Beyond the Classroom
We have always been a community of leaders. Our girls participate in volunteer efforts in the Memphis community not because it's required, but because they believe it's their responsibility. Beginning in Middle School, St. Mary's girls leave campus each week to serve during the school day and be in relationship with those whom they are serving. St. Mary's girls are recognized wherever they go for how they conduct themselves and how they treat others. Our girls graduate and take leadership positions in their colleges and universities and in the communities around the world where they live and work.
Leadership is more than being "in charge." In order to be an effective leader, a girl must first participate, be a member of a team, learn to work well with others and to learn from those who see the world differently. All of this happens everyday at St. Mary's, in and out of the classroom.
The Honor Council educates students about the Honor System, oversees and enforces the Honor Code, and helps maintain and preserve the atmosphere of trust within the school community. The Honor Council is responsible for determining whether or not a student has violated the Honor Code, and if so, helping her understand how she has done so. The Council consists of two elected representatives from each grade 9 through 11 and five representatives from the senior class.
Sponsors: Dr. Stakem, Dr. Lyon
The Student Council provides a forum for student expression, develops leadership, promotes school spirit and student morale, builds strong student-teacher relations, provides student activities, and assists in the management of the school. The Student Council meets weekly and as needed for special projects, such as Derby Day, the Halloween Bazaar, the Gobbler 5K, talent shows, and elections/campaign weekend. Each special project requires an additional time commitment for planning and directing.
Sponsor: Mrs. Hensarling
There are several national organizations which sponsor chapters at St. Mary's. They are listed below with the minimum requirements for membership.
- Cliosophic Society
- Cum Laude Society
- International Thespian Society
- M Club
- Mu Alpha Theta
- National Beta Club
- National Honor Society
- National Latin Honor Society
- Quill and Scroll
- Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica
- Société Honoraire de Français
- Tri-M Music Honor Society
The Cliosophic Society is a history honor society for sophomores, juniors, and seniors who have demonstrated exceptional talent for historical writing and the study of history, students in other words, who have potential to become historians. Grade requirements are 95 for sophomores, 90 for juniors and 85 for seniors, and students must distinguish themselves through the term paper, essays, independent reading and class participation. Members of the Cliosophic Society are automatically admitted to the National History Club.
Sponsor: Dr. Lyon
The Cum Laude Society recognizes students of highest academic achievement, who have demonstrated good character, honor, and integrity in all aspects of their school life. The St. Mary's chapter may elect up to 20% of the Senior Class; half may be elected at the end of the junior year or at any time during the Senior year and the remainder at the end of the Senior year.
Sponsors: Mr. Throckmorton, Dr. Steakley
The International Thespian Society is an honor society for theatre arts students. Thespians are inducted based on participation in productions (2 full-length, 1 full-length and 2 one-acts, or 4 one-acts), participation in two different areas of theater, and accumulation of a specified number of points toward membership.
Sponsor: Mrs. Madden
The "M" Club is an honorary club for varsity athletes. To be eligible for induction into the “M” Club, an athlete must have participated in a St. Mary's Upper School sport for a minimum of three years, earning a varsity letter at least two of those years. Nominations are made by a coach’s recommendation.
Sponsor: Mr. Bartholomew
Mu Alpha Theta, the National High School Mathematics Honor Society, is dedicated to inspiring a keen interest in mathematics, developing strong scholarship in the subject, and recognizing and encouraging students who enjoy and excel in mathematics. Mu Alpha Theta inducts sophomores with 3 semesters of honors high school math with unweighted cumulative math averages of 4.40, juniors with five semesters of honors high school math with unweighted cumulative math average of 4.20, and seniors with seven semesters of high school math with unweighted cumulative math average of 4.00.
Sponsor: Mr. McCalla
The National Beta Club promotes the ideals of academic achievement, character, service and leadership. After one semester in St. Mary’s Upper School, students who meet the academic, character, and service requirements may apply for membership. Academic minimums are cumulative weighted grade point averages of 4.33 for freshmen, 4.00 for sophomores, 3.67 for juniors, and 3.33 for seniors.
Sponsor: Ms. Avant
The National Junior Classical League Latin Honor Society is a special designation given to JCL students who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement and citizenship in Latin. Membership is earned annually based on student performance. Minimum requirements are sophomore standing after at least one year at St. Mary's and a grade of A- or above.
Sponsor: Dr. McFadden
Quill and Scroll encourages, supports and recognizes individual student initiative and achievement in scholastic journalism, irregardless the medium. To be considered for induction, a student must be at least a junior whose cumulative average or current year grades place her in the top third of her class. She must have produced superior work in some phase of journalism or school publication work and be recommended by the publication advisor.
Sponsor: Mrs. Akers, Ms. Goodman
The Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica is an honor society for high school students enrolled in Spanish and/or Portuguese which recognizes achievement in Spanish and Portuguese and promotes interest in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian studies. Minimum requirements for membership are sophomore standing with at least three semesters at St. Mary’s and a grade of A or above.
Sponsors: Sra. Walker, Sra. Smalley
The Tri-M Music Honor Society recognizes students who are academically capable and musically gifted. To be eligible for membership, a student must have been in a school music performance class at St. Mary’s for at least three semesters and must be enrolled in a performance ensemble at the time of selection for membership; students must have maintained at least an A- average in music performance classes and must have an overall B average in other classes.
Sponsors: Dr. Millen, Mrs. Millen
Organizations are established by application, interview, or audition. Organization sponsors, with the assistance of student leadership will schedule regular meetings and special events. Descriptions of organizations are listed. Leadership can be found in a separate extra-curricular guide. Please contact the Director of Student Life, Sandra Pitts, to access the guide.
- Mock Trial
- St. Mary's Community Fund (SMCF)
- Speech Team
- Chapel Committee
- Student Ambassadors
- Bridge Builders
Mock Trial offers Upper School students an opportunity to compete in the National Bar Association's high school mock trial competition in which students prepare a mock lawsuit for trial and play the roles of attorneys and witnesses in competitions against teams from other schools at the local, state, and national level. The experience instills the importance of teamwork, preparation, determination, persistence, and attention to detail. Skills acquired include public speaking, the ability to think on one's feet and to see an argument from two different perspectives. The team spends about three months preparing the case provided by the Tennessee Bar Association. Mock trial requires commitment and willingness to practice two to three times weekly over a three to four month period.
Sponsor: Dr. Steakley
The St. Mary's Speech Team helps students develop and continually improve their public speaking skills and eloquence on both a personal and competitive basis. A common misconception is that students on the speech team just write a speech and deliver it, but this is not entirely true. Yes, we write speeches (you can also choose a published piece like a book or poem to perform instead), and yes, we deliver it in front of an audience, but we do so much more. We compete in local and regional forensics tournaments. There are approximately six tournaments per year and an entry fee attached to each tournament. At these tournaments, students compete in a variety of events, including solo and duet acting, prose, poetry, news casting, storytelling, original oratory, after-dinner speaking, extemporaneous speaking, duet interpretation, duo improvisation, and so much MORE. We meet prior to each tournament.
Sponsor: Mrs. Madden
Student Ambassadors represent St. Mary’s to the greater community. They act as tour guides to prospective students and as hostesses for guests during open houses and meetings on campus. To be considered for selection by the committee, a student must complete an application and submit to an interview.
Sponsors: Mrs. Hernandez, Mrs. Hill, Mrs. Yarbro
BRIDGES unites and inspires diverse young people to become confident and courageous leaders committed to community transformation. Unlike any organization in the Mid-South region, BRIDGES provides students an opportunity to find their voice through unique experiential learning activities that are adventurous, relational and transformative. As a result, participants are empowered to reach across racial and socio-economic divides, are prepared for secondary educational opportunities and careers, and are engaged in civic affairs in their communities.
Sponsor: Mrs. Pitts
Five publications, all led by student editors and committees, receive local and national honors on a regular basis. Leadership can be found in a separate extra-curricular guide. Applications may be made to the advisor of a publication in the spring prior to the school year.
Belles Melodies is a companion publication of Belles Lettres literary journal. It showcases student talent in an audio format. Students are asked to audition their own original compositions: music (vocal & instrumental), poetry, and short stories. The auditions take place after school during October and November; recordings take place during January and February.
Sponsor: Mrs. Umfress
Bella Vista is the St. Mary’s video publication, which not only documents the goings-on of our school and community but also taps into our creative side with original films. Students on this staff get hands-on experience, ranging from filming to editing. All are welcome to apply, even those with little to no experience.
Sponsor: Ms. Bielskis
Clubs offer open membership either with or without dues. Elected club leaders schedule regular meetings and special events. Descriptions of clubs are listed. Leadership can be found in a separate extra-curricular guide. Please contact the Director of Student Life, Sandra Pitts, to access the guide.
- Art Club
- Chess Club
- Debate Club
- Diversity Club
- Drama Club, Masque
- Ecology Club
- Facing History & Ourselves
- French Club
- GovClub (Model UN & YIG)
- I AM THAT GIRL
- Latin Club
- Library Ambassadors
- MoSAic (Minority Student Association)
- Outdoor Adventures
- Pep Club
- Spanish Club
- STEM Club
The St. Mary’s Diversity Club celebrates diversity in the St. Mary’s community by sponsoring various events, occasionally hosting a special chapel speaker, and donating money to a local charity. The membership supports and participates with a variety of World Language events. The club meets once a month.
Sponsor: Mrs. Pitts
The Drama Club brings together those who have a love of the dramatic arts. It’s a great way to get students involved in St. Mary’s theatre and to make them aware of the wonderful theatre community in Memphis. Drama Club members are encouraged to join the Performing Arts members in the Greenroom for breakfast on Wednesdays at 7:30am. Members are expected to be present for all meetings, help with SMS theatre productions, and have fun!
Sponsor: Mrs. Madden
The Facing History Student Leadership Group meets to have meaningful conversations about tough topics. Our conversations tend to be centered on civic participation and how to be a leader within St. Mary's and the larger community. In these meetings, students teach, facilitate, speak, and organize discussions with the goal of enhancing civic discourse and understanding on potentially divisive issues.
Sponsor: Mr. Moore
The French Club serves to engage and educate students (as well as other members of our community), as we experience the things that bring French to life – cuisine, fashion, art, music, film, etc. Another goal is to make students aware of the Francophone (or French-speaking) world. As part of this, we are also committed to community service, especially service towards French-speaking countries in need (such as Haiti) or French-speaking refugees living here in Memphis. The French Club collects dues and holds crêpe and pastry sales to support events such as the Cajun Dinner, French-themed speakers, and National French Club events. In the past, we have also given donations to the Haiti Medical Mission, to St. Vincent’s School for Children With Disabilities in Haiti, and to a group of French students at Whitehaven High who were raising funds for a trip to Québec; we have also raised funds to buy a bench in memory of beloved former French teacher, Mme Quinn, .
Sponsor: Mme. Bell
The GovClub is made up of students who participate in the YMCA-run Model United Nations conference in the fall and/or the Youth in Government conference in the spring. The club provides the organizational structure to make that participation possible. St. Mary's meetings are held periodically during lunch in the months and weeks leading up to each conference. The YMCA holds 3-4 separate Memphis-wide meetings at night before each conference at either MUS or Hutchison. Model United Nations is typically the first weekend of November and Youth in Government is usually the first weekend in April.
Sponsor: Dr. Lyon
We are shifting girl culture, raising the standards for how girls treat themselves, each other, and the world. By building a community for girls to be seen, be heard, and belong, we are giving them something bigger than themselves to stand for and creating a healthier, more powerful world. I AM THAT GIRL meets regularly to provide a safe space to connect and have honest conversations about things that matter. Every day, girls are bombarded with messages that attack what she is NOT and we work every day to help her love who SHE IS, to see that in herself, and inspire that in others. The members pay dues and the dues collected go towards attending a retreat in the spring.
Sponsor: Ms. Bielskis
The purpose of the Junior Classical League (Latin Club) “is to encourage an interest in and an appreciation of the language, literature, and culture of ancient Greece and Rome and to impart an understanding of the debt of our own culture to that of Classical antiquity.” Dues are collected from each member to cover registration with State/National Organization. Money is also collected for individual events. The Latin Club sponsors Life Blood twice a year.
Sponsor: Dr. McFadden
Outdoor Adventures promotes and gathers students to participate in various outdoor activities throughout the year. Events may include hiking, kayaking, picnics, ultimate Frisbee, and more. Events will be scheduled during lunch, after school hours and on the weekends, enabling each participant a time to be mindful and to manage stress. Events are open to all upper school students. There are no dues but money will be collected to cover the cost of each activity.
Sponsors: Ms. Seebeck and Mrs. Pitts
The purpose of the Spanish Club is to promote awareness and appreciation for Hispanic culture through celebration of Hispanic traditions and contact with native Spanish speakers. By connecting with Hispanic culture around us, we aim to develop a greater understanding of the Spanish-speaking world. The club meets several times a semester during O periods or lunch. Members are expected to pay dues and volunteer at tutoring or outreach programs. In the past, we have tutored at Multi-National Ministries, Casa María, Casa Vecino, Centro Las Américas, and Streets Ministries.
Sponsors: Sra. Walker, Sra. Smalley
The STEM Club offers a place for students to celebrate, share and participate in their passion for science, technology, engineering, and math. While in the STEM club, students have the opportunity to participate in discussions of current events, Canstruction, engineering days, astronomy nights, and lots of other hands-on events. This club celebrates each student's interest by offering her a platform of support and resources to further her passion.
Sponsor: Ms. Levi