Gazebo Gazette

May 7, 2020, Our Lady Academy (OLA) hosted its first drive through Senior Award Ceremony held at the Our Lady of the Gulf Crab Fest grounds.

OLA Principal Marilyn Pigott addressed the parents and students of the Class of 2020, “Welcome to our annual senior awards night. Although this year’s awards presentation is much different than the presentations of the past, we felt it was important to celebrate who these young women have become over the past six years at Our Lady Academy. These ladies did not quit working during their senior year, but instead, worked hard throughout their senior year even through the face of adversity. Even when they had to work from home. The Class of 2020 sits here having established some milestones as a class of 39 students. They have earned over $4.3 million in scholarships and grants as of 5/5/2020 and the number continues to grow.”

Before presenting the Class of 2020 slideshow, Class President, Elizabeth Elkins addressed her classmates, “Six years ago we entered these doors and now here we are, flying out into our futures with so many lessons and sweet memories. Enjoy the show and be glad that awkward phases don’t last forever. I think we really did set the standard for living the dream. I hope you all agree.”

Each year, students are nominated by the faculty for senior awards. The awards were presented by Susan Goggins.

The American Citizenship Award is presented to the student that shows a positive attitude, strength of character, understands civic responsibility, and promotes citizenship among her peers. The nominees are Sophia Compretta, Mary Laine DeMetz, Whitney Necaise, Rebecca Walk, Hayden Henry, Elizabeth Elkins, Hayden Matheson, and Paige Palazzo. This year’s American Citizenship Award was presented to Whitney Necaise.

The Chamber of Commerce Award is presented each year for exceptional character and respect of peers and faculty. This year, the chamber was able to increase the amount of this award thanks to these generous sponsors: Digital Engineering; James J. Chiniche, Engineering & Surveying; Stewart Sneed Hewes, Bancorp South Insurance Services; The Silver Slipper Casino & Hotel; Compton Engineering. The nominees are Daniela Cruz, Courtland St. Paul, Payal Kanji, Olivia Alarcon, Hayden Matheson, Mary Laine DeMetz, and Claire Escher. This year’s Chamber of Commerce Award was presented to Payal Kanji.

The Achievement Award is given by the Our Lady Academy faculty to the student who has shown the most improvement, effort, and progress in her academic work. The nominees are Emily Gabbett, Hannah Roth, Emily Perniciaro, Courtland St. Paul, Ashlynn Davis, Allison Lyons, Macy Pigott, and Isabella Clogher.  This year’s Achievement Award was presented to Allison Lyons.

The American Legion Award is presented to the student who, in service to her community, has shown high qualities of honor, courage, scholarship, leadership, companionship, and character. The nominees are Emilie Brown, Rebecca Walk, Elizabeth Elkins, Mary Laine DeMetz, Lauren Willis, and Whitney Necaise. This year’s American Legion Award was presented to Mary Laine DeMetz.

The Spirit of Mercy Award is given in honor of the many Sisters of Mercy; including Sr. Elisa Baughman and Sr. Jaqueline Howard, that have helped throughout OLA’s history. The award is given to the student who exemplifies Mercy through her outstanding commitment and dedication to her community. She has in her daily life, emulated the spirit of Catherine McAuley by promoting personal excellence and social responsibility. She has also demonstrated an abiding faith in God and has lived a life exemplified by honor, dignity, and a profound love for humanity. The nominees are Olivia Alarcon, Elizabeth Elkins, Rebecca Walk, Whitney Necaise, and Lauren Willis. This year’s Spirit of Mercy award was presented to Olivia Alarcon.

The Principal’s Cup is presented each year to the student who has demonstrated to an outstanding degree the qualities of character, scholarship, leadership, and service. The nominees are Hayden Matheson, Paige Palazzo, Elizabeth Elkins, and Rebecca Walk. This year’s Principal’s Cup was presented to Rebecca Walk.

The Mary Patricia Schmidt Character Cup is presented to the senior whose character exemplifies such traits as Christian maturity, courage, dependability, service to others, sincerity, and stability. The nominees are Lauren Willis, Olivia Alarcon, Hayden Henry, Hayden Matheson, Whitney Necaise, and Elizabeth Elkins. This year’s Mary Patricia Schmidt Character Cup was presented to Elizabeth Elkins.

The Hull Award is one of OLA’s very special traditions is to honor an outstanding senior as the best all-around athlete here at OLA. This award is named after Harry Hull who taught at OLA in the Mathematics Department for 30 years. Mr. Hull soon became known as Coach Hull as he founded, promoted, and coached many of our athletic teams. Coach Hull and Waddy LeBourgeois created the first women’s high school soccer team in Mississippi in 1988. The Class of 2020 had many deserving young ladies who were amazing student-athletes. The recipient of this year’s Hull Award was Paige Palazzo.

The M. B. Swayze Educational Foundation sponsors the STAR Student Program in the state of Mississippi. This program recognizes the student in each high school who has earned the highest ACT score by the December test while maintaining an A average. In turn, this STAR student names a STAR teacher who has had a significant influence on her education. This year’s STAR student is Alma Hearin.  Alma has chosen Ms. Susan Goggins as her STAR teacher.