Alverno Heights Academy Upper School Students Take the Oath of Office


Alverno Heights Academy Upper School student leaders took their official oath of office at Wednesday’s Inauguration Ceremony in the presence of their parents, teachers and fellow students. After last year’s virtual inaugural ceremony conducted via Zoom, it was empowering to see students take their oath in person. Rather than the traditional “Associated Student Body” model, Alverno Heights Academy’s government is modeled after the United States Government complete with a Alverno Constitution and citizens—the Alverno students.

In 1987, after a trip to Washington, DC, the Alverno students who attended a program called Close Up, returned home and wanted to see a change in the way student government was run. They didn’t feel that the typical student government model worked at Alverno. They wanted their government to become more inclusive and more representative, much like the United States government. Out of that dream the Alverno Student Union was born. With the help of their government moderators, the students wrote the Alverno Constitution. The Constitution called for a Supreme Court, a Congress, and an Executive Branch with a Cabinet.

All Alverno students are considered to be citizens of the Alverno Union and of their own state as freshmen, sophomores, juniors, or seniors.That Constitution and Union is still thriving.The same spirit and enthusiasm continue to exist in the Government program. Inauguration honors those students who are continuing this 34 year tradition. Each state has its own Constitution as well as the following positions: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary, Treasurer, Sergeant-At-Arms, and assemblywomen. These young women are responsible for making decisions specific to their own state (class).

The judicial branch includes two Supreme Court justices from each state and a Chief Justice. The Supreme Court’s Chief Justice, senior Maille Mansbridge, led today’s ceremony, which started with the oath of the ASU President Ava Villegas ‘22 and Vice-President Richelle Studer ‘22. “ Alverno government is a core value of our school and for us all to have the honor to be such an important part of our community is something so special.” said ASU President, Ava Villegas. The Student Union President and Vice-President run as a ticket and elect a cabinet who acts as the governing body for all students.

This year’s cabinet is made up of 17 members, including Seniors, Juniors and Sophomores, who each play a different role, such as Secretary of Athletics or Chief of Domestic Protocol. “Our unique student government program is a perfect example of the monumental role our young women play in our school community. Each of the young women elected has made not only a commitment to Alverno Heights Academy, but a commitment to her peers to be an effective, compassionate servant-leader,” said Head of School Julia V. Fanara. “These values are basic tenets of the Alverno philosophy and our leadership program is just one of the ways Alverno empowers each young woman to be exactly the person she wants to be.”

Just as the United States begins a new presidential term with an Inauguration, so does Alverno! This afternoon all student officers took their official oath of office and were reminded of the importance of being a leader. “Inauguration is a long standing tradition at Alverno, we are very proud of the role our students take as leaders on campus,” said Lisa Primero-Solano, Director of Activities. “During this ceremony students take the same oath that our elected United States government members take. This year we also included the singing of the National Anthem and America the Beautiful in the program, as well as our first Inaugural poet, junior Kiera Dean.”

This formal ceremony concluded with an Inaugural Address from the ASU President Villegas “May we constantly grow, learn, and love and use that to be the best person we can be. When I look at the leaders in front of me, I have hope. Hope for a better future, a more fair future, and a future that uplifts and inspires. I know that this school year will be one filled with service, happiness, love, and of course great leadership. I’m so proud of all we have accomplished this past year and a half and I’m so excited for what is to come. “

This group of Alverno Heights Academy Upper School leaders is sure to fill the school year with excitement and empowerment.

Alverno Heights Academy, 200 North Michillinda Avenue, Sierra Madre, (626) 355-3463 or visit

About Alverno Heights Academy

Alverno Heights Academy is an all-girls, independent, progressive Catholic, college preparatory school dedicated to its mission of empowering each young woman to be exactly the person she wants to be. Located on the property of the former Barlow Estate in Sierra Madre, California, Alverno Heights Academy was founded in 1960 by the Sisters of St. Francis who sought to create an environment in the San Gabriel Valley where young women could become informed and knowledgeable persons. Later renamed Alverno High School and sponsored by the Immaculate Heart Community, Alverno’s program—academic, spiritual, aesthetic, social, and physical—has been shaped by the staff, trustees, and students. As Alverno Heights Academy once again, the school remains committed to its mission by encouraging each of their young women to be who they imagine. For more information about Alverno Heights Academy, please visit

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