85 Years Later, Keepsakes Find Their Way Back to Dominican

In 1935, the graduating class of St. Mary’s Dominican High School numbered 35 students. The Class flower was the Forget-Me-Not. Class colors were pink and blue. “To strive, to seek, to find, but not to yield” was the class motto. School colors were blue and gold. In 1939 they were changed to black and white. Regina Rosarii was a quarterly publication that featured news about the high school and the college. It cost 40 cents per copy or $1.50 annually.  It evolved into the high school’s current yearbook.  

Marguerite Ayala Lier was in the Class of 1935. Four years later she graduated from St. Mary’s Dominican College with a bachelor’s degree in arts and science. She pursued a career as a clinical social worker in the New Orleans area.  Both she and her daughter, Kathleen (Kathy) O’Neill Lier (a 1976 graduate of the high school) were long time supporters of their alma mater.  After her mother’s passing in 2001, Kathleen created a scholarship in her honor. An additional scholarship was created in memory of Kathy who passed in 2003. 

The Lier family donated to Dominican several documents that their mother had kept over the decades. The items included a Graduation Memories book filled with photos, correspondences, news-paper clippings, school programs, and a college biology notebook with handwritten entries.  There also was Mrs. Lier’s 1935 diploma. Folded in half, the front of the diploma listed the class flower, colors, and motto. On the back half was the class roll.  Inside was the certificate of graduation, signed on June 5, 1935, by Sr. Mary Catherine, O.P., who was Mother General of Dominican Sisters, Congregation of St. Mary, and Principal Sr. Mary Alexaidia, O.P. In 1935, St. Mary’s Dominican College and the high school were located on the former St. Charles Avenue campus at 7214 St. Charles Avenue. The increased enrollment for both college and high school necessitated physical expansion. On March 22, 1963, the high school moved to 7701 Walmsley Avenue, its present site.

School historian Sr. Dominic Savio Estorge, O.P., said the Lier family’s donation will be added to the school archives.  The documents from a student’s perspective are a welcomed addition, noted Sr. Savio who is in her 58th year of service at the school where she was on the faculty taught for 47 years, supervised 28 yearbooks, and was school president from 1994 to 1997.

“For those of us who stand on their shoulders, it is gratifying to see what mementos our Dominican graduates have treasured through the years. Thanks to the Lier family and all of the others who have shared these memories with us and made it possible to continue Dominican’s legacy,” she said.