By Gianna Curreri '20
Fontbonne’s Speech and History Bowl just made history for their respective clubs. In Speech, seniors Dianna Gentile and Jenna Gaglioti became the first ever duo interpretation to win first place at national at Princeton University in the history of the team.
They competed against thirty other team across the country. Juniors Juliann Bianco and Brynn Nelson took third place in duo interpretation.
When asked about the Speech team, senior Larissa Mignano said “Competing in Speech is truly a unique and rewarding experience. I am so immensely proud of all the hardwork and dedication each member has put in and the success that we have had so far this year.”
The History Bowl team has also made history when senior Sophia Crawford, placed for nationals. The History Bowl team competes with other schools in buzzer Jeopardy-style questions and written exams.
When asked about the club’s success she responded, “For the past two years History Bowl has brought me a greater sense of purpose. I am inspired, intrigued, and amazed as to how far we have come as a country and I hope to bring more awareness of the importance of knowing our country’s history to our generation and the next to come. History Bowl has given me a chance to truly embrace my love for history and since I have become President of the club, I have put so much of me into it. History Bowl isn’t something that I will grow out of once I leave Fontbonne- it is something that will always be apart of my identity and something that has made me who I am today.”
By Leslie Hakim '21
On Wednesday December 4th, the Global Unity Club had their first trip to the United Nations located in Manhattan.
Fifty girls in the club and four teachers - Ms. Brussi, Ms. Wurglics, Ms. Musto, and Ms. Winslow - took a school bus to the city at 12:00 pm. At the UN, the girls were divided into three groups, each with their own private tour guide.
In the tour the girls got to see the famous General Assembly Hall and the Security Council Chamber. Former senior, Giulia Troia, says “It honestly gave me a sense of pride because all these amazing things not only happen on U.S. soil - it’s in my home of New York city.”
The first trip for the new club was a great success and the two co-presidents, Leslie Alhakim and Kayleigh McMahon, hope to organize more fun and educational trips throughout the school year.
By Kristen Kupper '21
On December 3, 2019, Ms. Spicijaric and Mrs. Wierzbowski had sent out a survey to all of the students about their academic workload. The survey asked multiple questions about their workload and the amount of tests students get per week.
Mrs. Wierzbowski was willing to talk to me about the survey. She said that the main goal of the survey was to try and see if this issue is frequent among students or not. According to Mrs. Wierzbowski, “the main thing we are looking for is if there is an issue with communication”.
According to the survey, most students believe that the main reason why they receive so much is because of a lack of communication. Whether it would be “the teachers communicating information fast enough to students” or “do students know the school’s policy.”
Both she and Ms. Spicijaric look for a pattern in student’s responses to try and figure out the issue. They had sent out the surveys to either confirm or deny what the issue might be. She mentions that these complaints usually arise when a quarter is about to end. She says that it is hard for both her and Ms. S to really change a student’s workload. Students are given the opportunity to choose what classes they take in the school year.
An anonymous student at Fontbonne Hall Academy had much to say about the survey. She felt that the survey shed some light about the heavy workload students get per night. It would also show how many tests students receive per week. This anonymous student mentions that at worst, she could receive 4 tests in a day. She mentions it is very stressful on her and wishes that her teachers would spread the tests out more. She also mentioned that she spends around 4 hours a day just doing homework.
A student from a local public high school had found out about Fontbonne’s current workload. She believes that it is very heavy and that the students receive way too many tests per week. All of the students in Fontbonne hope that this survey will shed some light on this situation.
By Isabella Fazio '20
This past month, the senior class had gone on their Senior Retreat. They went upstate to the Don Bosco Retreat Conference Center. The Senior class went up there for three days and did bonding exercises. Some of those exercises had been fun and others were emotional. Girls held high expectations about the retreat because previous years have always talked highly about it. Multiple students have talked about how it brings everyone together and that it was very opening for girls.
Before the seniors had gone on the retreat they were excited to go. People believed it was going to be a good experience. At the same time, the girls had been nervous. Some girls have never been away from home and it was a different environment for them to get used to. Some girls had felt that they would make new bonds with people they have never talked to before and that it would bring our year together as a whole.
After returning from the retreat, some of the girls had considered it to be an eye-opening experience. During the three days being spent there, you learn a lot about each other and it brought us closer together like a year. Girls felt that they changed for the better and even though we had only gone for a short time we gotcloser and felt changed as a person. You learn that you truly can’t judge a book by its cover. Most of us never realized what our classmates have gone through and how strong they still are. It makes you second guess all your original thoughts and you realize who people actually are as to what they appear to be.
The expectations that were set had been reached. Overall, it was an eye-opening and great experience. Some girls wish to do this again. It was an experience that the lowerclasswomen should look forward to, and I hope they enjoy it as much as the current seniors did.
By Isabella Fazio '20
On November 6th, a new program called NetSupport was installed onto students’ laptops. Over the next month, there will be nine teachers who are testing out the extension. Net Support was created by Windows to allow screen control and management. Because Fontbonne Hall Academy is now using NetSupport, teachers are now able to see what students are doing on their Chromebooks and are allowed to close out any websites students have open such as Amazon, Netflix, Youtube, etc…
Fontbonne putting Net Support into place can, of course, be beneficial towards students. It is trying to teach them that while they are in school, students should only be focusing on their work. They shouldn’t be getting sidetracked, so some teachers want to make sure that their students are staying on the right track. However, in my opinion, this isn’t necessarily the best way to go.
High school is supposed to be a place where students learn to grow and prepare for college. Fontbonne putting these monitors onto our computers is not fully helping us for college. Teachers expect us to act maturely, as if we were in college. Net Support being installed seems as if teachers don’t trust their students and that we should be treated like children. If a student chooses to not pay attention throughout the class, that is her choice, and she will have to deal with the consequences.
In college, if you are registered for a large class, teachers aren’t going to be able to focus on every single student they have. So if one was to lose focus or fail to hand in an assignment, that’s on them. Professors aren’t going to be chasing down students for their work. Students need to be learning that it’s their responsibility to stay on top of their work. If they choose not to care and end up doing poorly, that is on them and they need to learn to deal with the consequences that are going to come with it.
By Amal Dawoud '20
Fontbonne’s speech team has gained a historic victory during their inter-league competition at Kellenberg on November 16, 2019. The team became the first in United States history that covered all the top placements in an interleague tournament from a single school. The tournament consisted of duo interpretations, which is a speech or piece done with a partner.
Seniors Stephanie Patella and Alexandra Mauro won first place for their duo interpretation, which surprised them greatly as this was their first time performing the piece they were given. Alexandra expressed her exultant for both her and Stephanie in an interview explaining: “Steph and I felt really surprised and happy that we got first place, considering it was out first time doing the piece.” Alexandra and Stephanie never expected to get first place, or a high placement in that matter, considering the situation they were in.
The rest of the team also took some high ranks home with them, including: seniors Dianna Gentile and Jenna Gaglioti in second, juniors Brynn Nelsen and Juliann Bianco in third, and seniors Arianna Heinsch and Larissa Mignano in fourth place. Juliann expressed her gratitude for her duo partner by saying: The “[interpretation] was super cool...it was only our second tournament being partners, so it was really exciting!” Juliann enjoys working with Brynn, which is obvious with their second place win.
With their new historic victory, the Fontbonne speech team has reached new heights and expectations for many tournaments to come. The Folio sends their congratulatory wishes to the team, and wishes well for their upcoming competitions!
By Jacqueline Khorsandi '21
Before the 2019-2020 school year, several new teachers joined the Fontbonne Hall Academy community. Ms. Rege is our new music teacher. Since joining in September, Ms. Rege has been teaching Music Appreciation to 9th graders, Concert Chorus, Chamber Choir, and started a drum line and rock band club. The Chamber Choir recently performed at Carnegie Hall November 25, 2019.
Ms. Rege also created her company called Opera Dolls (www.theoperadolls.com) which sells plush dolls that are famous characters from operas. When you squeeze them, they sing an aria. In fact, Ms. Rege is the voice of the Aida doll. Ms. Rege says “My company JACOPERA LLC created these dolls and also perform as an ensemble. We have performed in concerts throughout Europe and the US”.
Ms. Rege grew up in southeastern Connecticut in the Mystic/Groton area. It’s the location where the famous movie “Mystic Pizza” takes place. She said “Pizza is much better in NY!” As a child, Ms. Rege found a passion for music and fell in love with music. She began playing many instruments and singing throughout her childhood.
She says, “As a musician, it’s important to be versatile with the skills and talents you have to make a viable career.” When she moved to New York, her first job during graduate school was teaching private voice, percussion, and piano lessons. She really enjoyed it and continued to invest in her efforts to get more experience, become a better educator, and get NYS certified in teaching.
She graduated from Robert E. Fitch High School in Groton, CT where she was the president of the class of 2008. She later received her Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance at The University of Connecticut and her Masters of Music in Vocal Performance and Advanced Certificate in Music Education from Brooklyn College. Additionally she would sing gigs throughout NYC as a professional soprano.
After graduating from Brooklyn College, she joined Bishop Kearney for two years and she had a wonderful experience. It was her first full time teaching job and was significant to her personally and professionally. She learned countless lessons as a first year teacher and made many lifelong mentors and friends from her time at Kearney. Much like Fontbonne, Kearney was a strong community and its emphasis on values made it a truly special place.
She feels very welcomed by the entire school community of Fontbonne, both students and faculty. Additionally, having been part of the Kearney community, she feels very moved by the efforts that have been made to help the Kearney transfer students feel welcome.
Teaching Music for her has been a lot of fun when students are interested in music. She says being a musician is a craft you never stop improving upon, and it’s very rewarding to be part of her students’ musical development.
Fontbonne has made Ms. Rege feel very welcomed and made her transition smooth. She says, “Having worked at a previous CSJ school, I was familiar with the way things go, the emphasis on mission, and the general school culture,” which made Fontbonne so easy to get used to.
Since Ms. Rege has been here, she has made a very big impact on the students' lives at FHA. We are so happy that Ms Rege has joined the Fontbonne Community. Thank you Ms. Rege for teaching children the value and beauty of music.
By: Isabella Fazio '20
Our fellow sisters from Kearney have endured several hardships these past few months. We, as students of Fontbonne, have done a wonderful job at welcoming the Kearney students. The step team is a Kearney tradition that has been added to FHA this year. This club is led by seniors, Tyanne George and Nicole Abbate, and supervised by Ms. Duffy and Ms. Sosa. The club meets at least once a week after school for two hours.
Our school’s motto this year is “Together We Are One.” One way we are supporting our motto is the Step club. At Bishop Kearney, students who were members of Step wanted to bring their tradition to Fontbonne. Step is bringing Kearney and Fontbonne students together as one. When we practice, we are always helping each other,whether with the routine or to get others out of their comfort zones.
After talking with Nicole, she said, “it teaches us to become strong ladies and show our inner ‘beast mode.’” Members of step, including Nicole, have said Step helps them get out of their comfort zones and is a form of expression. Kayla Clayton, one of the members of Fontbonne’s Step Team, mentioned that Step helps girls take a break from personal things and is a way for them to cope with stress while being around people who enjoy the same activity. Nicolette Amato had been a member of Step at Bishop Kearney and she has chosen to continue at Fontbonne. She has a strong passion for Step along with many of the fellow members. Nicolette is proud of what she does and will work hard. She said she would “step on the gym floor, in my room, in front of my friends, and even without noticing. It helps me show who I really am. There is no other sport I would rather do than Step!”
Tyanne has been dedicated to step since the fifth grade and it holds a special place in her heart. It has continued to make her happy throughout the years, especially when others have shown interest. Tyanne has shown true leadership and wanted to be the one to carry on the legacy of step team that was enjoyed for many years at Kearney. She has shown true determination by working hard for the position of Step Captain for her senior year at Kearney. Tyanne had believed after the closing of our sister school Bishop Kearney, it was a sign from God for her to be offered the position of Step Captain at Fontbonne.
Step is truly a form of expression where people can feel accepted and comfortable. It has helped girls in multiple ways and hopefully Step will continue to be apart of FHA to expand on bringing Fontbonne students together as one. It is clear to see that Bishop Kearney girls are making a positive impact on the Fontbonne community.
By: Amal Dawoud '20
Fontbonne students were surprised to hear on the announcements in the beginning of the new school year that headphones were no longer allowed to be used in resource periods. Although the rule had always been in the school handbook, reinforcing it caused some negative reactions among students.
The rule of no headphone use was to help students steer away from slacking off in resource periods, as they are supposed to be used for school-related purposes. However, not every student has followed this rule. Many use resources as a way to wind down before the next class ahead. Students who choose to not use their resources for school work would usually put on some headphones to not disturb anyone else who was using the resource for serious purposes.
However, some students use headphones for inappropriate uses such as to watch Netflix or anything else that violates school policy. Along with using headphones for inappropriate purposes, wireless headphones have been very popular among students making it easy for them to sneak a wireless piece behind their hair into class. This caused the reinforcement of no headphone use to commence for the 2019-2020 school year.
Although the rule is meant to stop any kind of behavior that goes against school policy, many students had a negative reaction against the rule, mainly because headphones are used to close off distractions around the student. Jenine Samara, a current Sophomore in Fontbonne explained in an interview: “I think headphones allow students to be more productive. The silence in the foyer and the noise of other resources can often be distracting. Headphones with music helps me get in a certain mindset that allows me to work efficiently.” Jenine believes that the use of headphones is helpful to her and many other students as it is a way to block out noises and bring some white noise into her mind so she isn’t as distracted. Giulia Troia, a senior at Fontbonne with a similar opinion as Jenine’s also believes that headphones help with distractions as seen in her response: “We should be able to use headphones in a resource because of the fact that it’s one of our only times in the school schedule to relax and get some work done...a lot of people use headphones for music or videos to help them concentrate.” Both students understand that the policy is meant for good terms, but they disagree as they personally use headphones as distraction blockers to help them concentrate on work with music.
After many comments, negative results, and overall a disagreement between whether or not the rule should be reinforced, Fontbonne admins have temporarily gotten rid of the no headphone use policy and set up a new rule: only wired headphones are allowed during resource periods. This new rule has lessened the harshness of the old policy, and many students are more content with the temporary rule. If too many people take advantage of this rule, however, students will have to go back to not using headphones in resources at all.
By: Jacqueline Khorsandi '21
On May 13, 2019, Bishop Kearney students received the most harsh news that anyone could ever receive. Bishop Kearney, one of our fellow CSJ schools, announced that they would be closing their doors at the end of 2018-2019 school year. It was a very difficult decision that the Sisters of Saint Joseph made, but after careful consideration, they felt that it would be best to close their doors after teaching young women for 58 years.
After the news spread Principal Mary Ann Spicijaric, among other CSJ principals, realized that Kearney students needed support and guidance to get them through this difficult time. Knowing that these girls would be losing a family, a place that they have called home, and the friends they have made throughout their high school experience. Ms. S wanted to make this simple for the Kearney girls.
Throughout the remainder of the school year, Ms. S would have Bishop Kearney students come to Fontbonne and talk to some of the transfer students and see what life would be like transitioning into FHA in the fall. St. John Villa transfer students, along with other transfers came to FHA, to speak with many of the students about their experience, explain how easy it was transitioning into a new environment, and shared their experience about Fontbonne.
When the 2019-2020 school year began, Kearney students received pins, as did the St. John Villa students in the 2018-2019 school year. The pins symbolize that they are all a part of FHA and Kearney will always be in their hearts. Every year FHA has a mission statement,this year’s mission statement is “Together We Are One” which shows that we, as a school, we are united.
Ms. S also gave the faculty the Kearney pins so that everyone would know that “Together We are One.” FHA students also received stickers with an elephant with this year’s mission
The first month of school in FHA, we spoke to Bishop Kearney girls to see how they are easing into a new school and how they were able to transfer into Bonnie life. Many Kearney students have said “we love that Fontbonne has welcomed us in, and make us feel like we belong.” Other students have said “FHA has been very easy to adapt to.'' They said that FHA has made it easy to make friends and all the girls have been so kind to us.”Some girls have also stated that “FHA has been really easy to get used to and I already feel like I am a Bonnie”.
The FHA girls have made them feel like they belong here and how much FHA is a family. Many students have felt they are truly Bonnie and that FHA girls have truly welcomed them into a family. Faculty, staff, and students have made the transition into FHA really easy with They truly believe that “Together We Are One” and that Kearney will always be in their hearts and in FHA.