Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published May 12, 2011

Pinecrest Academy Band took first place at the Heritage Music Festival in New York City April 14-17.

Under the direction of Len Insalaca, the group performed at the festival, which included performances by more than 50 top bands, orchestras and choruses from across North America.

Pinecrest received straight superior ratings, a gold award for an overall superior rating, and first place in class A, which is comprised of high schools with 600 or fewer students.

The band is composed mostly of middle school students and high school members. The band was formed two years ago.

The group was invited to perform next April at the Festival of Gold, held annually at Carnegie Hall.

Here are some recent achievements at the Marist School:

Marist Model Arab League student, Libby Mandarino is the winner of the Arab World Scholar Award and will spend a week in Washington, D.C., this summer as an intern for the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations. In Washington she will visit embassies, attend State Department briefings on the Middle East, and meet with other professionals whose careers are devoted to improving various facets of U.S.-Arab relations. She was one of three chosen from approximately 30 students eligible for the award.

Amanda Bradley has been selected as a Gates Millennium Scholar for the class of 2011 for her strong leadership, community service and academic achievements. Out of 23,000 students who applied, 1,000 were selected for the scholarship, which will provide funds for her to attend the college or university of her choice. She will also have access to personal and professional development through the organization’s leadership programs and academic support throughout her college career.

In more than 17 million American households in 2009, folks faced food insecurity.

Now, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is encouraging a voluntary fast to make the wider community know what food insecurity feels like.

During the next year, Catholics are encouraged to set aside the first Friday of every month to eat a modest meal that costs equal to your allotted family size as outlined in the USDA Modified Thrifty Food Plan.

The USCCB Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development is organizing the project to ensure the poor are prioritized in public policy. Check out Facebook to learn more:

Chief executive officers of local Catholic nonprofits are among the newest class of Leadership Atlanta.

St. Vincent de Paul Society’s CEO, John Berry, and Catholic Charities Atlanta’s CEO, Joe Krygiel, joined some 80 other Atlanta business officials for this community leadership program. The program uses retreats, full-day seminars, service projects, discussion groups and community tours, to explore community issues and build relationships and mutual understanding.

St. Vincent de Paul strives empower people to achieve self-sufficiency and stability, Berry said. “It is critical that we understand the systemic change necessary to move obstacles from that goal. Leadership Atlanta will help me explore those things.  It also will broaden the base of people who we can collaborate and engage with to help us achieve our mission and vision and spread the word about St. Vincent de Paul,” he said.

On April 14 Lyke House – the Catholic Center at Atlanta University Center hosted its first Respect Life event with Dr. Alveda King as the featured speaker.

Dr. King is the director of African American Outreach for Priests for Life, a pro-life organization based in Staten Island, N.Y. Under the leadership of Ashley Morris, assistant campus minister, and a planning committee that included Mary Boyert, Darice Gamble of St. Paul of the Cross Church, Atlanta, and Joyce Hardwick of Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Decatur, the students helped plan a program under the theme: “Race Annihilation: Survival of the Weakest.”

“They also designed and did the layout for a promotional flyer that exceeded the expectation of the planning committee,” said Gamble. The program brought clarity to the fact that a child must first be born before becoming a student or growing into adulthood.

Amanda Figeredo, a representative of Atlanta Right to Life, won first place in the 2011 Georgia Right to Life Oratory Contest held April 30 at the Suwanee Library in Suwanee, GA. She will represent Georgia Right to Life at the National Right to Life Oratory Contest in Jacksonville, Fla., in June.

Amanda, 17, is a former resident of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where she said abortion is “unlawful and unthinkable.”

She credits her education at St. Mary’s Catholic High School in Dubai, among other things, for helping to solidify her pro-life beliefs. She is active at St. Jude the Apostle Church, Atlanta, where she sings in the youth choir.

Amanda will begin classes at Georgia Tech this fall and plans to study economics.

St. Pius X High School students were honored by the American Association of Teachers of French for their aptitude on the 2011 National French Contest. Forty students were recognized as either national or state winners in the annual Le Grand Concours competition.

St. Pius X had 17 students receiving national honors, including seniors Diana Destin and Kaitlin Walsh; juniors Marirose Allen and Catherine Korizno; sophomores Lindsay Cameron, Alejandro Espinosa, Grayson Klinger, Annette McDermott, Grace Mendzef, Keefe Osment and Anees-Carl Ragy; freshmen Joshua Beck, Stephanie Benzur, Molly Dowell, Della Pennachi, Leah Rosenberg and Jack Walsh.

Jon Shupenus coached his son Matthew in the Science Olympiad event, “Storm the Castle” at Our Lady of Victory School in Tyrone, despite being stationed eight time zones away for six months in Baghdad. He worked as an Army civilian in the US Army Forces Command.

The pair collaborated using Skype and e-mail to successfully coach Matthew’s team. His event “Storm the Castle” involves constructing and calibrating a trajectory to launch a projectile as far and as accurately as possible.

Our Lady of Victory placed second overall at the regional tournament, placing first in “Disease Detective,” “Ecology,” “Ornithology” and “Write it, Do it.”

This qualified them for the state tournament at Augusta State University.

The team went on to place in the top ten at the State Tournament on March 12, and also placing third in “Science Crimebusters,” fifth in “Fossils” and sixth in “Bottle Rocket,” “Microbe Mission” and “Ornithology.”

Science Olympiad is a nationally recognized program that offers students an opportunity to experience the practical applications of science.

The OLV team includes coach coordinator and science teacher Orla Thomas along with participating students Danielle Castillo, Gabby Connor, Cristina Couvillion, Kentez Craig, Charlie Feldner, Rachel Lecesne, Ike Okoro, Isabella Pagsisihan, Rachael Powers, Stephanie Reveredo, Jackie Sevier, John Michael Slattery, Matthew Shupenus, William Silloway and Hannah King Thomas.

Shupenus arrived back safely in America on the same day as the state tournament although not in time to witness his son receiving a ribbon for placing eighth in “Storm the Castle.”