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Pius News - Winter 2015

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Pius News is a biannual publication produced by St. Pius X High School.
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    Pius NewsPius News6-10PAGE

    SSocial Justice @ SPX Student service experiences within the community

  • 2Pius News811 W. Donovan StreetHouston, TX 77091713.692.3581 | stpiusx.org

    St. Pius X High School Administrative TeamSister Donna M. Pollard, O.P. Head of SchoolDiane Larsen Academic DeanJeff Donaruma Dean of StudentsAllan Minar Director of FinanceMary Linda Portner Director of AdvancementJoseph Noonan Director of Facilities

    Board of DirectorsSister Antoinette Carter, O.P.Mrs. Gina Hamala Demny '76Mr. Timothy Fjeldal, P.C.Mr. Ray GilliamMr. Edward Herrera '69Mrs. Marisa Cruz Hurd '94Mrs. Andrea JohnsonMrs. Anna Mateja, Vice ChairMrs. Debra MoutonMr. Jerry Nevlud '74Sister Donna M. Pollard, O.P., Ex OfficioMr. Barrett Reasoner, SecretaryMs. Kim RuthSister Lavergne Schwender, O.P.Ms. Terrie Sechrist, ChairMr. Kirby ShanksMr. John B. ShelyMr. Ramon A. Vitulli, IIIBoard of Trustees Carol Mayes, O.P., PrioressAntoinette Carter, O.P., VicaressPatricia Casey, O.P., CouncilorJulie Grieg, O.P., CouncilorEditorDeanna M. Werner Director of Communications


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    From the Head of School

    Set the World Ablaze

    Around Campus

    Panthers on the Prowl

    Alumni News

    Class Notes

    In Memoriam

    GET MORE OUT OF PIUS NEWS! Look for QR codes such as the one to the right for more information on articles and content in this issue. Scanning the codes is easy - just use your barcode reader on your smartphone to scan these images for access to videos, audio, additional photographs and more! Free barcode reader apps can be found in most marketplaces, accessible from your smartphone. Or, as always, you can visit St. Pius X online at stpiusx.org.

    Credits: Photography by Michael Martinez, Wayne Donnelly, Juliette Davin and St. Pius X High School. Printed by DiscPro Printing & Graphics, Houston, Texas.

    Featured Article:A Story About Life & Death6PAGE

  • PIUS NEWS | Winter 2015


    Ask any St. Pius X student to name the Four Pillars of Do-minican education and how they practice them, and you will find they have ready an-swers for prayer, study, community and preaching. At the foundation of our mission are all four of these pillars. We begin and end each school day with prayer, celebrate feasts and solemnities of the Saints, go on retreat, and gather together monthly as an entire school faith community to celebrate the liturgy of the Eucharist. One assumes high school students study, expanding their breadth of knowledge and learning how to think for themselves; and in the myriad of campus activities, ministries, teams, clubs, and lunch table comradery, our students build and experience community at its best. But what of preaching?

    The first three pillars enable the pillar of preaching. This past fall semester the pillar of preaching was once again at the fore-front of the SPX experience. The Dominican charism of preaching embraces more than words from the pulpit. Dominicans use their God-given gifts and talents for the good of the community as preaching is birthed in varied ways. Students who serve as members of our Dominican High School Preaching Team can often be heard sharing this phrase; Where do Dominicans preach? Where dont they!

    This fall our students, faculty and staff have studied some crucial social justice issues of our time, lived as servants and worked for justice in a variety of arenas:

    Our community welcomed Sr. Helen Prejean, C.S.J. to campus as part of the Dead Man Walking School Theater Project. In conjunction with her visit, theology classes devoted a unit of study to capital punishment as understood through the social teachings of the Catholic Church.

    Theatre SPX produced and performed Dead Man Walking to full houses fol-lowing Sr. Helens visit.

    Responding to the challenge issued by Channel 57 The KUBE to St. Pius X High School and St. Thomas High School to compete to donate the most diapers to Star of Hope Mission, our Panthers gathered over 28,000 diapersmore than half a years supply!

    In the first four Stewardship for Justice Campaign collections this year, students donated $6,000 to Catholic and Domin-ican causes, notably $2,500 to our Do-minican Family in Iraq.

    Fall semester drives restocked food pan-tries and supplied toys for children at St. Joseph Parish, The St. Vincent DePaul Food Pantry of St. Simon & Jude Parish, Angela House, Santa Maria Hostel, The St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry of St.

    Rose of Lima Parish and also to Domin-ican Family sponsored Plant It Forward Farms.

    The choir and band delivered musical cheer in live Christmas concerts at area Inner City Catholic Schools, St. Dom-inics Village and the M.D. Anderson Rotary House.

    Student clubs dedicated to service flour-ished! The Junior Catholic Daughters of America membership grew from 14 stu-dents at its inception in 2013 to nearly 60, a year later. A Best Buddies chap-ter was formed at SPX by a student as an outgrowth of her Christian Service Learning apostolate at Camp Blessings. With over 80 members, the SPX Pro-moter Chapter works to raise awareness of people with intellectual and develop-mental disabilities and to volunteer at Best Buddies events.

    Each day, our students engender Teach-ing Truth, Preaching Justice. This zeal for preachingas a ministry of service and in pursuit of social justiceembodies our St. Pius X education rooted in the Dominican tradition. Where do Dominicans preach? Where dont they!

    In Veritas,

    Donna M. Pollard, O.P. Head of School

    First the bow is bent in study, then the arrow is released in preaching.

    Hugh of St-Cher, O.P. , 13th Century

  • 4The Set the World Ablaze campaign is within $1.5 million of breaking ground on the new Science Building. With plans virtually complete, the 27,000-square foot structure will house six lab-lecture rooms, a Media Center, additional classroom and administrative spaces, and a rooftop garden. It will be sited to the southwest of the new entrance to the School building. Groundbreaking is planned for 2015.

    For additional information on the campaign, please contact Mary Linda Portner at portnerml@stpiusx.org or by phone at 713.579.7512.




  • PIUS NEWS | Winter 2015


    Two St. Pius X High School seniors, Nathan Murphy and Grace Phillips, were named Fi-nalists, while senior Haley Shoebotham, was recognized as a Commended Student in the 60th annual National Merit Scholarship Pro-gram.

    Murphy and Phillips represent a nation-wide pool of less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors. They have an opportuni-ty to compete for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth about $33 million that will be offered in the spring.

    Shoebotham placed among the top five percent of the more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2015 competition. She was presented with a Letter of Commendation from St. Pius X and National Merit Schol-arship Corporation, which conducts the program. It acknowledged her exceptional academic promise, demonstrated by her out-standing performance on the qualifying test used for program entry.

    The selection process for this prestigious competition began the seniors junior year

    by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). Only approximately 34,000 com-mended students and 16,000 semifinalists were selected.

    Murphy is interested in attending Brown University, Vassar College or Tufts Univer-sity and is likely to major in theater. This summer, he will volunteer with Alley The-aters PlayMakers, a childrens theater camp. Phillips plans to attend the University of St. Thomas in the fall and is interested in study-ing science. Shoebotham plans to study busi-ness and is interested in attending University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Virginia, College of William and Mary, or Georgetown University.

    Finalists for the award were chosen on the basis of exceptional academic ability, skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. National Merit Scholarship winners will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July.



    National Merit

    Grace Phillips Finalist

    Haley Shoebotham Commended Student

    Nathan Murphy Finalist

    of high school seniors.

    St. Pius X finalists represent a pool of


    Sister Helen Prejean, an internationally ac-claimed human rights activist and the author of Dead Man Walking, shared her person-al story, ministry and mission to abolish the death penalty with the St. Pius X High School community on Wednesday, Nov. 12.

    Sister Helen was welcomed to St. Pius X as part of the Dead Man Walking School The-atre Project. Created by Tim Robbins, noted actor, director, writer and producer, the Dead Man Walking School Theatre Project inte-grates the power of theatre arts and academ-ic study into the national discourse on the death penalty. Its goal is to replace ignorance, apathy and cynicism among young people re-garding the death penalty with information, introspection and inspiration.

    At SPX, this experience included the The-atre SPX production of Dead Man Walking, cross-curricular connections in all courses, and the school-wide assembly with guest speaker, Sister Helen.

    A STORY ABOUT LIFE AND DEATHAuthor of Dead Man Walking Shares Ministry with SPX

    The goal of this present

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