’s the moment when your inner beauty shines through.
Never miss an opportunity to tell someone how you feel. If you love someone, tell them. Even if they don’t say it back, and at times they won’t…you will always regret not telling someone you love them.
Your words carry tremendous weight, choose them wisely. At all times, in every situation. We all lose our tempers and say things we regret. Imagine how much happier the world would be if we stopped before those regretful words came out of our mouths, thought about them for a moment, and then bit them back.
If you know the answer, raise your hand. In the college classroom, as a parent someday at a PTA meeting, in a work meeting. ( Ok maybe don’t raise your hand, but speak up!) Share your knowledge, let people know how intelligent you are. Never be afraid to be right.
Karma is real. Don’t be a mean girl. Yes, yes, the movie is funny, I’ll admit it. But really, who wants to go through life like Regina George and her Plastics? I know you all- NONE of you are mean girls. Don’t let anything you face in life turn you into a mean girl!
Use sunscreen. It sounds silly right now, I know. But I am looking out for your future- and the last thing you want is a call from your doctor about skin cancer…take a moment to spray on that sunscreen and take care of the beautiful skin that you have.
Listen to your gut, even when it disagrees with your head and your heart. Instinct is a powerful thing; almost every creature on the planet with the exception of humans act on instinct. If you feel something is not right for you, listen to that feeling. Just make sure you know the difference between instinct and impulse!
Know the difference between a disagreement and an argument. Try your best not to have either, but a disagreement does not always have to be personal; you can have a professional disagreement with a classmate, a colleague, a family member, but not hurt their feelings. In arguments feelings are always hurt and we always say things we regret.
Eat the cake. This is advice I have to follow myself. Be happy with who you are, enjoy the things in life that make you happy. Don’t worry about calories or fat or things like that every day for the rest of your life. Cake, in moderation, is meant to be enjoyed!
Always carry an extra hair-tie. Or else, rock a short haircut! You can see what I have chosen…so either keep an emergency supply somewhere, or you’ll one day be me saying “I’ve got to do something with this hair always hanging in my face!”
Friday nights are for takeout. Sometimes Tuesdays are, too. And this becomes perhaps the best advice I can offer you, especially as you get older. Nobody expects you to do it all…work, dinner, homework, etc. Splurge a little once or twice a week and order in and binge watch an entertaining show. It will do so much to keep you centered and focused for the other 5 days!
Ask for help when you need it. You’re an independent woman, not a superhero. Call your mom, your dad, your friends…come back to SDA and say “Can you help me with.____?” As I just said, not one of us can do it all, not you, not I. There are days when, if my friends could not help me out a little, I’d be lost. You’ll have those days too…so never be too proud to ask for assistance.
Love yourself. The people in this room right now love you very much. That’s why they are here celebrating this day. You will meet others in life who love you very much. And someday, I hope each of you meets the one true love of your life. Alas, all of that love that is focused on you will never truly touch your soul, unless you first truly love yourself.
And that is it…the end of my list, the end of my time as your Head of School…but we know well that this sisterhood at SDA has existed for 140 years and so today is not an ending…it’s the beginning of your future as proud alumnae of Saint Dominic Academy. I am so very lucky and proud to have shared this journey with you. I wish each of you the best of luck, and I am always here if you need anything.