It was a very special evening on Wednesday night as we honored the wonderful accomplishments of our Fall Sports Student-Athletes. It was our first full banquet together since February of 2020, and after the exploits of our cross country, golf, tennis, and volleyball teams, there was much to be celebrated. 300+ members of our community came together for a delicious dinner provided by Porta Via and our wonderful Booster Club and then we honored our athletes with many awards. The team awards are listed here, but in addition to those special awards the list of highlights for the Fall season is lengthy:
Sports tryouts week usually means the athletic calendar is quiet as we gear up for a new season. That's what I figured this week would look like when we put our calendar together in the spring—boy was I wrong. You know it was a good week when you have to make repeated calls to former Mayfield coaching guru Helen Wade to ask about the accomplishments of teams from nearly 40 years ago!
After a wonderful run through the first three rounds of the CIF playoffs, the Varsity volleyball team found itself in the CIF Semifinals last Saturday on the road against a talented Chino Hills squad. The Cubs dropped the first set, then battled back and took the second set in front of a hostile crowd. Unfortunately, Mayfield lost sets three and four by two points each, ending the Cubs’ quest for their first CIF title since 2010. But it was Mayfield's best finish since 2013 and has qualified the Cubs for the California State Volleyball playoffs, which start this Tuesday. The brackets will be released on Sunday night and the Cubs will find out who their opponent will be. Their season is not quite over and next week should be very exciting.
It’s been 19 months since Mayfield’s Pike Auditorium theatre went dark, and although the recent All Arts Night briefly brought audiences back in person, yesterday was the first time Mayfield theatre returned in earnest, with the whodunit murder-comedy “Clue.” We sat down with Theatre Director Maryanne Householder to hear about the lead-up to this long-awaited opening night...
It’s hard to believe that today is the last day of the first quarter of the school year (grade reports will be posted on Saturday, Nov. 6)—and what an amazing first few months we have had. This week in particular has been so full. I loved watching our wonderful tennis team play with such skill and determination at the Prep League tournament on Wednesday afternoon, and I’m so looking forward to cheering on our cross country Cubs at the Prep League finals at Pierce College tomorrow morning. On Wednesday evening our volleyball Cubs made us all so proud as they defeated a strong Redlands High School team in the CIF quarterfinals—what a nail biter! Now they face Chino Hills High School away in the semifinals on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. (Tickets available online.) Go Cubs!
Yesterday we were honored to welcome back Mayfield alum Mary Nally Ternan ’79, and her husband Ed—the founders of the non-profit organization Song for Charlie—for an assembly focused on the dangers of fentanyl. Our students were riveted by the presentation from young alums Mary Harding '16 and Teresa Ternan '12, as they shared the personal ways this tragic issue has touched their lives. I strongly suggest that parents explore this informative website and talk with your daughters about this important topic. Today during the advisory period, we will be processing the life-saving information we all learned from the assembly in our small groups. Please let us know if you have questions or concerns.
What fun it was this morning to greet our students as they arrived at school decked out in their wonderful Halloween costumes—some beautiful, some hilarious, all very creative. I’m very much looking forward to this evening, when I will see both our students and their fathers sporting autumnal gear at our Father Daughter Fall Festival. Friends, food, and dancing—it’s going to be a magical evening!
Next week is going to be very busy and exciting, too. After Halloween festivities on Sunday, I’m so glad our girls will have a day to rest on Monday while their teachers complete their first-quarter grade reports. On Tuesday we will be honored to welcome Father Marcos Gonzalez, Pastor of St. Andrew Church, to celebrate the Feast of All Souls with us. Please remind your daughters to wear their dress uniforms. I’m very much looking forward to hearing Fr. Gonzalez’s homily because they are always so inspiring.
Finally, I think we are all looking forward to the first theatrical performance in Pike Auditorium in over 18 months. The curtain will rise on what I know is going to be a fabulous production of Clue. Based on the iconic board game from my childhood, this farcical murder-mystery is appropriate for all ages. With three evening performances Thursday-Saturday starting at 7:00 p.m. and a Sunday matinee at 2:00 p.m. you have plenty of opportunities to be entertained. It’s going to be amazing!
Skippy peanut butter. Welch’s grape jelly. Nature Valley granola bars. These are not the usual supplies for an AP Computer Science Principles class, but one look at the detailed instructions on the whiteboard shows that it’s clearly not Home Economics, either. In today’s lesson, teacher Michael Dimen brings true Holy Child ingenuity to his classroom by combining a hands-on lesson about coding with a service-oriented bonus: making brown bag lunches for Mayfield’s weekly Loaves and Fishes donation program.
Back in August, I knew it would be great to be back on campus with a full slate of fall sports—but I had no idea how successful our fall sports teams would be! Each week it seems like the Cubs are doing things that we have not done in years, and this week has been yet another historic week for Mayfield.
It was a special afternoon at Occidental College yesterday as we got the chance to honor three members of our Class of 2022, Michelle Cheng ’22, Rebecca Leiva ’22 and Iris Yoo ’22. The three seniors led the Cubs tennis teams once again, this time to a 13-5 victory over Flintridge Prep on their Senior Day. Leiva was the star of the day, going 3-0 in her #1 singles matches and Cheng and Yoo also played well in their doubles matches. The seniors have led the Cubs to a stellar 13-2 record this season and will guide the team into the Prep League Championships on Wednesday before the playoffs start in a week and a half. The Cubs’ regular season is done, but we still have a chance to gain a share of the league title if Westridge beats Poly next week. No matter what happens, these seniors will have qualified for the CIF playoffs in all four of their seasons as Cubs and have led our team with grace, skill, joy and determination.
The facts of the case are timely: a COVID-related job loss, the subsequent inability of a tenant to pay rent and a pending eviction. A snake in a mailbox as a murder weapon does bring some sensationalism into the midst but it certainly adds to a lively discussion. What if the snake slithered in the mailbox by itself? Or could this have been a prank gone wrong? And if it was placed there intentionally to injure, could it be considered a premeditated murder, even though snake bites are rarely fatal? This is the heated discussion of Mayfield Senior School’s Mock Trial team, as they are preparing for their upcoming case this March.
Some periods of time are quiet on the athletics front and there just isn’t as much to report from the sidelines. But today is not that day! It’s basically unheard of that winning a league championship might be considered a team's second-biggest achievement of the week. But that describes our volleyball season right now. On Tuesday night, the Cubs traveled to La Canada and defeated Flintridge Prep in straight sets to finish 11-1 in the Prep League and win their first league championship since 2018.
It seems like we just got back on campus sports yesterday and this week we have already celebrated members of the Class of 2022 on two of our fall sports teams. On Wednesday, our golf team closed out their home regular season with a match against Buckley. It marked the final time Amy Baum ’22 and Kate Thompson ’22 would lead our golf team in a match. Amy and Kate played wonderfully and represented Mayfield with grace and talent. The golf team will have one more match next week before Amy and Kate represent the Cubs in the Prep League Championships on Oct. 19.
In all my 30 years as an educator I don’t think I have experienced a more joyful start to the school year. Our Mayfield Senior School community is just so thrilled to be back together, fully in person, on our beautiful campus. It’s been a fabulous homecoming—and what an amazing home we came back to!
When Melissa Tighe arrived at Mayfield, she had some teaching experience under her belt, but much of her professional background was in finance. Over her 27 years on campus—as a math teacher, department chair and now Director of Innovation and Community Partnerships—she has been looking for ways to share her financial expertise with Mayfield students, beyond a brief lecture during Senior transition week.
As the calendar turns to October, the games get much more important for the Cubs. October is the month that league champions are crowned and the CIF playoffs get underway. The Cubs have had another successful week as the final push of the Fall season begins. Varsity volleyball has moved up to #4 in the latest CIF rankings. The Cubs swept Rio Hondo Prep on all three levels on Tuesday and, starting today, the Varsity team is in Phoenix to compete in the Nike Tournament of Champions against some of the best competition in the country. The Cubs open play this morning against a California top-10 team in Vista Murrieta. I’ll be posting live updates on Twitter all weekend @msscubs.
On first glance the Strub 113 classroom is a somewhat workaday location compared to the many newly renovated spaces flourishing on the same floor of the building—like the Senior Lounge, the redesigned art rooms, the flex spaces being used for study hall, and the new classroom carved from the corner of the library which has all of the aesthetic appeal of a childhood treehouse. But although Strub 113 is not displaying any element of physical redesign, it is a site for an exciting curricular re-think.
We are about halfway done with the Fall Sports season and at this point, still no one has beaten our Varsity tennis team! The Cubs won their biggest and most thrilling match of the year yesterday over two-time defending league champion Westridge. Samantha Frick ‘23—our Athlete of the Week—continued her dominance in singles play, winning all three of her matches and she was joined by Sheryl Cheng ‘23, who went 3-0 as well. The biggest win of the day came from Cubs #3 singles Rebecca Leiva ‘22, who trailed 1-3 in her match against Westridge's #1 player. Rebecca stormed back to win the match 6-4, giving the Cubs a huge lift and when Michelle Cheng ‘22 and Anna Kingston ‘24 won their doubles match 6-4, the Cubs clinched the victory 10-8, over the Tigers. Mayfield is now 8-0 overall and 1-0 in league play. There is still a lot of tennis to be played, but the #10 ranked Cubs are clearly the team to beat in the league this season.
The Cubs continued playing well with all four sports in action this past week and one team continuing its best start ever. The Varsity tennis team looks to have a terrific blend of experience and ability as the team improved to 6-0 on the season with two more wins this week over Immaculate Heart (13-5) and Marshall (16-2). The Cubs have another non-league match on Tuesday at Buckley before opening Prep League play against the defending league champion Westridge Tigers. Coach Silvana Stans has the Cubs playing great tennis early in the season and with Samantha Frick ’23, Sheryl Cheng ’23 and Rebecca Leiva ’22 leading the way, the Cubs have been unbeatable up to this point.
A little before 10 a.m. yesterday morning, Sophie Limongelli '25 prepared herself to be hit by a water balloon lobbed by her classmates, while her physics teacher Billy Abdallah supervised the attack. Megan Lee '25 started the countdown: "Ready...set...THROW!" Then the sounds of popping splashes and peals of laughter echoed down the driveway.
For families new to Mayfield, the morning drop-off line this Friday, Sept. 10 was probably a surprising sight. Suddenly trunks were being popped open en masse by students and faculty members. Scores of brown paper bags were being quickly ferried away in effort to mitigate any disturbances to the traffic flow. Parents who were unfamiliar with the procedure may not have realized it in the moment, but this strangely choreographed routine was actually the return of Campus Ministry’s wildly successful lunch donation program, Loaves and Fishes.
We are just a few weeks into the fall season and the Cubs seem poised to compete for Prep League and CIF titles across the board. The Varsity tennis team remained undefeated this week with a convincing 15-3 non-league win over Rosemead. The Cubs were led once again by the stellar singles trio of Samantha Frick ’23, Sheryl Cheng ’23 and Rebecca Leiva ’22, who went 9-0 in their matches against the Panthers. Varsity tennis is now 4-0 and will take on Immaculate Heart and Buckley before opening league play against defending champion Westridge on Sept. 23. The JV team is improving with each practice as well and picked up a 12-6 win over Rosemead to improve to 2-1.
What a start! After spending a year and a half in a quiet gym, the Cubs have returned with a bang! We had a great summer camp with huge numbers for basketball, cross country, tennis and volleyball. And through the first two weeks of the regular season, it seems all that work has paid off! Volleyball has been the busiest sport so far. Varsity has compiled an 8-2 overall record, going 2-0 in league so far and 2-2 in the tough Oaks Christian Tournament last weekend. The JV and Frosh/Soph teams are both 6-0 overall and 2-0 in league. The teams have been dominant in their wins and travel to Glendale today before they take on Poly in two BIG matches next week.
In a year like no other, we are overjoyed to welcome twelve new faces to 500 Bellefontaine for the 2021-22 year, including two Mayfield alums. There are additions to the art department, world language department, our student support team, and our Development office. As always, the one thing our new faculty and staff all share? A commitment to our Holy Child educational mission—and to our Mayfield families. Please read more about our growing Mayfield community!
No one on the Mayfield administrative team can remember how, or exactly when, the decision was made to invite alums back to assist in the reopening of campus for hybrid learning. But once the idea was proposed, the decision was unanimous. As teachers and students moved back to campus, there would be more technology needs to be met in the classroom for those still learning or teaching from home. For health and safety reasons, it would be necessary to supervise all the students during their free periods in ways never required before. As Head of School Kate Morin explains, “We needed more eyes and more boots on the ground.”
Last weekend on the Mayfield Senior School campus was pure magic. With the Baccalaureate Mass on Saturday, June 5 and the Graduation on Sunday, June 6, the events had the "pinch-me-am-I-dreaming" kind of quality. It has been over a year of challenges and pivots—with students, families, faculty and staff always adjusting to the many adaptations that have come our way. But at long last, we were able to celebrate our graduates. And during the course of the events of this graduation weekend, time and again, it was clear that the experiences of the Class of 2021 have made them wise far beyond their years.
When Liesl Pike Moldow ’83 got the invitation from Head of School Kate Morin to speak at Mayfield Senior School’s 2021 graduation, Liesl admitted to being “flabbergasted” by the request—but she also couldn’t hide her delight. Later, she hopped on a Zoom call with several members of Mayfield’s Class of 2021, where she quickly fell into reminiscing about the time she spent on the Bellefontaine campus as a Mayfield student herself. She exhibits a genuine ease in talking with this age group, partially because she has children around this age, but also because the non-profit she co-founded, SafeSpace, serves this age bracket as well.
by Leah Weidman '11, Alum Council Communications Co-Chair
Mayfield on her mind? Journalist and foodie Jenn Harris ’03 recently posted a story about Mayfield—the one in Orange County with the famous cauliflower shawarma, that is. We were intrigued by this not-so-subtle link to her alma mater, so we decided to catch up with Jenn and talk about her journey as a writer and digital content producer.
A decade of sharing inspiring “Actions Not Words” stories
For the past 10 years, Heidi McNiff Johnson ’84 has been sharing stories—and inspiration—through her Charity Matters blog, which spotlights “extraordinary humans who are using their lives to serve others.” Since 2011, Heidi has profiled dozens of people she calls “nonprofit heroes”— the founders of organizations that are working to find solutions to all kinds of issues, from heart disease and homelessness to literacy and online bullying.
Congratulations to the graduates of the resilient Class of 2021, who lived through an unprecedented high school experience, and are now bound to their next adventures.
The members of the Class of 2021 will be attending 51 different colleges/universities in 18 states plus Washington, DC. 46% will attend college in the state of California; and 21% will enroll at a public university in the state of California. 25% will attend a Catholic college. Every graduate will be matriculating to a four-year college or university.
by Alexandra Badie ’14, Alum Council Communications Co-Chair
Giving back is its own reward, but new friends are a bonus
We all know how hard it can be to make friends as adults. We have our regular pals and routines, and we don’t have those built-in opportunities we had when we were younger and everyone was at similar life stages. This past year, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of having a supportive group of family and friends to stave off isolation and loneliness. Here, some Mayfield graduates share how the often unexpected friendships they’ve made through serving on the Alum Council have been a hidden—and very welcome!—bonus of giving back to their alma mater.
The Class of 2021 knew that their prom might not happen this year, let alone the Senior Movie Night, Senior Sunrise or the Senior Tea. But as COVID infection rates started going down, Mayfield’s event planning team went into overdrive, and faculty and staff did everything in their power to create opportunities for Seniors to reconnect and revel in each other’s company.
Last Friday, we welcomed a panel of five alum musicians to participate in Mayfield’s first-ever alum-student music summit, hosted by Clarabelle Sullivan ’21 and Michaela Sinclair ’21. This virtual meeting was a chance for recent grads to answer burning questions from student musicians about their post-Mayfield musical journeys.
There are so many moments in recent memory in which I have been compelled to recognize the profound and pivotal time we are living through, with history being made around us. Yesterday was such a day. It has been almost a year since the murder of George Floyd, and after the trial of Derek Chauvin had its closing arguments on Monday, the jury delivered their verdict in less than 24 hours.
It seems amazing that just over a year ago we said goodbye to our students thinking that we would be apart for only a few weeks. Little did we know how much our lives would be changed over the following months. We have all been touched in different ways by the pandemic. We have endured loneliness, anxiety and loss. We have missed holidays with loved ones, postponed celebrations, and cancelled vacations. Graduations, proms, birthday parties and baby showers all went remote. Most tragically so many lost loved ones, often forced to mourn alone.
Julie Brehove ’11’s freshman English class had just finished their reading of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and the subject of today’s class discussion was “Who’s to blame?” in this tragedy. The Montague or Capulet parents? Friar Lawrence or the Nurse? The lovers themselves? Mrs. Brehove will soon be giving every student an opportunity to give their best arguments for who was most guilty, and why. But she encourages all aspects of the debate, asking everyone to defend and blame at will, and to change allegiances at any point. But before the incrimination-fest begins, Mrs. Brehove primes the day with a game, of sorts. “Prepare yourselves,” she teases the class, “We are in Kahoot! mode.”
I write to you with a message of solidarity, as the recent attacks on the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in Atlanta have been weighing heavily on my mind.
In the wake of these horrendous murders, we must acknowledge the alarming rise of violence directed against members of the AAPI community nationwide. This has taken place in person and online, involving verbal and physical attacks, and much of this abuse has been inflicted on AAPI elders, immigrants and other vulnerable members of our society. We condemn these heinous acts of bigotry and hate in the strongest terms.
As our community comes closer to in-person learning this spring, the performing arts Conservatory programs at Mayfield have been pioneering new ways to rehearse, perform and engage with audiences, while abiding by pandemic restrictions. This week, vocal music instructor Andrew Alvarez conducted rehearsals as part of a “car choir” with members of the Women’s Ensemble, and theatre director Maryanne Householder launched the first-ever Cubs Cabaret, which was open to all Mayfield student artists who wanted to take on some of Broadway’s milestones in monologues, dances and songs. We caught up with Mr. Alvarez and Ms. Householder to hear more about their recent projects.
When I walked off the pool deck at Buckley High School on March 11, 2020, all I was thinking was that it was nice to get our first league win of the swim season, and how the next few weeks were going to get much busier with badminton matches, softball games, and track & field meets crammed together before we went to Spring Break. Two days later the world changed for all of us, and that turned out to be the last Mayfield athletic competition to be held... until this week!
April Garcez’s U.S. History class was about to begin a unit on “The Progressive Era,” and these 11th-graders were about to be assigned presentations on figures like W.E. Bois, Ida B. Wells, Upton Sinclair and others who helped shape American history in fundamental ways. But when Ms. Garcez watched the recent presidential inauguration, she quickly decided to rewrite her next class plan to take advantage of what she considered a valuable learning opportunity. “We had to address the fact that it was momentous to have the first Black, South-Asian Vice President woman and Amanda Gorman as a speaker,” she said. “We had to stop the history lesson as it was.”
It is the first Student Diversity Council (SDC) meeting of February, and Avalon Dela Rosa ‘22 calls the session to order. Today’s agenda is packed. The plan is to discuss the virtual Black History Month assembly the group hosted online during the advisory period just an hour before. Avalon, who shares the title of SDC Co-Head with Frances Burton ’21, gets quickly to the subject at hand. “We're just going to debrief about how the assembly went and you can share something that went well or something to work on for next time,” she says, in a relaxed tone. “We have a lot of people today, so I was thinking about doing a round robin...”
Career Day is always an exciting event at Mayfield, and this year’s was even more so. For our first Virtual Alumnae Career Day, we welcomed almost 60 alum professionals—more than double last year's number!—to talk about their work in the arts, business, engineering, entertainment, media/journalism, law, marketing/communications, health/medicine, and psychology. (Scroll down to see the full list.)
It’s the first class of the day, the first day of the second semester, and Billy Abdallah is instructing his ninth-grade Conceptual Physics class from his backyard. He checks in with each student one by one—his tone energetic, his gestures expressive. He’s beginning a new unit on motion, which he knows is often a tricky topic for first-time physics students. He introduces the topic of mechanical equilibrium in a way the entire class can readily understand. He asks each freshman about her “ideal day,” listening and responding, encouraging everyone to understand their own personal sense of what equilibrium is, before moving on to the scientific definitions.
Lydia Arguelles came to Mayfield Senior School as an athletic trainer, working as subcontractor through a local physical therapy practice. She worked closely with the student-athletes who came to trust her and developed an interest in her work, and eventually it was student interest in her subject material that brought her on to the Mayfield faculty. She has been teaching on staff for the last 6 years instructing two very popular courses, one in Sports Medicine and the other in Anatomy and Physiology. She feels like teaching has transformed her life in all the best ways, but she never intended to become a teacher. And a daughter of a well-known Protestant minister, she never imagined that she would work at a Catholic school either. But being inside of a Holy Child school has expanded the way she approaches education and spirituality in general.
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 28 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.