Mount St. Mary's Academy
Address: 3756 Delaware Ave., Kenmore
Sports team: Mountie thunder
Colors: Blue and white
In the words of the alma mater, "The Bells of St. Mary, ah, hear they are calling!" Yes, the bells are calling girls to Mount St. Mary Academy, known as MSM or simply, "The Mount."
This fall more than 300 Mounties pulled out of their wardrobes black-watch plaid skirts (core of the MSM uniform), navy jumpers, plaid walking shorts, navy pants, blue and white oxford shirts and polo shirts, navy sweaters and MSM sweatshirts. Seniors have the added perk of wearing hunter green with school ensembles.
Before shuddering at the idea of attending an all-female school with uniforms, think about the freeing feeling of being able to roll out of bed, pull on your uniform and head out the door. (Note: there are plenty of activities and dances at St. Joe's and Canisius.)
Academics come first at MSM. Gifted students may be invited to be part of the Academy Scholars, a new honors program. Along with Advanced Placement course offerings, partnerships with Canisius College and Niagara University allow MSM students to take college classes without leaving the building.
New course offerings this year include AP Statistics, Poetry, Film Study and "The Individual in Society." "In film (study) you learn to analyze movies like you analyze books. Watching movies becomes a hard thing, and you have to examine each movie and each shot for what the director is trying to get across," says Lizabeth Schnitzer, a senior.
The Mount emphasizes religion and spirituality, requiring each girl to take a half-credit of religion and complete a community service requirement each year.
Recent changes to the Mount include a new dance/theater studio complete with flooring and mirrors and the replacement of tables and chairs and start of a new lunch program in the cafeteria. The Mount now offers Dance Movement I or II as an alternative to regular gym class. Opportunities to perform and work behind the scenes are offered when the Mount auditorium (modeled after Kleinhans Music Hall) houses a fall musical, plus Christmas and spring concerts featuring the MSM Notables. This year, "Pippin" will be staged Nov. 16, 17 and 18.
In addition to many clubs and activities, including the Blue Light newspaper, Reflections literary magazine, model United Nations, forensics, Youth-to-Youth and Serteen volunteers, sports are big at MSM. Currently letting Mountie thunder be heard across Western New York are varsity and JV soccer, volleyball, track, cross-country and swimming. Later in the year come basketball, badminton, bowling, softball, tennis and golf. The MSM cheerleading squad competes locally and nationally.
MSM has many special events throughout the year. On the first Friday of the school year girls enjoyed a picnic lunch and Mass on the school's front lawn. (Food is a big part of life at MSM!) Girls are honored at events like Junior Ring Ceremony, the National Honor Society induction and an awards assembly in May. Recently the school was transformed into a giant carnival for "Meet the Mount Day," giving sixth, seventh and eighth graders a chance to visit the school. "Spirit Week" brings student-teacher dodge ball, twin day, pajama day, a talent show and more.
One of the most highly anticipated events is "Lip-Sync." Teams from all four classes and the student council pick a song and come up with costumes and choreography. Somehow the seniors always seem to win...
On graduation day, many girls who walk down the aisle in their white dresses, wearing Mount rings and carrying red roses, are following in the footsteps of mothers, grandmothers, aunts, cousins and sisters.
Elizabeth Gruber is a senior at Mount St. Mary Academy.
Meet some seniors from Mount St. Mary Academy:
Favorite childhood toy: GI Joe
What do you dread? Pop quizzes
What's your fanatical obsession? Shoes
Favorite book: "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe"
Favorite meal: Macaroni and cheese
Favorite movie: "Coyote Ugly"
If you had one wish? I wish I had a car
What words to you overuse? "Oh God," "like"
Role model? Mom and dad
Hometown: East Amherst
What CD is in your CD player right now? Bjork
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? My stomach
Favorite movie: "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"
Any nicknames? Bean, Beana, Geaner, Gina Beana, Giga
What is the meaning of life? When I figure it out, I'll let you know
What's your fanatical obsession? Radiohead
Favorite book: "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"
What accomplishment are you most proud of? Being my brother's hero. He wrote an essay for school about me being his hero.
What CD is in your CD player right now? U-2/Skillet
What words do you overuse? shall, clearly, definitely, quite, crazy, sweet
Favorite childhood toy: My Paddington bear
What do you dread? Cross-country meets
How have you changed since freshman year? I used to be very concerned about acceptance and wearing the right brand names. Now I don't like it when there's a brand name written on my clothes. I don't like to be an advertisement.
Prized possession: scrapbooks and photo albums
What's your fanatical obsession? Biking
Favorite book: "Tale of Two Cities"
Hometown: Grand Island
What do you aspire to be or do once out of high school? Sports broadcaster
What CD is in your CD player right now? Matchbox 20
If you had one wish? To have one day to spend with my dad who died when I was five.
Favorite movie of all time: "Top Gun." (Tom Cruise!)
Favorite school event? Sleep-out for homeless
Favorite childhood toy: my Mickey Mouse blanket
What's your fanatical obsession? Tetris
What accomplishment are you most proud of? Channel 7 Athlete of the Week for basketball
What is the meaning of life? Everyone was put here for some purpose no matter how small it may seem. Be true to yourself and treasure everyone you meet.
What do you aspire to be once out of high school? Elementary education teacher
What CD is in your CD player right now? Peter Gabriel
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? My height
Favorite movie of all time: "The Princess Bride."
Favorite meal: chocolate cake from Applebee's
Dream job: model
Top priority if I were president: Helping the poor
What do you dread? Getting fat
If you changed your name, what would it be? I wouldn't
What's your fanatical obsession? Rollerblading
What accomplishment are you most proud of? Getting a Ford modeling contract