April 19, 2018

St. Mary's Bay View Award Winners

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Freshman Wins National High School Heart of the Arts Award
Honored for her Dedication to Performing Arts Despite Living with a Neuromuscular Disorder

St. Mary Academy - Bay View freshman Cecelia Egan, has been selected the 2018 national recipient of the "National High School Heart of the Arts Award" by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). Cecelia is the first St. Mary Academy - Bay View student to receive this award and is also the first Rhode Islander to win it at the national level.

This Summer, she will be flown to Chicago to accept the award during the 2018 NFHS Summer Conference. She will also be recognized at the state level at the Rhode Island Interscholastic League award luncheon on April 5th.

A press release from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) announced the award last month in recognition of "those individuals who exemplify the ideals of the positive heart of the arts that represent the core mission of education-based activities. This is the fifth year that the National High School Heart of the Arts Award has been offered.

"At age five, Egan was diagnosed with Friedrich’s ataxia – a degenerative neuromuscular disorder that limits the individual’s mobility. Although confined to a wheelchair, Egan hasn’t let that prevent her from pursuing participation in theatre. A freshman at Bay View, Egan first joined The Bay View Players as a fifth-grader. Since that time, she has performed in countless theatrical productions. In many ways, she integrates herself into the cast without calling attention to her need for assisted mobility. Adding to her seamless integration into all aspects of the productions is the tremendous vision exhibited by director Christine Kavanaugh to incorporate her needs on stage," stated the NFHS release.

"While at first Egan’s chair seems like an extension of a character she’s playing, she often abandons it in favor of propping herself upon a variety of set pieces, such as a piano, a sleigh or a collection of trunks. To accomplish that, she is assisted by fellow cast mates and a voluntary alumna aide. It is physically intensive work, but the focus is never on the equipment," said John Gillis of NFHS. A dedicated student, Egan, carries a typical freshman academic load. Although she sometimes travels out of the state for medical appointments, Egan maintains good grades in the classroom"

"Egan’s impact on The Bay View Players ensemble and on loyal audiences has been felt by all.
Through her personal courage, she has proven that the stage welcomes anyone with the determination and openness to showcase a love of performing despite physical dependence upon others. Egan’s not camouflaged on stage – she’s showcased in a manner that celebrates her daily victories over her challenges. Her story is an inspiration to those who already know her, as well as to those who have yet to see her in action. Most impressively, she has literally put her “wheels in motion” to make the performing arts more easily accessed and enjoyed by all," said the NFHS spokesperson.

Sophmore Earns National Recognition for Jewelry Artwork
Bay View sophomore, Abigail Swift, has been informed that her jewelry artwork, has earned a national Silver Medal in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The jewelry piece was created under the direction of Bay View Visual Arts teacher Jean Petisce-Lynch . Of the 350,000 submissions of art and writing for this year’s awards competition, only the top 1% were recognized at the national level.

According to Petisce-Lynch, the assignment which resulted in Swift’s award-winning artwork was to choose a “Period of Art”, and then choose a specific piece of artwork from that period, to use as an inspiration for a piece of jewelry. The students were then asked to design, illustrate, and make a piece of jewelry inspired by their chosen artwork. "Abigail’s piece was made of Premo clay, wire, silver findings, and Swarovski crystals."

“Abigail is a joy to teach. It was a pleasure having Abigail in class in the Middle School, and I felt so lucky to have had the chance to teach her once again in the Upper School, and see her growth, both intellectually, and creatively. She is a very talented young woman, and I’m so proud of her accomplishments.”

Bay View celebrated a tremendous showing in the regional Scholastic Art Awards earlier this year. Middle and Upper School students earned an incredible 14 awards and nine Honorable Mentions in January. At the regional level, Abigail won a Gold Key for her jewelry art piece.

Students Roll up Sleeves - 27 Pints of Blood to Help Save 81 Lives
In conjunction with the Rhode Island Blood Center (RIBC), Bay View held its second blood drive of the year on Thursday, March 8th. The drive took place on campus in the Athletic Wellness Center. Students, teachers, and parents came to roll up their sleeves and donated 27 pints of blood to help others on their road to recovery. According to the RIBC, 81 lives can be saved with a collection of this amount. This fall, as part of their High School Hero Challenge, RIBC presented St. Mary Academy - Bay View with the “Outstanding Improvement in Blood Drive Performance Award.” Over the past few years, Bay View has more than doubled their number of donors per drive.

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