Fall 2011 - Immaculate Conception Cathedral School



Fall 2011 - Immaculate Conception Cathedral School
Fall 2011
In This Issue:
From our principals, 2–3
New scholarships, 4
Mardi Gras auction, 5
Arts thriving at ICCS, 7
Campus snapshots, 10–15
Tribute to Rita Quinn,
Dorothy Herbers, 18
Alumni News,19-23
(L-R) Co-salutatorian Elena Mosby, valedictorian Theresa Dinh and Madeline
Himber were among the outstanding Class of 2011 graduates.
Class of 2011 leaves impressive legacy
As they were creating high school memories, the Class of
2011 was also amassing a remarkable list of achievements.
With an average ACT score of 25, the graduates garnered more
than $130,000 per student in scholarship offers.
“I felt blessed to work with such an amazing senior class my
first year at ICCS,” Tracey Dysart-Ford, director of guidance
and college counseling, said. “From California to Massachusetts to Texas, ICCS girls applied and were accepted into some
wonderful colleges across the country.”
Other accolades poured in throughout the school year that
placed ICCS seniors among the best and brightest in the Memphis area.
Theresa Dinh, Madeline Himber, Kelsey Ray and Kaitlyn
Shamley were each selected as CellularSouth/Commercial Appeal Academic All-Stars in the respective categories of science,
mathematics, social science and history, and foreign language.
The All-Stars program recognizes top high school seniors for
academic excellence, leadership, good character and community service.
Other students earning honors were Kate Nidzgorski, one
of two Diocesan high school students to receive the St. Timothy Award for oustanding youth leadership (p. 18), and Colleen Sauser, one of 12 Memphis high school students to receive
the Memphis in May scholarship for a Belgium trip. Colleen
was the only private school student to receive the award (p. 8).
Principal Sally Hermsdorfer said the Class of 2011’s impact
stretches even beyond their striking academic achievements.
“Every class is different, of course, but we all wept a little at
graduation for the Class of 2011. Sure, they were our golden
girls in terms of achievement, but they were also funny and
full of heart and grit. They saw each other through some hard
times, and were sisters in a very real sense.” +
Reflections from our newest principal
Karen Gephart, Elementary/Middle School Principal
It doesn’t seem possible that an
entire school year has ended. We are
truly blessed for our wonderful students and their supportive parents.
Hats off to the dedicated teachers and staff who have been called to
work at ICCS! They provide a loving,
nurturing environment where students
from all faiths experience Christian
life in the Roman Catholic tradition.
My first year as principal was both
rewarding and challenging. Although
my own children attended ICCS for 13
years, I was unaware of many of the
wonderful things that happen on this
campus. Let me share a few.
Last October the entire campus met
in the amphitheatre and recited the
rosary. Students held a huge rosary
and led group prayer. Three of the
mysteries were in English; the others
in Spanish and French. It was such an
impressive spiritual gathering that we
will recite the rosary in both October
and May next year.
To celebrate Epiphany, we had the
chalk blessing that originated in Poland. Pre-K through 8th graders wrote
on individual paper stars how they
would continue to do God’s work. We
then gathered in the cafeteria, where
Father Val blessed the chalk and used
it to write symbols on the wall behind
our nativity set: 2+0+C+B +M + 11.
He explained that 2, 0, 11 was this
calendar year, and the CBM were the
first initials of the Three Wise Men—
Caspar, Balzathar and Melchior. He
spoke about the Wise Men’s mission
and how all of us should follow our
star that leads us to Jesus. We then
sang “We Three Kings,” while students
placed their stars on the paper behind
the nativity scene.
In classrooms, students were busy
working on assignments or discussing
projects. Culminating events celebrating instruction included visits to the
Fire Station, the Pink Palace Museum
and the Civil Rights Museum, participation in a “Living Museum,” the play
Anansi and the Moss Covered Rock, the
musical Honk, trips to Shiloh or Nashville, and attendance at the Freedom
Each class had buddies from another grade. For example, second graders were buddies with eighth graders.
Throughout the year, the groups met
to read, work on a project or play a
game. This is a tradition we’ll continue
next year.
Teachers attended professional development workshops and are already
using their new skills in the classroom.
We are working with student engagement, curriculum mapping, vertical
teams and analyzing ITBS test data.
Creative and collaborate thinking have
energized our teachers to teach “at the
top of their game.”
Our teachers, staff and parents
believe in ICCS. They sacrifice daily to
make our learning community a reality, and they helped me negotiate my
own learning curve this year.
Our administrators and teachers will
continue to work with parents and
students to unlock talents and skills to
cultivate life-long learners.
Student of the Year
Selena Foster
ICCS Middle School faculty and
staff named Selena Foster, a rising
freshman, Middle School Student of
the Year last spring.
“Selena is just a great student and
a great kid in every respect,” principal
Karen Gephart said. “Her maturity
really stands out. She’s an excellent
role model both in and outside of the
A Junior Beta Club member,
Selena is also a member of the school’s
track team and is an altar server both
at school Masses and at St. John
Catholic Church, where she attended
elementary school and still volunteers.
“Selena is basically involved in every aspect of school life and is always
the first to offer to help her teachers,”
Mrs. Gephart said.
Selena attends ICCS high school.
Her excellent grades earned her
numerous scholarships including the
Class of ’68 Memorial Scholarship, the
Kearney Scholarship, and McAuley
Bridge Scholarship.
She is the daughter of Lorenzo
and Ellena Foster. +
An open letter to our alumni
Sally Hermsdorfer, High School Principal
Dear friends –
Our high school secretary Mary
McGarrh ’75 was enjoying a break,
leafing through old yearbooks when
she ran across the 1996 volume, her
daughter Kim Morrison’s graduation
year. In it, she found an ad the family
had placed congratulating Kim on a
college scholarship.
When she told me this, I wondered:
what other tales do these hallways and
well-used student desks have to tell?
ICCS was an important part of
forming the woman you are; we know
that, because you’ve reached out to us,
sent newsbits for our magazine, and
commented on our Facebook page.
So, let me challenge you: bring us
your daughters and granddaughters,
show them the photo of your hairstyle
“back in the day,” or the desk you sat
in Miss Quinn’s or Miss Barrasso’s
or Sister Adrian’s class. And then let
me challenge you again: talk to your
daughter or granddaughter about
becoming an “IC girl.”
In some ways, our school is not
the same one you knew in the ‘50s, or
even in the ‘90s. Students now stash
their earbuds or cell phones; you only
had to worry about your transistor
radio being confiscated. Our girls tap
out assignments in computer labs; you
probably took a typing class.
But here’s what I know: you and
I may look different from our highschool-aged selves, but we are still
the same girls. The buildings look
different now, but ICCS is still—well—
“IC”; the uniforms have changed but
the girls haven’t.
We’re still a home for the ambitious,
the hardworking, the genius, and the
girl who hasn’t quite found herself yet.
Teachers still challenge and correct
and urge and scold and listen to and
love girls into an education.
Mary McGarrh came to work
here and brought her daughter here
because of what she’d gotten at ICCS.
Peggy Dowling Steffan ’72, Adrien
Gattas Alsobrook '74 and Helen
Martinelli Weirich ’64 came back to
teach as part of both their birthright
and the glorious responsibility it
Legacy blesses the giver and the
receiver. ICCS is part of your family.
We’re always ready to meet a new
“IC girl,” even one who doesn’t yet
realize her true identity. Bring us your
daughters, and granddaughters, and
nieces and goddaughters. Pass along
your class ring and your memories
to the next round of “IC girls.” They
have a home here. And we love to
hear from family! +
Rising to the top
Anna Lim was recognized at the Middle School Awards Program in January
for scoring in the 96th percentile citywide on the High School Placement
Test. The achievement earned her
the Rozier scholarship at ICCS High
School, where she is now a freshman.
Pictured with Anna are (L-R) high
school admissions/alumni relations
officer, Cathy Armstrong; high school
principal, Sally Hermsdorfer; Anna’s
parents, Manuel and Mina Lim; and
elementary/middle school principal,
Karen Gephart.
Scholarship gifts benefit high school students
Diane Davis Smith ’68 donates $75,000, anonymous donors pledge $300,000
New scholarships will allow more bright young women to be ICCS graduates.
“Nothing short of Divine providence” is what principal Sally Hermsdorfer said about recent scholarship
gifts that will allow more exceptional
students to enroll at ICCS high school.
“How else,” she asked, “can you explain the generosity of our donors at a
time when so many families are facing
financial difficulties?”
The Holy Spirit may well be behind
a series of domino-effect events that
began unfolding last February when
school administrators first learned
about a promising eighth grader
whose dream to be “IC girl” was fading.
ICCS was Maria’s* first high school
choice, but scholarships and the maximum financial aid still weren’t enough
to bring tuition in reach for her family.
Maria had also endured one of the
cruelest hardships for a young girl —
the loss of her mother to cancer within
months after the family came to the
United States.
“The guidance counselor at her
elementary school said to me, ‘believe
me, you want this girl at your school
— and she needs ICCS,’” Mrs. Hermsdorfer said. Maria’s teachers agreed.
“She has proven to be an incredibly
strong young woman, and I expect
great things from her,” her English
teacher of three years wrote on a recommendation form. “But she will need
the familial support that ICCS offers.”
Touched by her story, the advancement office emailed a plea on Maria’s
behalf to high school alumnae. Within
a week, donations, pledges and inquiries came pouring in, including one
from Diane Smith ’68.
When she learned that there were
other young women like Maria whose
financial need was preventing them
from enrolling at ICCS, Mrs. Smith
pledged $75,000 to establish the Class
of 1968 Memorial Scholarship. In
memory of her former classmates and
teachers, the funds are earmarked for
economically disadvantaged students
who have overcome or are still facing
unusual hardships.
“Mrs. Smith’s gift was truly a godsend,” high school admissions offer
Cathy Armstrong said. “It opened the
door for girls who would have been
forced to go elsewhere.”
As the financial aid committee
began identifying recipients to Mrs.
Smith’s gift, another group of donors
was taking notice of ICCS’ abovestate-average ACT scores, impressive
list of college acceptances and the
diversity of the student body.
After meeting with Sally Hermsdorfer and school board president Bill
Pettit, who shared with them Diane
Smith’s investment in ICCS, the anonymous group made its own pledge.
Beginning with the 2011-12 academic
year, they would provide $75,000 per
year in scholarship aid for promising
new ICCS high school students with
financial need.
Recipients of the new Mercy Scholarship must enter ICCS with aboveaverage elementary grades and commit to maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA,
exhibit exemplary conduct, fulfill the
school’s community service requirements and work toward attaining an
above-average ACT score.
Both new scholarships can be
combined with other scholarships and
financial aid. “So suddenly a family
that thought an ICCS education was
impossible can afford to enroll their
daughter here,” Mrs. Hermsdorfer said.
“One mother, whose husband recently
lost his job, literally cried when I told
her we had found a way for her two
daughters – both honor roll students –
to attend ICCS.”
“I can only imagine,” she added,
“just how many other futures will be
shaped by the generosity of these wonderful donors.” +
*Name changed to protect privacy.
N’awlins fun at Mardi Gras dinner auction
raises funds for school
ICCS supporters enjoyed live music, dancing and an authentic Cajun
buffet in a “Big Easy” atmosphere at
the Mardi Gras dinner auction on
February 26. The event, which also
included a $10K raffle, raised more
than $60,000 for the school’s operating
Led by auction chair Richard Groff,
(father of middle-schooler Rachel), the
Home and School Association worked
for months to create an extravaganza
that featured an array of silent and
live auction items for every taste and
Perennial favorite Ron Childers
volunteered his talents, best sales skills
and humor to lead spirited live auction
bidding for items that ranged from
a cocker spaniel puppy to vacation
Expanded to provide more prizes,
this year’s $10K drawing gave buyers a
chance to win one of three cash prizes,
$10,000, $5,000 or $2,500.
Grand-prize winner Chuck Ho-
Jaime (Left) and Aida Delgado get into the Big Easy spirit at the Mardi Gras
Dinner Auction on February 26. Their colorful garb earned the couple first
place in the costume contest.
gan, owner of Charlie’s Meat Market,
drew cheers from the crowd when he
donated the $10,000 cash prize back to
the school immediately after his ticket
was drawn.
The Mardi Gras Dinner Auction
is the HSA’s largest fund-raiser, and
its success relies on the donations of
auction items and cash to underwrite
the dinner and other event expenses.
To contribute to or volunteer for
next year’s event, call June LaPorta
901.435.5345 or email [email protected]
ic.cdom.org. +
Do you quilt? Make jewelry?
Own a vacation home?
Have Frequent Flyer miles?
How about Memphis Tigers,
Redbirds or Grizzlies tickets?
These would all make great
items for Mardi Gras 2012!
To donate, call June LaPorta:
(L-R) Middle School teacher John Juniker and ICCS parent Tracy Rone chat with
guests at the Mardi Gras dinner auction. The well-attended event raised more
than $60,000 for the school’s operating budget.
[email protected]
No typical ‘IC girls’
Cathy Armstrong, Admissions/Alumni Relations Officer
“Describe the typical ‘IC girl,’” I was
asked while giving a school tour.
As the mom of a 2011 graduate and
a school employee, I knew many of the
girls well. But typical? In the senior
class alone, there were artsy types,
singers and artists who made projects
all the more interesting. Scholarshipwinning athletes were cheered on by
fellow students who weren’t sure which
end of the court was the home team’s.
I’ve seen students with disabilities
succeed at ICCS among classmates
who recognized their limitations but
saw them as no big deal.
Smart girls? We had them,
as evidenced by the impressive
scholarships earned by the Class of
2011. Yet that alone didn’t define the
class or the rest of the high school.
Diversity is an understatement at
ICCS -- racial, religious, economic,
cultural, and diversity in family units.
But I’ve come to realize that diversity
without acceptance would be useless.
As 2011 co-salutatorian Elena
Mosby said in her commencement
speech, “Our friendships here are so
strong because of one key quality that
has been instilled within us: respect for
diversity . . . We have morphed from
girls who are defined by our distinct
personalities to women who have a bit
of each other within us.”
Valedictorian Theresa Dinh also
spoke to diversity. “You have made
life so much more interesting and
accepted me for who I am,” she said in
her speech.
One recent night, I came home
to find a room full of girls, playing a
What brought these five girls together
with a climate of acceptance and
genuine affection?
Again, to quote Elena, “There’s
something about ICCS that’s
indescribable,” she said. “And even
as an “IC girl,” it’s hard to pinpoint
2011 graduates Eyana Cain (L) and Meghan Wherry, two of the many talented,
unique students who made the ICCS campus a special one.
rousing game of “Life” on the living
room floor. It wasn’t a necessarily
unique night; my daughter and her
ICCS sisters often spend free time
together. Observing their interaction,
good-natured teasing and banter,
I thought about the variety of
backgrounds in that room alone.
why...the only explanation I could
think of was love....We are not simply
just classmates or best friends; we are
sisters because of this love and the
respect we have for one another.”
The typical “IC girl?” There isn’t
one. And perhaps that’s what makes
ICCS unique. +
Knowledgeable Kids: (L-R) Carly
David ’15, Clare Sauser ’15, Victoria Dowdy ’12 & Gisela Guerrero ’12
were part of the ICCS Knowledge
Bowl team that competed at regional competitions throughout the
Mid-South. The team competed
with about 100 other schools at each
The 2011-12 ICCS team will be part
of the televised tournament in November on WREG-TV Channel 3.
Arts programs thriving at ICCS
By Karen Gephart, Elementary/Middle School Principal
Elementary music teacher Jason Kindel and the cast of “Anansi and the MossCovered Rock.”
S Student arts activities this year
ranged from painting a class picture
for the Mardi Gras auction to
performing in the musical, Honk Jr. in
the Southwest Tennessee Community
College theatre.
Music teacher Jason Kindel led 4th
and 5th graders in creating a musical
story, Anansi and the Moss-Covered
Rock. Several students narrated while
others acted and added singing and
instrumentals. (One student was the
moss-covered rock!).
Families and friends enjoyed a
Christmas concert by the elementary
students at the Cathedral in December.
The art room was also a busy place,
as Julie Sully guided each class in
creating pictures for Mardi Gras.
During second semester, students
researched the famous Memphis radio
station, WDIA, and created a Black
History Month program with poetry
recitation, narration, singing, dancing
and instrumental musical expression.
They also participated in the West
Tennessee Choral Festival.
During Fine Arts Week in March,
teenage writer Riley Carney from
Denver, author of a five-book series
on fantasy/adventure, was our
guest. Three of the books have been
published, and middle school students
were delighted to have her sign their
copies. The founder of a non-profit
organization to eliminate illiteracy,
Miss Carney also spoke about her
community projects.
Next, our students heard musicians
Andy Cohen and Larkin Bryant
perform American folk music using
a variety of string instruments. Third
graders were part of a Living Museum,
each choosing a historic person
or celebrity for study and shared
information, while portraying the
With the help of Paola Bernard, 5th
graders performed a play in Spanish.
Middle school students recited
their original poetry at the high school
coffee house.
Capping off the month, we were
treated to a performance by the
Memphis Ballet right in our gym.
Elementary and middle school
students participated in our high
school’s production of the musical,
Honk Jr. Other students found
themselves on community stages in
productions of Peter Pan, Ragtime and
A Christmas Carol.”
Our students are living testimony
to the value of arts in our schools, and
we will continue to educate the whole
child and work with each student to
build creative minds! +
Kindergartners fish for dinner in the
Thanksgiving play.
Senior enjoys vacation of a lifetime after winning
Memphis in May scholarship trip
by Sally Hermsdorfer, High School Principal
Colleen Sauser sits outside the Royal Palace of Brussels, one of several sites
she took in during her two-week Belgium stay.
Graduating senior Colleen Sauser
has always liked to travel but never
counted on the European adventure
that came her way last March.
“Mrs. Weirich (ICCS French
teacher) told us that Memphis in May
was offering scholarships for a trip to
Belgium, the honored country in the
2011 Memphis in May celebration.
She thought it would be nice if one of
her French students applied for the
program since the people in Southern
Belgium are mainly French speaking,”
she said. “So I applied.”
The entry process included
gathering three recommendation
letters, writing an essay on the cultural
contributions of Belgians throughout
history, and an interview.
“They asked us what we would do
if we got lost or if we didn’t like our
host family,” she said. “I guess they
wanted to ask things we weren’t able to
prepare for in advance.”
Colleen’s parents, Mark and Katie
Sauser, have made travel an important
part of the Sauser household and
encouraged her throughout the
application process. The family of
six has traveled to Yellowstone, the
Grand Tetons and Tagnac State Park
in New York. They’ve camped in the
Black Canyon in Gunnison Colorado,
crossed Niagara Falls and visited
Amish Country in Ohio. “Never been
to Disney World though,” Colleen said.
“My parents believe there’s more to see
than what man has built up.”
In the end, Colleen was selected as
one of 12 Memphis students to receive
a scholarship — and was the only
private school recipient in the group.
On March 26, she boarded a plane
and headed to Brussels Airport for
what she said was “the most amazing
experience of my life.”
In Belgium Colleen lived with a
host family in the city of Aalst. “The
Coessens and their daughter Lana
went out of their way to make sure I
felt at home,” she said. “I missed them
when I got home.”
Sites Colleen visited over her twoweek stay included the European
Union, Waterloo, the Ardennes Forest
and its WWII museum, and the
Flemish Parliament, as well as major
cathedrals and art museums. She was
particularly impressed with Jan van
Eyck’s altarpiece in Ghent’s St. Bavo
She soon discovered from her hosts
that the Belgians have a downsized
lifestyle that allows for more travel
“The Coessens travel to Italy
every year,” she said. “But they live
in a small and simple house. Their
priorities focus on living rather than
She also found that educational
options are more limited for Belgians
than Americans and that tax rates are
high to cover government-funded
“My host mom told me she liked
having education and health care
provided but really gets annoyed with
people who don’t take advantage of the
many tax-funded programs that enable
people to better themselves.”
Colleen, who is currently enrolled
in the University of TennesseeChattanooga Honors Program, is
grateful for the opportunity Memphis
in May provided.
“I’m so glad I went,” she said. “I
really got to live Belgian life. I got to
see the tourist things but also got to
hear from the people how they feel
about these things. I was immersed in
the culture rather just skimming it.” +
CBHS is destination for most ICCS middle-school boys,
ICCS high school top choice for eighth-grade girls
ICCS freshman Toslin Taylor is pictured at Middle School graduation with her
godfather, Kenneth Jackson (left), and her parents, Lestzler and Penny Taylor.
Currently a CBHS freshman, Griffin Rone celebrated with his parents, Richard
and Tracy Rone, after the ICCS eighth-grade graduation last May.
ICCS middle school graduate Griffin Rone had been an ICCS student
since he was in the elementary school’s
pre-K3 class. This fall he stepped onto
a different campus for the first time in
10 years, the all-boy Christian Brothers
High School.
“Graduation was full of mixed emotions,” he said. “I was happy to be moving on to CBHS and sad to be leaving
ICCS, a place that influenced my life in
so many positive ways.”
While he might be walking in
different hallways these days, he likely
sees many familiar faces. Like Griffin,
the majority of his male classmates also
chose CBHS for high school.
“It’s a natural transition,” elementary/middle school principal Karen
Gephart said. Her son, Alex, an ICCS
middle school graduate, attends CBHS.
“We’re happy to see our kids enroll
there, and I think CBHS is pleased to
see ICCS students on their rosters.”
CBHS assistant principal Brother
Joel McGraw said he is impressed with
the quality of students ICCS graduates.
“The boys that come to CBHS from
Immaculate Conception do well in
high school,” he said. “They complete
the program on time and are a credit to
ICCS and to CBHS.”
As their male classmates head to
the all-boys Christian Brothers High
School, ICCS’ all-girl high school
remains the top choice for graduating
eighth-grade girls.
Although private high school options are plentiful in Memphis, and
the competition continues to court our
best and brightest girls, the majority
of families choose to stay on the ICCS
campus, confident that their daughters
will have a well-rounded high school
experience here.
“We chose to stay at Immaculate
Conception because of the diversity,
family-oriented atmosphere, and the
rapport Toslin has with her teachers,”
Penny Taylor, mother of rising freshman Toslin Taylor, said.
“ICCS has helped Toslin to grow
spiritually, academically, and emotionally into a young leader over the past
six years.”
High school principal Sally Hermsdorfer is more than pleased with the
quality of students the middle school
sends her way.
“We’re particularly excited about the
record number of girls from our own
middle school who are coming to high
school here,” she said.
“Like eighth-graders across the city,
they could have gone anywhere for
high school; our middle school program prepares them well for whatever
school they choose. It’s just exciting
that they’ve chosen to bring their talents and skills to the same great school
that nurtured them through eighth
grade.” +
Around Campus
Fine arts week
Students across campus participated in Fine Arts Week March 7 - 11. A host of activities including a Living Museum Day
in the elementary school and a coffee house-style poetry reading in the high school focused on an appreciation of fine arts
and encouraged students to explore their creative side. Above left: Conner Richardson brings John Lennon to life. Right:
Seventh-grader Kayla Henderson reads poetry at the high school “coffee house.”
Greek day
As part of their Greek studies, sixth graders each chose a Greek god/goddess to research. Students designed a temple
displaying what they learned through drawings and built Greek-style temples out of copy paper. Donning togas, they
then held a Greek festival and sampled a variety of Greek foods and performed Greek plays for their parents and faculty.
100 years old
Left: Walking canes, beards granny
glasses, shawls, support hose and
suspenders abounded on ICCS
campus when first-graders dressed
as 100-year-old men and women
to celebrate the 100th day of the
school year.
Below: High school students took
part in the two-night Mock Trial
Competition sponsored by the
Memphis/Shelby County Bar Association last February. Teams were
given fictional cases based on actual
courtroom proceedings and assumed
roles as witnesses, and defense and
prosecution attorneys. Judges were
actual attorneys who offered critique
and decided case winners based on
presentation. ICCS girls won the
first round of defense competition,
earning enough points to advance to
the second round. (L-R) Madeleine
Holdford, Stephanie Leke and Elena
Their day in court
Tea anyone?
Adrien Alsobrook’s ’71 high school British literature students experienced a traditional English tea — with a twist — on
May 20, They and their faculty guests came in costumes representing their favorite British literature characters or
historical figures. Guests enjoyed tea, sandwiches and cakes while discussing the historic happenings of the Elizabethan,
Regency, Victorian and Modern eras.
Science Expo
Sixth-grader Joseph Piper’s booth
was a favorite at the middle school
Science Fair. Dressed as the late
“Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin,
Joseph shared information about Irwin’s work with elementary students.
Middle school students became teachers for a day at the Science Expo last February, as they gave hands-on demonstrations of their experiments to elementary students. Left: Eighth-grader Kaitlyn Greenwood explains her experiment
to preschooler Aza Palazola.
Ending with a splash
Left: Elementary/middle school
principal Karen Gephart surprised
and delighted students when she
took a seat — and a plunge — in the
dunk tank at the Final-Day-of-School
party in June.
The water tank was one of many
games students from preK –12th
grade enjoyed at the all-campus
event sponsored by the Home and
School Association.
Fun field day
Fifth-grader Maggie Welch shows
off her rabbit face on the last day
of school. Organized by ICCS high
school students, the face-painting
booth was a popular attraction at the
final-day party.
Field-Day finale: (L-R) Luca Conti, Ian Rone, John Himber, Riley Higgins and
Thomas Fowlkes celebrate the end of the school year during their play day.
Pinning Traditions
Graduating seniors sport their alumni association pins after the traditional pinning ceremony on February 1. ICCS alumnae
return for the annual ceremony to pin the newest association members and welcome them to as ICCS alumnae.
(L-R) Madeleine Holdford, Madeline Himber, Erin Bowlen, Elena Mosby, Theresa Dinh, Eyana Cain and Julia Gephart.
Principal Karen Gephart places a pin
on eighth-grader Greer Blake at the
Middle School Pinning Ceremony on
February 3 in the Cathedral. The
eighth-grade pin signifies the transition students will soon make into
high school.
Did you know?
Ninety percent of ICCS
eighth-grade graduates
attend ICCS’ all-girl High
School or CBHS’ all-boy
High School.
To the ballgame in style
Going to the ballgame in style: Middle School teachers Mr. Ryan Brennan
and Mr. John Juniker hosted a Redbirds game at Auto Zone Park for a
group of students last spring.
The teachers purchased the tickets, limo ride and refreshments and
donated the entire game package
to the Mardi Gras auction. Parents
purchased the package for the boys,
who enjoyed a half-day off school
and a fashionable ride to a day at the
Junior Beta Club Inductees
Eleven Middle School students were inducted into the Junior Beta Club at a school ceremony on May 5. Criteria for
membership in the national program include above-average GPA, dedication to community service, and good character.
Front row L-R: club sponsor Mr. John Juniker, Gabrielle Moore, Chris Burns, Brianna Terrell, Shelby Pernell, Alexus Allen,
MarNique Turner. Second row: Msgr. Val Handwerker, Madison Smith, John Harkins, Tara Fredenburg, Shelby Gilbreath,
Heidi Stonecipher, Mrs. Karen Gephart, principal.
Faith Formation
Faith formation is an integral component of the ICCS curriculum. ICCS
students represent a wide variety of
faith backgrounds, but all learn about
and participate in the Roman Catholic
Right: Third-graders Olivia Bran
and Sean Canfield participate in the
Elementary School’s Celebration of
the Epiphany. Each child wrote on a
paper star his or her promises to do
God’s work before placing the star on
the wall above the nativity.
Below: Sophomore theology classes
commemorated Holy Week with a
Seder Meal, similar to the Passover
or Last Supper Jesus celebrated with
his apostles. Students lit candles,
gathered at a long table and read
prayers while eating a traditional
light Seder Meal of haroset, unleavened bread, and grape juice (in place
of the customary wine).
Jill Fredenburg ’13 (left) and Ernesha Witherspoon ’13 participate in a Seder meal prayer reading.
May Procession Day
Traditions Continue
On May 4, students across campus
participated in one of the oldest Roman
Catholic customs, the May Procession.
The Church established the tradition
of placing a crown of fresh flowers on a
statue of Mary to remind children that
the Virgin Mary, while not the redeemer, holds an important role and is the
“queen of heaven.”
Each year ICCS students choose
a senior girl who has demonstrated
integrity and devotion to the Catholic
Church to lead the procession and place
the crown. Eighth-graders choose their
attendants based on the same qualities.
The first communion class serves as
crown bearers.
Eighth-grade attendant Julia Hiltonsmith (center), and classmates wear
traditional white dresses for the May Procession celebration. (L-R) Elizabeth
(Greer) Blake, Caroline Canon, Ashley Sklar, Anna Lim. In ICCS tradition,
Julia was chosen by her classmates to be the eighth-grade attendant based on
her integrity and devotion to the Catholic Church.
Above left: Msgr. Val Handwerker invokes a blessing on May Procession with the ancient tradition of incense. Above
Right: Julia Gephart ’11 leads the procession through the Cathedral and carries the crown of flowers that she will place
on the statue of Mary. Julia, the daughter of elementary/middle school principal Karen Gephart, was chosen to lead
the procession by her high school classmates.
Leadership and service earn recognition from
Memphis Diocese for Kate Nidzgorski ’11
Kate Nidzgorski ’11 with Bishop
J Terry Steib at a March awards
ceremony, where she received the
St. Timothy Award for Outstanding
Youth Leadership.
Five years’ service to her St. AnnBartlett parish and to the Diocese at
large earned Kate Nidzgorski ’11 the
2011 St. Timothy Award for Outstanding Youth Leadership. Bishop J. Terry
Steib presented the award at the Diocesan Youth Convention on March 7.
“I had no idea it was coming,” Kate
said about the honor. “The nomination process is secret; a student is
nominated from the parish level, and
that nomination is passed on to the
diocesan people.”
Diocesan youth director Diane
Dolan said she was not surprised at all
to see Kate recognized. “She can mix
and mingle with everyone,” she said,
“whether they are from the Jackson
Deanery or the Memphis Deanery,
or they go to public school or private
school. Meet her (Kate) once and you
never forget her.”
Organizations Kate volunteered
with over the five-year period include
Ava Maria Assisted Living Facility
and Adult Day Care, Aloysius House
for people living with AIDS, St. Ann
Junior High Youth Group, Midtown’s
First Congregational Church soup
kitchen, Dorothy Day House of Hospitality and St. Ann Special Olympics.
Kate, who graduated with a 3.97
GPA, was also sought out for tutoring
by peers and new students at the high
school. “I like tutoring,” she said, “It
gives me a sense of using my knowledge and passing it down to others, so
that they can can do well in school.”
An active member of the ICCS
volleyball team for four years, Kate is
currently a freshman at Bethel University in McKenzie, Tennessee, where
she received a volleyball scholarship.
Bethel’s proximity to Memphis and the
Jackson deanery enables her to continue her work with Diocesan youth
activities in Huntingdon, Jackson and
“I know the priests at those parishes,” she said. “I’m not ever going to get
out of youth ministry in Memphis.” +
Grandparents’ Day at ICCS
Spring 2011
Marquita Brooks ’12 with her grandmother, Rebecca Murray.
Sisters Lillianna Grisanti (L), 7th
grade, and Isabella, 6th grade, with
grandparents Harold and Janice
(L-R) Luis Pena and daughter Cindy
’14, Ernest Witherspoon and daughter Ernesha ’14.
From teachers to friends
A tribute to Rita Quinn and Dorothy ‘Dot’ Herbers
by Terry Starr, Class of 1970
Editor’s note: Last summer, the ICCS community was saddened to lose two beloved former high school teachers, Rita Quinn and Dorothy Herbers. The two women, who became personal friends and later co-owned a Catholic bookstore, were student favorites. Mention of “Miss Quinn’s
biology class” or “Mrs. Herbers’ Latin lessons” are certain to evoke smiles, laughter and a recital of memories at alumnae gatherings. Alumna
Terry Starr knew them as teachers, employers, mentors, and as her friends. She shared with us her most poignant recollections.
Rita Quinn as a teacher in 1970.
I remember Dorothy Herbers’
motherly assistance when I got lost
trying to find my freshman classes.
Balance that tenderness with the “C”
on my first Latin test. All I had done
was translate something she wanted
left in Latin! She was both a loving
and exacting educator.
Did she love Latin! Ten years after
taking her classes, I traveled to Rome.
My first move was to check out the
streets. Just as Mrs. Herbers had told
me, even the manhole covers were
inscribed “SPQR” (Senatusque Populi
Romani). Because of her enthusiasm, I
felt the weight of history in something
many tourists would have overlooked.
Our Latin II class organized a
memorial service for Julius Caesar
on the Ides of March, complete
with flowers, black armbands, and a
graveside eulogy. For years I would
call Dot Herbers every March 15, and
we would catch up without watching
the clock. Her deep faith and joyful
looking for a tenant for his duplex,
laughter were an inspiration.
Rita had him call me on the bookstore
Lucky were the sophomores to have
phone. Thanks to her, I moved in
Rita Quinn as a homeroom teacher.
Every holiday was special. One
Two I. C. parishioners, Dr. Bob
Christmas, each girl found a handand Sally Greene, remember Rita
sewn beanbag frog on her desk. Ms.
as their personal “yenta.” Rita gave
Quinn, an accomplished craftswoman,
Sally, who also worked at The Mustard
Seed, Bob’s phone number when Sally
taken her own time
moved to Louisville.
to create something
The rest is history.
personal for 30
Rita, a master
gardener, didn’t
Who can forget
just teach about
her biology class
the earth; she loved
trip to Shelby Forest
it. Right up to the
or the scavenger
week she died, Rita
hunt? Only Rita
sent me and many
Quinn would have
others e-cards for
included “the shed
every occasion
skin of a snake” on
from Christmas to
her page-long list!
the end of school
Lisa Ribbeck’s team
to National Pickle
found everything,
Week. For every
including the
one she sent, she
snakeskin, in less
received points that
than fifteen minutes
were redeemed
In 1982, I
for environmental
worked for Rita and Dorothy Herbers as a teacher in
causes dear to her
Dorothy at their
Catholic bookstore,
What a privilege
The Mustard Seed. The place was
it was for me to serve as Eucharistic
chock-full of current books and
minister for Dorothy’s funeral and as
unique gifts. It was also the meetingcantor for Rita’s! Yes, they taught Latin
place for people of faith from across
and biology, but more — they passed
the diocese.
on their love and their faith.
Rita had a gift for connecting
I will miss them both. But I know
people. David Bush, a Lutheran pastor
because of our shared faith that they
for the deaf, was browsing at The
are only a prayer away. +
Mustard Seed. Rita mentioned my
name — my brother John is hearingimpaired —and the fact that I was
looking for an apartment. When
Pastor Bush told her that he was
Alumni News
Class of ’76 celebrates 35-year reunion
The Class of ´76 celebrated their 35-year anniversary in June. Classmates gathered on the Cathedral steps on a Friday
evening for a group photo before taking a tour of the high school and enjoying dinner at Central BBQ. The reunion concluded with a cookout on Saturday.
Class of ’70 marks 40th year
What’s new...
with you these days?
Graduate from college?
Get a great new job?
Have a beautiful new
baby or grandhild?
Let us know!
Send your updates to:
[email protected]
Class of 1970 graduates from as far away as California, Florida, Missouri and
Illinois celebrated their 40-year reunion in Memphis last October. Festivities
began with a Friday night get-together at the home of Angela (Lucchesi) Copocaccia, followed by lunch in Marian Hall and a tour of the high school on Saturday with principal Sally Hermsdorfer.
’71 grads hold 40th bash in August
Alumnae from 1971 commenmorated their 40th reunion in late August with a slate of weekend events that included dinner at Pete and Sam’s, a poolside party, and Sunday Mass at the Cathedral, followed by brunch.
Class of ’91gathers after 20 years
The Class of 1991 began their August reunion weekend on Friday with a tour of ICCS, followed by dinner hosted by Katherine Veazey Morris. The festivities continued on Saturday, with spouses joining the graduates for dinner at the Fox and
Hound restaurant.
Exciting encounter: Lauren Gaia ’09
chats with U.S. Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright, the keynote
speaker at Agnes Scott College’s
2010 commencement. Lauren, an
international relations and religious
studies major at Agnes Scott and a
former White House page, has had
a passion for politics since becoming involved in the 2004 presidential
election. “When I found out that
she (Albright) was going to be the
commencement speaker, my wheels
started turning to find a way to meet
her,” she said. Her encounter with
the Secretary of State was a memorable and plesant one. “She was just
such a warm person,” she said.
Photo courtesy of Agnes Scott College
A blast of the past: ICCS English teacher and alumna Adrien Gattas Alsobrook
had a blast reminiscing the past last May when her high school friends donned
their old school uniforms and surprised her with an early birthday party. (LR) Donna Hatley Glenn ’77, Adrien Gattas Alsobrook ’74, Nanette Longworth
Miller ’77, Shawn Schaffler Demos, Susan Depperschmidt Vescovo ’77.
Maggie O’Neill ’07 graduated from
Middle Tennessee State in May with
a B.S. in Psychology and plans to
pursue a master’s in student counseling at the University of Memphis.
She is currently JV volleyball coach
and a substitute teacher for ICCS.
Alumni Events
November 17, 5–7 pm
Happy Hour at Ciao Bella
565 Erin Drive, Memphis
December 15
Mass at Cathedral, 8 am
Breakfast, Brother Juniper’s, 9 am
3519 Walker, Memphis
January 19, Noon
Lunch at Jim’s Place
518 Perkins Extd., Memphis
February 16, 5–7 pm
Margaritas and Salsa!
Molly’s La Casita
2006 Madison Ave., Memphis
March 15, Noon
Lunch at Coletta’s
1063 S. Parkway East, Memphis
ACT trends testament to ICCS
tradition of academic excellence
The American College Test
(ACT) report released in early September spelled good news for ICCS
administration and faculy. While
ACT score trends showed a steady
decline statewide between 2007 and
2011, ICCS scores consistently rose
in all subject areas and in composite scores.
The ACT score is a standard
measure of academic achievement
that can predict a a student’s success in college. When tracked over
a period of time, the scores can also
be a measure of a school’s ability to
prepare students for college.
“ICCS has an ongoing ACTpreparation system for our students,” said principal Sally Hermsdorfer.
One example is in college math
preparation, where she noted that
ICCS’ requirements go beyond the
state requirement.
“Where Tennessee schools
require a minimum of three years’
high school math to graduate, culminating with algebra II, ICCS requires four years, culminating with
options ranging from algebra III to
calculus, depending on a student’s
ability level,” she said.
While ICCS averages climbed
in all subject areas, the increase in
composite scores and average English and math scores are particulary
notable. As statewide composite
scores dipped from 20.7 to 19.5,
ICCS’ composite scores rose from
22.9 to 24.4. Statewide average
English scores dropped from 20.8
to 19.4; ICCS’ scores moved from
24.9 to 25.5. ICCS’ average math
score rose from 20.5 to 23.0, while
they fell statewide from 19.9 to
19.0. +
April 20, 5–7 pm
Happy Hour at Interim’s
5040 Sanderlin Dr., Memphis
Details Soon!
Alumni gatherings are usually
the third Thursday of each month.
For more information on these
and other events or if you have an
idea for a fun event, please call or
email Cathy Armstrong:
[email protected]
To get into the spirit for their 50th reunion in 2012, four 1962 alumnae visited
the high school campus in August to walk the halls, talk to current students
and reminisce about their “IC days.” (L–R) Brinkley “Kitty” Lewis Gaia, Pat
Moelder hass, Ann Collum Morley, Anita Cardosi Wilkins.
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