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!


“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.

apscholarsThe College Board, a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity, recently announced thirteen Academy of Our Lady of Guam students earned AP Scholar Awards in 2015. The College Board AP Program offers several AP Scholar Awards to recognize high school students who have demonstrated college–level achievement through AP courses and exams. Students must receive a score of 3 or higher on three or more AP Exams. Students who receive AP Scholar with Distinction Award receive and average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken and must score 3 or higher on five of more of these exams. Pictured (L-R): Anna Katarina Aragon, Marie Bagana, Angela Dulay, Maya Nanpei, and Therese Nulud. Not shown are graduates from the Class of 2015: Anika Bushra, Grace Gonzaga, Natasha Hagans, Haani San Nicolas, Josefina Garcia, Lucy Ma, Janna Malig-on, and Elisa Rapadas. Garcia, Ma, Malig-on, and Rapadas earned AP Scholars with Distinction.

The Academy of Our Lady recently celebrated Mercy Day three-fold. The celebration began with a luncheon in honor of the Sisters of Mercy who currently serve the school and in remembrance of the ministry of the Sisters of Mercy in Catholic education. The entire school by mid-week paid tribute to the Sisters hard work and dedication at the Academy at a general assembly. After a short prayer service opening the Assembly, the many school organizations and different class groups presented the Sisters with personal gifts and treated them a dance performance—by both students and Sisters. The three-fold celebration then ended with a special Liturgy on September 24, 2015 celebrated by Father Tom McGrath. After the Mass, Analysa-Rhea Payumo and Alexandra Leon Guerrero were each presented with a Catherine McAuley Scholarship. This scholarship, named after the Foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, is given annually by the Sisters of Mercy through their sponsored ministry, Mercy Action Marianas, Ltd.. Thank you to the Sisters of Mercy who have truly made a difference in many lives with their loving ministry—the Academy legacy is forever grateful!

At the Mercy Day Liturgy held on September 24, 2015. The Sisters of Mercy renew their commitment by reciting the Act of Consecration to Our Lady of Mercy. Shown here (L-R) Srs. Marian Arroyo, Dorothy Lettiere, Francis Jerome Cruz, Angela Perez, Elizabeth Ann Uncangco, and Orlean Pereda.


Congratulations to the recipients of the Catherine McAuley Mercy Scholarship. Pictured front row (L-R ) Srs. Dorothy Lettiere, Orlean Pereda, Mrs. Doris LG Tolentino, Alexandra Leon Guerrero, Analysa-Rhea Payumo, Ms. Irene Maratita, Srs. Angela Perez, Marian Arroyo 2nd Row (L-R) Srs. Elizabeth Ann Uncangco, Francis Jerome Cruz, Mrs. Lillian and Mr. Felix Leon Guerrero, Mrs. Mary Meeks.
The Circle of Mercy is Timeless as the Academy students during assembly honor the Sisters of Mercy for their many years of ministry.

Two Academy of Our Lady of Guam students received top honors in the 2015 Guam Energy Office essay contest.   This year’s theme was Alternative Energy Consumption and Development—Finding a Balance .  Pictured from left: Second Place Winner Marie Bagana and Third Place Winner Jonae Sayama.  Their essays were chosen out of the essays written by students of Guam public, private and Catholic high schools.  Congratulations and Great job!


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