First place honors went to Serra Catholic in Rancho Santa Margarita, Orange Diocese, while St. Gabriel High School in San Francisco came in third. Notre Dame’s team was made up of 10 competing and 10 back-up members.“My kids worked for nine months — they did all the studying and outlining and work themselves,” said Carrie Sabol, head coach of Notre Dame Academy’s academic decathlon team. “I questioned them and questioned them and questioned them ’til I didn’t think there were anymore questions to be asked. But they did all the hard work, they put in all the time and hours necessary for success.“Decathlon has taught these kids sportsmanship, graceful and gracious winning and losing, teamwork with the group together being stronger than any individual need, that studying and its rewards can be so much fun, curiosity to learn more and, most importantly, that anything worth doing is worth doing well — that hard work truly does pay off.”Sabol says she was proud of Notre Dame’s students’ academic prowess, mastering subjects as diverse as United States facts to algebra, the Heir Series in literature to artist Wayne Thiebaud, the canonization process and saints of Pope John Paul II’s time, the life and works of Michelangelo, the history of space exploration plus major U.S. Supreme Court decisions and speeches.“However, as a coach I have to say that the best part came when they announced the first place team, my kids immediately jumped up and ran over and hugged and high-fived and congratulated the kids from Serra,” she reported. “There was no hesitation — they were genuinely excited for Serra, and I have never been prouder.”St. Anastasia’s pupil to study at AnnapolisSt. Anastasia School eighth-grader Andy Begazo was picked to participate in the U.S. Naval Academy’s summer STEM Program, an academic camp designed for eighth to 11th grade students with an outstanding interest in math and science. Only 375 students from across the nation are selected to participate in the prestigious program.At the Westchester parochial school, Andy is a member of the student council and participates in sports and charity fund-raising. “I am very excited to have been selected by the United States Naval Academy to attend their STEM program,” he said. “I’m sure it will be an amazing experience. I am proud to represent my community and, most of all, my great school. It was St. Anastasia’s preparation that helped me get accepted.”The STEM Program gives students the opportunity to experience real life applications of math and science principles through hands-on learning. Youth learn from Navy Academy professors in world-class labs that offer a unique learning experience outside the traditional school classroom. Midshipmen help run the summer program and act as counselors and tutors.“This program is extremely prestigious, and we are all so proud of Andy, who I know will represent his family, faith and school very well as he continues his studies this summer,” says Principal Rosemary Connolly. “Andy Begazo is a fine example of how a strong Catholic education can take you as far as you want to go.” St. Mary’s Academy holds Christian Service AssemblySt. Mary’s Academy held its annual Christian Service Assembly May 9. The program included a look back over the 2010-2011 school year to recognize and celebrate the individual and corporate outreach projects embraced by students.A letter of commendation from Mary Agnes Erlandson, director of St. Margaret’s Center in Lennox, was read. And Zev Grunon, an administrator from Centinela Skilled Nursing Facility, talked about what SMA volunteers had meant to his workplace. ‘Cranes for Kids’ at St. Anne’s = clothes to Japanese childrenSt. Anne School students Raymond and Julia Silverman, whose mother is a native of Japan, wanted to help young victims of the devastating March tsunami and earthquake in the island nation. The siblings, who heard about the Cranes for Kids Project sponsored by OshKosh B’Gosh, brought the idea to Miki Arie, a St. Anne’s teaching assistant who was born in Japan.Skilled in the Japanese art of origami or paper-folding, Arie created the cranes. Then she got second-graders to decorate and write good wishes on 32 cranes, while third grade students worked on 23 cranes and fourth-graders completed another 28. As a result, 83 children in Japan will receive new clothes from OshKosh B’Gosh through the clothing company’s Cranes for Kids project.“This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to learn about a tradition from another culture, to connect to the children in Japan in a meaningful way and to empower them to be of service,” said St. Anne Principal Michael Browning.MSMC earns national recognition with distinction for community serviceThe Corporation for National and Community Service has honored Mount St. Mary’s College with a place on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction for the college’s outstanding service to greater Los Angeles.The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to community service and civic engagement. It is the third consecutive year that Mount St. Mary’s earned a place on the Honor Roll, but it is the first year that the college received the recognition with distinction, indicating that MSMC displays a strong institutional commitment to service and has formed results-driven community partnerships.“It is a great privilege for Mount St. Mary’s to be honored with distinction for the College’s ongoing dedication to community service,” said Dr. Jacqueline Powers Doud, MSMC president. “The Mount actively engages students in service through programs that emphasize the importance of addressing real community needs and giving back to Los Angeles.”Mount St. Mary’s was recognized for its exceptional student outreach programs that enrich communities throughout greater Los Angeles. The Student Ambassador program provides essential college preparatory and mentoring support to approximately 7,500 at-risk youth annually in the Los Angeles region. The college also organizes Live at The Mount, an outreach program that helps at-risk high school students experience a college campus, and popular Academic Service Learning programs, which connect students to volunteer opportunities in neighboring communities.{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2011/0527/olanews/{/gallery}