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Fighting COVID-19 on the Front Line

What is it really like to be on the front lines of COVID-19?  “The best I can relate” shares St. Mary’s Academy alumna Hataya Kristy Poonyagariyagorn, MD, '97, “is that initially, it felt like being at war.  We didn't really know what the enemy was and, as a result, had to prepare for all worst-case scenarios.”  Kristy, who serves as both a pulmonary critical care physician at The Oregon Clinic as well as the Pulmonary Chairperson at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, has been on the front lines of COVID-19 since day one. 

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St. Mary’s alumna LaShawanta Spears named Oregon Assistant Principal of the Year

When Alice Ott Middle School Assistant Principal LaShawanta “Taye” Spears was asked to lead a Zoom staff meeting for her faculty and staff, she couldn’t understand why colleagues from the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators were also joining the meeting.  It turns out that it was a surprise party, or as they are better known in this day and age, a “Zoom Bomb,” and the occasion was to announce and honor Taye with being named Oregon’s Assistant Principal of the year for 2021.

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Alumna Spotlight: Caprice Neely '85

When St. Mary’s Academy alumna Caprice Neely set out to launch a new shoe company, it never occurred to her that she could not.  “I think that’s what St. Mary’s taught me,” she shares “that anything I imagined doing is possible.”  She adds, “We were taught and encouraged to have freedom and diversity of thought and to ask questions.  I learned that my voice and ideas mattered.”  It was with this mentality that Caprice left her longtime position as a designer at Under Armor to launch not just a new shoe company, but a new shoe category: BALA, premium footwear for nurses. 

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2020 Christmas Service at St. Mary's 

The Christmas season at St. Mary’s is one of the students’ favorites, and this year is no different. Service Coordinator, Caitlin Whitty ’08 and her Advent Service Team are hard at work to make this year just as special and fulfilling. St. Mary’s students are eagerly signing up to spread joy through safe, socially-distant service projects from home. Here are some of the few service projects the Service team has planned for this holiday season.

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Rethinking Equity with Eric K. Ward: Civil Rights Expert and Executive Director, Western States Center

Given the value our society places on individualism, what does that mean for our ability to address equity? On October 13th, we are happy to welcome Eric K. Ward to explore what a non-individualistic approach to equity could look like in your life and supercharge your ongoing work with racial justice.

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Teaching in a Virtual World

In preparation for the 2020-21 academic year, the St. Mary’s Academy admin team forged a Back-to-School Task Force that sought to examine every aspect of school, ensuring readiness for various reopening scenarios, including both in-person and remote instruction. Among the many initiatives to enhance health and safety for the St. Mary’s community, the Task Force approved the purchase of technology designed to livestream classes from the school building and enhance the remote learning experience for students. This technology, called Swivl, uses a camera to track teacher movement around the classroom, allowing them to move freely and offering students a 360° view of the teaching environment, while increasing engagement.

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St. Mary’s Academy Launches Leadership Program for Student-Athletes   

As St. Mary’s Academy students start school this fall, it is not just the academic program that will move to an online format.  Everything from assemblies to Mass to extracurricular activities have been re-imagined for a digital environment, including athletics.  While student-athletes won’t be able to formally compete until almost the end of the year as per the new OSAA guidelines, St. Mary’s Academy student-athletes will have the opportunity to immediately take part in our new program, Leadership: On and Off the Field, designed to develop the leadership skills that participating in sports helps to instill.

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From the Voice of a Student:  Anastasia Klingler.  "My Experience Running Oregon EQ Kits"

Most people know about the Cascadia Earthquake but not many have taken its extreme threat seriously. Even less have taken the time, research, and energy to prepare fully. My name is Anastasia Klingler, I’m a senior at St. Mary’s, and for the past two years, I have made it my mission to educate and prepare as many families as possible.

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When Kathy Met Julie

Kathy Briggs, lead instructor for St. Mary’s music department is used to the big stage— leading the award-winning Marian Singers to the White House, directing some of the highest performing students in the state to national competitions, and chaperoning SMA’s aspiring musicians to musical concerts around the world – so when something impresses her, it has to be just as big. That’s why last month, when the opportunity arose to go to Los Angeles to see global star, Julie Andrews, talk about her new book entitled Homework, she knew it was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.

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Hands Full of Heart: More than a Day of Service

Once again, St. Mary’s Academy held Hands Full of Heart (HFOH), an event that allows seniors to leave their studies behind for a day to focus on giving back to local communities and service organizations. HFOH has taken place for over two decades and no matter how many years go by, the event’s mission always remains the same. “Hands Full of Heart is an opportunity for students to go out and connect with people who are different than they are. We want students to push out of their comfort zones so they can understand what it’s like to participate in social justice work,” said SMA’s service coordinator and alumna, Caitlin Whitty ’08.  “It puts our Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM) core values into focus. It helps us live our values as a community while showing students why we are an SNJM school in this one event that’s dedicated to justice and service to those who may be poor and marginalized,” Caitlin added.

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