Legacy tradition continues

The Lauralton legacy continues as accepted eighth graders and current freshmen whose mothers and/or grandmothers graduated from Lauralton were recognized at the Annual Legacy Reception in late January. Families were joined by faculty and staff, several of whom are Lauralton alum and members of the Alumnae Board. 

The festivities were held in the Claven Auditorium and began with remarks by Kathleen Shine, Director of Enrollment Management. “As the first Catholic college-preparatory school for girls in Connecticut, we are fortunate to have so many generations of students continue the family legacy. We are proud that this year, 26 of our accepted students and 46 of our current students chose to follow in the footsteps of their mothers and grandmothers. Each student enters ready to learn and as the alumnae here can attest, each leaves as an independent and empowered woman, ready to take on the world.”

Among the attendees was Rita Dlugas Mencel, ’57, proud grandmother of Allison Haynes who will be joining the class of 2017 in the fall. “I was thrilled when I heard that Allison was accepted,” said Rita. “Lauralton has played such an important role in my life. When I was a sophomore a group of us formed the Iota Club. We continued to meet during college; after we married and had children and fifty years later, we still meet!” Alison, who has been visiting Lauralton since she was two years old, has fond memories of helping her grandmother prepare auction baskets for Christmas in the Mansion. “My grandmother has told me so many great things about Lauralton, but it was the day I shadowed here that I knew absolutely that this is the school for me. I loved the challenging classes, the drama department and the soccer program, but what I really liked is that they give you lots of responsibility and they trust you to make your own choices.”

Kathleen Kearns Donahue, ’80, Director of Alumnae Relations and Special Events and mother of a current Lauralton student and an alumna, spoke about the value of maintaining traditions. “One of the many exciting things about Lauralton is sharing traditions that are the same ones shared by your mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and cousins; traditions such as the freshman and sophomore retreats, running through the catacombs, the Junior Ring Ceremony and the100 Days Dinner. We know that one day you will recognize this unique bond that we Lauralton Ladies share and that you will cherish these memories along with your mothers and perhaps your own daughters!” 

Donahue was excited to see that 11 members from one legacy family came together to celebrate Devin Connelly’s acceptance to Lauralton. “Devin’s grandmother, Mary Lou Dailey Connelly, ’51, was in attendance along with several of Devin’s cousins including Meghan Brennan Chiota, ’93,” said Kathleen. “Meghan’s parents are Alyson Brennan (1987 Claven Award recipient) and the late Robert J. Brennan, Jr. (former Chairman of the Board of Trustees and the 1998 McClean award recipient). Meghan’s in-laws, The Hon. John P. Chiota and Diane Trautman Chiota, ’61, are also Claven and McClean award recipients. It is amazing to see a family like this with generations so deeply connected and committed to Lauralton. They truly embody the core values of a Mercy education. We are very proud of all them.”

President Toni Iadarola spoke about the importance Lauralton places on following the Mercy Core Values while also focusing on incorporating modern technology and improving facilities such as the soon to be restored carriage barn. “You have given us the gift of your daughter or granddaughter,” said Dr. Iadarola, “and it’s an honor and a privilege to educate her. On behalf of the entire Lauralton community, we thank you.”

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