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New assistant principal keeps student life lively

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Dominican Sister Ann Dominic Mahowald, a veteran at Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School but new to her role as assistant principal for student life, is working to keep student life alive at the Potomac Shores school amid the challenges of the pandemic. 

She knows the school and the students well — as a laywoman she started as one of the school’s first French teachers, returned to teach at the Dominican school after becoming a sister, and is now an administrator.

The school reopened this fall with a blended model of in-person and virtual learning, so Sister Ann Dominic is finding opportunities within the “new normal” to build up the community and strengthen student involvement in non-academic settings.

The priorities include weekly Mass as well as the house system, which organizes students into different groups to promote community, and its regular activities. Sister Ann Dominic’s efforts are supported by faculty and staff as well as her Servant Leadership Association team of students. SLA President Patrick McCaskey is helping lead the charge.

“We are continuing our in-person, student-led circle activities for students to attend during school and virtually,” said McCaskey. “In circles, we begin fostering a stronger connection within our community, but also competing in various competitions. As a senior, this last year of high school may not be the one I envisioned, but this is the year where the Servant Leadership Association’s motto ‘Belong, Grow, and Thrive’ really comes into play. I’m excited for what this year holds, and it is sure to be a memorable one.”

John Paul the Great began classes in an all-virtual setting Sept. 3, and transitions to the blended model Sept. 8 with plans to re-evaluate beginning in the second quarter.


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020