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Senior Spotlight: Penny Romero, Class of '21

Penny Romero, Class of 2021, has taken full advantage of her time Our Lady of Tepeyac. 

She's been involved as a member of the Campus Ministry Leadership Team, the National Honors Society and served as a Student Ambassador, sharing her OLT experience with future students and their families. Penny sites her role as the President of the Campus Ministry Leadership Team to have been one of her most influential experiences while in high school. She really enjoyed hosting prayer services for the student body, particularly joining together in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement as well as commemorating the Stations of the Cross. Penny values the prayerful experiences she and her team were able to create for their peers as well as the relationships formed with her fellow teammates.

Penny is off to Lake Forest College this fall. She will leave Tepeyac in May holding the high honor of Class Valedictorian. "I made my decision to go to Lake Forest College because of the small student body, similar to Tepeyac. Given the attention I have received from my teachers, I think a small school will be a good fit. If I were to struggle in any way I won’t feel intimidated to ask for help."

Penny plans to study medicine at Lake Forest. She excels in math and science classes, but also says that her religion and morality classes played a role in her decision to declare a pre-med major.

Of her time in an all girls Catholic school, Penny says, "I’ve learned that being in an environment surrounded by powerful girls can be empowering. I won't let the change in the environment next year take that feeling away!"

We know that Penny will continue to empower and inspire her new peers at Lake Forest. We wish her all the best as she goes out into the world to change it for the better!

New OLT Book Club Hosts Inaugural Meeting

"The Reading Society of Obstinate Headstrong Women is not just a club.....

It is a space where students can discover new cultures, learn about diverse experiences and viewpoints, but above all, it is a club where students have the chance to feel that they are represented in the literature they read. It is so important that young people experience a connection with the books they read and are able to identify with the characters they see in those stories." - Justyna Kaluzny, Book Club moderator & English teacher

The first meeting of The Readers Society of Obstinate Women was held last month. The new book club's mission is to celebrate diverse female voices and read and learn about diverse experiences and cultures. Each month, both teachers and students will pick and read a new Young Adult fiction book by a female BIPOC author, participate in weekly check-ins, and meet on Zoom at the end of the month to discuss.

The first selection was Elizabeth Acevedo's Clap When You Land, a novel-in-verse that tells the story of two sisters whose fates become tragically intertwined. 15 students and 10 teachers met in the end of March to discuss themes of sisterhood, separation, loss, stereotypes that define us and how to break free from them, and identity. We not only delved into our favorite moments, but connected our own lives and experiences to the events in the novel.

The next selection is If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson which narrates the love story between a Jewish girl and a black boy.

We look forward to continuing the book club into next school year!

Volleyball Team Boasts Successful Season

The girls of Tepeyac are thrilled to be back on the court and on the field. From volleyball to soccer and softball -- spring sports are back in session!

The OLT Volleyball team is currently participating in their most successful season since 2014. Both the Junior Varsity and Varsity teams have winning records, reports Coach, Christina Motley. She attributes their success to the girls' hard work and commitment to daily practice.

"I am very grateful that we were able to have a season because playing volleyball is a good reality escape for the team and myself. Playing volleyball with all the girls really shows our sisterhood that we have at OLT," says Junior, Leilani Salgado. "It is such a great feeling having a successful season, it feels like a really big accomplishment especially when working hard for a win."

Pictured below: Junior Varsity placed 3rd in their most recent tournament. Keep up the good work, Tepeyac Tigers!

First Year Pre-Med, Emma Looks Back and to the Journey Ahead

Emma Onate, a legacy grad class of 2020, is enjoying her first year at St. Olaf College majoring in Biology with a neuro-science concentration.

All of this with the goal of attending medical school, while bonding with her fellow Posse Scholars and finding speaking up in her classes is easier due to attending an all girls, small, college prep high school.

Emma’s best memories of Tepeyac focus on the small classes, collaborative classmates, attentive teachers and faith based education. She said, “ Before I came to Tepeyac, being in larger classes made me feel uncomfortable speaking up and asking questions. Boys in the class always think they have the answers, but girls like to work together and help each other, never allowing competition to get in the way. I was so shy before coming to OLT, but my teachers reached out to me, actually caring and making sure I understood the material.” Emma shared that in an all girls environment, your confidence grows because you are encouraged and cheered on by the larger school community.

A Woman For Others

"I'm so impressed with the young women of Our Lady of Tepeyac. As students, they know who they are and what they are about-- designing their future!"

Meet Sue Olensky. Sue is serving at Our Lady of Tepeyac through the Ignatian Volunteer Corps. She is spending her time as a counselor with the College Readiness Program, assisting Seniors. Sue is retired from her career in the same field.

As an Ignatian Volunteer, Sue participates in spiritual reflection with her peers as they journey through their year of volunteer service. IVC Volunteers are people who have either retired or are working less and want to spend their time in service to others. They have a wide breadth of knowledge and experience to share. IVC gives them the opportunity to serve in under resourced schools and social service agencies throughout the country.

Because of Sue, the College Readiness Program is able to spend more time, one on one, with girls as they navigate applying to schools, choosing a college that is right for them and sifting through the financial aid process. She has enjoyed building relationships with the students she has been spending time with. "Tepeyac young women are very social and open to having fun. They care about each other and have so many interests and talents: STEM Mars labs, Physics model races next to the outdoor Shrine, World Religions, collecting for people in need, decorating their Little Sister's lockers. And they are kind to a new adult in their school!" We are so fortunate to be the beneficiaries of Sue's time and talents. She is a true joy for all of us, both students and staff, to be around.