May 24

14 months since the St. Dominic Academy Glee Club’s members last met in person, a few girls got together to sing one last song for the 2020-2021 school year. They sang ‘The Rose’, one of the Club’s classics, as a farewell to the senior members and the entire SDA class of 2021.

This in-person performance is only the beginning of post-quarantine SDA and future Glee Club endeavors!

May 17

It took way more than “just a pinch of pixie dust” to get here, but we are here at last. This coming weekend, May 21 and 22, will be Saint Dominic Academy’s musical production of Peter Pan. This is the fifth production directed by Ms. Stephanie DeSarle and as if flying off to Neverland was not a hug enough feat, this year’s musical is all virtual- pre-recorded and streaming through an online platform. No small task at all, our cast and crew has been working since December, recording vocal tracks, acting silently while the tracks were dubbed over their movements, and then recording individual scenes via Zoom, all for a seamless virtual production. It’s been a task like none we’ve taken on before and the entire production has been done in house, using the skills of both our Director and our student performers and stage crew.

With students from four different schools participating in our show, we are looking forward to a magical two nights in Neverland- leaving our safe nursery where Nana loyally guards the “Darling” children and flying off to a land where warriors protect Lost Boys, where pirates lurk around every tree stump, where crocodiles tick tock and animals march, where Pan vows to never grow up, but finds himself becoming the protector of his young “family”, along with Wendy and the infamous Tinkerbell. For a show that touts a song called “ I Won’t Grow Up”, as I worked with our cast, it became more and more clear to me that the story truly is about growing up—certainly for Wendy, John and Michael, as they leave the safety of London to have a magical adventure of their own, for the Lost Boys, who realize maybe having a family is better than playing all day, and for Peter Pan himself, who finds the strength to let his friends go home to London, even though he desperately wants them to stay with him. 

For all of us who have had to let go, of our childhoods, of a safe place, of a secure position and venture out into an unknown world, this musical strikes a chord with us. Here at Saint Dominic Academy, where we truly BELIEVE in the power of girls, I ask that you clap your hands for us, not only if you BELIEVE in fairies so we can save Tinkerbell from peril, but if you truly BELIEVE in the power of our students abilities to bring joy to your lives through their performances. 

And how do you get there? It’s simple—second star to the right and straight on till morning. Join us on May 21st or 22nd; ticket information is on our website and social media pages. See you in Neverland! 

Peter Pan Cast and Crew

Peter Pan – Alyssa Fuentes

Captain Hook- Maximillian Rueda ( Saint Peter’s Prep)

 Mrs. Darling, Starkey – Isabel LeCompte

 Mr. Darling, Tootles – Isabella Betancourt

 Wendy Darling- Reagan Mattiello

 John Darling, Noodler – Luke Mullins (All Saints Catholic Academy) 

 Michael Darling, Jukes – Salvatore DeSarle-Scarpulla (Sayreville Public Schools) 

 Liza, Nibs – Carolina Quito

Smee – Abigail Degnan (ASCA/Homeschool) 

Tiger Lilly- Miya Morrison

 Warrior, Cecco – Lyeba Jadun

Warrior – Thasha Balraj

 Slightly, Curly – Keira Ang,

Jane, Twins – Elle Mullins (All Saints Catholic Academy) 

 Nana – Cole Mullins

 Illustrations, Animations – Madison Russo-Alesi

 Virtual Stage Manager – Jennifer Parra

 Virtual Stage Crew – Grace Dirkin

 Virtual Stage Crew – Persia Valdivieso

 Virtual Stage Crew – Elizabeth Rodriquez

Summer Reading 2021

This year, Saint Dominic Academy’s summer reading reflects not only women’s voices but also the moral, ethical, spiritual and societal issues that we want our young ladies to be able to discuss and analyze, as they grow into empowered leaders who can thrive in a global society.

With the exception of the 7th grade and the AP supplemental texts, the selected readings are non-fiction and address complex issues including bullying and harassment, the death penalty, U.S. interactions with the Middle East, ongoing environmental concerns, and genetics. 

It is my hope that parents will choose to read their daughter’s assigned novel and engage in discussion over the summer. When we return in September, our English Department will work with students to create comprehensive, analytical essays while our Religion Department engages in frank and open discussion about the topics for each grade level. 

7th- To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

An American classic, dealing with the issues of rape and racial inequality, the novel is also remembered by beloved readers for its warmth and humor. Published in 1960, it skyrocketed to success and won the Pulitzer Prize.  The plot and the character are loosely based on the author’s own experiences at age 10 in Monroeville, AL. 

8th- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou 

Ms. Angelou’s heartbreaking and heartwarming 1969 autobiography. Part of a seven volume series, this is the first of her stories, showcasing how at a young age she overcame racism and trauma.  It begins when Maya is three and ends with her becoming a mother at age 16. Fans of her poetry will be moved by her open and honest retelling of her life’s hard beginnings and how she learned to respond to prejudice. 

9th- Autobiography of a Face by Luce Greeley

With a strong focus on identity, this intense and sad memoir by Lucy Grealy tells her story of before and after being diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma. Beginning at age 9 and following to adulthood, she shares with her readers how the removal of her jaw due to cancer had serious effects on her emotional life as well as her physical acceptance of herself.  What makes the memoir more heartbreaking is that the author took her own life a short time after this was published. 

10th- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Science and ethics are just two of the many topics covered in this work.  Henrietta Lacks, treated for cervical cancer in 1951, had cells that led scientists to what we know as the HeLa, an immortal cell line.  However, Ms. Lacks was the unknowing donor of these cells as the doctors who took them never received permission.  The book, detailed in nature makes a strong argument about ethical issues and their links to race and class in medical research. 

11th Dead Man Walking by Sister Helen Prejean

Those on both side of the death penalty debate cannot help but be moved by this compassionate work of non fiction by Sister Helen Prejean.  Working in  New Orleans, as spiritual advisor to two convicted murderers on Death Row, Sister gives readers an inside look at Angola, the Louisiana state penitentiary, the process of how the death penalty is carried out, and the moral issues stemming from both the use of the death penalty itself and the role of a spiritual advisor.  

12th A Mighty Heart by Marianne Pearl

In 2002,  Daniel Pearl, a Jewish American journalist for the Wall Street Journal was kidnapped, tortured and beheaded by terrorists in Pakistan. The beheading video was sent to U.S. officials and was viewed by his family as well. This work, penned by his wife Mariane Pearl, who was pregnant with their first and only child when he was killed, gives a vivid, detailed and frightening account of the days leading up to his death. 

12th AP( in addition to above) : The Turn of the Screw– Henry James

Written in 1898 this short novella tells the haunting story of a governess, isolated with two children at a remote estate in England.  Are the supernatural events real, or in her mind only? It’s been debated for over a century and this book is a favorite of The College Board for the open response essay. 

Heart of Darkness– Joseph Conrad

Another short but weighty novella, this tells the story of a voyage up the Congo River into the Congo Free State by a group of British officers, searching for an ivory trader named  Kurtz.  At its heart, the work examines imperialism, racism and the darkness that comes, not from the beliefs of a people, but from the evil inside a man’s heart. 

9th– 12thSilent Spring by Rachel Carson 

Published in 1962, this book is still praised today for it’s in depth look into the environmental effects caused by pesticides.  The book was met with fierce opposition by chemical companies, but, owing to public opinion, it brought about numerous changes. It spurred a reversal in the United States’ national pesticide policy, led to a nationwide ban on DDT for agricultural uses, and helped to inspire an environmental movement that led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

As part of the mission of the Sisters of Saint Dominic is ongoing commitment to the environment, Saint Dominic Academy asks all of its high school students to read this work over the summer.