St. Mary’s Dominican High School 60th Homecoming Honors Dedication and Milestones

At St. Mary’s Dominican High School’s 60th Homecoming, school President Dr. Cynthia A. Thomas (from left) with Ty Rhea Salvant (’93) who received the St. Catherine of Siena Preaching Award, Alumna of the Year Honorees Evelyne Windmeyer Berner and Katherine McKay Fitzmorris from the Class of 1962, and Alumnae Association President Sally Russo (’04).

St. Mary’s Dominican High School alumnae returned to their alma mater for the 60th Alumnae Homecoming Mass and Luncheon on April 9th. The Classes of 1970, 1971, and 1972 celebrated their 50th anniversaries, and received rosaries designed by Rebecca Bellows Crawford (’86) and made by Peggy Delarosa (’69). Alumnae represented 46 classes.  Celebrant for the Mass was Rev. Peyton Plessala, son of Drs. Kirby and Deneen Territo-Evans Plessala, a 1982 Dominican graduate.  Lorraine Melito Hess (’86) was Liturgical Music Coordinator, and Eucharist Ministers were Christine Coyle Cooper (’70) and Deborah Hall Perrone (’70). 

Following Mass, three alumnae were honored. Ty Rhea Salvant (‘93) received the St. Catherine of Siena Preaching Award in recognition for preaching the Holy Word by example of her life and being an inspiration to those who seek Truth, the Resurrection, and the Life.  Evelyne Windmeyer Berner and Katherine McKay Fitzmorris from the Class of 1962, where named Alumna of the Year in recognition as women who instill Christian moral values while encouraging the practice of ethical behaviors as demonstrated through their dedication to family, public service, and career.

In 2020, Salvant was appointed chair of the Archdiocese of New Orleans Committee for Race, Equity and Justice, leading a 15-member committee of clergy, religious, and laity to assess and make recommendations on diversity and a culture of welcome in parishes, schools, agencies, and administration throughout the Archdiocese. She is a member of the Archdiocese’s Racial Harmony Commission that addressed and implemented Synod findings related to race and diversity and presented workshops on Pastoral Letters regarding racism. 

Last year, the mother of six, started Time with Ty, a lifestyle brand that shares her passion for community, education, family, marriage, and self-care. She wrote, A Mother’s Reflection, a guided journal to help other mothers not lose themselves in the roles they occupy. She plans to publish three more journals in this series: one for dads, one for couples, and one for families. In 2010, she founded NOLA Homeschoolers, an inclusive, diverse, and safe community for families to receive support in every phase of homeschooling. Her community involvement includes volunteering with St. Dominic Catholic Church, NOLA Catholic Parenting, Willwoods Community, and Friends of City Park. She is a board member for BabyPlus for Good, Junior League of New Orleans, and Catholic Engaged Encounter with her husband, Derrick.

Fitzmorris, the eldest of seven children in an Irish-American family, followed the footsteps of her mother, Katherine Raphiel (Class of 1937). After Kay graduated from Dominican, her four sisters, and later her daughter, and five granddaughters would choose the same path. Kay is mother of five and grandmother of nine.  She attended St. Mary’s Dominican College and embarked on a teaching career at New Orleans area Catholic grammar schools. Her teaching career spanned 45 years, with the exception of the years of her husband John’s service in the US Army. For a decade she taught at St. Leo the Great School, under the direction of the Cabra Dominicans. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, she accepted the call from St. Dominic School to teach her favorite subject, religion. At St. Dominic she also helped prepare students for receiving the sacraments. While taking care of her growing family, during weekends over a period of 27 years, she answered the after-hours phone calls to Access, the pregnancy counseling service of Catholic Charities. When she was not in the classroom teaching, Kay shared her time and talent at her alma mater, serving on the Alumnae Board and remaining involved with the Alumnae Association.

 Berner’s love for teaching and helping others was inspired by her mother, Evelyne Cambre Windmeyer, Dominican Class of 1938. Her mother was the founding kindergarten teacher at St. Dominic’s where Evelyne attended.  At the University of New Orleans, Evelyne was a Margaret Mead Scholar and earned a degree in Anthropology. In 1984, she returned to college for a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education in Curriculum and Instruction. She began teaching kindergarten at the newly opened St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and taught for 41 years. Active in several early childhood associations, she was president of the Association of Early Childhood Educators of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

She and her husband of 58 years, August J. Berner, Jr., have four children, 20 grandchildren, one great granddaughter. This fourth-generation Dominican family has three daughters and two grand-daughters who are Dominican graduates. For more than 30 years she hosted summer GrandCamp where she instilled in her grandchildren the importance of family. Recently retired, Evelyne volunteers for science and social studies activities, magic shows and puppet shows for the younger children at various schools.