Remarks from the Father Daughter Dance

This past Friday, Saint Dominic Academy held its Father Daughter Dance at La Reggia in Secaucus, NJ. I was so very proud to be there with my father, and to be able to share some insights about dads and daughters with the room…

Good evening everyone and welcome to the Father Daughter Dance. This event, one of my favorites each year, is even more special to me this evening. Those of you who have been coming to this dance for years know that I always have my “favorite date”, my dad with me here. This evening, I am also lucky enough to have my daughter Abigail, who was so very excited to bring a “date” as well- her future father is here tonight too.

Watching her get ready for this event tonight, her smile as she thought about what she wanted to wear, her plans to dance with both her new dad and her beloved grandfather, made me realize that we all, as daughters, if we are lucky enough to have our dads and/or father figures with us from birth and in our lives daily- may, at times be guilty of taking our dads for granted. I’ll be perfectly honest, I KNOW I take my dad for granted at times and even though I am sorry for that, he and I both know that I’ll probably continue to do it from time to time. Habits that are 42 years old are very very hard to break. But, maybe seeing Abby’s excitement over having a dad in her life, will teach me to be a better daughter and to truly appreciate every single thing, big and small that my dad does for me on a daily basis.

And ladies, if I am going to practice what I preach, then you should as well. I won’t ask you to raise your hands, but how many of you were truly excited as you stood in front of your mirror at home getting ready? How many of you changed your dress or your hair or your lipstick, not to look good for your friends, but to look beautiful for your father? How many of you really took a moment to think just how lucky you are to be here tonight, on a date with the one man in your life who will love you unconditionally, who will do anything to make you happy, and who will protect and defend you at all costs? Did any of you truly think about that tonight? If I did, it was only fleetingly and I am sure that is the case for many of you.

That should not be the case- the men in this room tonight are our heroes- our quiet defenders, our strong silent cheerleaders, and their love for us is what makes us who we are today- strong, motivated women who want to change the world for the better. None of that would be possible without their guidance and support. You know it, I know it, and even Abigail knows it. No wonder she is so excited tonight- she’s still at that young age where a night out with dad is truly the “perfect date.” It should be that way for all of us tonight, and any night we get to spend with our fathers.

So, tonight, maybe keep the phones in your purses, stop looking at your Instagram stories, and enjoy the company of the best man in your life. 

Thoughts About Hairspray!

this past weekend, Saint Dominic Academy was delighted to present the musical Hairspray! onstage in ELAN. I was asked to write a few words for the program, and today, I share them with you…

It’s all about dreams…isn’t it? For all the young men and women who have worked so hard on our production of Hairspray!, it’s their dream to sing and dance onstage and tonight in front of your eyes, their dream will come true. It’s fitting that this particular show we’ve chosen is being performed on this particular weekend; one where we remember the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King gave his life to see his dream fulfilled and who among us can hear the words “ I have a dream..,” without remembering this remarkable man and how his dream changed the future for millions of Americans for generations to come.

Make no mistake, although our show is lighthearted and peppy, our lead character, Miss Tracy Turnblad, shares the same dream that Dr. King had– the dream to integrate, to see people united instead of divided. Just has he had a dream, so too does Tracy and she learns early on in our show that you’ve “gotta think big to be big” when it comes to making ones dream a reality. As you watch this story unfold, you’ll soon see the connections between our story set in Baltimore and the overarching dream that Dr. King had for America. 

Tonight, and every night and day, those who want to sing together, to dance together, to play together, to work to make the world a happier and better place together…can always do so. Look at the world—so full of beautiful people from all walks of life—and see how each of us can truly work to make the world a happier and better place. 

This cast has brought a smile to my face every day at rehearsal and I am so proud of all they have accomplished! I know they will continue to hold tight to their dreams for years to come. Thank you for supporting them.

Respect for Catholic Education …

Catholic school is a tradition, a way of life, a path that many of us were raised on and that we continue to have our children follow to this very day. It should then come as no surprise how shocked and saddened I was when I learned that Marist High School will close in June. A Hudson County icon, and a visible presence of Catholic Education for all who enter our county via the well traveled NJ Turnpike, it is sad to see their doors planning to be shuttered for good. More and more, this is the path for many Catholic schools, and it is a path that none should ever have to take. 

The goal of all Catholic schools, elementary or high, co-ed or single sex is to provide a faith filled educational foundation for students. One needs only to look at the mission statements of schools in Hudson County, and regardless of whether they were founded by the Dominicans, the Jesuits, the Marist Brothers, the De La Salle Brothers or another religious community, the purpose is shared. 

We at Saint Dominic Academy have a place for all the young women of Marist High School who are seeking an education in the Catholic tradition. Our thoughts and prayers are with their student body as they seek to transition to a new environment and we will welcome with open hearts the traditions of Marist High School that are brought to Saint Dominic Academy by any transfer students who will join our population next year.

In the time between then and now, we will keep the students, parents, alumni and faculty of Marist High School in our daily prayers and intentions. Finding a new “home” is never an easy task to undertake, and leaving what is familiar and those who are friends of the heart for a new and strange place is one of the hardest challenges each of us may ever face in life.  It is even harder when it is a transition not fueled by personal choice. To that end, we at Saint Dominic Academy will work tirelessly to ensure that the needs of the young women currently attending Marist High School will be met, should they choose to make their transition here to Saint Dominic Academy. 

Today, more than ever, let us remember to continue to support Catholic education-because the support directly impacts the students who seek a home in our buildings each and every day.

Prayers for the Marist community.