The Show Must Go On! OLL Theatre Company Presents The Crucible

By: Jamila Dawkins

During the weekend of November 16, the Our Lady of Lourdes Theatre Company once again took the stage to put on The Crucible, an American classic. This year’s fall play, written by Arthur Miller in 1953, was a dramatic retelling of the Salem Witch Trials and their repercussions. Charged with emotion, the play deals with the incongruities between Puritan culture, public appearance, and mob mentality. Lourdes actors brought the classic two-act play to life on stage under the direction of Mr. Tom Lawrence and with the invaluable help of Katie Thorn as stage manager. Seniors Daniel Berry, Nicole Wagner, Ndidi Aguwa, Brianna Ellis, John Calio, and Sara Bucher, took their last bow in the auditorium—although many will likely return in the Arts and Athletics Center for the spring musical.

Due to the snow storm that spanned November 15th and 16th, the show’s Tech Week was cut short, and the cast and crew were forced to cancel a dress rehearsal and the opening night performance. However, theatre kids have a saying for this kind of predicament: “The show must go on!” The cast and crew went on to knock the Saturday performance and the Sunday matinee out of the park.

The show must, indeed, go on, and auditions for the spring musical, All Shook Up, started less than two weeks after the play wrapped. The spring show will be a dance-happy romp of a jukebox musical of Elvis’ greatest hits. Come see the Our Lady of Lourdes Theatre Company put on a show!

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The full cast of  The Crucible

The full cast of The Crucible

Christmas Shoebox Project

By: Annaeliese Clark and Morgan Hurst

During the holiday season, people are always busy preparing by making meals, decorating, celebrating and, of course, buying, wrapping, giving, and receiving gifts. As we write our letters to Santa telling him our Christmas wish list, it is easy to forget how blessed we truly are. That is why the holiday season is a great time to give back to the community and help those who are less fortunate than ourselves. The Christmas Shoebox project is just that; hosted by the Samaritans Purse, it is an excellent way for people to give back to the community and give Christmas gifts to impoverished children around the world. Started in 1993, this project has been able to deliver over 135 million Christmas presents to children who have possibly never received a present. All it takes to participate is a simple shoebox, a few cute toys and possibly some toiletries. Our Lady of Lourdes, headed by the National Honor Society, once again took part in the project as it has become a tradition in the school going on its eleventh year. This project is the perfect way for students to partake in a charity project and give back to the community to help children in need. Although the school had a shorter time line this year to get the presents packed and shipped out, the school was able to pull together to get the presents out and sent off just in time for the Christmas season. Hopefully, this project will continue to grow in the years to come, and continue to gain support.

Only a few of the shoeboxes donated by the OLL community

Only a few of the shoeboxes donated by the OLL community

A Thanksgiving Dinner for All

By Anna Darling

Six years ago, Father Thomas Lutz began serving a Thanksgiving meal at St. Augustine’s Church in Highland to those who were alone and those who could not afford a meal. With the help of the local elected officials, clergymen from different christian churches, and other volunteers, this meal was made possible. With an experienced leader, the meal received  donations from local restaurants, churches, the fire department, and the police department. The Bruderhof Community of Ulster County has donated homemade rolls each year. Local restaurants have donated their time to cooking the turkeys and had a guest chef attend the meal to carve the turkeys. To spread the word, 100 yard signs were made and distributed throughout Highland. Each year, Father Lutz has noticed an increase in attendees. This past Thanksgiving, approximately 150 people attended the meal at St. Augustine’s school and 70 people were served in their homes. The police department delivered the meals to homebound senior citizens and others who had nowhere to go for the holiday. Those who attended the meal were not only those who could not afford a meal of their own. Veterans who have lost their families and those with family too far away have attended the meals in order to have someone to spend their holiday with. With continued support, this Thanksgiving meal will continue to grow and reach all those in need of a place to spend their holiday.

Where Are They Now? A Look at OLL Alumni and their Global Impact

By Kate Csisack

As we advance into a new school year, we think of those who were here before us. We think of the students who sat in the desks we sit in now, walked the halls we talk in now, and who read some of the books we read from now.  One can’t help but think, “How many of them did great things after graduating this school?” or “Am I sitting next to someone who is one day going to initiate world peace or find the cure to cancer? Will it be me?” No matter what address Our Lady of Lourdes called home at the time of their attendance, the following people are just a few of the many who have heard God’s calling for them and answered in the best way possible.

After graduating OLL in 1975, Hal Pontez went to Syracuse University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA with Marquette University’s Business School program.  Though he was only in his mid-twenties, he was offered growth opportunities from industrial control companies from around the world. Mr. Pontez has held executive management positions with Allen-Bradley, Eaton/Cutler Hammer, Honeywell and, finally, with Hawker Siddeley Dynamics Engineering, then Vosper Thorneycroft Controls.  

In 2002, he founded HPI LLC, a wind turbine company dedicated to spreading safe and reliable energy around the world.  Among many other successes, Hal and HPI provided emergency power to the nation of Kuwait in 2006 and started developing power plants in Ghana in 2009 and more in 2015.  Because of his experience and great success, he was nominated as a finalist for the 2010 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. In addition, Mr. Pontez has been one of Lourdes’s most generous benefactors, funding the recent updates to the Biology, Chemistry, and Physics labs.  You may have recognized the Pontez family name, as Lourdes’ Science wing is named after them. Click here to learn more about Mr. Pontez and his accomplishments.

Ed Bastian graduated from Our Lady of Lourdes in 1975 and went on to graduate from St. Bonaventure University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration.  He started his career with Price Waterhouse where he became an audit partner in its New York practice and held senior finance positions at Frito-Lay International and Pepsi-Cola International.  In 1998, he joined Delta Airlines as Vice President – Finance and Controller and was promoted to Senior Vice President in 2000. Mr. Bastian left Delta briefly in early 2004 and became Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Acuity Brands, returning to Delta six months later to become Chief Financial Officer, and then President in 2007.  In May 2016, he was made CEO of the company, which is the position he holds to this day. Click here to learn more about Mr. Bastian and his career on the OLL website.

After graduating Our Lady of Lourdes in 1977, Joseph Bertolozzi went on to Vassar College and graduated from there in 1981.  He then attended Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Juilliard School of Music, and Westminster Choir College. Some of his works include “The Contemplation of Bravery,” which Bertolozzi wrote for the West Point Band, who performed it for the bicentennial celebration of the U.S. Military Academy, and his incidental score to “Waiting for Godot” at the Festival Internationale de Café Theatre in Nancy, France.  

In 2004, Bertolozzi had an ambitious idea: he wanted to play Poughkeepsie’s own  Mid-Hudson Bridge as an instrument, record its sounds, and make it into music. In 2006, he was finally able to get permission to go on the bridge and record sounds of the bridge, which were mostly simple taps and rhythms played on metal beams with various mallets, hammers, and wood blocks.  The finished product was a whole new kind of “metal” music. Mr. Bertolozzi used the sounds to compose series of suites that would be played live on the bridge from September 5-7, 2009, and recorded onto CD. This project was called Bridge Music.  This album reached #18 on the Billboard Classical Crossover Music Chart in 2009.  A few years later in 2013, he was able to go to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France and make more of the same type of music he had created on the Mid-Hudson Bridge.  The final result was Tower Music.  Click here to visit Mr. Bertolozzi’s personal website or here for more information about him on the OLL website.

Kristine Sullivan, a 2004 OLL graduate, received her BA in history from Holy Cross in 2008, an MA in secondary Education from Loyola Marymount University in 2010, and received an MA in Global Development and Social Justice with a research focus on education in Uganda from St. John’s University in 2016.  She taught in inner city Los Angeles schools for five years, then went on to co-found and direct Educate for Change, in Gulu, Uganda.  Educate for Change is a non-profit organization that works to help bring education to students in Northern Uganda, and has now been able to spread their work to Rwanda and India.  Kristine is also the Country Director of the African Hope Network.  Click here to learn more about Kristine and her work on the OLL website.

At just 19 years old, ‘06 graduate Jessica O. Matthews invented the Soccket ball, a soccer ball that can harness enough kinetic energy after just a couple hours of play to power a lamp for a few hours.  A Nigerian-American dual citizen, Jessica wanted to provide her Nigerian friends and family with a stable source of clean energy. She succeeded with her innovative Soccket ball. After earning a degree in Psychology and Economics from Harvard University and an MBA from Harvard Business School, Jessica founded the company Uncharted Power (previously Uncharted Play), which works to develop clean and reliable energy sources.  They do this by using generally the same type of technology in the Soccket. And thus M.O.R.E. —Motion-based, Off-grid Renewable Energy— was born.  M.O.R.E. tech can generate hundreds of kilowatt hours per day when installed in high activity areas.

After founding Uncharted Power, Jessica then expanded her reach to global infrastructure projects. She became the Co-Founder and Executive Director of a 30 megawatt hydropower dam in Nigeria called KDDC. Jessica is currently serving as an Ambassador of Entrepreneurship for Nigeria.  Due to her amazing accomplishments, she has been named Fortune’s 2015 Most Promising Women Entrepreneurs, Forbes 2014 30 under 30, Black Enterprise’s 2013 Innovator of the Year, and the Harvard Foundation 2012 Scientist of the Year, just to name a few. Click here to learn more about Jessica and her work on the OLL website, or visit Uncharted Power’s website here.

It is clear that our alumni have gone on to do incredible things. As you walk the halls of OLL or sit in your classrooms, imagine and prepare for the wonderful opportunities that await in the future. Many thanks to Mrs. Wells and Mrs. Kolosky who helped with information for this article.