St. Mary's Acad. (Downtown)
Four St. Mary's Academy students selected for Oregon All-State Choir
St. Mary's Academy Marians selected for the Oregon All-State Choir. (from left) Juliet Anderson, Margaret Driscoll, Sam Schmiedeskamp, Hannah Bryan
Four St. Mary's Academy students were selected for the prestigious 2014 Oregon All-State Choir.
Senior sopranos Juliet Anderson (a Fairview resident), Hannah Bryan (Beaverton), Margaret Driscoll (Northeast Portland) and Sam Schmiedeskamp (Northwest Portland) were chosen from more than a thousand applicants from the state of Oregon. They will perform at the National Association for Music Educators Association state conference Jan. 16-19 in Eugene.
"I am continually impressed by and so proud of our girls. This year we have two students, Sam and Margaret, who have been selected for various All-State, All-Northwest and All-National choirs for three consecutive years, and this will be their final honor-choir event. They will be joined by Juliet and Hannah, who have been selected for the first time," said St. Mary's Academy Choral Music Director Kathy Briggs.
Bryan is excited for the opportunity to represent St. Mary's at the All-State Choir and attributes much of her talent to the tutelage of Briggs and the school's strong music department.
"Ms. Briggs has changed my life. She has changed all the Marians' lives. She's an amazing teacher who holds us accountable and teaches us so many skills beyond choir," Bryan said.
Bryan also referenced Briggs as her music composition and theory instructor, and noted that the entire St. Mary's Academy music department has been instrumental in preparing all four students for this opportunity.
The admiration between the students and their choir teacher is mutual.
"This quartet of sopranos is a testament to the high degree of skill our choral singers possess and their dedication to this art form. I am excited for them to work with a fine conductor and meet other 'choir kids' who share their passion. They will be beautiful representatives of SMA while gaining some wonderful music education and choral experiences as part of the Oregon All-State Choir," Briggs said.
St. Mary's Academy's Food for Thought luncheon raises record-breaking $506,014 for tuition assistance
(From left) Suzann Baricevic Murphy, Christina Friedhoff, Ceirah McCauley, Jane McGonigal and Megan O'Donnell Murphy all spoke at St. Mary's Academy's 2013 Food for Thought tuition assistance luncheon.
St. Mary's Academy's 20th anniversary Food for Thought tuition assistance luncheon raised a record-breaking $506,014. The signature annual event took place on Nov. 12 at the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower and drew 725 attendees united in their passion for ensuring that a St. Mary's education remains accessible to all young women.
This year's event revenue represented a 24 percent increase over the previous record of $407,000 set in 2003.
"Our Foundresses were committed to providing exceptional learning opportunities to anyone willing to work hard to achieve their personal best, and that remains core to our mission today," said St. Mary's Academy President Christina Friedhoff. "We are grateful to our Food for Thought attendees, donors and volunteers - especially event co-chairs and alumnae Suzann Baricevic Murphy and Megan O'Donnell Murphy - for giving so generously to help us continue to meet the increased need for tuition assistance and for making this year the most successful luncheon in the event's 20-year history."
Food for Thought is St. Mary's largest fundraiser in support of tuition assistance. Financial aid provided by St. Mary's has increased more than 160 percent in the past decade. This year, 41 percent of students receive need-based aid, totaling nearly $1.4 million.
Perseverance was the theme of the stories shared at the 2013 luncheon, for which KGW morning news anchor and St. Mary's parent Brenda Braxton graciously lent her talents as mistress of ceremonies.
Keynote speaker Jane McGonigal, a world-renowned creator of alternate reality games and author of the best-selling book "Reality Is Broken: How Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change The World," spoke of how she used gaming to recover from a traumatic brain injury. She shared with Food for Thought attendees how to add years and richness to their lives by boosting their physical, mental, emotional and social resilience - in the virtual world of gaming and in real life.
This year's Food for Thought student speaker also faced difficult life challenges that required a reboot, which she overcame not with games but through the support of her teachers at St. Mary's.
Senior Ceirah McCauley found herself in an unstable housing situation last year, living in shelters and not knowing where she'd be sleeping from night-to-night, or how she'd pay for lunch. The kindness of her teachers and the administration helped McCauley emerge from the experience a stronger, more compassionate and empathetic person. Without tuition assistance, she wouldn't be at St. Mary's and wouldn't have had this network to draw upon in her time of need. She is grateful to all the generous Food for Thought donors for making a St. Mary's education possible for her.
"I grew a lot being here. To be at a school where teachers acknowledge your effort and give you individual help when you need it is important. I think I'll be a better woman because I came here. It helped me be more prepared for college and for the world. I know there will be a lot of obstacles when I leave, but St. Mary's has prepared me for that. I love it here," McCauley said.
St. Mary's Academy announces C. Kent Roberts as board chairman
St. Mary's Academy Board Chairman C. Kent Roberts
St. Mary's Academy has appointed prominent local attorney C. Kent Roberts as chairman of its board of directors. Roberts, a shareholder at the law firm of Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt, has served on the school's board since 2009. Roberts follows Bob Harold, who has served as chairman for the past three years.
"St. Mary's is very fortunate to have Kent Roberts as board chair for many reasons. Kent really understands what makes our school unique. His daughter is an SMA alumna, and Kent is grateful for the strong foundation she received at our school. As an active member of our board, Kent has been involved with helping to create the bold vision we are charting for St. Mary's Academy, and he is excited about the possibilities that are being considered. This type of volunteer leadership is highly valued at St. Mary's," said Christina Friedhoff, the school's president.
Roberts focuses his legal practice in the areas of closely held businesses and maritime industry clients, particularly vessel-operating companies, shipyards and ports. His practice includes shipping, finance and vessel-related legal matters for his business clients, commercial and maritime litigation, and representation of clients before regulatory bodies. He is listed in "Best Lawyers in America" for his work in admiralty and maritime law, and in 2011 was named Portland's Maritime Lawyer of the Year by "Best Lawyers." Since 2006, he has appeared on the "Oregon Super Lawyers" list published by Thomson Reuters. This peer-elected distinction is bestowed upon only the top 5 percent of all attorneys in Oregon.
Roberts' daughter, Sally, is a 2008 graduate of St. Mary's, Oregon's only all-female school. As a parent, he saw firsthand the impact a nurturing, faith-based environment geared specifically toward developing highly educated female leaders has on young women.
"I was inspired to give back to St. Mary's by my daughter's experience there, which reflected the mission of the school to educate the whole person while providing a solid foundation for future success and leadership. There are a lot of challenges for young people in high school, and St. Mary's helps its students navigate those obstacles so well. And I have to say, there was a lot of fun for our family along the way. So I am excited and honored to be asked to further serve St. Mary's as chair of the board of directors," Roberts said.
St. Mary's Academy dance instructor to compete at World Latin Dance Cup (Resend with photos)
Kara Shuster, St. Mary's Academy dance instructor, and Javier Solis at the 2013 Portland Salsa Congress. They will compete December 11-14 at the World Latin Dance Cup in Miami
St. Mary's Academy dance instructor Kara Shuster and her salsa dance partner, Javier Solis, will compete in the World Latin Dance Cup held in Miami, Fla. on Dec. 11-14.
Shuster took up salsa only a year ago, quickly mastering the discipline and traveling around the continent to compete in salsa congresses in Seattle, California, New York City and Vancouver, British Columbia. She and Solis placed at the Boise, Idaho congress and are able to compete in Miami next month.
"This is my first time ever going to the World Latin Dance Cup and competing at an international level. It's very exciting and it's an honor," Shuster said.
She was able to pick up salsa so quickly because of her solid background in other dance forms. Shuster started in tap, then moved on to ballet in her adolescence, studying dance in Michigan and New York at the Joffrey Ballet School. She received her degree in dance from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and now practices and teaches contemporary movement, improvisation and modern dance styles.
Shuster also teaches three dance classes at St. Mary's Academy, along with providing instruction at the Portland Youth Ballet and Northwest Dance Project and holding a stake in the Anahata Co-op, a dance and yoga space in Southeast Portland.
In order to fund the travel, lodging, registration and costumes required to compete in Miami next month, Shuster and Solis will host an introductory salsa class at St. Mary's Academy on Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. The lesson will take place in the auditorium and be followed by a question-and-answer session.
The suggested donation for the evening is $15-$25. No partner is required, and anyone is welcome. Registration in advance is preferred, but not required.
"I'm really excited to share my love of salsa with St. Mary's and the broader Portland community. It will be wonderful to show everyone how fun and great dancing is," Shuster said.
Shuster has been on faculty at St. Mary's since September 2012. She currently leads the St. Mary's Academy Dance Company (SMAD CO), including an advanced level class for the student dance troupe.
"It's been great to be much more present at the school by teaching SMAD CO in addition to dance classes. I am able to foster a better connection with the students," Shuster said.
For more information, or to donate in lieu of attending the fundraising event, please contact Kara Shuster at email@example.com