Immaculate Heart Student wins top award in writing contest

For the third year in a row, an Immaculate Heart High School senior won the top award in the Cabrini Literary Guild’s annual creative writing contest.

Garnering first place and $1,000 was Immaculate Heart senior Krista Gelev, who has served as Immaculate Heart’s student columnist for the Larchmont Chronicle for the past three years and is also co-editor-in-chief of Immaculate Heart’s newspaper, The Bamboo. She plans to attend Williams College in Massachusetts next fall.

The Cabrini Literary Guild, a philanthropic organization, announced the awards April 10 at the Oakmont Country Club in Glendale. Entries from more than 40 Catholic high schools in the Los Angeles area addressed this year’s essay topic: “Your Future One Day at a Time.”

Other winners included Emily Garcia, second place and $750, from Bishop Conaty-Loretto High School; Sonya Williams, third place and $500, of Mayfield Senior High School; and Katherine Irajpanah, fourth place and $350, from Notre Dame Academy Girls High School. 

Serving as master of ceremonies was Lian Dolan, the author of two best-selling novels, “Helen of Pasadena,” which was nominated for best fiction by the Southern California Independent Booksellers and her latest book, “Elizabeth the First Wife.”

Photo: OLA-Writing:

Mount St. Mary’s launches innovative online program

Mount St. Mary’s College is on a mission: make a top-quality college education affordable, accessible and achievable for anyone who wants it. With the launch of its innovative Portmont College, the top-rated historic college offers a choice of three new online associate degree programs: Pre-Health Science, Liberal Arts, and Business Administration. More than just another online learning option, Portmont College is focused on quality, value and fully supporting the individual.

“Mount St. Mary’s College has a continued commitment to innovation,” said Ann McElaney-Johnson, president of Mount St. Mary’s. “Portmont College allows us to provide a superior online Associate Degree program to students who desperately want to enroll in college.”

Portmont College is a nonprofit, accredited school dedicated to the educational, financial and lifestyle needs of a wide range of students. Its components include connected and collaborative learning environments; personal success coaches and professional mentoring for every student; flexible online schedules and programs; no textbook or other fees; and affordable options and financial assistance.

With sessions starting every eight weeks throughout the year, Portmont College makes it possible to complete an associate’s degree in an average of two years. After completing an associate’s degree with its new two-year online program, students may choose to earn their bachelor’s degree with Mount St. Mary’s or transfer to more than 120 bachelor’s degree programs.

Notre Dame Academy board to be honored at NCEA convention

The Notre Dame Academy Schools of Los Angeles Board of Directors will receive the 2014 Outstanding Board Award from the National Catholic Educational Association for their dedication and commitment to excellence.

The board will be recognized during a ceremony at the NCEA annual convention on April 23 in Pittsburgh. The award honors school boards that have made the challenging strategic moves necessary for their respective schools to continue to have a positive effect on their students’ formation and education. Boards not only set the direction for the school, they also use the varied skills of the members to support and advance the school.  

“Each of these boards and councils has proven itself to be a steadfast asset and champion to its school, said Regina Haney, Ph.D., executive director of the NCEA Boards and Councils department. “They have helped their schools to provide top-notch Catholic education and, in some cases, have forged entirely new paths for their community and schools to thrive.”

The Notre Dame Schools of Los Angeles Board of Directors is being recognized for its extraordinary work to successfully merge an elementary school and a high school together into one unified institution. Throughout this process they collaborated closely with the leadership at the Sisters of Notre Dame.

Graves Award given to LMU dance professor

Rosalynde LeBlanc Loo, assistant professor of dance, has won the prestigious Graves Award in the Humanities to create an interdisciplinary, core curriculum class at Loyola Marymount University, which examines “the interconnectedness of dance, culture and history.”

The award includes a $12,000 stipend to support her research, which will focus on the work and methods of renowned choreographer Bill T. Jones. In particular, she will examine his “D-Man in the Waters,” a dance he created in 1989 with the AIDS epidemic at its height. “D-Man” is named after Demian “D-Man” Acquavella, who was a member of Jones’ troupe when the dancer was diagnosed with AIDS in 1988. He died two years later.

“Professor LeBlanc Loo’s scholarship and teaching exemplify well the teacher-scholar model of transformative education, articulated in LMU’s new strategic plan,” wrote President David Burcham in the university’s application, “which promotes faculty who ‘conduct research and creative work that contributes to the larger body of knowledge while setting an example for the importance of lifelong learning.’”

 LeBlanc Loo will do research at the Performing Arts Library in New York City, which has extensive records on Jones and contemporary dance, including video archives. She will also interview family and former colleagues of Acquavella.

“As a scholar and teacher, I investigate ways in which personal, cultural and historical events inform choreography,” she points out. “I try to situate movement in its larger context, stressing the fact that dance can be, and often is, a beautiful repository for narrative.”


‘Gratitude as a Spiritual Pathway’ set at LMU

Professors Wilkie and Noreen Cannon Au will conduct a “Gratitude as a Spiritual Pathway” workshop May 3, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at Loyola Marymount University (St. Robert’s Hall Auditorium).

The practice of gratitude offers a daily spiritual pathway for active people. When made a part of daily life, gratefulness can enrich lives by deepening an appreciation for daily existence and relationships, even in the midst of worries and struggles, according to the Aus.

Wilkie Au is a professor of theological studies at LMU; Noreen Cannon Au is a Jungian analyst in private practice as well as a faculty member of the C. G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles and LMU department of theological studies.

Individual registration is $45, group (4 or more) $40 per person. Information: (310) 338-2799 or [email protected]

St. Bernard HS’s Model UN Team wins 20 awards

St. Bernard High School’s Model United Nations team garnered 20 awards during conferences at Santa Margarita, Tustin, Mission Viejo and, most recently, at a state-wide competition at the University of California, Berkeley.

On the eight-member team, captain junior Joshua Mussman became the top all-time winner of awards with seven; Junior Andres Arroyo won five awards in his first year of competition, tying the Playa del Rey school’s record set in 2011. Arroyo and sophomore Andres Duarte won a joint research award at UC Berkeley. And at the Mission Viejo conference in January, sophomore Alexandria Davis was named best delegate in her committee, another first as a “Viking.”

History and social studies teacher John Caulfield is the faculty moderator of the Model UN program, along with being adviser to “The Odyssey,” SBHS’s newspaper.


Msgr. Brouwers scholarships available in contest

Elementary school students from across the Los Angeles Archdiocese, as well as the country, are invited to submit a one-page essay to compete for three Lay Mission-Helpers’ Msgr. Anthony Brouwers Memorial Scholarships worth $1,500, $1,000 and $500.

Essay topics are the life and contribution of Msgr. Anthony Brouwers, the importance of missionary efforts in the life of the Catholic Church, the unique role lay people bring when they serve as missionaries and “how we — at home — are missionaries, too.” Suggested resources: “For We Are God’s Helpers,” a biography of Msgr. Brouwers, available as an e-book on Amazon, and a lesson plan about the life of the Los Angeles priest, a leader of the lay missionary movement, available from the Lay Mission-Helpers.

Essays must be submitted by May 15 via email, fax or mail. Submissions will be judged by a panel of veteran Lay Mission-Helpers. Information: (213) 368-1870; [email protected]; or 3435 Wilshire Blvd, suite 1940; Los Angeles, CA 90010

Organist Soria in concert May 4 at Cathedral

The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels will present organist-in-residence Samuel Soria, with guest flutist Zachary Valenzuela, in concert May 4, 4 p.m.

The program will feature works by J.S. Bach, Wilhelm Middelschulte, Everett Titcomb, Joseph Clokey and Leo Sowerby, plus an improvisation by Soria, who has been the organist of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels since its dedication in 2002. He was a prizewinner in the J.S. Bach International Competition, the American Guild of Organists Improvisation Competition and was honored as the first American invited to the European Competition in Organ Improvisation in Belgium. He is also one of five finalists in this year’s A.G.O. Improvisation Competition.

The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels is located at 555 W. Temple St., Los Angeles. Suggested donation is $10. Information: (213) 680-5200 or