This year’s Family Night Songfest was one marked by comaraderie, sportsmanship, and cougar pride.  The night began with a prayer service centered on family values, complete with the Responding to the Spirit of Mercy Club’s rendition of “Do Re Mi” from The Sound of Music.  Later, the Freshmen told their “Freshmen Fairytale” about their transition into high school with “A Whole New World” from Aladdin, “Let It Go” from Frozen, and “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” from Cinderella.  The Sophomore Class  ventured out to space on “Apollo ’18,” singing “Hello” by Adele and the Little Einsteins theme song.  The “Jupiter Juniors” taught a crash-landed group of humans how to do the Hoedown Throwdown and sang about chalikilis and lumpia in a parody of Neon Tree’s “Animal.”  Finally, the Class of 2016 performed their “Survival of the Seniors,” which illustrated the road to graduation, with Pat Benatar’s “We Belong,” Anna Kendrick’s “Cup Song,” and OneRepublic’s “I Lived.”

Following some student performances, including group dances and a solo singing performance, the emcees announced the winners. Each class received either first or second place in a given category, and the Senior Class of 2016 received First Place Overall with the Freshmen Class of 2019 as First Runner-Up.  All classes put on a great show, but most notable was their unnerving encouragement and support of each other, which was evident with the constant cheering and chanting for each of the classes.

We would like to thank everyone who made this year’s Songfest a success – all those who volunteered, performed, and attended, most especially Mrs. Castillo, who headed the project.

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The Academy of Our Lady of Guam continues to be blessed with giving alumnae who want to help make a difference in the lives of Academy students. Young women who call Academy home during their high school years become part of the "sisterhood" and the Academy Legacy. The school is tremendously grateful for the generous alumnae donors who continue to give to help their "sisters" at the Academy obtain a college preparatory Catholic secondary education. This growing number of alumnae donors is truly exemplary of Catherine McAuley’s mission to help educate women and children. Recently, the school received scholarships from the Malilay and Ecube daughters all of whom are alumnae of the school.

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Pictured (L-R) Mary A.T. Meeks ‘69, Principal, Pilar Malilay (Pilar Poblacion Malilay Scholarship), Sr. Mary Angela Perez, RSM ‘64, President, and Rebecca Ecube (Rebecca and +Dominador Ecube Scholarship).

RED 4874 webBack row (L-R) – Sarah Leon Guerrero, Flora Duenas, Anita Arriola, Archbishop Anthony Apuron, Dana Guiterrez (Representative for the Jane Wha-Young Kim Scholarship) Halana Lujan, Senior (Recipient- Jane Wha-Young Kim Scholarship) Jessica Lujan and Priscilla Lujan.

Front row (L-R): Pedro Tabilas , Brianna Tabilas, Senior (Recipient- Class of ’75 Scholarship), Sr. Mary Angela Perez, RSM ’64 (President), Mary A.T. Meeks ‘69 (Principal), Althea Fastidio,Senior (Recipient-Jane Wha-Young Scholarship) Edna and Ricardo Fastidio. (Not shown: Ann Marie Tabilas)

 The Academy of Our Lady of Guam is grateful for the generous alumnae donors who have made it possible for some of our students to obtain a college preparatory Catholic secondary education. These donors are truly exemplary of Catherine McAuley’s mission to help educate women and children. Recently, the school received scholarships from the Class of 1975 and Yuri Kim, from the Class of 1989. These scholarships were presented at the school’s Advent Mass held on December 18, 2015 celebrated by the Most Reverend Archbishop Anthony Apuron.

firstday2A Mass of the Holy Spirit celebrated by Fr. Tom McGrath ushered in the new school year at the Academy of Our Lady, the only all girls high school in Guam. Catching the Spirit, the student body consisting of over 400 young ladies, form the next generation to be rooted in the charism of Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy. With a dedicated faculty and staff, the Academy promotes the holistic development of this diverse population of young women fostering in them academic excellence, responsible leadership, global awareness, social justice, and compassionate service for all in the tradition of the Catholic Faith.

firstday1The first day for the students was accompanied by all the emotions typically associated with the start of a new school year – jitters, excitement, new challenges and opportunities. Spirits remained high as the first Assembly for the school year opened with prayers and the blessings of the students, faculty and staff as well as the welcoming of the new President, Sister Mary Angela Perez, RSM. Although she is new to her role, she is not new to the school. Sister Angela graduated, taught, and also served as principal at the Academy. In her opening remarks, Sister Angela focused on the school’s title, Academy of Our Lady of Guam, and gave her talk based on three parts of the title: academic excellence, faith, and service. Filled with enthusiasm, Sister Angela encouraged the students to feel at home at the Academy, especially since they are dearly loved by God, and invited them to reflect on the pop song titled “Fight Song” (by Rachel Platten) as it played through the loud speakers; they were also invited to get off their seats and dance to the rhythm of the song. Other highlights throughout the first week of school to extend a warm welcome back to school, included a fashion show of the “do’s and don’ts” of the school attire, ice-breaker competitions, and a “Welcome Breakfast” for the freshmen and new students.

The years at the Academy offer young ladies an amazing unforgettable high school experience. Most importantly, they are able to forge friendships that last a lifetime. In the words of Catherine McAuley, “We should be shining lamps, giving light to all around us.” Let us be a shining light to all. Blessings for a wonderful school year!

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“Prayer In the Heart of Mercy”

Sr DebbieThe Guam Mercy Catholic Schools attended a one-day retreat/workshop at the Sister Roberta Center in Oka, Tamuning on July 31, 2015. Sister Deborah Troillett (Sister Debbie), presenter and facilitator, flew in from Silver Spring, Maryland to conduct the Mercy Educators Spirituality Retreat/Workshop: “Prayer In the Heart of Mercy”. The Guam Mercy Schools in attendance were Academy of Our Lady, Bishop Baumgartner Memorial Catholic School, Santa Barbara Catholic School, Saint Anthony Catholic School, Mercy Heights Nursery & Kindergarten, and Infant of Prague Nursery & Kindergarten.

Currently, Sister serves as a Councilor on the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas leadership team, Sister Debbie, served in the Mercy secondary education for over thirty years. More recently, she served as a teacher, principal and president at Mount St. Mary Academy in Little Rock, Arkansas. She has traveled worldwide and served on numerous committees and boards, including the MSEC (formerly known as the MSEA, Mercy Secondary Association) and the Network for Mercy Education Board.

Sr Dorothy RelationshipsThe day opened with the celebration of the Eucharist. Sister Debbie led two sessions that followed: I. Prayer in the Heart of Mercy; and, II. Praying with the Mind of Christ. Overall, the underlying theme of the day centered on the spirituality of the teacher and reinforced the importance of being a Catholic School Educator. Sister Debbie believes that Mercy educators have the opportunity to touch lives “for eternity”. As stated by her, “We learn mercy from our work colleagues and we know we are not alone. We need to rely and trust in our school communities; we need to be supportive and encourage each other.”

Mariana Pangelinan, the art teacher at the Academy of Our Lady, commented, “I loved the reminder that prayer doesn’t always need to be conversation. It was encouraging when Sister Debbie likened prayer to ‘just hanging out’ with a close friend. She then had us sit in prayerful silence for several minutes—this is definitely something I will continue to practice moving forward.” Bernie Aguon-Hernandez, AOLG American Government teacher, also found the retreat fitting with the upcoming Jubilee Year of Mercy. According to Mrs. Aguon-Hernandez, “I like the fact that it brought the Mercy schools together starting with camaraderie among us for the new school year. It was appropriate that we came together with the frame of mind of being mercy, especially since we are preparing for the upcoming Jubilee Year of Mercy.”

AOLG Admin FacultySister Debbie’s presentation mirrored her credence that in prayer we place ourselves in the presence of God. Prayer is our relationship to God. According to Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, “Prayer is a plant, the seed of which is sown in the heart of every Christian, but its growth depends on the care we take to nourish it.” This is definitely the case with Sister Debbie, from her calling to her ministry in her high school years to her constant growth in her ministry, she knows she still has other works of mercy ahead of her. In fact, she sees her next role in adult education formation.

The workshop ended with Sister Debbie’s closing remark which was a prayer for all present:
“My prayer is that you have an excellent year, let your light shine . . . and let your love and mercy flow.”
The retreat then ended with the singing of “The Lord’s Prayer” in Chamorro. The day ended with new relationships formed and old relationships strengthened. In prayer, everyone felt the presence of Jesus and the mercy shared as Catholic School educators.


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