Back to the Garden…

Father of our HOS, Joe Degnan, a child of the 60s and grandparent today, celebrating 50 Years of Woodstock with granddaughter Abigail and grand niece Regan.

Yesterday was Grandparents Day and this current generation of grandparents surely were busy when they were teenagers. 50 years ago, the summer of 69 saw the culmination of one of those most iconic and turbulent decades our country has ever seen. By the time we hit that summer, peppered with a myriad of historical events, the grandparents of today had spent a decade spearheading change in the United States. From the Selma Bus Rides, to the first African American on the Supreme Court, from the loss of both JFK and RFK to the British Invasion, peaceful protests of the Vietnam war and the “Summer of Love” in San Francisco, Abbie Hoffman protesting at the Stock Exchange, The Stonewall Riots and the murder of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr, the list of what transpired during the 1960’s is seemingly endless, all culminating in that final summer of 1969.

The nation and a generation of now grandparents saw the Chappaquiddick and Manson tragedies that summer. They heard President Nixon pledge to finally pull troops out of Vietnam. They watched, breathless on black and white televisions as Neil Armstrong took a “giant leap for mankind.” A genearation that saw the first sit ins take place in 1960, watched James Meredith register at Ole Miss, lived through the Freedom Summer, heard Dr. King speak about his “Dream” for America, saw the founding of the National Organization for Women and the introduction of the Civil Rights Act now saw the seeminlgy impossible- we had reached outside the boundaries of earth and touched the surface of the moon. In a summer where the moon landing occurred, could anything else be as equally culturally significant to the youth of the 1960’s?

There was one other defining moment of the Summer of 69- it took place for three days on a farm in New York. Perhaps many of the grandparents of today were there and even for those that were not, the word “Woodstock” has become over the past fifty years the definition of peace and love. From all walks of life, young adults, not much older than the ones I see in the hall each day, the one who lived through perhaps the decade that shaped our country the most, came together for three days to celebrate. What one belief united them? They wanted a peaceful world, not full of hate and violence and bias, but full of tolerance and openmindeness and love. After all, wasn’t that what they had been dreaming about for 10 years? Wasn’t that what Kennedy and King told them to aspire to, encouraged them to believe in, and rallied them to take calls to action for? 

Perhaps a three day rock concert was not going to change the world, but these young men and women had spent the past ten years trying to change the world for the better, and in many ways they did. ( However, after that 3 day rock concert, I think we can say music was never the same!) At Woodstock and all over the United Sates, people saw each other not as strangers, but as friends. Nobody saw color or gender or any of the labels that create a climate of hate and fear. What the 60’s generation saw when they went all the way to Woodstock was unity.

Crosby, Stills, Nash and young, one of the performers at the legendary concert perhaps captured the spirit best when they sang (in 1970) 

We are stardust,

We are golden.

for indeed we are; every one of us. Filled with light and joy, happiness and love, if only we are willing to let down our guard and shine as brightly as God intended. The over 500 thousand people at Yasgur’s Farm shone brightly those three days and truly embraced the ideals of peace, tolerance and above all love for our fellow man. 

The children of yesterday, the grandparents of today had the strongest message of peace our country has ever seen. For fifty years now, they have lived by those beliefs, have raised children and grandchildren to embrace those ideals and have worked tirelessly to create a better world.

They did NOT do that so a new generation could dismantle it with hate and intolerance and harassment and anger. We ALL, you and I both, need to take a lesson for our Woodstock Generation now, before they fade too far into memory and their ideals become not something to embrace and celebrate, but a one liner for the history books. Their generation created for us, all of us, a world that tried to foster equality and love. Let us not ever ever lose sight of that. The “Flower Children” and indeed all children of the 1960’s created for American a beautiful and peaceful garden in which we were invited to reside. So today, I encourage us as adults and our teenage generation to, as Crosby Stills, Nash and Young tell us “ get ourselves back to the garden”. It’s simple really, all we need to do is follow the path that was started for us by a beautiful and historic generation 50 years ago.

Lights, Camera, Action!

Let’s play a quick game…shall we?  Leave your score in the comments if you’d like.  Can you name the movie each of these famous lines came from?

“I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

“Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”

“I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat”

“ You had me at hello”

“Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

“If you build it, he will come.”

“They’re HERE!”

“Oh no, it wasn’t the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast.”

“May the Force be with you.”

Ok did anyone get ten out of ten?  You can email me for the answers if you are stumped on one or two ( or just go to they are all from the 100 Greatest Movie Quotes!)  So, why are we playing this game on a sunny Monday in mid – July?  Well, the answer is elementary, my dear Watson.  Saint Dominic Academy added a new elective to its roster of classes for the 2019-2020 school year. Open to 11th and 12th grades, the Film Studies class will begin its “award winning” year on September 6th, 2019. 

The major purpose of this course will be to examine the culture of film, and the effect different film genres have had on society as a whole.  Students will examine film sources as points of cultural significance in America. Special attention will be given to the creative and technical elementals essential to visual communication on film.  This class provides students with an opportunity to examine in depth the role Hollywood plays in American culture. The genres being studied are: Horror, Sci/Fi- Fantasy, Comedy, Drama, Romance, Mystery and Biography and the movie selections range from 1933 to 2017. 

There is always something new going on here at SDA and this year is no exception.  And in case you were curious as to who is “directing” this class for the year…look no further than this blog.  I am very much looking forward to introducing this new elective class to your daughters this school year!

Meet The Nicest Kids In Town!

Save the date now to “meet the nicest kids in town!” Saint Dominic Academy will present Hairspray! the Musical on January 10th and 11th 2020! Although that seems far away while we bask in the glow of the summer sun, it will be here before we know it. To that end, auditions for principal character roles were held over the last few weeks, and today, I am pleased to share our Cast List for our musical production! We are welcoming back some of our past leading ladies and also have some newcomers joining our principal cast. The show will once again be directed by Ms. Stephanie De Sarle and choreography will be by Saint Dominic Academy alumna Lexylee Martinez ’18. Jennifer Parra, class of 2021 will serve as Stage Manager. 

 Tracy Turnblad Rachel Perrie

Edna Turnblad Emily Perri 

Velma Von Tussle Alyssa Fuentes 

Amber Von Tussle Gabby Beredo 

Corny Collins Avery Aquino 

Link Larkin Byron Flores Jr. 

Motormouth Mable Mikalya Cintron 

Seaweed Stubbs Maximillian Rueda 

Lil Inez Stubbs Abigail Rowan Degnan 

Penny Pingleton Veronica Dominguez 

Prudy Pingleton Reagan Mattiello 

Wilbur Turnblad Joseph Basilio 

Ensemble Elena Hernandez, Fiona Gomez,

Miya Morrison, Jaiden Winters

Arianna Santana, Mikalah Merizalde…and other featured voices. 


As with years past, we will be hosting two receptions before the show. Alumnae, save the date now for our Alumnae Reception on January 11th. January 10th will be a reception for our Board of Trustees members of and Friends of Saint Dominic Academy. 

Incoming students in grades 7 and 9 as well as all transfer students, if you are interested in joining the cast of Hairspray! please email our Theater Arts Director, Ms. Stephanie DeSarle at Rehearsals start in September and we’d love to have you join our cast. Welcome to the Sixties, SDA! 

So Long, Partner…Toy Story 4

Spoiler alert!

 It’s been a week since I went to see Toy Story Four with Abigail. And…I still cannot stop crying over the film. For those of us who ventured to see Toy Story back in 1995, this ending truly brought home the concept that Woody himself questions in the films “ Why do people have to grow up so fast?” I’ve been pals with Woody and Buzz and Bo, et al, since I was a senior in high school. And those who know my daughter know that she’s carried a Woody doll with her daily (every SINGLE day!) since she was two years old. ( She’ll be 8 next month.) So, it was quite hard for me to say goodbye to the Roundup Gang last Monday afternoon.

I was not the only wet eyed person…Abigail was in tears too. Her reason was simple. How on earth could Bonnie not treasure Woody anymore? It was bad enough when she left him on the floor of the closet. And then, replaced him with a SPORK!! But then, to not seem to care that he’s missing from the Gang!? To give his sheriff badge to Jessie?? And the hardest cut of all…to seemingly drive off and the end of the movie and not realize that Woody is not there. The message is clear. She’s over him. What made it all the more heartbreaking for my daughter was that, even at 7 years old, she understood that Woody loved Bonnie and would do anything for her. I was crying a bit before, but when Abby raised a tearstained face from my lap during the final few moments and said “ Why doesn’t Bonnie love Woody like he loves her? Why is Woody staying behind?” my tears flowed down my cheeks into her curls.

Abigail’s reaction was one that I expected. She could not relate to the idea of Bonnie outgrowing Woody, as she has not yet outgrown him. He was with us for the movie, clutched in her (not so) tiny fist. It was my reaction that almost knocked the wind out of me. Why on earth was I sobbing into movie theater napkins because Woody and Buzz parted ways? The depth of my tears surprised me; until I looked down and Abby and her Woody. Then, I knew.

I was crying for the future, for the day when I will find Woody on the floor of her closet, or tossed under her bed. For the day when he won’t be her longtime companion…when texting and Instagram and who knows what else will be her “go to” release when she’s joyful or frustrated or feeling sad. There is a day, in the not so distant future, when Woody will not be her bosom friend, her “cuddle buddy” as she calls him, or her constant companion. When that day comes, she’ll be fine. But, the question worth asking is “ How will I survive it?”

Growing up is a part of life, we as adults know this. Helping our children grow up is also a part of life; we as parents know this too. Knowing it is one thing…being fully ready for it is quite another. As we spend the summer with our children, be they toddlers or teens…we each know that there might be a milestone in store: a favorite toy abandoned, too tall for the kiddie rides at the boardwalk, a dorm room to decorate, a driver’s license to obtain. And, we know, it’s always harder on us to let our children “reach for the sky” than it is for them to do the reaching. We also know this- it’s the most important job we will ever have, to help them sail “to infinity and beyond”.  I will miss Toy Story, the Round Up gang and Woody most of all. He will always be in the forefront of my memory when I look back on my Abigail’s early years. As Woody says “ I can’t stop Andy from growing up, but I wouldn’t miss it for the world.” My readers…we can each insert our own child’s name here and just be glad that as time marches on, we don’t miss any of those spectacular (and sometimes sad) growing up moments!

The Fourth of July

This week, I think these long ago  words speak for themselves…

Let us remember those who long ago fought for our freedom.

Let us remember those who took a stand to change the world.

Let us reflect, let us truly be grateful for our Country, and let us pray for the souls of our founding fathers.


The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

SDA: A Future for Girls

Here we are, the last Monday in June and everyone’s little one is finished school for the year. The summer days stretch out ahead, like waves on the sand and whether our children are transitioning from kindergarten to first grade, elementary school to high school, rising to senior year, or heading off to college, right now the only thing on their minds is VACATION! Of course, they will open their books this summer, complete their summer tasks, read for pleasure, go to camps, go to workshops and continue to expand their knowledge base. However, I am certain that there will be more than a few days where our children sleep till after 10am, eat snacks all day instead of meals, and lounge around on the very furniture/rugs we are trying to clean. Those first lazy days of summer vacation are upon us as parents and we know it!

What we must never lose sight of, not even on those cloudless warm summer days is that the future is fast approaching. Two months off and then, boom, right back to the hustle and bustle- the gathering of knowledge, the shaping of our children into the young adults they will someday become. And that is why, no matter how young your daughter is, it is never too early to think about her educational future and the doors that Saint Dominic Academy can open for her.

Our school, open since 1878, has spent over a hundred and forty years preparing women for leadership in a global society. We’ve done it well; countless alumnae can attest to that fact. And we will continue to do it far into the future. Ten athletic teams, a world renowned choir, two dramatic performances yearly, 9 AP level classes, partnerships with Saint Peter’s University and Seton Hall University, and more college partnerships to come, electives spanning from Film to Forensic Science and teachers who truly bring both energy and expertise to our classrooms- Saint Dominic Academy “has it all” for the young women who pass through our halls.

Parents of daughters, whether they are 6 or 12…now is the time for you to take a closer look at Saint Dominic Academy and all we can offer your daughter. Reach out to our Enrollment Manager, Ms. Kristen Mallon with any questions or to visit Saint Dominic Academy.

It’s never too early to start planning for her future. And, at Saint Dominic Academy, the future is bold, is bright, and of course, the future is female!

Highlight Reel…

This is almost mind blowing to me, but as I sit here in my office typing…I am typing my 100th Blog! Little did I know when I was asked to write a blog as I stepped into the role of Head of School, that it would become perhaps one of my favorite weekly tasks, and that I had so much to say on such a variety of subjects. (Stop laughing those who know me well!) And so, in talking blog ideas out for the month, I threw out the idea of having the 100th blog be a “highlight reel”- statements from previous blogs that truly stood out to me. Well, readers, that meant that I had to go back and re-read at least twice, every single blog post I have written. A daunting task for Labor Day weekend, but one that I wholeheartedly enjoyed. And so…here are the most important pieces( in my mind) of wit and wisdom I have offered in blogs written from 1-99. Happy reading!

I encourage your daughters, not to fear the transitions that wait ahead…the year may be different, it may bring the unexpected, but anything is possible if you’ve got enough nerve.

Small acts of kindness are taught every day by a faculty who can recall history’s past mistakes.

Together, we can continue to inspire young ladies to be active, be healthy and most importantly, be happy both with themselves and the world around them.

We do not presume to lay an individual’s dreams out in a catalog and tell her what she should want. Instead, we allow the space to grow and learn, so that each girl determines what she wishes for herself.

What happened in Salem in 1692 is just one example of a grave injustice toward woman and although it may not receive more than a paragraph in a history textbook, it is one that should be called to our attention…until we ensure that blind persecution does not occur in this day and age.

Annie is the perfect musical for SDA- it is at its heart a tale of an empowered young girl, one who does not let the world stand in the way of her dreams.

Be thankful, for all you’ve been given. Be thankful for the love that surrounds you.

We teach…that no matter what lies in store for them, they are heroines of their own life stories…women do not need to be rescued, they do the rescuing.

And, isn’t that what education is all about? For young people not just to memorize but have a spark fanned into a flame…the current Hamilton craze has many educational benefits!

I have been a teacher for years and will be a teacher for my life-I thank all teachers especially those who chose to shape lives here at Saint Dominic Academy.

My father is the backbone that allows me to be the woman I am; the woman I hope inspires young woman daily.

We need to keep throwing our hats in the air until the glass ceiling shatters above us! We are strong, we are empowered and ladies…we’re gonna make it after all!

Friendship, I have learned, spreads its mantle far and wide.

It is at all girls Catholic school that girls truly learn that intelligent, faith filled women can change the world.

If we are to be successful, we must be supportive of ALL Catholic educational endeavors.

Whether we are mourning an end of a relationship, the loss of a friendship, physical illness, the death of a loved one….our sadness is not ever unnoticed by God.

I am in agreement that sometimes, unconventional teaching reaches students that rote lessons and by the book memorizations cannot.

I would be lost without the daily grace and love my mother brings to my life.

Let us remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, so that America could truly be one nation, under God.

With my heart and mind rooted in character education, I cannot help but wonder, isn’t Character Education what Catholic school has been about since its inception?

If we reflect daily on the beauty and wonder of God all around us, our days will be filled with a sense of peace, of faith and of love.

In our school, there is always that sense, that felling that every girl cares about the well being of others.

It’s tough to be a sister at times…but it is also one of the nicest things in the world to be.

Celebrate the autumn season..the beauty of nature that occurs between the first day of fall and the advent of the holiday season.

During the season of pumpkin spice, allow God to carve in your soul a new, smiling face and allow the gift of His light to shine inside you for all the world to see.

I am a Mom and Moms show no fear!

It’s ok to be afraid, as long as you do not let fear overwhelm you. It’s ok to be nervous about being in a new situation as long as you recognize the strength within yourself to adjust and make a place for yourself.

As a parent I spend so much time being nervous and scared that I am not in the mood for horror movie shrieks this October.

For we know it’s not the monster under the bed that matters, but the one who lurks behind the computer screen who is the real threat.

How many more tragic tales do we have to hear before our youth finally learn that WORDS DO HURT?

That’s the magic of November, the ongoing prayer of Thanksgiving between each of us and God.

The love of God is within the girls this Christmas season and it shines a bit brighter and gives each young lady that extra sparkle I see daily.

Maria Von Trapp….a leader in a society falling under a dangerous regime, and a brave and protective mother putting the safety of her stepchildren before her own safety at all times.

Remember always, the true spirit of Christmas lies within your heart.

For me, a perfect winter would begin with a light dusting of snow on Thanksgiving, sprinkle some flakes in the purple December twilight, gift us with a fluffy white Christmas, and then pack it in on New Years Day…if only I lived in Camelot!

For many of my readers, the concern already is…how much tech time is too much?

Fathers have been supporting us since the moment we took our first breath in the world. They are our quiet caretakers, the ones that help us grow to be strong women.

I remember Columbine…I remember Virginia Tech…I remember Sandy Hook. I remember the others, too numerous to name. My heart is heavy, as is the heart of every parent, every educator and everyone who has been too close to a tragic incident such as the one that occurred at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School.

I know that we, as mothers have to reach a point where we are comfortable with letting go. By that I mean letting small things go; its ok to leave my coffee cup in the sink if it means I can do Abigail’s read aloud with her…let me share with you one important quote that makes me feel better as a mom. Don’t be hard on yourself, that mom from E.T. had an alien living in her house for days…and never even noticed!

I believe in Catholic education, I believe in girls. I believe that catholic girls education is essential if we want to change society for the better.

We (mothers) see the amazing amount of potential in the tiniest human and …we take on the arduous and sometimes trying role of shaping our little ones so they grow to do wonderful things.

In that theater I learned two very important things…if we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane…breathe in, breathe out, move on. What an amazingly wonderful experience.

God is creativity in its purest form.

Keep writing, keep dreaming…we need more creative minds in our daily world.

The film ( The Wizard of Oz) is all about the transformation from an unsure young girl to a strong and empowered woman…and in many ways it tells the story of each young lady sitting before me (at graduation) today.

The gift to make yourself happy, to make yourself successful, to become the best person you can be resides in each of you and has from the moment you took your first breath.

Parents are an essential backbone to the Catholic School community; it has always been that way and it will never change.

I am wary of movies that empower women at the expense of the man looking like a moron…We can be heroes but only if the men are incompetent? What kind of empowering message is that?

Stop waiting..for Friday afternoons, for fall, for someone to fall in love with, for your life to begin…Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for it, and take active steps to be your own best person, to live your own best life….then, everything else you dream of falls into place.


So, that is indeed a lot of food for thought…please drop me a comment, give me a call and let me know what spoke to you most over these 100 blogs!

On the Eve of Infamy…

When Americans hear the word infamy, I am certain many of us call to mind the words uttered just after the bombing of Pearl Harbor…”a day that will live in infamy.” And yet today is the eve of the anniversary of another infamous day- one that seems as tangibly close and horrifying 17 years later as it did on September 11th, 2001. When those of us who were alive on September 10th 2001 put our heads to rest that night, little did we know our lives, our sense of security, our very country and our presence in global society would be shaken to the core in less than 24 hours. And yet, on that sunny morning 17 years ago, it took less than a half hour for the world as each of us knew it to crumble into dust- never ever to be the same again.

Tragedy- each of us have known it in our personal lives, in our shared experiences with others and for those who have bravely served our country in the armed forces, served our cities as fire or police officers, have seen it on a more expanded level. However, the tragedy of September 11th was insurmountable, unfathomable, and for many of us, still fresh enough in our minds to move us to tears and heartache on this day and into tomorrow. Two years ago, my very second blog as Head of School focused on the fact that the incoming 9th graders, now juniors at SDA were born into a world where September 11th was already a historical event. And two years later, more and more young people have joined our world, a world where the events of 9/11 are read about in history texts or talked about in the past tense and this current world, where terrorism at home and abroad has become sadly all too common is the world in which our children live today.

They did not know the peace that all of us carried in our hearts the evening of September 10th 2001. We ourselves did not know the peace we carried inside of us on that date; for we never realized it could be taken from us in such a violent and terrible way. We, you and I both, took things for granted- meeting someone at the airport gate, eating at Windows on the World, feeling safe on a flight to Florida or California or wherever else our whimsical travels took us. More than those things, which I do miss, what I know I took for granted was the fact that my daughter, then not even a twinkle in my eye, would live in a safe and peaceful world; a world that while not perfect, was certainly not a world filled with violence, terror, fear and hatred. And yet, 17 years later for many of us that is the daily world in which we live.

Oh it’s not prominent- we have learned as all humans learn, to adjust our mindsets, our actions, our very ways of life. We’ve met our new world with a sense of resignation and acceptance. Just ask yourself, how many times have you uttered the sentence “This is the world we live in now.” I know I have said it on many occasions. Do I feel every day that we, as a people, as a country, as a member of global society are in mortal danger? No- not every day. However, am I much more fearful than I was on this date 17 years ago? Yes, I am and I suspect yes, so are many of you.

It’s a heartbreaking date in our history, a heartbreaking memory for all who lived through it and not only because of the sheer enormity of senseless death and destruction. It’s heartbreaking because of how it has changed us, shaken us, literally to the core. There is no going back to the peace we once had- there is only learning daily to live with the fears of today and to try and not let fear overtake our hearts, minds and souls.

To continue to teach and preach peace, love, acceptance, tolerance and forgiveness is an unending task; one that all Americans must take on and work to showcase. Our young children know no other world than this one- and so we have to build, not the sense of peace that once existed, but perhaps a new one- for each of our children so that the fear we have carried with us for 17 long years will not engulf their hearts and stop them from believing in a more peaceful earth.

Casting Complete…The King and I at SDA!

It’s been a theatrical summer for this Head of School. I saw Escape to Margaritaville in June, Pretty Woman- The Musical in July (which I highly recommend) and in just two days, I head off with my little one to see Hamilton! I’ve been waiting a full year to see this and am quite excited. In addition, my daughter has been hard at work all summer long- she is playing Aunt Sponge in James and the Giant Peach, Jr. I am, of course, over the moon excited to see her onstage doing what she loves the first weekend in August.

Here too at Saint Dominic Academy, our drama director Ms. Stephanie DeSarle is getting quite excited…she spent July casting the female roles in our production of The King and I and this year, is partnering with our experienced dance coach Marie Pompeo-Maffia in order to stage what is sure to be our most elaborate production yet. The curtain rises on November 30 and December 1st, and more information about tickets and the pre-show receptions will be coming in the fall. Also being announced in the fall are the names of our King of Siam and Lun Tha as well as some younger faces who will join us and play the royal princes and princesses. ( We are rounding up some “future” SDA girls for these adorable parts!) For now, it is my extreme pleasure to share with you, the Saint Dominic Academy Cast List for The King and I.


Anna Leonowens Julia Rinaldi
Lady Thiang Rachel Perrie
Tuptim Valentyna Simon
The King of Siam TBD
The Kralahome Reagan Mattiello
Lun Tha TBD
Louis(a) Leonowens Abigail Degnan
Prince Chululong Korn Gabby Beredo
Captain Orton Caitlin Aristizabal
The Interpreter Alison Mah
Phra Alack Caitlin Aristizabal
Sir Edward Ramsey Jessica Stanley
Princess Ying Yaowlak Veronica Dominguez
Royal Wives Led by:

Alyssa Fuentes


Téa Baramidze

Liv Lekovish

Christis Shepard

Ensemble (Cross Cast)

Royal Dancers Aisha Adeboye and SDA’s Dance Team
Royal Princes and Princesses SDA Family/TBA
Buddhist Priests, Amazons Ensemble (Cross Cast)