Weekly Feature

2017-09-13 / Front Page

Mt. St. Mary Academy celebrates 90 years of girls’ education

by ANNA WALTERS
Editor


This is the 1953 staff of the Blue Light Newspaper at Mount St. Mary Academy in Kenmore. This year, the academy is celebrating its 90th anniversary as a school community with different activities. The Sisters of St. Mary of Namur founded the school in 1927. This is the 1953 staff of the Blue Light Newspaper at Mount St. Mary Academy in Kenmore. This year, the academy is celebrating its 90th anniversary as a school community with different activities. The Sisters of St. Mary of Namur founded the school in 1927. Founded by the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur, Mount St. Mary Academy — a Catholic private college preparatory school in Kenmore — is celebrating its 90th anniversary this school year.

Throughout the years, the available programming has significantly increased, along with the opportunities for the young women who walk the halls.

Principal Dawn Riggie recalls fewer options for women when she was a student at Mount St. Mary in the late 1960s. She provided examples of the positions, such as nurse, teacher, secretary or stay-at-home mom.

“Now, the world’s their oyst er,” she said of the students. “They can do and be anything they want.”


CELEBRATING ALL THINGS UKRAINIAN — Oxana Bandriwsky, left, Luba Procyk, Raisa Shkilna, Anna Lawrinowicz and Nataliya Savka are pictured in Ukrainian dress while attending a Ukrainian Festival at St. John the Baptist Church in Kenmore on Sunday. The festival also featured dancers, theme baskets and other activities. Photo by Sarah McIlhatten Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com CELEBRATING ALL THINGS UKRAINIAN — Oxana Bandriwsky, left, Luba Procyk, Raisa Shkilna, Anna Lawrinowicz and Nataliya Savka are pictured in Ukrainian dress while attending a Ukrainian Festival at St. John the Baptist Church in Kenmore on Sunday. The festival also featured dancers, theme baskets and other activities. Photo by Sarah McIlhatten Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com According to Riggie, Mount St. Mary has an all-school read every year, and this year’s pick resonates with that sentiment. It was “Hidden Figures,” a nonfiction book that tells the heretofore untold story of the African-American women who helped win the country’s space race.

“Just introducing the girls here to the plethora of opportunities and possibilities, from math, science and engineering to entrepreneurship, to business, to communication skills, to medical fields. There’s just so much possibility now. That’s a huge difference.”


Mount St. Mary Academy is pictured from the dedication of Mount St. Mary in 1927. This year, Mount St. Mary opens its doors for the 90th school year. Mount St. Mary Academy is pictured from the dedication of Mount St. Mary in 1927. This year, Mount St. Mary opens its doors for the 90th school year.








Two student businesses from the school recently competed at the SAGE World Cup competition in Ukraine, and each team placed fourth in the world in its category.

Riggie says she came from a male-dominated household and had four brothers.

“I came here [Mount St. Mary], and it was to me like Nirvana. To have a place that was for women, about women, run by women; there was just women everywhere. That’s the best thing I think from when I was a student here.

“I hope we carry that on to girls today. That this is a place where they can, as young women, grow into that and to know that they have limitless possibilities and they don’t have to be second in any way, shape or form.”

On Friday, the students attended an opening Mass with Bishop Richard J. Malone and Monsignor Francis Weldgen, and welcomed back the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur.

“We invited them back as a way to thank them for founding the school,” said Alexandra Fussell, coordinator of alumnae and public relations.

In the afternoon, students enjoyed a traditional back-to-school carnival, which included a picnic lunch, bounce houses, games, crafts and an ice cream truck, among other activities.

Seniors also had the chance to re-create a 1984 school photograph on a fire truck in front of the school.

Since 2001, Riggie has been the school’s principal and has seen the student population grow from below 200 to the 300s. According to Riggie, the girls also now come from more than 61 different grammar schools.

She noted that during the summer, a lot of time was spent reflecting on the school’s mission, and this year caring about the whole person is a main theme. This includes the “mind, soul, body and spirt.”

“We’re really focusing this year on trying to have that holistic approach to what we do.”

There are also plans to continue celebrating the 90th anniversary during Spirit Week at the end of January.

“So we’re kind of using the 90th as a theme throughout the year to honor traditions but also to think about the future,” said Fussell, who is also an alumna.

Fussell has seen where the school has been and where it’s going and added that she is proud to be a part of that.

Riggie said the best part of the anniversary is “seeing the charisma of the sisters that created this place carried out for future women.”

Individuals can visit the school’s Facebook page to see “90 pictures in 90 days.”

email: awalters@beenews.com

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