Principal’s Message: Guest Blogger Mrs. Jill Cavotta, Journalism Advisor

principal's  message logoHave you seen The Scarlet Scroll, Mater Dei’s student-produced online newspaper? Under the direction of Mrs. Jill Cavotta, The Scroll and the MD Journalism program have recently been overhauled in an effort to educate our students in the ways of 21st century journalism. We asked Mrs. Cavotta to share about recent changes to this program as well as an exciting partnership with the Los Angeles Times.

LA Times High School Insider:  Viewing High School Sports from the Student Perspective

What is the best way for my student reporters to learn the craft of journalism? Through real world experiences, they learn by reporting on what is happening around them and telling a story from their unique perspective. My staff of student reporters, who fill the online pages of the Scarlet Scroll with their stories, opinions and perspectives, were recently provided with an opportunity to take their reporting to the next level.

The LA Times is providing student journalists with a unique opportunity to tell their stories and build their writing and reporting skills. This week the Times launched High School Insider, a platform for high school students to cover their school’s sport programs. Mater Dei was invited to participate in the program and you can expect to see game coverage, videos, feature photos and profiles of both student athlete’s and coaches.

It’s an incredible opportunity for my students. Through this program, student work is edited by professional LA Times staff writers and copy editors. Few journalists can say they had content published with the LA Times, and for these hard working student journalists they can add this achievement to their college resumes and future portfolios.

You can open the pages or look online for traditional sports high school sports coverage, but what does is look like from the unique student lense? I invite you to look at the exciting and unique stories my students are contributing to High School Insider and The Scarlet Scroll.

Jill Cavotta, Journalism Advisor

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Annual Celebration of Life Mass

Campus Ministry Heart Original Art [Converted]Each year our entire Mater Dei High School community joins in prayer to honor the saints and to pray for our loved ones who are enjoying the gift of Eternal Peace. On Tuesday, November 11, 2014, we gathered for this Mass.

The Christ Candle, Holy Water and Book of Life were presented in our entrance procession—truly a sign of the presence of the Kingdom here on earth and the promise of Eternal Life for all of us!

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For this Celebration, the members of our community whose parents or siblings are in heaven shared in the ministries of the Mass—their faith strengthens us and gives us hope.

The extraordinary music provided by our Choral Department and band, the peaceful environment of the Meruelo Athletic Center, the wisdom of Father Kiet in leading us in this Mass, and yes the respectful, prayerful and enthusiastic participation of our community created a lasting memory on our hearts.

For we are the faithful believers who believe in the power of the resurrection and as one Family.

We Remember

We Celebrate

We Believe

In Mary, Mater Dei,

Helen Steves, Director of Campus Ministry

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4th Annual Learning to Lead Inspires Future Monarchs

On Sunday November 9, nearly 300 Future Monarchs in grades 5 through 8 joined over 90 ASB student volunteers in our 4th Annual Learning to Lead Conference (L2L). This newer MD tradition has become a firm reality at Mater Dei since the first event was held in February 2012. Since creating this event, we have developed a four-year curriculum track so that students can attend annually from 5th to 8th grade and experience different workshops each time.

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L2L is made possible by a partnership with the Activities and Advancement Offices, the Performing Arts Department, and The Association of Catholic Student Councils (TACSC). Students who attend the event experience a full day of leadership training led MD ASB students who spend months preparing their 45-minute lessons. This year’s class workshops were Diversity & Cultural Awareness and the TLCs of Being a 21st Century Leader (TLC = Thankful, Looking, Citizen).

In addition to leading workshops in the classroom, ASB students serve as keynote presenters in the morning session. This year Graham ’17 and Emmett ’18 McGee and Chloe Wallace ’16 inspired L2L attendees with their presentations on “Accepting Others” and “Attitude Reflects Leadership.” Our keynote presenters did an incredible job inspiring the L2L attendees.

A few years ago, we partnered with the Advanced Theatre Arts Students to serve as afternoon keynote speakers. These talented students have trained attendees on everything from group dynamics, to public speaking, and working with different types of people. This year their presentation was called “What Would a Leader Do?” and they created skits and scenarios in which the student attendees became “spectACTORS” to propose solutions to school-life challenges. This format was modeled after Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed and was an informative, fun, and interactive way to deal with sensitive situations including taking personal responsibility, exclusion, and responsible online behavior to name a few.

Upon completing their classroom workshops, it was time to explore the campus through the Leadership Challenge, which representatives from TACSC helped organize. Grouped in teams of eight, our L2L attendees had to race through seven stations to solve trivia questions, complete puzzles, or tackle obstacles. The first team to complete the challenge (accurately) received a great prize! The Leadership Challenge is always a favorite activity as it gets students out to explore the MD campus, tackle challenges, and work with new teammates.

As always, our day of leadership concluded with a Mass and sending forth to “go and make a difference in our schools and communities.” MD Rector/Chaplain Fr. Kiet Ta had great energy and enthusiasm and the students really enjoyed him.

One of the greatest joys about the growth of L2L is seeing students who have attended this event year after year.  Moreover, there are now a large number of MD student volunteers who came to L2L as Future Monarchs and have enjoyed the experience of giving back and inspiring the next generation.

So, L2L 2014 is a wrap!  Thanks to all those who worked so hard to make this wonderful event such an incredible success!

Diana Neustadt, Director of Student Activities

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President’s Message: Tyler Holtz ’07 Honored by Freedom Has A Face Foundation

president's  message logoOn Friday November 7, 2014, as part of a very poignant and touching pre-game ceremony at the Mater Dei/Orange Lutheran Varsity Football game at the Santa Ana Stadium, the Freedom Has A Face Foundation (FHAF) presented Coach Bruce Rollinson and the 2014 Monarch Varsity Football captains with a beautiful bronze plaque honoring Tyler Holtz ’07, a member of the Varsity Football team in 2005 and 2006.

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Principal’s Message: Guest Blogger Student Malik McMorris ’15

principals-message-logo1Senior Malik McMorris ’15 has excelled in the classroom and in the world of athletics at Mater Dei High School as a member of the football, basketball and track teams.  For his senior year, Malik is focusing on football and track and was most recently named High School Athlete of the Month for October by Sports Illustrated. Malik was the first athlete in the nation to receive this honor. In addition, Malik has been invited to play in Semper Fi All-American Bowl in January 2015. Even in the wake of his mother’s recent passing in January 2014, Malik has successfully balanced his commitment to academics (carrying a 3.7 GPA), athletics, and his family.

Today was an exciting day for Mater Dei High School with several representatives from various media outlets covering tonight’s big game against Servite High School as well as Malik’s honors from Sports Illustrated and the United States Marines. We asked Malik to take a quick moment to blog about his experience over these last weeks as well as today’s events.

It is really nice to get this level of recognition from people I know and even from those I don’t know. People have been coming up and congratulating me. It is great to know that people are supporting me and want me to keep excelling at what I am doing.

I never expected to receive an honor like this.  The day I found out about it was just kind of normal. Coach called me into his office and told me that Sports Illustrated wanted to interview me. He made it seem like it wasn’t a very big deal. Then all of the interviews happened and I started to realize it actually was a big thing. But, I just rolled through it. They constructed a great video interview and article.

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This morning I got to be on KTLA, spoke with Sports Illustrated and other members of the press. It was interesting. I just tried to have fun with it. You know, these kinds of things might never happen again for me. So, I am just enjoying the moment.

As for being selected to the Semper Fi All-American team….well, Monarchs of the past like Jonathan Lockett and Thomas Duarte have had that honor. I never thought I would have the chance to go through the same thing. Having the Marines here on campus today during our rally was really awesome. And Matt Leinart ’01 got the students fired up too. I can’t describe how I felt with the whole school cheering and the Marines there with my dad and me.

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We’re ready for the game tonight against Servite. We’re going to kick things up a notch. This is a great rivalry and we as a team have been playing against these guys the last four years. We have got to weather this storm and get the big win. I do believe we are the better team and we Monarchs have each other’s backs.  Coach Rollinson always reminds us that we are not just playing for ourselves, but also for the players of the past and for brothers and sisters in Mater Dei. I am all for that.


Coach Bruce Rollinson ’67

Everyone is so supportive. They have been all of my life – from my parents, teachers, and coaches. Even parents from other teams and other players have been great. Everyone has provided me support and I have been able to grow as a person and an athlete. I am so thankful for these experiences and this special time.

I do not believe it is an accident that these accolades and honors have happened to me in a month that promotes breast cancer awareness. My mom fought that for a long time.  It is funny that this has all happened during this time, but it is not an accident. I may not have pink on my uniform tonight, but I have my pink mouth guard, which reminds me of this very important cause and of course my mom.


One of the best lines from today was something I have never heard Coach Rollinson say, “When the sun goes down tonight, the sky will turn RED.”


Malik McMorris ‘15

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Information Night Oct 15

performing-arts-message-logo11At the Information Night event, you will have several chances to experience the talents of our Performing Arts students. We will be showcasing their talents throughout the evening. Here is a brief listing of times and venues to help you plan your evening.


6:45 pm to 7:00 pm in Meruelo Athletic Center – Cheer, Song, Dance, Color Guard, Marching Band

7:00 pm to 7:30pm in Meruelo Athletic Center during the formal presentation will be performances from our Chambers Choir and the cast of our recent All School Musical Little Shop of Horrors. At the end of the presentation, our Drumline will lead the crowd out to the Grotto.

7:30 pm to 9:00 pm in Monarch Pavilion (Old Gym) – Meet the faculty and Directors of the  various Performing Arts classes and ensembles. Pick up flyers about upcoming events and general information about the programs. Ask questions about the programs and find out how to get involved. These include Band, Choir, Dance, Theatre, Song & Cheer programs.

7:50 pm and again at 8:30 pm in Monarch Pavilion (Old Gym) – Performing Arts Showcase will feature A Capella Club, MD Improvisational Club, Dance Team and the Handbells Ensemble.

MD Pageantry Corps is comprised of our Marching Band and Color Guard programs

MD Pageantry Corps is comprised of our Marching Band and Color Guard programs

Mater Dei Pep Squad is comprised of members from MD Cheer and Song Teams

Mater Dei Pep Squad is comprised of members from MD Cheer and Song Teams

See MDHS Dance Team perform in Monarch Pavilion 7:50 & 8:30pm Wed Oct 15

See MDHS Dance Team perform in Monarch Pavilion 7:50 & 8:30pm Wed Oct 15

MDHS Handbells Ensemble is part of the Choir Program

MDHS Handbells Ensemble is part of the Choir Program

The All-School Musical this year was Little Shop of Horrors, students will perform a song from it at the Information Night Event

The All-School Musical this year was Little Shop of Horrors, students will perform a song from it at the Information Night Event

For additional information about Performing Arts programs, please contact the following:

Performing Arts Department Contacts
Patrick Williams, Director of Performing Arts –
Allison Spencer, Administrative Assistant –

Choir & Handbells
Scott Melvin, Choir Director –
Justin Miller, Asst. Choir Director –

Band & Music Academy
Fernando Martinez, Director of Bands –

Pep Squad
Jason Aldridge, Varsity Cheer Coach –
Dee Dee Aldridge, Junior Varsity Cheer Coach –
Aubrey Price, Song Coach –

Dance Classes & Dance Team
Victoria Ferrigno ’04, Director of Dance Programs –
Lissy Lex ’99, Competitive Dance Team Head Coach –

Theatre Arts, Productions & Clubs
Patrick Williams, Director of Performing Arts –
Joe Alanes, Theatre Arts Teacher –

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Principal’s Message: National Merit Semi-Finalists & Commended Scholars

principals-message-logo1Mater Dei High School is very pleased and proud to announce and congratulate our National Merit semi-finalist, Sydney Gang and National Merit Commended Scholars, Emily R. Brunette, Grace N. Emmel, Sebastian Gutierrez, Matthew B. McGhee, Jonathan W. Saba, Alexander S. Stoller and Jun Z. Wang.  It is indeed a great honor for these students to be recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Program for their outstanding academic achievements and success on the PSAT/NMSQT taken during their junior year of high school.

To have qualified as a National Merit semi-finalist means that Sydney is in the top 1% of the nation’s high school graduating seniors and has an opportunity to advance in the competition for some prestigious Merit Scholarship awards.  Our commended students are among the highest scorers in the National Merit program, again based on their outstanding scores on the PSAT/NMSQT exam taken in their junior year.  Some of these commended students may be candidates for special college Scholarships offered through the National Merit program.

The National Merit Scholarship Program, conducted by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), is an annual academic competition for recognition and college undergraduate scholarships.  It is a privately financed not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance and the competition is open to all US high school students who meet the participation requirements. To date, Mater Dei High School has had 167 National Merit Finalists. This is an incredible honor for our students as well as our teachers.

On October 15, all MDHS Junior level students will have the opportunity to take the PSAT Exam and we hope to have many of these students recognized in their senior year as National Merit scholars.

In Mater Dei,

Frances Clare, Principal

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