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January Alumnae Spotlight, Dody Dolese Nolan, Mac of 1967

In what ways did your Ursuline education prepare you for the work you’re doing now?

Since I majored in speech and education in college, I had to do student teaching. I was called in and told by the teacher, “I don’t know if you have heard of this school, but we are sending you to Ursuline Academy and you will be supervised by a really good teacher. Her name is Edna Mae Mock.” Eureka!!! I hit the jackpot. Having been a student of Mrs. Mock during high school and having been very involved with the Queen’s Players, I was back home. I was then asked to stay and teach and jumped at the opportunity. I taught speech, theatre and drama for the next 36 years. Every day I walked into the Scene, I thanked Mrs. Mock for the background and skills she taught me. Hopefully, I shared my love of the theatre with my girls. After 36 years, I retired but didn’t want to rest on my laurels. I began volunteering at The National WWII Museum and am going on my 6th year of working with the Greatest Generation. I am now an Ambassador. I continue to use my use my “Mrs. Mock” skills through greeting and giving information. I must be doing something right, as I was named Volunteer of the Year two years ago for my particular group.

Please describe the most significant value you learned from Ursuline Academy.

Positivity. Saying you can’t do something is unacceptable at Ursuline. It carries over not only in school, but is also a great life lesson. Be positive with classmates, friends, teachers, co-workers, bosses, family, and even be positive with yourself. Negativity creates bad feelings as well as turns off relationships. Ursuline is full of spirit and when you meet a fellow Ursuline girl, the first thing we ask each other is “What were you?” That spirit and positive attitude carries through life.

Describe Ursuline in one word.

Creative. I read somewhere it is not all the book knowledge that one knows, but putting that knowledge and creating something with it. I was always amazed with the fact that if we had either a personal or school problem, the nuns and teachers would try to help the situation. Creativity is the basis for expanding everything and trying new ideas and seeing them rise from a simple thought. In most of my classes, the girls and I would create numbers for the stage including blocking, dancing, singing, costuming, set design, make-up, and acting. Every girl could create her own character and play it up to her own ability. I put on over 150 shows and many times after the production, a student who was not too keen on having to perform said, “Can we do it again?” QP just got another member!

About Dody Dolese Nolan

Dody started Ursuline in 1962 and graduated as a Merry Mac of1967. After high school, she went to Dominican College and received a degree in speech and education. She married and had her first daughter, Deana (a Skip of ’89) and began teaching at Ursuline in 1978. She originally taught junior English and helped Mrs. Mock with productions. When Mrs.Mock retired, Dody took over the speech and drama department. During her tenure, Dody put on over 150 shows including 25 musicals from OLIVER, WIZARD OF OZ, ANNIE, YOU’RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN, and LITTLE MARY SUNSHINE. Dody’s husband, Kevin, was often seen assisting with building the set and lighting. When Deana was a senior, Dody and Kevin surprised everyone, including themselves, with a daughter also named Dody (Skip of ’07). After retiring in 2014, Dody began to really dive into Serviam. She volunteered at the airport, greeting passengers and giving them Mardi Gras beads and answering endless questions about the “best food” in the city. She has also been at The National WWII Museum for 6 years. Through the museum, she has worked with Gary Sinese and his organization “Soaring Valor” that brings WWII veterans in to spend two days at the museum and see all of the memorabilia. She has shaken hands and praised thousands of our WWII veterans throughout the years.
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