12 honored as ‘Women of Distinction’ at St. Mary’s

Photo Courtesy of  St. Mary’s Academy

St. Mary’s Academy recently presented the “Women of Distinction” award to 12 notable African-American females during Black History month at the school.

“Women are often not given the true recognition they deserve as current-day pioneers and trailblazers in our community,” said event coordinator Lisa Ross, the school’s director of student affairs. “This tribute … pays homage to women for their unrelenting and inspirational persistence. We should always be reminded of their strengths, talents and their determination to see others uplifted and enriched.”

Among the 12 who were honored were:

LaToya Cantrell, the first female New Orleans mayor;

Nationally acclaimed restaurateur and author Leah Chase of Dooky Chase restaurant, a St. Mary’s alumna;

U.S. Magistrate Judge Dana Douglas, an alumna;

OperaCréole founders and mother and daughter team Givonna Joseph and Aria Mason, who are dedicated to researching and performing lost or rarely performed works of composers of African descent.

Biochemist and alumna Dr. Trivia Frazier, president and chief executive officer of Obatala Sciences, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on promoting diversity in research and representation of women and underrepresented groups in drug development;

Nonprofit Tekrema Center for Art and Culture founder and director Greer Mendy who has three daughters who graduated from St. Mary’s;

United Negro College Fund Inc. vice president of development Therese Badon, an alumna;

CPA and author Kemberley Washington, who operates Washington CPA Services and the B.A.D.G.E. plan, a program designed to teach individuals about financial literacy;

Louisiana Weekly publisher Renette Dejoie Hall, who continues the newspaper her grandfather founded in 1925 to share news and “combat racial injustice in New Orleans and beyond”;

New Orleans Fashion Week founder Tracee Dundas; And high school fashion designer Amaya Johné Cannon, whose fashions were modeled during a fashion show at the presentation.

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