The first thing you should know about Latinas Unidas is that it’s a group effort. Unusually, there are five club co-heads—Ale Casillas ’21, Adrianna Greenup ’21, Natalia Rodriguez ’21, Stephanie Rodriguez ’21 and Mariana Trujillo ’21. Their 30-member club represents a broad mix of the Latinx community with connections to Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Brazil, Columbia, Spain, and Mexico. But like the name “Unidas” suggests, this group is all about being unified, showing solidarity even while celebrating differences.
Just weeks into the school year, teacher Christina Lara ’14 already has Mayfield’s pioneering class of engineers busy with hands-on design projects, from building a wearable obscura, or pinhole camera, to reverse engineering PPE. Her Engineering Design & Analysis class—Mayfield’s first-ever official engineering course—offers students a year-long immersion in the engineering design process, as well as the opportunity to earn dual college credits at the University of Texas at Austin.
This week marks the start of the yearlong celebration of the 175th anniversary of the founding of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus. On October 15, 1846, in Derby, England, Cornelia Connelly and three postulants participated in their first Mass as a religious community. How grateful we feel for the amazing work of so many that began on that faithful day!
To say that the internet changed the face of news is a major understatement. And, like many newspapers, the student-produced Mayfield Crier has endeavored to make the transition from a print-only news source to a hybrid media outlet. Although the production team had been dipping their toes in digital waters since before 2015, they made the choice to focus on print, as these monthly publications were already a major undertaking. Plus, handing out physical copies after assemblies, and being able to share in the excitement with classmates and teachers, was an unmistakable thrill for everyone involved.
It’s 8:30 a.m. in front of Pike Auditorium, and it’s already uncomfortably hot , although you wouldn’t know it by watching how effortlessly the masked Campus Ministry team seems to accomplish their work. They are set up under pop-up tents arranged on the driveway and the front lawn. Armed with a clipboard and a smile, Theology teacher and Assistant Director of Campus Ministry Carol Fitzsimmons stands next to a sign marked “Loaves and Fishes,” fielding donations of homemade lunches from Mayfield families for Union Station Homeless Services.
“Women’s literature about women, for women.” That is how English 4 teacher Katie Waferling describes her Senior literature course. This year’s theme? “How the World Sees Women.”
In the second week of school, Ms. Waferling’s English 4 students all got up early for an 8 a.m. Zoom call to Saudi Arabia. Some girls were still sitting in bed with their laptops. Their guest speaker was Rajaa Alsanea, author of the 2005 novel Girls of Riyadh, their assigned reading over the summer.
Every September, Mayfield's community comes together to celebrate the Mass of the Holy Spirit. The tradition begins our school year, opening each of us up to grace, igniting the fire of creativity and of inspiration. Obviously this tradition needed to be adapted during remote learning, and adapt we did!
We are thrilled to welcome seven new faces to 500 Bellefontaine (remotely!) for the 2020-21 year, including two Mayfield alumnae. Three of the four teachers join our thriving science department, honoring Mayfield's strong commitment to STEM. Whether they’re new to teaching or a 20-year classroom veteran, all of them bring real-world experience in their subject and enthusiasm for educating young women.
In a back-to-school week unlike any other, we offered a special prayer for our Class of 2024, who are the first group of Mayfield ninth-graders to start their high school journey from home. This group of 80 young women has already shown us how smart, resilient and engaged they are. Even before they officially started remote learning, they navigated their unusual transition to high school with flexibility and enthusiasm.
As you may have heard, the CIF State and Southern Section offices announced an adjusted athletics calendar for the 2020-21 school year yesterday. The calendar has shifted from the traditional three-season model to a modified two-season schedule and all sports have been postponed until the end of 2020. There will be no scheduled competitions until late December or early January 2021.
I hope this edition of the Messenger finds you and your families enjoying the summer despite the difficult times we have all been facing.
While the last few months have presented many challenges, I’m extremely proud of the way our Mayfield community finished out the school year. Our students, faculty, and staff all rose to the occasion. They worked hard to keep moving forward academically, staying engaged, and continuing to strengthen our community even though we could not be physically together.
In a year of radical change, Mayfield creatively reimagined our cherished rites of passage for graduating seniors, honoring old traditions, while embracing new ways of celebrating.
With typical commencement celebrations out of the question for Class of 2020, Mayfield orchestrated individual mini-ceremonies for each of our 77 seniors over the course of five days. The girls wore their white gowns and gloves, carried their red roses and received their Holy Child medallions. They even did their own solo versions of the iconic rose petal toss!
In these challenging times, we write to you with a message of solidarity. Recently, the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus issued a prayer we felt compelled to share with our broader community:
Help us, God, to end racism and violence! The death of George Floyd was unnecessary, filled with hatred, and enormously disturbing. Join us in praying for the Floyd family and all those grieving and in deep pain. On this Pentecost Sunday, let us center our thoughts and actions on God's love and grace. Let us be agents of change to end social and racial injustice.
In a year when a global pandemic changed the landscape of the college admission process, senior students and their college counselors had to find new ways to navigate the next phase of their academic journey. Mayfield’s Class of 2020 certainly rose to the challenge!
Congratulations to our 77 graduating seniors, who will be attending 47 different colleges and universities in 19 states, plus Washington, D.C. Forty-five percent of our seniors will stay in California, with more than half of those students attending an in-state public university, and 18% of the class will attend a Catholic college.
There is a long list of things that makes Dr. Reena Vishwanath Thomas ’98 a memorable figure, from her impressive medical and academic accomplishments to the zeal she brings to every endeavor, from motherhood to fitness. But after a conversation with Reena, if you remember nothing else, you will remember her laugh. It is unrestrained and unforgettable. It’s the kind of laugh that manages to be both irreverent and inclusive, as if to say: the world may have gone crazy, but the two of us are in on the joke.
“The college application process is a nerve-wracking journey, and this is a fact,” said Melanie Ahn ’21. Enter the Mayfield College Counseling Department’s annual Case Studies program, which helps ease college app anxiety by giving students an inside look into the admission process. At this hands-on event, which has been mandatory for Mayfield juniors for over a decade, students play the role of college admission officers for a night. They review applications and make admissions decisions. “It's a great exercise for the girls to see how an application can be perceived by others,” said Co-Director of College Counseling Lynn Maloney.
It has certainly been a strange time for Cubs Athletics—reflecting a concern echoed across the world. Last Friday, the CIF Section Commissioners voted to cancel the spring State and Regional Championships—a real disappointment for our 24 seniors who’ve had their final season cut short. These wonderful student-athletes have represented Mayfield with grace for the past four years and, when the situation allows, we will take the time to honor them.
This was a banner year for Mayfield in the annual MathWorks Math Modeling (M3) Challenge, an advanced math problem solving competition that attracts more than 3,500 students from some of the biggest high school STEM programs across the country. For the first time, both Mayfield team entries were among the top 15% that advanced to the second round of judging, where they were praised for their “excellent writing style and mathematical foundation.”
“Difficulties exist only to be overcome.” — Cornelia Connelly
Cheerful, responsible, flexible, patient, loving, hopeful, determined, eager. This is how Mayfield teachers described their students after last week’s initial immersion into remote learning. And, as consummate role models of our “Actions Not Words” motto, Mayfield faculty members are also embracing this unique educational adventure with positivity and resolve.
It takes a village to bring the beloved musical Oliver! to life in Pike Auditorium. This year’s all-school musical draws from Mayfield’s vast community of talent, from alumnae siblings and faculty spouses, to athletes who are making their Pike stage debuts.
This year’s Rhapsody in Red benefit was a wonder to behold, and a wondrous success! Our Gatsby-glam gala channeled all the fun and frivolity of the Jazz Age to celebrate the centennial of our beloved Strub Hall and to honor the Strub family for their incredible founding gift to Mayfield Senior School.
To commemorate the centennial of Strub Hall, Paul Tzanetopoulos’ photography class embarked on an ambitious project—to take a photo of the 100-year-old building with a 100-year-old camera. Paul’s extensive camera collection includes an early folding model used by photographers around the same time that the 500 Bellefontaine estate was built. The final result was a spectral and awe-inspiring portrait of Strub Hall, an image that looks very much like those in the Mayfield archives. We sat down with Mr. T to discuss how this photograph came into being.
At Stephanie Pham’s job interview at Mayfield Senior School last spring, English department chair Leandra Ferguson asked her what was her favorite book to teach. The answer was a no-brainer for Ms. Pham: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz.
As the spring sports continue to prepare for the start of their non-league schedule, we took time last night to celebrate the wonderful accomplishments of our basketball, soccer, and water polo teams at the Winter Sports Banquet. Once again the Booster Club sponsored a delicious meal from Porta Via and then athletes were honored from the three sports.
Congratulations to our student artists, who racked up an impressive tally of 19 awards in the 2020 Western Region Scholastic Art & Writing Awards from a pool of more than 60,000 submissions. The Scholastic Awards, which recognize students in 29 different genres of creative arts and writing, are among the nation’s oldest and most prestigious arts prizes.
The last week of regular season play for the winter sports brought some excitement and a chance to recognize the members of the Class of 2020 for their leadership. The Varsity soccer team went into this final week in fourth place, having not won a game in over a month. The Cubs came home strong with wins over Providence and Chadwick and a tie with Westridge to take second place in Prep League.
This Tuesday, Nora Warren’s AP Art History class visited the Jonathan Club in Downtown Los Angeles to learn about their hometown’s rich art history. The breakfast outing was hosted by generous club members John and Patti O’Keefe, who invited the group of 20 students to hear guest speaker Christina Nielsen, Director of the Art Museum at The Huntington, and experience a private tour of the Jonathan Club’s impressive art collection.
With one week to go in the regular season for our winter sports, it's officially nail-biting time on campus. With just a few games remaining, the Cubs soccer and water polo teams are looking to secure playoff berths, and the basketball team looks to finish strong and set the tone for next season. Water polo picked up two pivotal wins in Prep League play this week. On Tuesday the Cubs handled Brentwood, 12-5, and then dismantled league rival Westridge the next day, 11-4.
The winter sports continued their busy run of games this week to close out the first semester, but the highlight of the week came from our only sport that competes all school year long— equestrian! Our Cubs competed in their second IEL show of the year last Sunday at Hansen Dam and the results were fabulous!
On the eve of Cornelia Connelly’s Jan. 15 birthday, the students in Maryanne Householder’s freshman theatre class are in for a surprise—an unannounced guest speaker is in their midst. As the girls huddle, cross-legged, in a circle on the stage of Pike Auditorium, accomplished Broadway costume designer Michael Krass joins them for a candid conversation about his craft and his career.
Happy New Year! I hope you were able to enjoy some time away with family and renew for the new year! Our student-athletes were busy with their workouts over the break and our basketball and soccer teams welcomed back dozens of former Cubs for our annual Alumnae Games on Dec. 28. As we move into 2020, our winter sports teams enter a key stage of their schedules against highly ranked opponents. Our soccer and water polo teams took on the #1-ranked teams in CIF this week, and last night our basketballers traveled to play the #3-ranked team.
It is a brisk fall morning and the sophomores in Michelle Gergen’s Theology class are on their feet. Ms. Gergen is asking them to assemble into groups. “Skirts versus pants,” she calls out. All the girls who prefer to wear pants huddle together in one side of the room, facing a smaller group of girls wearing skirts. Then another prompt: “Chocolate ice cream versus strawberry ice cream,” and the room subdivides in a new arrangement. “Early birds versus night owls,” and there is another flurry of movement. The final grouping is determined by the girls’ birthdays.
Established in 1931, Mayfield Senior School in Pasadena, CA is a Catholic, independent, college preparatory school for young women grades 9-12. Noted for its rigorous academic program, which includes 21 Advanced Placement and Honors courses, Mayfield’s curriculum is underscored by a philosophy of educating the “whole child,” which also encourages commitment to and excellence in the arts, athletics, community service and spiritual growth. The nurturing environment at Mayfield Senior School allows each student to flourish in an atmosphere of personal attention.