Chapter Members and all the Alpha Family!
This holiday edition is the final C.M.A.A. Florida Chapter
Newsletter for 2008. We hope it finds you happy, healthy and
As usual, much is afoot.
In this issue:
The highlight of this issue is the visit to
Alpha by C.M.A.A. Florida Chapter members in October.
This much-anticipated “field trip” was
a heart-swelling, tremendous success, filled with good vibes and a
healthy serving of nostalgia. See spotlight reports and picture
gallery* of the visit in this issue.
CMAA at the
Jamaican Jerk Festival in Broward County.
See spotlight report and picture gallery.
“Ask Sister Bernadette”—it may not be what you think...
Meet the new Campus Minister
House News—Were you in Claver House?
C.M.A.A. ALPHA SITE VISIT
What a rousing and eventful weekend! It was filled
with warm moments, moving stories and meaningful, productive
discourse. Principal Singh and Alpha faculty and staff welcomed and
feted us genially. The local (Jamaica) chapter, led by President
Gloria Palomino is, like us, motivated and means business! Plans
were brought to fruition and new plans were made. We are elated
about working with the ladies of the Jamaica Crew. Here’s some of
what we did that weekend:
Principal Singh, Faculty, Staff and Students
Ribbon Cutting and Opening Ceremony for The Father Henry Williams
Multi- Media Centre
Met the new Campus Minister
Attended Alpha’s annual Prize-Giving
Celebrated Mass at Christ the King Chapel
Hosted a Meet, Greet and Eat with the JA. Chapter, Faculty, Staff
and Sister Bernadette
Awarded the inaugural Sister Mary Bernadette Little, R.S.M.
Introduced the Big Sister/Little Sister Programme
Toured the campus and basked in the warm glow of Sister
Bernadette’s loving gaze
Chapter president Patsy Lee and Principal Singh in front of
young Monkey Tamarind tree on the site of the old
current principal, Mr. M. Singh took time out of his busy shedule to
give us a brief tour of the campus. He addressed many of our
questions and saw to it that the head custodian himself installed
the Multi-Media Centre plaque as soon as it arrived.
RIBBON CUTTING CEREMONY FOR
THE FATHER HENRY WILLIAMS MULTI- MEDIA CENTRE
up and running! The equipment is installed, the ribbon cut and the
speeches made. Rumour has it that Father Williams (in his
classically understated manner) is really quite impressed. Kudos to
the classes of the 70’s and everyone who was involved. Thanks to
Principal Singh and his team for their efforts to help us bring this
project to fruition. Special thanks to Rheta Chen for her liaising
efforts between the C.M.A.A. Florida Chapter and the school
administration. Way to support your school, ladies! Magnificent job!
Chin-Ogilvie, 70’s Summer Reunion Committee
Chairperson, performs ribbon- cutting honours
Singh presents Addy and Committee members with a
MEET THE NEW CAMPUS MINISTER
Alpha’s Campus Minister Mrs. Velia Ann Espeut, one is
impressed by her welcoming manner, definitive character and
open-heartedness. Barely into her tenure as Alpha’s Campus
Minister, Mrs. Espeut (“Miss V.” to her young charges), already has
a fast-paced, jam-packed-eventful daily schedule. During the course
of her day she dons many hats: campus minister, student advocate,
teacher, singing and voice coach. She seems to stretch 24 hours in
order to fit more, and it was difficult to keep up with her as she
moved seamlessly from one activity to the next. And everywhere we
went, an almost constant hail of student greetings met her. Her
offices are located in what was the music/band building, next to the
Walkers (caretaker’s) cottage. There are quiet places,
mediation/conference rooms and an altar, at the foot of which is a
rapidly-depleting basket of rosaries. Mrs. Espeut is the wife of
Deacon Peter Espeut. This Trinidad-born, Jamaican-adopted,
angelic-voiced Alpha family member is innovative, resourceful and
pragmatic. She voices her concerns and hopes for the student body in
a forthright manner, and brings viable ideas to the table. Her
purposeful determination, commitment and genuine concern for Alpha
Academy and its students is most needed and appreciated. Welcome,
Miss V! You are valued for all you do for Alpha and her students.
Mrs.Velia Espeut surrounded by some of her loving
charges at Prize-Giving
Mrs. Velia Espeut serenading Sister Bernadette at the
with her rendition of The Wind Beneath My Wings
Prize-Giving on Friday evening, October 24th in McCauley
Hall. Chapter members Patsy Lee, Addy Chin-Ogilvie, Carol Provost
and Jennifer Figueroa were privileged to be asked to present awards.
McCauley Hall was filled with parents and families who roundly
supported all awardees.
CHRIST THE KING CHAPEL
morning Mass was celebrated by the Very Rev. Fr. Kenneth D.
Richards, Rector of Holy Trinity Cathedral. In attendance were
alumnae from both the Florida and Jamaica chapters, Sister
Bernadette, nuns in residence at the convent and Sister Marie, who
provided musical accompaniment. Father Richards’ homily was
appropriate and spiritually uplifting
AND EAT WITH THE JA. CHAPTER
the Florida and Jamaica Chapters met over a savoury and traditional
buffet brunch in the library. As a group, we discussed a wide range
of topics and issues, and then opened the floor for discussion. Mrs.
Espeut, the Campus Minister and Ms. Christie, the Guidance
Counsellor both spoke eloquently and made suggestions and
recommendations. We introduced the Big Sister/Little Sister
Programme and awarded the inaugural Sister Mary Bernadette
Little, R.S.M. Academic Scholarship.
Big Sister / Little Sister Programme
In an effort to provide mentoring and foster links between the current and
previous generations of Alpha girls, we introduced our Big
Sister/Little Sister Programme. The concept is for as many alumnae
as possible to establish a mentoring relationship with a “Little
Sister”, from a pool of the most eligible girls, compiled by an
Alpha-based selections committee. The program will by no means
pre-empt or replace parental duties, nor is a mentor expected to
provide any sort of financial input. The idea is to nurture and
groom young ladies who may benefit from such a relationship as that
which a “Big Sister” could provide. This programme is in the
teething stages and we will keep you up to date as time progresses.
Please email us at
with questions or suggestions, or to sign up
innovative, worthwhile program.
Mary Bernadette Little, R.S.M. Academic Scholarship
inaugural presentation of the Sister Mary Bernadette Little,
R.S.M. Academic Scholarship meant something truly special to not
one, but two newly-minted Alpha alumnae.
At the request of Sister Bernadette, for this one time, the
scholarship was split to accommodate two very worthy young ladies.
Tavia Daley and Niesha Doyle both expressed deep appreciation and
gratitude at being chosen. Their heartfelt words made for moist
eyes, as many were touched by their speeches. Each young lady
received a scholarship valued at US$2,250 ($750 annually for three
years). Both have just begun their first year at the University of
West Indies. Next year’s standard scholarship will be awarded to one
upper-sixth form student and is valued at $3,000(U.S.), ---$1,000
annually for a maximum of 3 years-- to an for a tertiary institution
in Jamaica or abroad.
Tavia Daley , co-recipient
of the inaugural Sr. Mary Bernadette Little, R.S.M.
Niesha Doyle, co-recipient
of the inaugural Sr. Mary Bernadette Little, R.S.M.
brunch meeting, many lingered, catching up, chatting-- continuing
the threads of multiple discussions. Some walked the campus, touring
as they talked. As alumnae gradually dispersed to resume their daily
lives, it was the hope of many that these threads would weave into
ropes that would bind us, one to the other, to carry on the Alpha
tradition and make the Alpha legacy stronger.
HOUSE AND TEAM NEWS
Calling All Claver Girls!
C.M.A.A. was extremely dismayed and perturbed to learn that
Claver house no longer exists! Students stated that Claver
(referred to only as “brown house”) had been eliminated. Is this so?
How could this be? This must be rectified. This house was named for
Mother Peter Claver, the foundress of
Alpha, no less! The discarding of Mother Claver’s house
seems metaphorical and symbolic--- the church leaving the school and
the school leaving its history and tradition. Hopefully no other
houses will suffer the same fate. Claver girls! Want your house
Colours Replace House Names
Additionally, much to our chagrin, Alpha’s house names, designated
for major religious patrons with worldwide Christian significance,
are apparently are no longer in use. Houses were heard referred to
only as colours, e.g. “purple house” instead of “Lisieux”,
or “yellow house” instead of “Lourdes”. Students did
not seem to even know the names of the Patrons for which their
houses were named, nor their histories. This seems to be a further
diminishing of Christian influences from our Catholic schools, along
with the shortage of nuns, priests and church members. It is hoped
the current administration will investigate and address this.
(Note: Just prior to press time we learned that Alpha administration
is looking into these house matters. Stay tuned...)
||Significance/Patron Nemed For
||Mother Peter Claver (foundress of Alpha)
||Joan of Arc (the Maid of Orleans)
||Saint Bernadette Soubirous
||Saint Rose of Lima
||Saint Maria Goretti
||Saint Therese of Lisieux
||Saint Agnes of Rome
||Our Lady of Fatima
Famous Claver-ites like Teresa (Terry) Thompson (L)
Adrienne (Addy) Chin- Ogilvie (R) no longer belong to an
Calling All Tennis Players!!
The tennis programme at Alpha is currently non-existent. The courts
are net-less, in disuse, and in woefully dilapidated disrepair.
There is no budget for refurbishing and maintaining the courts, or
for a tennis coach. Is there any interest at the school level to
restart the tennis programme? What If Alpha has the next great
tennis phenom just waiting to be discovered and nurtured? Suppose
Usain Bolt’s or Veronica Campbell-Brown’s high schools had had no
Track and Field programmes? Perhaps this is a future project? Look
out, Venus and Serena!
Prime Suspect Victoria , canine companion
of Miss Matty, is the suspected matriarch
of the alleged progeny annexing the courts
As you can see, the resident canine population (photo far left) has
taken over the courts. They were very protective of their turf, but
showed no interest in turning pro.
If you did
not play tennis, there is an ongoing match with the Refurbishing,
of Alpha’s Physical Plant
in which you can compete. We are in dire, earnest need of more
players and supporters. Our alma mater, in terms of physical
presentation, quite frankly, would not make the Top Ten List of
Things to See. She needs serious help. Buildings and infrastructure
need major work; the grounds need a face lift. Please come out to
play by supporting and/or donating towards Alpha fundraisers and
events. You can have an enormous impact on making our school
top-notch, not only in academics, but in being a sound, secure and
beautiful environment from which to bring forth generations of
strong women and future leaders!
Keyboard for the Music Department
The music department at Alpha has expressed the desire to obtain at
least one high-quality, professional-grade keyboard. Other musical
instruments will also be accepted. If you can help, speak up!
The Art department is in serious need of supplies and equipment,
such as papers, paints and inks, canvas, gesso, drawing pencils,
calligraphy pens, brushes, easels... All supplies will be welcomed
and put to good creative use.
of the Library
launched a book drive to restock the Library. Classic literary works
such as Shakespeare; American, British, Caribbean and International
authors, as well as textbooks and school-appropriate popular reading
are all needed. PLEASE—donate! If you are going to Jamaica, please
take or send them to Mr. Splatt, the librarian.
ASK SISTER BERNADETTE
If you could ask Sister Bernadette one question, what would it be?
We are considering requesting a documentary-interview with Sister
Bernadette for posterity. E-mail questions or suggestions to our
firstname.lastname@example.org, or to
More to come; stay tuned...
C.M.A.A. AT THE JAMAICAN JERK FESTIVAL
CMAA’s second year on “Alumni Row” at the Jamaican Jerk Festival in
Broward County. We sold Jamaican pastries and Alpha school shirts
and souvenirs. Our booth was close to a Cultural Heritage stage, and
an Alpha alumna won a gift basket of Grace Products in one of that
sponsor’s contests. (Dr.) Anne-Marie Miles (’76) sold JAMFLIPS slippers (flip-flops) and graciously donated a
percentage of the proceeds to C.M.A.A. (www.jamflips.com).
We had many volunteers pitch in to make the day a success. As
always, “honorary Alpha alumnus” Larry Lee (Patsy’s better half)
rendered invaluable assistance and sage advice.
thanks to the prep crew who spent their precious Saturday night in
fellowship and cake slicing (and wrapping, pricing and labelling...)
into the late hours, all to help their alma mater. If you have never
been to one of these, let it be known that these pre-event prep-crew
get-togethers are filled with hard work. But they are also filled
with love, laughter and life advice, interspersed with much debate
on pricing, commentaries on so-and-so’s Saran-wrapping skills (or
lack thereof) and a dose of girl talk. Larry always brings his ear
plugs (although we suspect that he does not use them all the
booth did well. At night’s end we were tired but triumphant, having
once again sold out all our baked delectables. We pre-empted the
competition in true Alpha style by employing unique marketing
strategies. With these, sales-alumna Heather Young (Royale, class of
’74), racked up numerous sales. Very special thanks to Patsy Lee and
Addy Chin–Ogilvie who took multiple days off from work to prepare
and organize logistics. They spearheaded this effort and mustered
the troops. Kudos to ALL!! The on-site book drive had
moderate success, but not the substantial response hoped for.
Rummage through those bookshelves!
CALENDAR OF UPCOMING EVENTS
C.M.A.A Social at Truck Stop—Sat. January 3rd,
2009; 8:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m.
Okeechobee (US 27) and Griffin Road, Davie, Florida. Admission:
FREE (Cash Bar/Food on Sale)
The Alpha Florida Chapter had a successful 2008! Come out and
Network, Fraternize & Celebrate with us!
RSVP by December 26, 2008 to
Executive Committee Meeting-- January 31, 2009
2nd Annual C.M.A.A. Alpha
Spring Fling Dinner-Dance!!
Saturday, April 18, 2009, at the Graham Centre, F.I.U.
Main Campus, Miami, FL
We will be having a raffle and are asking
EVERYONE to call or email to volunteer and get some raffle
books to sell!! CALL: 1-(954) 708-0363;
Save The Date! Mark Your Calendar! Book The Babtsitter! Hire The
Come Rock The Night Away!! Don’t Miss This One!!!!!
In order for our projected aims to be accomplished, we are in great
need of your support. Support may be in the form of word,
deed or sowing of a seed. There is so much yet that needs to be done
for our beloved high school from which we have received so much.
No amount or effort is too little. Big or small, “every mickle
makes a muckle”, so give what you can; do what you can…
Whether you are in Jamaica, the U.S.A.,
Canada or Worldwide, YOUR ALMA MATER NEEDS YOU!! Join
the local chapter of your Alpha Academy Alumnae Association---or
start one! Do some good and have a BLAST doing it!
Each and every one of us makes a difference
and it only works if each and every single one of us get involved.
Spread the word...
Stay in touch. Get involved. Give back.
A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year
to One and All of Our Alpha Family Worldwide!
Stay in touch. Get involved.
Support your Alma Mater..
"Your hands have
made me and fashioned me;
give me understanding, that I may learn your commandments."