By Alexandra Mauro ‘20
As Junior year seems to be almost coming to a close, that means that we were finally about to receive our Junior rings. On the bright and sunny morning of April 7th, Juniors gathered together in the gym for the well-known event of Ring Day. With happy family and friends all together, the joyous faces were not mistaken, because the extreme happiness as everyone cheered for the Juniors was something that provided a feeling of family.
The ceremony started out with Tommasina Cardone thanking our year coordinators, Mr. Ugenti and Mrs. Sosa, as well as Mrs. S and Mrs. W for all of their hard work and dedication to make this day great. We continued by going through all of the memories shared by the Juniors, along with the presentation of our past Sports Night jerseys, and a slideshow with all pictures of us together. Emotion filled the room as we all sang as one. The grade collectively voted on a special song for us to sing, and that one was “I’ll Always Remember You,” by Miley Cyrus. It was clear to see the love everyone has for each other, and the unity shared in the gym that day as we came together.
Called up one by one, each junior received their ring given to them by Mrs. S and Mrs. W. This was a big moment, and everyone seemed very excited. When the ceremony finished, everyone walked out confidently and happily, knowing that we earned these rings (and that there was an abundance of food for afterward, but that’s beside the point). There were many pictures being taken, and excitement all around. The parents, too, looked very happy for their daughters and were seen giving them big hugs, along with many smiles. Overall, this event was a really special day, and couldn’t have turned out more beautiful.
As for myself, being a transfer, I can confidently say that I felt at home during this event. Everyone all together as one grade made me feel like I belonged to something- to a family. I couldn’t be more thankful for all of the kindness and generosity shared by everyone on that gorgeous day. Ring Day was a major success if I do say so myself, and I’m sure that many others can agree, too.
By Jonnel Lewis '19
On Friday, May 3rd, 2019 at 7:30 pm, Fontbonne opened its doors to an overwhelming amount of people, who all gathered to see the Musical production Hairspray. The show sold out within minutes, filling the seats and bleachers with eager friends and family. The show began with the opening number, “Good Morning Baltimore” sung by lead role Tracy Turnblad played by Gabriella Salerno. The show was phenomenal as the entire cast and crews dedication and talent really shined throughout the entire performance. The play was directed by Faculty member, Danielle Glasser, who said the goal of the show was, “to entertain, while also sharing a historical turning point that directs us towards the possibility of a bright future where everyone is treated with equal respect, despite our differences.”
Along with an amazing cast, the crew who worked behind the stage were just as important in making such an enjoyable show. The show was wonderfully choreographed by senior Sophia Frasca along with Mrs. Glasser. It was stage managed by senior Francesca Mavica along with the help of the stage crew and the phenomenal tech team. And of course, Hairspray could not be Hairspray without music- I mean, they did say you “can’t stop the beat!” The production had wonderful live music played by Musical Director, Ray Bailey, and musically inclined teens.
The audience could not help but to fall in love with the chemistry shared between Tracy Turnblad (Gabriella Salerno) and Link Larkin played by Mark Polito. They marvelously played the romantic couple in this year’s musical, however, they’re not the only ones that stole the audience's hearts. Penny Pingleton played by Joanne Centeno and Seaweed J. Stubbs played by Kevin Rutledge moved the audience with each performance and scene acted together.
The show also brought a great amount of laughter, especially with Wilbur Turnblad played by Andrew Knowles. His outgoing, loud, and hilarious personality took over the audience as they erupted in laughter. And we can’t forget our sassy and empowering Ms. Motormouth Maybelle played by Winter Charles. Winter stunned the audience with her brilliant voice when she sang, “I know where I’ve been.” Her voice sent chills all throughout the auditorium as everyone listened intently.
Now, don’t think I forgot about everyone’s favorite mean girls, who in real life are the sweetest people. However, once they hit the stage, it was game over for everyone who messed with them. Amber Von Tussle played by Stephanie Patella couldn’t have been played any better as she brought fierceness, attitude, and tons of Hairspray to the stage. Many could say she must’ve gotten it from her mother, Velma Von Tussle played by Catherine Russo. Catherine portrayed Velma so well, as she truly embraced the character she played, leaving the audience stunned by her performance.
Overall, all four shows had been a hit, each cast member had been cast fittingly. This remarkable performance could have not have gone on without the help of everyone involved. And sadly, for our seniors, it has been truly their final bow. However, we wish each of them the best of luck in college and their musical endeavors. Good job to the Hairspray cast and crew as they proved to friends and family, that they were definitely the “nicest kids in town.”
By Emanuela Gallo ‘19
On Wednesday, April 10th, at 3:30 p.m., twenty juniors were inducted to the Mother St. John Fontbonne’s Chapter of the National Honor Society. The ceremony took place in the Fab Lab and began with the procession of the inductees.
After the recitation of a prayer and the pledge of allegiance, the Chapter President, Catherine Santora, came to the podium. In her opening remarks, she discussed what it means to be a leader who is unafraid of failure and willing to achieve above the norm. Afterward, I, the Chapter Historian, was called to discuss the Society’s history. A light was shined upon not only its founding and mission, but also the projects, fundraisers, and service conducted by chapters in recent years.
The candle lighting ceremony took place next. Each candle symbolized one of the four qualities held in esteem by the Society: scholarship, leadership, service, and character. As the piano played softly in the background, Santora lit the center candle representing the eternal light of knowledge. Each member of the Executive Board then lit the outer candles and recited a speech regarding the specific value it represented. Vice President Sophia Pedernera spoke about how scholarship is an active commitment to increasing one's knowledge. She reminded the inductees of the effort required to reach one’s full potential. Catherine Russo, the Treasurer, then approached the lectern to discuss service and its value in improving our society. She also mentioned the numerous service activities to which this year’s chapter devoted their time. In her speech, Santora reflected on Scripture in order to reveal what leadership truly symbolizes. It was a reminder that it must derive from unselfish motivations, a strong character, confidence, and intellect. Finally, I discussed how having good character means not only wanting to improve yourself, but also the world around you.
After the candle lighting ceremony, the candidates rose from their seats and recited the National Honor Society pledge. They promised to uphold the valued qualities of the Society and lead forward in all things that advance Fontbonne’s welfare. Following this, vice principal Wierzbowski came to the podium and called each of the inductees’ names. They placed their signatures in the Chapter’s registry and received a certificate of their membership. After a round of applause, principal Spicijaric wrapped up the ceremony by delivering final remarks. The members sang the school song and processed out of the room.
Congratulations to all of the newly inducted members of the National Honor Society:
It is clear that they will accomplish exceptional things next year and continue the legacy of excellence that preceded them!
By Stephanie Patella '20
On Thursday, April 18th, over 20 students departed from JFK airport to embark on a trip of a lifetime. They spent a full week in Europe, experiencing the many magnificent sites, food and culture.
Over the course of these seven full days, Fontbonne students were accompanied by Mr. Petric, Mr. Surdyka, Ms. Pagan, Ms. Durso and tour guide Clelia. The group toured the most famous places in London and Paris, including Stonehenge, Buckingham Palace, and, of course, the Eiffel Tower.
I had the privilege of venturing out with this lovely group of people, and I can safely say that this has been a wonderful and eye-opening experience for all of us. This trip has enabled us to grow closer to one another and share an amazing adventure that we will remember forever.
After a six-hour flight to London, our group was able to explore the beautiful Kensington Gardens. Clelia brought us to the heart of the area, known as the King Albert Memorial. Clelia explained that King Albert, who was married to Queen Victoria, died in 1861. In memoriam of her husband, Queen Victoria wanted to dedicate a larger-than-life statue of King Albert so that he would always be with her in spirit.
Clelia enjoyed providing us with fun facts throughout the trip. She was also in charge of planning our daily agenda. Clelia would create a layout of fun activities, magnificent sites, shopping areas and, of course, places to eat! Each day, she allotted the group a substantial amount of free time to explore the fascinating surroundings. Clelia designated exact times where we all must join back together in our meeting spot. Although our group seemed to have gotten off to a rocky start as far as arriving promptly, we were able to shape up as the week progressed.
After a lax first day, time seemed to speed by faster than we knew. Our group spent two days exploring the beautiful sites of London. A few of my favorite spots were Buckingham Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Stonehenge. Even though the tall gates of Buckingham Palace were closed, my friends and I were still able to take photos and imagine ourselves as part of the royal family. We were, on the other hand, able to tour St. Paul’s Cathedral. The architecture from the roof to the tiles was absolutely breathtaking.
On our final day in London, our group toured the sacred prehistoric monument, Stonehenge. Unbeknownst of its significant background, Clelia explained that the monument was built 5,000 years ago during the Bronze Age. She explained that Stonehenge was believed to be used as a burial ground but historians still wonder about its true purpose.
On Easter Sunday, our group took a five-hour ferry ride from London to France. Our first day in France was spent at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. This day had a serious emotional background as we learned about the landing operations of the Allied Powers at Normandy on June 6, 1944, during World War II. Countless lives were lost during this battle, but their lives are truly never forgotten. We walked around the cemetery overlooking the beach where the Allied Powers fought for their lives. Clelia explained that the trenches located on the beach were used as barriers for the Allies when the Germans were shooting at them from the top of the hill. Ms. Durso said that she truly enjoyed this part of the trip because she believes that she “witnessed a small piece of history” and now has a “stronger connection to American freedom even in another country.”
After this emotionally heavy day, we now come to my absolute favorite part of the trip… the Eiffel Tower! Our group was not only able to see its beautiful lights twinkle at night, but we were able to climb to the top of the tower to overlook the dazzling city of Paris. “Wow, finally,” Ms. Pagan exclaimed as we looked down from the top of the tower, “It felt like we were on top of the world.”
Our final two days can be summarized in these three words: perfume, biking, and macarons. Our last day in Paris was spent at the Musee Du Parfum Fragonard, also known as the Fragonard Perfume Museum. As teenage girls, we were obviously very excited to buy French perfumes, lotions, and soaps. However, we did find the roots of creating the scents of perfumes to be quite interesting. We learned that a small town in France, known as Grasse, is the world capital of perfume. In order to capture the scents to create the perfect perfume, people would hand pick certain flowers from Grasse and absorb the juices from the flowers into a machine. After hours and hours of machinery work, the juices would finally be shipped to other places for companies to use as their next perfume, lotion or soap product.
We closed out our trip with the beautiful Palace of Versailles. The structure and scenery were absolutely marvelous. We biked around the beautiful grassland area and along the small glimmering rivers. “This was definitely my favorite part of the trip,” sophomore Brynn Nelsen exclaimed. As a reward for our wonderful biking skills, Brynn, myself, and a few of our friends decided to treat ourselves to macarons from the most famous French bakery, Laduree.
After scarfing down the best ten macarons I have ever eaten, we took one final ride back to our hotel. On this ride back, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Clelia to ask her what she thought of our group and the entirety of our trip. She said that in the past few years working as a tour guide, she has never seen a group of people “so curious, enthusiastic, and sweet.” She believed that it was “so nice to witness such a tight group of people discovering the world beyond what they see every day.” Before our group parted ways with her, Clelia left us with this beautiful and heartfelt quote: “Travel pushes you past your limits but it makes you stronger and wiser.”
After dealing with a delayed, and eventually canceled, flight, it was obvious that our group was ready to return home. We were greeted by our family and friends at the airport and finally back in our own home. We are extremely thankful for the wonderful experience and hope to travel again soon!
By Julia Lepore '20
The sports involved in Sports Night are a big part of how the years get their initial scores. There are volleyball, relay race, basketball, and of course the main event. This year Sports Night is being held on March 31st at St. Francis College. These sports all contribute to the points that each year will get. All the years are in for a big treat as they get to see one another perform through dance, skits, and tumbling.
Sports Night is one of Fontbonne’s biggest and longest tradition that has been going on for many years. Throughout the Sports Night season, preparation for the big day is on everyone’s minds even before the beginning of practices. Many great ideas are put on the table for each year to choose from as we get closer and closer to Sports Night.
Preparation and determination is the mindset every year has as we all come together to learn the choreography that our captains came up with for us to perform. Sports Night is one stressful and exciting event that brings each year together as new ideas from each individual spring up until the final day. A lot of time and dedication is spent on perfecting everything that goes into being a part of this event. Whether it’s making the props, perfecting the dance and tumbling parts, creating the skit, and making sure everything wraps up neatly, it’s a very stressful but fun process to be a part of.
Each year receives set times for practice so that we can go over our routines. During practices, the dancers learn and rehearse the dance as efficiently and fast as they can. Many practices take place during March so that we all have enough practices until we are prepared. We also have Spirit Week at Fontbonne, which is when each year dresses in their Sports Night jersey to represent themselves while decorating the buildings to match their theme.
Although the preparation for Sports Night is not always easy, the hard work is all worth it the day of. When all the years come together, it’s a fun and amazing experience to be a part of. Sports Night brings not only the Fontbonne family closer together, but it involves parents and friends to be a part of our school spirit!
By Alessandra Antonacci '20
On the weekend of February 9th, the Fontbonne Speech Team competed at the 44th University of Pennsylvania Tournament. The weekend consisted of four preliminary rounds on Saturday, along with final rounds on Sunday.
In the category of Original Oratory, Alexa Vasquez (Senior) won 1st place out of 82 entries. In the category of Declamation, with a total of 77 entries, Brynn Nelson (Sophomore) broke into quarters and Juliann Bianco (Sophomore) advanced into semi-finals. In the category of Duo Interpretation, with a total of 37 entries, all three of the team’s duos advanced victorious past the preliminary rounds. The team of Arianna Heinsch (Junior) and Larissa Mignano (Junior) and the new team of Alexandra Mauro (Junior) and Stephanie Patella (Junior) broke into semi-finals. The team of Dianna Gentile (Junior) and Jenna Gaglioti (Junior) advanced to finals and won 4th place. In the category of Dramatic Interpretation, with a total of 68 entries, Arianna Heinsch broke into quarters, and Larissa Mignano advanced into semi-finals.
The following weekend, the team also competed at the 45th Harvard National Forensics Tournament. This tournament consisted of two days of preliminary rounds on both Saturday and Sunday, as well as advancement rounds that broke into octas, quarter-finals, and semi-finals. The final rounds for each category were held on Monday, February 18th. Not only was this tournament more lengthy than the previous weekend at UPenn, but it also hosted around 300 entries per category. Despite this, multiple members of the Speech team still distinguished themselves and advanced past the preliminary rounds.
In the category of Dramatic Interpretation, Arianna Heinsch advanced to doubles and took top 50 out of 300 entries. In the category of Original Oratory, Alexa Vasquez advanced to quarter-finals and took 25th place out of 366 entries. In Duo Interpretation, the team of Arianna Heinsch and Larissa Mignano broke into octas and placed 26th out of 200 entries, and the team of Dianna Gentile and Brynn Nelson also broke into octas and placed 25th out of 200 entries.
Overall, the last two weeks for the Fontbonne Speech Team were extremely successful and they plan to continue practicing in preparation for their approaching State Championship.
By Emanuela Gallo ‘19
On Tuesday, December 18th, Fontbonne held its annual Christmas Concert at 7:00 pm.
The Select Chorus began the performance with the song, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” from the back of the gymnasium. Mairead O'Shea, a Select Chorus member, recited the poem “Ode” by Arthur O’Shaughnessy. The Vocal Ensemble then performed, “Beauty in the World” by Macy Gray, clapping throughout the song.
The Select Chorus processed down the middle aisle, singing, “O come, all ye faithful,” beginning with a Latin verse and finishing with two English verses. They then sang the Italian Christmas song, “Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle,” preceded by the English translation read out loud by Joanne Centeno.
After singing the beloved “Carol of the Bells” and “Wonderful Christmastime,” the Select Chorus left the stage, allowing Vocal Ensemble to return. They sang, “Christmas in New York,” “Winter Fantasy,” and “Silent Night.”
Select Chorus then joined them on stage to sing a mash-up between “The Little Drummer Boy,” and “Peace on Earth.” The two choruses also sang “Go, Tell It on the Mountain,” and “Dona Nobis Pacem.”
Afterward, the choruses presented Mr. Bailey, the director of the concert, with a gift in order to show their appreciation for all that he does. The Select Chorus also sang a favorite, “Mary, Did You Know?” as a gift to him.
Finally, the Christmas Concert ended with a sing-along, where parents and teachers were encouraged to join in on the fun. They sang classics, including, “Deck the Halls,” “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlefolk,” “Away in a Manger,” “Joy to the World,” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
As a member of the Select Chorus, it was fun to come together to perform the Christmas songs we had been practicing for our family, friends, and teachers. We hope that those who came enjoyed it as much as we did!
By Alexandra Mauro '20
The Speech club at Fontbonne, also referred to as “Forensics,” enables students to be more comfortable when speaking in public. This club is run by Mr. Herron and Ms. Marinello, both previous teachers at Fontbonne. Even if you are not comfortable speaking in front of people, this club can assist in gaining confidence and even obtaining lifelong friends.
At the beginning of November, and the beginning of December, the Speech team had a competition at Saint Francis Academy, located in Queens, and a 2-day competition in Princeton, New Jersey. As a result of the competition at Saint Francis, which lasted about 8 hours, sophomore Brynn Nelsen, received 1st place in her category. As a result of the competition at Princeton, students Dianna Gentile and Jenna Gaglioti, as well as Arianna Heinsch and Larissa Mignano, all advanced to finals. The team was extremely supportive and excited to see each other achieve their goals.
The two most recent competitions at Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School (MELS) and Xaverian high school both occurred this December. These competitions were local, so the team did not have to compete against a large number of competitors. However, everyone still stayed focused and determined to win. While impatiently waiting for awards at MELS, Villa transfer students Alexandra Mauro (1st place in Dramatic Interpretation), Stephanie Patella (3rd place in Dramatic Interpretation), and Alessandra Antonacci (4th place in Dramatic Interpretation), all received their first trophies of the season! Many other members advanced to finals and received trophies as well. At Xaverian, the momentum continued when many team members received awards for each of their categories.
The scores you receive depend on how you perform in your specific round. For example, if you are competing in a round with 4 people, the judges will rank you out of 4, 1 being the best and 4 being the worst. The judges stay seated in the middle of the room while a competitor performs their peace. They write notes while watching the performance and rank the competitors at the end of the round. Depending on your score, you could receive a “half-qual,” which means that you’re halfway to qualifying for state champions. Once you get 2 “quals,” you’re all set to compete at states at the end of the year.
With the support and motivation from all of the members, Fontbonne’s team can rise to its full potential. If there’s one piece of advice that Mr. Herron says, and was also stressed during the first meeting, is to “leave your dignity at the door,” while performing. In saying this, he is trying to get the message across to not be embarrassed. Sometimes it’s embarrassing to perform a funny or ridiculous speech in front of other people, but it’s most important to not care and just give it your all. With a mindset like that, everything will fall into place when it comes to competition, and you’ll more than likely succeed with a great score.
Once you’ve experienced this club, your perspective on speaking could completely change for the better. Once you become more comfortable with speaking in front of others, it could be beneficial. When you have to present in college, or even go to something as simple as a job interview, thanks to Forensics, it could be made easier from the experience you’ve taken from the club. Trying it out could be a great idea to get more involved in the school and to have fun, too!
By Alexa Giambra '22
Fontbonne students in the Drama program participated in a trip to see the new Broadway musical, King Kong.
The show dealt with an aspiring actress, Ann Darrow - played by Christiani Pitts - trying to land a part in a show. The story takes place during the 1930s, during the Great Depression when many people were struggling to make a living.
When struggling filmmaker Carl Denham - played by Eric William Morris - hires her, they board a ship ready to film the movie, where they encounter Skull Island, where they find the enormous gorilla King Kong. Before she knew it, Ann was captured by Kong, and taken to his natural habitat. The two befriend one another, but Ann knows she has to protect Kong because Denham was planning to capture Kong and bring him to New York for a show. Carl wants her to pretend like she is afraid of Kong in order to make a “good’’ movie. The two have to figure out how to protect each other.
This was a beautiful and heartwarming story about a woman and her friendship with a gorilla. I would rate this a 9/10. The songs were well done and connected well with the story, and the cast was amazing! Here are some other reviews. Overall, the students’ rating is a 6/10! That’s pretty good!
By Alexa Giambra '22
We had a great time at our 2018 Walkathon, which took place on October 5th. The energy was unbelievable! Despite the cold weather, we walked all the way from our school to the 69th Street Pier and back. Luckily, we even got bagels after the walk. Everyone had tons of fun walking with their friends. It was a huge turnout, too.
We have finally raised enough money to have January 2nd off, thanks to the 100 percent participation! The money will be used for a great purpose- benefiting our school!
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Walkathon! It was a great day that will be remembered.