Article by Faith Agolia, Class of 2018:
On Friday, December 5, 2014, the young ladies of Kellenberg Memorial and their mothers attended the Magnificat Dinner and Dance, taking a break from hectic schedules to thank God for the special relationship that they share. As they arrived, their eyes lit up at the transformation of the cafeteria with Christmas trees and snowflakes, while blue candles at each table radiated a warm, homey glow. Cameras flashed as photographers snapped pictures of the stylish, sophisticated young women.
The festivities began at 7:00 PM as mothers and daughters sauntered to their tables, greeting familiar faces with hugs and fashion compliments. All talk ceased as Brother Kenneth Hoagland, S.M. opened the night by presenting the speaker, Mrs. Claudy Makelele, class of ’93.
Mrs. Makelele is the principal of Essence School in Brooklyn, New York. She is currently the senior director for the Office of School Wellness Programs for the City of New York. Mrs. Makelele gave an inspirational talk on the importance of the role of mothers in their daughters’ lives. She suggested that mothers and daughters create a “dream board” highlighting the daughter’s strengths, both short and long term goals, and the time frame within which she will accomplish them. Mrs. Makelele recommended that students place a cross in the center of the dream board to represent Jesus, indicating that He is the center of everything in our lives.
Mrs. Makelele advised young women to focus on their positive qualities and identify their weaknesses, to work hard to fulfill their ambitions, and never to give up. One personal reflection from her high-school years was that, even though she struggled academically, she persisted because of her mother’s encouragement and involvement in her life. Mrs. Makelele achieved her goals because of her mother’s support that provided her with the strength to try again and again in order to succeed. It is comforting to a daughter to be reminded that her mother believes in her and encourages her to believe in herself, especially with those trimester exams approaching!
Mrs. Makelele implored young women to keep Jesus at the center of their lives, as symbolized in the dream board. Her amazing talk was a reminder that mothers are the superwomen of the world. Just like Jesus, they pick us up when we fall down and support us whether we succeed or fail. Ismenia Ginebra, class of 2018 said, “I really enjoyed hearing Mrs. Makelele talk about the importance of mothers in our lives and the roles that our mothers play in shaping us to be the best we can, keeping Jesus at the center of our lives.”
S.A.L.T. members dismissed mothers and daughters table-by-table to join the food line. Stomachs ceased to rumble when confronted by the plentiful selection of what was provided. Participants feasted on roasted potatoes, chicken, fish, rice with bacon, biscuits, green beans, spinach, and an assortment of green salads – but not before Brother Kenneth led them in prayer. After enjoying the marvelous dinner, the ladies scrambled to the dance floor as “#DJOB,” Scripture teacher Mr. James O’ Brien, unleashed his powers, blasting favorites such as “Cupid Shuffle,” “Cha Cha Slide,” “Sweet Caroline,” “Call me Maybe,” “Single Ladies,” Blank Space,” “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” “Let it Go,” and hits by Chris Tomlin and One Direction. After several tunes, the daughters and their mothers made their way to the dessert tables, laden with mini cupcakes; cream puffs; and chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla mousse.
Throughout the night, daughters purchased tickets for raffle baskets, which included a Bath and Body set, Coach bags, gift cards, Kellenberg Bookstore items, and Yankee Candles. At the end of the night, each mother and daughter sat on the edge of their seats, frantically checking their raffle tickets for each chosen number. Cherishing every moment, every mother and daughter danced together as #DJOB closed with the Kellenberg favorite, “Don’t Stop Believing.”
The Magnificat Dinner and Dance is a wonderful chance for all the daughters to thank their moms for everything they do. All these mothers deserve a round of applause for their selfless giving and strong support of these talented young women. As Pope Francis tells us: “In Mary, we see that the Church is all who journey together… in the love of those who go out to the most fragile; in the hope of those who know that they will be accompanied in their going out and in the faith of those who have a special gift to share.” Like Mary, our mothers are always with us as we pursue our vocations.