Message from the President
School life at St. Mary’s Academy is one of the best ways to get the most out of an SMA experience. Against the rich tapestry of extra-curriculars and clubs, our students have opportunities to try new skills, discover unique and hidden talents, and use their God-given charism to propel our local communities to continue to do good work. At St. Mary’s Academy, extra-curricular and club life plays a key role in the educational development of the whole child. Throughout their years at the Academy, they are empowered to engage in community leadership, creative project initiatives, and extend their learning beyond the classroom walls. We are proud of the everyday work our young women ignite, and look forward to more celebrations of learning as they continue their educational journey with SMA.
Message from Senior Leadership Team
We are halfway through the school year and students are well-immersed in their subjects as they continue to grow and meet increased academic challenges. Progress reports will be distributed on February 24th and Progress Conferences with parents/caregivers and students will take place on March 2nd and 3rd. These conferences foster ongoing communication between school and family which is vital for student success.
Student-led clubs are thriving, and more students are becoming involved which deepens the bonds of community and encourages learning outside of the classroom. We hope you enjoy the Spotlight section of this newsletter which highlights our clubs.
We are looking forward to, and preparing for, the Lenten season which begins on February 22. May we all find solace, hope, and renewal in Lent, Holy Week and Easter.
Mission and Charism is preparing for Lent
Lent Season: February 22 to April 6, 2023
Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel. These are the words that mark us on Ash Wednesday and challenge us on our Lenten journey. Perhaps these words would serve us well posted on our fridge, banners on our social media accounts, our lockers, or anywhere else that can remind us daily of the invitation that Jesus offers us as we try to prepare for Easter as faithful disciples.
How do we do it? How do we turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel? Let’s follow the Gospel from Ash Wednesday; serve others, pray a bit more, and fast from our overwhelming abundance so others may have what they need. This is how Lent can keep us on track. Here are some practical suggestions:
Service learning requirements may be finished but that does not mean we stop serving others. Many service organizations in and around our city are in need of volunteers. Check out the service learning board outside Ms. Martin's office to see how you can make a difference with your time and talents.
- Join us in Holy Names Chapel for Tuesdays with Mary as we pray a decade of the Rosary together every Tuesday at 8:20 AM during Lent until April 4th.
- Join us in Holy Names Chapel for No Frills Mass on Friday March 10th and 17th at 1:05 PM.
Everyone is always welcome in Holy Names Chapel. Also, schedule your Sunday worship first in your weekend commitments.
- Drop the Starbucks or Tim’s run each day and add your coffee money to our Mission collection at school.
- Turn off your social media and try to cut back on screen time. Make time to have a family meal once or more a week with good conversation questions.
This is all part of our training as disciples. May our Lenten journey help us to see that all things are possible if we only believe. Blessings on your Lenten journey.
ANAVO - to Kindle
From February 2nd to 3rd, a group of 20 students along with Mrs. Steeves, Ms. Martin, and Mrs. Kolt, embarked on a journey at Camp Assiniboia in Cartier, MB. This was the inaugural ANAVO retreat, meaning "to kindle," which was first established as an overnight experience in 2020 but was postponed due to the Pandemic. Finally, after a long wait, the retreat was able to come together. The goal of ANAVO was to have students discern how they can use their strengths and talents to serve in our world. Lighting the way was both Mother Marie-Rose Durocher's devotion to casting fire and the following words from St. Catherine of Siena, Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire. The retreat served to kindle self-discovery, reflect on learning, strengthen bonds, and have fun.
Sophie Sierhuis, one of the grade 10 participants, shares her firsthand account of the retreat.
"I was honored to attend the first-ever ANAVO Retreat. Throughout the two days I had an amazing time bonding with friends and participating in activities. The retreat was centered around the variety of themes that St. Mary's embraces yearly, such as "Who am I?", "Whose voice am I listening to?", and "What do I Believe?", which made our time of reflection and journalling more meaningful and creative. Additionally, we enjoyed watching a movie, indulged in delicious snacks, and visited a petting zoo with adorable animals. Overall, I am grateful for the opportunity to attend the retreat and would highly recommend it to others in the future."
Disney's Beauty and the Beast
Be our Guest! Our students are thrilled to present Disney's classic tale Beauty and the Beast to audiences from March 16 to 18. They have been working tirelessly to bring this beloved story to life with stunning costumes and beautiful music. The show boasts incredible talent both onstage and behind-the-scenes. The three performances will be held in Alumnae Hall with tickets available for $20 each. Don't miss this opportunity to experience the magic of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast brought to you by our talented students. Get your tickets today at https://smamb.ca/events/dramatic-arts-production and support our students in their artistic pursuits. Tickets are 50% sold out.
Our hallways are alive with students buzzing about projects, monologues, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, and more. Our grade 7 students are working on scene work from Anne of Green Gables and our grade 9 students just finished writing and performing their own monologues for the very first time. Grade 10 students just completed a wonderful unit on Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA)/Children’s Theatre, featuring a guest lecture from Mr. Pablo Felices-Luna, Artistic Director for the Manitoba Theatre for Young People, a field trip to see “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown: A Double Bill” and their very own TYA scenes. Grade 10 students will be starting their mystery unit, with an invited show happening April 20th. Grades 11 and 12 Senior Drama students are all working in leadership roles in Disney's Beauty and the Beast and are in the final selection stages of deciding on their final class show, coming in May. At the beginning of February, all of our grades 9 to 12 Drama students had the opportunity to attend Into the Woods at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Center, featuring two graduates from our program at SMA. The Drama Department is busy with so much creativity, learning, laughter and, spirit happening!
Black History Month
The student led Black History Month Committee is excited to celebrate Black History at SMA. Throughout the month of February the committee is highlighting The Black Experience, Black Culture, and Black Excellence through a series of educational events and activities. Adding to the fun is a raffle featuring items from Black owned businesses that begins on February 21st, a buffet featuring authentic food and drink from Ethiopia, Ghana, Jamaica, Kenya, Nigeria, Sudan, Togo, and Trinidad on the 23rd, and a fashion show and movie night on February 24. The committee is enjoying our community coming together to learn about, celebrate, and honor the contributions and achievements of Black people in our society.
Black History Month Cultural Fashion Show
Black History Month Buffet
From Monday, February 27 to Wednesday, March 1, we celebrate our second official language. All students who are enrolled in a French or Français course will participate in a three day event of Festival! Hé ho!
After morning prayers read in French, each grade will participate in its own unique activity. These include creating a Voyageur tuque, a ceinture fléchée, bracelets, snow painting and many Voyageurs games. Singing en français, playing the spoons and learning how to Jig are all French Canadian activities that may be infused throughout the three day event.
We won’t forget about the food! Academy Bistro will serve poutine on Wednesday, March 1 and Thursday, March 2 as the special of the day. All French and Français students will also enjoy Bannock and jam as a special treat on Wednesday, March 1.
All French and Français students are encouraged to accessorize their uniforms on Wednesday, March 1 with a plaid shirt, red tuque and/or a ceinture fléchée.
Grade 7 students making acrylic Christmas ornaments for friends and families
Lily Giannuzzi '27 prints a 3D model of a plant cell
The Tech Centre continues to be a gathering place for students and staff to play and engage with technology. Since opening our doors in September, the Centre has welcomed over 2,200 inquisitive minds in our school community, some of whom enjoy visiting multiple times a day. Whether it’s learning to create 3D models in science class, designing custom ornaments to gift to friends and family at Christmas or challenging your teacher to a 1-on-1 battle in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament, there’s always something new for students to discover.
As we transition into the second half of the year, the Tech Centre has provided support to students involved with this year’s production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Students like Wynn Loiselle-Shire ’24 and Arianna Quezon ’23 have used the 3D printers to design and create props, including the Beast’s famous mirror. We’re also making a delicious collaboration with Human Ecology teacher, Lara Thordarson, and some of her students to create an image that will be used to decorate cookies sold at intermission.
Finally, in just a few months, the Tartan Technology & Innovation Centre will be the main focus of SMA’s Marian Awards Gala. The theme of the Gala, “Tradition meets Tech”, has sparked conversations in the Tech Centre as students, staff, and faculty reflect on their own relationship with technology. We look forward to counting down the days to celebrate the Tartan Technology & Innovation Centre as a community. We hope to see you at the RBC Convention Centre on Friday, May 5!
Nintendo Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Tournament in Alumnae Hall
What an incredible experience we had at SMA at the end of January with Star Dome. For two days, students in grades 8, 9 and 11 Science, Social Studies, and Canadian History classes had the opportunity to be transported through time and space with this amazing mobile multimedia planetarium. The shows that played included Sky Stories, The World's Night, and Exploring the Universe.
Sky Stories reaffirmed the wonder that people have always felt for the sky and natural world through storytelling from ancient civilizations as well as examining the local Winnipeg night sky and constellations. The World's Night taught us about how various cultures from the past and present view the night sky, including myths and legends inspired by the sun, moon, and stars and how ancient people used the motions of these celestial objects in their lives. Exploring the Universe began with the geocentric model and examined how our ideas about the nature of the Universe have evolved through history, and explored the wonders of our solar system.
Our students were thrilled by the adventurous experience while learning about the Universe. SMA extends our heartfelt thanks to Mr. Darrin Townsley of www.stardome.ca for guiding these experiences.
We have a host of students volunteering to help build and paint set pieces for SMA’s production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Grades 11 and 12 Art students took the lead on a few sets in particular. Take a sneak peek at some of their artistry shown in these two photos.
Art Contest Winner
left to right: Anna Das, Teresita Chiarella, MFIS Executive Director
In other Art news, a big congratulations to our grade 8 student, Anna Das, for winning the Manitoba Federation of Independent Schools first annual art contest. The contest challenged students to explore what Diversity in Education means to them. As the winner, Anna was presented with a cheque for $100 and will have her artwork featured in Scoop magazine and promotional materials for Folklorama.
The Parents’ Guild was pleased to host Torch Talks on Saturday, February 11. The guest speaker was Dr. Simon Trepel who gave an engaging and informative presentation entitled, 20 Things You May Not Know About Digital Media. In his presentation, Dr. Trepel covered the following topics: Current demographic information about youth and adult digital media use, Risks of digital media use, General and specific risks associated with screen use, Some positive consequences of child and teen digital media use, and Approaches to digital media. Dr. Trepel also fielded questions from the approximately 75 guests in attendance. The presentation can be downloaded from the following link https://smamb.ca/events/Torchtalks. Guests also enjoyed mingling and refreshments before and after the presentation.
SMA thanks Dr. Trepel for sharing his expertise with our community which better equips us to assist our children, students, and ourselves, in effectively navigating digital media. SMA also thanks our remarkable Parents’ Guild for hosting Torch Talks.
The Parents’ Guild hosts Torch Talks annually with the purpose of contributing to the growth and education of our community.
Congratulations to our Flames Varsity Curling team who captured the West Winnipeg Athletic Conference (WWAC) Championship with an exciting 4-3 win over Vincent Massey on January 30. The Flames finished first in Pool B with a 3-1 record after the regular season. The team added 2 more wins in the playoff round to set up Monday’s overall final against Pool A winner Vincent Massey. The final saw the teams trade single points for each of the first 6 ends with the game tied 3-3 heading into the 7th end. After some amazing shot making and sweeping by all of the team members, the Flames scored the last point to win 4-3. The Flames finished the season at 6-1 overall and went on to represent SMA and the WWAC at the 2023 Manitoba High School Athletic Association Provincial Curling Championships in The Pas from February 9-11. The team played three games, winning one with the other two going into extra ends. The young team played competitively and Held High the Torch!
left to right: Meghan Lagadi, Kaely McLean, Alina Koskie, Ashley Garland, and Raina Garland.
Female World Sport School Challenge
The SMA Flames Prep Hockey team, and SMA hosted the 10th annual Female World Sport School Challenge at the hockey for all centre from January 26 to 29, 2023. The tournament featured 16 top-tier U18 female hockey teams from across Canada, showcasing an exciting and competitive level of women's hockey. Numerous scouts were in attendance from both U-Sport and NCAA schools.
Sixteen teams participated over the course of four days, with the medal games played on Sunday. Thank you to all teams for competing and congratulations to the medalling teams:
- Calgary Fire AAA: Gold Medalists
- South Alberta Hockey Academy: Silver medalists
- North Alberta Extreme: Bronze medalists
On Saturday evening the teams enjoyed a dinner banquet that featured guest speaker, Kristin Campbell from Team Canada. Kristin shared her hockey journey, the unexpected twists and turns along the way, and words of wisdom on remaining focussed on finding a way forward. Additionally, All-Star player awards were awarded.
Thank you to our parent, school, and community volunteers who made the FWSSC tournament a great success. Their incredible efforts made the tournament a success. Much appreciation also goes out to the sponsors who supported the event in many ways.
Game photos are available for viewing and can be downloaded at www.fwssc.ca.
Flames Prep faceoff at Female World Sport School Challenge
Calgary Fire AAA, Gold Medalists
At St. Mary's Academy, we believe that extracurricular activities are an integral part of a well-rounded education. That's why we offer a wide array of clubs that cater to a variety of interests and passions. Whether students are interested in the environment, human rights, community service, STEM, debate, or more, there is a club to suit that interest as well as provide a platform for students to explore and learn new things. Our clubs are led by passionate and dedicated student co-heads and a faculty advisor who guides and mentors students as they pursue their interests. Joining a club is a great way to make new friends, discover new talents, and enhance the overall school experience.
Co-Chairs: Arianna Fulcher ’23, Sophia Krak ’23
The Athletics Club is devoted to involving the SMA community in the world of sports and intramurals. From hosting the. So You Think You Can Dance, competition to participating in the annual, Walk for Cancer, the club strives to promote health and wellness through physical activity. The club also runs fun and competitive intramural events like dodgeball and helps run basketball and volleyball tournaments. The club holds regular meetings to discuss upcoming events and how to get involved in the community.
Senior Co-chairs: Jordyn Allison '24, Ellie Bru '24
Junior Co-chairs: Emerson Hart '26, Lily McManus '26
The Debate Club is a place for students to learn and practice public speaking, confidence, and argumentative skills. Students in the junior and senior clubs have been working hard to prepare for approaching tournaments. There is an upcoming senior impromptu tournament at St. Paul’s High School that we are all very enthusiastic about. As well, the junior club is preparing for the Douglas Campbell Provincial Public Speaking Tournament at Gray Academy. Earlier in the school year, we sent a junior and senior team to compete in Montreal to compete in the National British Parliamentary Debate Championships. Everyone was thrilled to see them travel out of province to debate after a long stretch of online debating. The club is closely tied to the debate class offered to grades 9 to 12 students. Debate class is a good way to get extra debate practice and knowledge. The Debate Club is excited to announce that SMA will host our own Marian Cup debating tournament in April and we look forward to welcoming competitors from other schools.
All students are welcome to join the club where they will learn about debating and get support from our coaches and senior debaters.
Co-chairs: Arianna Quezon '23, Katie Alexander-Rettig '24
The Gaming Club first started back in 2018 as Board Game Club and was re-established in 2020 as Gaming Club offering both video games and board games. With the new Tartan Technology and Innovation Centre, the Gaming Club has expanded its shelf of games so that anyone can play at anytime. The club’s main goal is to ensure that students can have fun with friends and other people via playing different types of games. It also allows students the chance to relax and enjoy themselves to improve their mental, emotional, and social health. The aim is to create a safe environment for all students to enjoy. So far we have done many competitions for staff and students, our most notable one being the Super Smash Bros. tournament, and collaboration with other clubs like Special Events, Human Rights, and Green Team. We hope to see more students come out and suggest other games the club can provide. Our next goal is to have a Mario Kart and Just Dance competition around March. We are also training our younger executives so that when the seniors graduate, Gaming Club will live on.
Green Team participates in the Learning for Sustainable Future (LSF) conference.
Co-Chairs: Vanessa Rama ’23, Marissa Magsino ’24
The Green Team is proud to be SMA's environmental club which provides education about our Earth and promotes sustainability within our everyday lives. The club runs a year-round composting system where they encourage environmentally sustainable waste disposal. Along with the composting system, they have opened a second Swap Shop where they promote the use of reused clothing items. This year, they also teamed up with Special Events to host a Christmas Movie Night between SMA and St. Paul’s High School students to raise money for Inner City Missions, all the while offering snacks in eco-friendly packaging. In addition to these events, the Green Team has participated in the yearly Learning for Sustainable Future’s (LSF) conference, where they attend workshops and discuss green events for the year. As a part of their participation with LSF, the Green Team received a $500 grant to go towards a project of their choice that promotes sustainability within our school. The Green Team has more exciting events planned for the rest of this school year, including Earth Day prayer service, bottled water free day, and more.
Human Rights Team
Co-Chairs: Gabrielle Denis ’23, Gael Maramot ’23
The Human Rights Team (HRT) focuses on the advocacy and empowerment of the underrepresented in society, being the voice of change at SMA. HRT aims to educate on and bring awareness to social justice issues in today’s world. By bringing a focus to these issues, team members hope to ignite a passion in the student body to advocate and stand up for those that are marginalized around the world. Led by a dedicated group of students, the club works tirelessly to raise awareness about human rights issues both locally and globally. This year, they have fundraised for organizations both in Winnipeg and abroad, ran a campaign on Human Trafficking, and are looking forward to campaigns on accessibility, racial equality, and worker’s rights. The Human Rights Dinner is on April 26th, 2023, and the theme continues their focus on Worker’s Rights. Please pay attention to the SMA website for tickets and more information.
Mission & Charism Community
Co-chairs: Cyan Gargol ’23, Serena Soc ’24
Mission and Charism Community (MC²) has organized many events that allow SMA students to celebrate their faith as a community. Along with their monthly morning Breakfast Club Meetings, they organized school-wide Advent and Lent Services, Taizé Prayer services, and led morning prayer over the announcements.
Every month they hold, A Monthly Service at SMA (AMS @ SMA), where they choose a cause/organization to donate their services and volunteer to learn and help their cause. The club's Justice and Service team has planned service experiences for the school community at the TOBA Centre, helped set up for Toy Mountain, wrapped gifts for Villa Rosa, helped catalogue at Thrive Thrift shop, and this month they served at West Broadway Youth outreach.
Each school year the club chooses a theme and a symbol to guide students growth as individuals; mentally and spiritually. This year’s theme is, What do I Believe?, and all activites are centered around the theme. The symbol is a glass jar which represents our journey to discover our beliefs alone and as a community.
Co-chairs: Elle Wood ’23, Sara Bergen ’23
The goal of the Mission Club is to help local marginalized communities by raising awareness and collecting donations for organizations that help vulnerable populations. The club's mission is: Never underestimate the difference you can make in the lives of others. Step forward, reach out and help. Be part of the Community!
The club collects donations by hosting casual days and bake sales. During the Christmas season, the club organizes Gift Bags from the Heart which sees the collection and assembly of gift bags that are given to the patrons of the Immaculate Conception Drop-In Centre. The club also hosts Harvest Week, a food drive for Harvest Manitoba.
Peer Support Team
Co-chairs: Bhavika Sandhu ’23, Rebecca Viebrock ’23
The Peer Support Team (PST) was proud to present the Grade 10 Mental Health Day on February 9. Grade 10 students spent the day learning about a variety of ways to support good mental health. Students attended presentations on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with Mindfulness exercises, created vision boards, decorated cupcakes, spent time with therapy dogs, and did either yoga or Zumba. Students and PST volunteers alike experienced a sense of connection and community throughout the day. A big thanks to all our volunteers. On February 24 the club will host a bake sale in honor of Pink Shirt Day with proceeds going to Kids Help Phone.
SMA tutors strive to be a helping hand to students who need academic assistance. Peer tutoring is a program that helps to destigmatize shame around getting help and to promote academic success. This year the club plans to make changes to the Active and Quiet Learning Center to provide a more serene and comforting environment. The club is seeking input and feedback from students to ensure they accommodate everyone’s needs. Their tutor training sessions are designed to teach new tutors how to help students achieve their academic goals and how to create meaningful, productive relationships. The club strives to help peers improve their skills, enhance their understanding in certain subjects, and to prepare students in coursework such as homework, assignments, tests, exams, etc. Not only do they help students better their academic skills, but also provide inspiration and encouragement to improve students’ self-esteem. The club strives to teach students to be self-sufficient, independent, and more confident in their answers.
Co-chairs: Cyan Gargol '23, Wynn Loiselle Shire '24
Prism Club serves as a gathering place for allies and members of the LGBTQS2+ community to learn about and critically explore relevant issues, as well as to provide an inclusive and welcoming environment to discuss challenges faced by LGBTQS2+ students. The club holds meetings where we build community and support one another. In February, our theme has been Building Healthy Relationships. Prism Club’s goal is to provide a safe, welcoming and inclusive space for all, where everyone can be themselves as children of God.
"I am fearfully and wonderfully made." (Psalm 139:14)
Co-chairs: Enijola Akinyemi ’23, Roxy Porth ’24
The Special Events Club is comprised of a creative and hardworking team dedicated to providing fun events for the community. So far this year they have raised money for Cancer Care Manitoba and WICM during the Walk for Cancer with St. Paul’s High School and Balmoral Hall, hosted Christmas movie night, brought the community together during the Halloween Catwalk, Christmas Block Parties, and most recently Valentine's Candy Grams and Catholic Schools Spirit Week.
Co-chairs: Vanessa Rama '23, Sophia Krak '23
The STEM Club is SMA's first science, technology, engineering, and math club. They are dedicated to providing mentorship and hands-on learning through activities such as a spaghetti bridge competition, science fair, and hosting guest speakers. The club's mission is to instill in young women a higher education in STEM and provide an opportunity to further scientific endeavours while promoting careers in the STEM field.
The Spark Newspaper
Co-chairs: Hannah Linsangan ’23, Arabella Quezon ’23
The Spark Newspaper is SMA’s very own newspaper written, edited, and published all by students. Their team has a strong connection with shaping and documenting school history as well as a passion for writing, art, and photography. As a newspaper club whose motto is, "For the students by the students", they believe that their club's foundation serves as a platform to give a voice to anyone in the SMA community. In this 2022-2023 year, the club has created a new way of presenting their team’s work: The Flicker! It is the Spark’s first mini-issue, perfect for anyone who wants their news short, sweet, and straight to the point. So far this year, they have experimented with two sizes for the issues. The first was a tall 8" x 14" flyer for a quick and easy read, and the second was larger and had a more newspaper-like shape with two pages of student work splayed across a 17” x 11” sheet. They have a wide assortment of articles, published and upcoming, from self-image to student government to Black History Month to SMA’s drama production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Club members hope the community enjoys their publications!
Co-chairs: Kiara Vergara ’23, Abby Chau ’24
The Yearbook Club has recruited many creative and conscientious members to help publish the 2023 Marian Torch. The club's motto is: You make the year; we make the book! They work together to ensure that this school year will be remembered as it deserves to be – full of bright memories. The 2023 Yearbook is coming together and they are excited about the insightful ideas and creativity of their team. Lately, club members have been busy attending many athletic games and school events held by their peers to snap an assortment of photos. The club continues to receive pictures through the UploadIt app and they love seeing the photos that are contributed throughout the SMA Community. There are many festivities at SMA in the coming months and the club would love to see more students come out to help and join them in commemorating this school year.
From the Accounting Department
Charitable donation receipts for the 2021-2022 school year, for inclusion with your 2022 tax return, were mailed the week of February 13th. Receipts for the 2022-2023 school year, for inclusion with your 2023 tax return, will be issued in February 2024.
Marian Awards Gala
Tickets are on sale
Individual tickets are $200 each and After Party tickets are $50. Find out more details and purchase tickets at www.smamb.ca/events/marian-awards.
A variety of sponsorship opportunities are available. See the Sponsorship Package at www.smamb.ca/events/marian-awards.