News From the Head of School

Dear Parents, Students and Friends,

As we begin the season of Advent and the celebration of Christmas, I was particularly touched by a prayer on the CSJ website for their Ministry of the Arts. The prayer, adapted from Sister Pat Bergen, CSJ, calls us to “send forth your Spirit of Love and Unity…Let us be united for Goodness, Justice and Peace for All people, now and forever.” In the challenge that follows, it asks that we “Pray often. Listen more. Reflect. Be a positive voice of calm, and a unifying presence to all you come into contact with. Know that God loves each and every one of us. We Are One.”

It has been that mission of unifying love that has called us as an OLP community to remember our families living in Tijuana during this time of turmoil. Just recently we met with students who cross the border daily to come to OLP and listened for the ways we can offer our support. All of the faculty present were profoundly touched by the fears these students are experiencing on a daily basis. Simultaneously, we have also had many families who have come forward to offer their support in any way. It was a powerful reminder to me that we stand united as one OLP family to care for one another through the hardships and struggles. We are a unique community in that we celebrate a rich history of families from both the US and Mexico who have called OLP home for generations. Although we do not know how long this crisis at the border will persist, may we all continue to be there for one another, listen, seek to support, and offer care and kindness where we can.

With the Christmas season upon us, I would like to invite all community members to join with us at OLP on December 12th for a special Mass of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at 11 am. The subsequent evening we also invite all of our families to join us for our 75th annual Candlelight Procession and Christmas at Our House. The night will begin with a chance for light bites from 5 pm - 7 pm ($25 tickets) followed by the Candlelight Procession at 7 pm (no cost). This is a wonderful evening to bring family and friends to join with OLP.

I would also like to extend my heartfelt appreciation for all of you who have so generously invested in the education of the hearts and minds of all students at the Academy of Our Lady of Peace. Thank you to those who have contributed to the Golf Tournament, the OLP Carondelet Annual Fund, Student Scholarships, Historic Preservation, the canyon path restoration project, the Sister Dolores Anchondo Leadership and Legacy Fund, the Boundless Campaign, and much more! Your generosity allows OLP to continue to offer the extraordinary programs, which further our students to grow as women of faith, women of heart, women of courage and women of excellence.

On behalf of the entire faculty and staff of OLP, I wish you and your families a blessed and peaceful Christmas season and a very Happy New Year!

God Bless,

Lauren Lek, Ed.D.
Head of School


Looking Ahead to December

Dear Parents and Students,

Advent is upon us and as we celebrate advent we recognize the reality of “waiting” in life. Our OLP students experience “waiting” on a daily basis, whether it be for the return of an assessment grade, for their college acceptance letters to arrive, to learn if they made an athletic team or what part they may have earned in a theater production. As we wait for the arrival of Christmas, we are once again reminded of our reliance and relationship with faith in our daily lives. Ruben A. Alvez once wrote, “Hope is hearing the melody of the future; faith is dancing to it today.” Our prayer for all OLP students is that they base their hope in their faith. May this Advent season be a reminder for us all of the power of faith in our lives.

We look forward to our second annual OLP Retreat Week upon our return from the Christmas Break. OLP Retreat Week will take place from January 7 - 10, 2019. Retreat Week allows us to prioritize the faith formation experience of each student with the time and intention it deserves. It also allows all faculty & staff to support the faith experience of our students. Furthermore, students are not asked to miss valuable class time to participate in retreats and all students will have equal access to an annual class retreat experience with their classmates. It is a wonderful week to celebrate the unique identity of each OLP class of students. Please click here to review grade level expectations and details.

This month as a community of faith we will celebrate Reconciliation, an Our Lady of Guadalupe liturgy and our annual Candlelight Procession, all of which remind us of the true meaning of the Christmas season. As always, all community members are invited to our school-wide liturgies and faith celebrations.

We are excited to welcome Karena Doan, Sandra Revilla-Harker, and Lauren Sullivan as new members to our teaching staff and faculty. Click here to read their bios!

Please note our upcoming schedule for course finals. Final assessments in Block G and Zero Block will take place during the regularly scheduled blocks on Thursday, December 13, 2018. A special schedule for finals will take place between Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - Thursday, December 20, 2018 (see the sidebar). Students will be dismissed at 12:00 pm each of these days while the OLP Library will maintain normal operational hours. The first final will begin at 8:00 am and the second final will begin at 10:30 am, each lasting 90 minutes. Attendance during finals week is mandatory. Should any medical emergencies arise, please be sure to contact your daughter’s Assistant Principal directly. Printed report cards will be sent home the first week of January.

From our heart to yours, we here at OLP wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

God Bless,

Mrs. Jessica Hooper
Assistant Head of School


OLP Receives $2 Million Donation from Darlene Marcos Shiley!

We are incredibly honored and excited for Darlene Shiley's donation to OLP! The funds will be used for the renovation and reconstruction of an academic building which will be named the Shiley Center for Science and Innovation.

The building will feature a 1,500-square-foot engineering makerspace and innovation lab that will engage students in creative higher-order problem solving, hands-on design and construction in engineering and robotics classes.

Learn More!



Please Join Us for Our Annual Christmas at Our House Event

Please join us for our annual Christmas At Our House event on December 13, 2018 at the Academy of Our Lady of Peace.

Christmas at Our House
Join us on campus as we welcome the Christmas Season. Enjoy delicious appetizers, holiday beverages and delectable desserts. Christmas at Our House begins at 5:00 pm. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door.

Candlelight Procession
This time-honored tradition has been around for more than 75 years. Join us as we come together to deepen our experience of Advent and Christmas through words and music, set in beautiful student tableaux that tell the story of the birth of Christ. This year, our Procession will begin on North Terrace at 7:00 pm. This is a free event.



Pictured: Sophia Dent '19, Erin Healy '19, Riley Curran '19, and Solana Martinez '19 Sign College Letters of Intent!

Athletics Department News

OLP Cheer Starts 2018-2019 Competition Season with an Impressive Showing

Over the Thanksgiving Break, OLP Varsity and JV took part in The Jamz Bid Challenge. The event was held at UC Irvine’s Bren Event Center. With over 40 teams in the competition, our teams were prepared to compete. JV was unopposed in their division but performed an outstanding routine that earned them a bid to nationals. The Varsity squad earned the Level Champions title over six other teams in the very difficult 3.1 Divisions. Even more impressively, Varsity was tied for the top overall score and was crowned Grand Champions for the entire competition. In addition to their first-place finish, Varsity was recognized for Most Innovative Choreography throughout the entire event. It was a wonderful event for both teams and their families. Both teams received qualifying scores and an invitation to the Jamz Nationals in Las Vegas in February. JV will go and defend their JV Non-Tumbling National Championship and Varsity will hope to improve from runner-up last year and take the title in their new 3.1 Division. They will both be one of the favorites going in. While competition day was exciting and rewarding, it required countless hours of practice and preparation from each and every one of our student-athletes. Way to go OLP Cheer!! Next up, CIF on December 8th!

Read More Here

Athletics Calendar | Athletics Instagram



Grace Kotnik '19 Receives the Matthew 25 Award

Catholic Charities hosted their annual recognition dinner to honor and celebrate individuals in our diocese, parishes and schools who go above and beyond to serve our communities.

Grace Kotnik '19 is an exemplary role model in the OLP community and our greater San Diego community. She is passionate about the social inequalities of our time and uses her voice to educate others on the global water crisis through advocacy and awareness. She has traveled internationally with OLP, attending the Nicaragua Service Immersion last year, which focused on clean water projects in rural Nicaragua. Earlier this week she traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice meeting like-minded social justice advocates from all over the country. In her high school career, she has dedicated almost 300 hours to serving her local community, and we know she will continue to be a changemaker in our world.

Congratulations, Grace!



New! National Honor Society for Dance Arts!

OLP has recently introduced a new Honor Society to the endless list of extracurriculars, the National Honor Society for Dance Arts. During the week before Thanksgiving, NHSDA hosted their first annual “Love Your Body” Spirit Week. The goal for this spirit week is to encourage self love and appreciate the spectacular things our bodies are capable of doing.

Some of the engaging activities that students took part in included an inspirational photo booth, wearing “Love Your Body” stickers, sporting red add ons to signify self love, signing the official Body Peace Treaty, and creating posters with positive affirmations that covered all mirrors of the dance studio. As the National Honor Society for Dance Arts grows, this annual tradition will promote confidence, appreciation, self-love to each of the girls here at OLP.



Architects of Change: Anna Runyan

By Andrea Deinard '19, Brigid Hanczor '20, Alyse Saucedo '21, Isabella Velarde '19,
and Katie-Marie Zickert '20

Entrepreneur Anna Runyan is the founder of Classy Career Girl, an influential e-learning platform structured to help women discover careers that align with their personal passions. Runyan not only strives to assist women in finding career fulfillment, but also accomplishes this goal in a way that is accessible to women of all backgrounds. Runyan believes that every woman can become a “classy career girl” and realizes this belief by helping women invest in themselves, set career goals, and understand that any dream is possible. In the following interview, Runyan shares some important insight on how to discover your true passions, support women to find career fulfillment, and change the way you view your careers, dreams, and happiness.

Q: What was the pivotal moment when you realized there was a need to change the way women view their careers, dreams, and happiness?

Runyan: It all started with my own experience. I was unhappy and stuck in a job I didn’t like. I didn’t know how to get unstuck and I didn’t know what type of career was best for me. I had to go through my own process of getting out of my comfort zone, expanding my network as an introvert and getting experience in areas I thought I wanted to have a career in. I did informational interviews and spent a year doing a networking challenge where I met with four people I did know and four people I did not know each month. Once I started realizing what my ideal career fit was, I started getting a lot of questions from other women who were also stuck wanting to know how I did it. That was the pivotal moment where I realized I had to share what I was learning.

Learn More



Alumnae Spotlight: Mary Lavonne Montgomery Emerson '48

By Jeanette Handelsman '64, Alumnae Relations Coordinator

Mary Lavonne Montgomery Emerson, passed away on her 88th birthday on October 18 in Simi Valley. OLP received this news from Lavonne’s daughter-in-law, Dee Emerson who described her as a “dear mother-in-law and a remarkable mother (of eight), grandmother (of 18), great-grandmother (of 12) friend and teacher.”

A member of the Class of 1948, Mary graduated with honors from OLP and served as her class’s president. She was one of the first graduates to complete a Nursing Degree at Mercy Hospital and worked as a Registered Nurse in various Southern California hospitals for over 40 years, dedicating her professional life to helping to care for those in need. Dee shares: “This was truly her calling.”

Learn More!


Upcoming Alumnae Events

  • Tuesday, March 19: Jewel Jubilee, Mass and Luncheon honoring graduates
    50 + years
  • Friday, May 24: Commencement, Class of 2019, 50th Class Reunion Celebration (Class of 1969) August 8-9: Alumnae Reunion Weekend, especially honoring classes ending in “4” or “9” i.e. 1944, 2009.


Christmas and the Holy Family

By Dr. Melinda Blade, Director of Mission Integration and Historian

The statue of the Holy Family near the North door of the Holy Family Event Center is a delight to view. There, the Holy Family, Joseph, Mary, and their little Son, are captured by the artist in a playful mood. The Little Son is captured gleefully sitting upon His parents’ shoulders. The artist has captured a youthful Joseph and Mary, each enjoying their Son.

As we enter Advent and await the birth of that Child, I offer a poem written by an OLP graduate of 1945, Virginia Anne Schur. Virginia was known during her OLP years as an expert on Greek verse and for her vast knowledge of ancient history. Virginia’s class was the last class to graduate during World War II and her poem, included in the 1945 Yearbook, expresses her view of the world around her:

Christmas 1945 

"Once more the Christmas bells ring out,
Again the Carolers sing;
And round the world this Christmas-tide,
The Prince of Peace is King.

The bomb-scarred rural countryside,
Now pastures lowing herds;
Across the fields of battle
We hear the song of birds.

Our voice we lift in gladness,
We turn from war and fear;
“Joy to the world,”
we carol – Christ’s Birthday feast is here."


Virginia Anne Schur, ‘45

May we each celebrate the birth of this Child and fill our hearts with His love and peace.