Luster of Lily, a Villa Joseph Marie JEM
by Cate Murway
Sometimes Elizabeth Ann “Lily” Dineen, VJM ’20 swaps her one sport of running for another: Art.
Both art and athletics are complicated, and can be doubt-inducing work that often results in hours upon hours of frustration. Artists and athletes train and prepare themselves to organize, anticipate, and respond spatially, using that space to generate unpredictable moments.
As a track and cross country athlete, no crowd followed Lily around or cheered her on while she ran numerous suicides or powered up a range of the vibrant green [her favorite color] winding park hills in the off-season. And so far, she hasn’t cranked up the ‘Chariots of Fire’ soundtrack to montage her way to a resolved and promising artwork. Lily has proven that she can work on a team, face real problems, and handle technical challenges and stress.
She just happens to see and materialize the world differently than most others, and she deliberately makes time for both of her passions. She is quite sensitive to beauty and she obviously pays close attention to her environment. Her colorful, dreamy paintings are ofttimes little windows into her beautiful and diverse view of the world.
The peace and well-being that she apparently feels while running just transfers to a painting session and just may afford her to experience a very similar state of mind during both of these pursuits.
Her art is one way to LOOK at the sound of speed!
Lily has been painting since she was a little girl and her colorful works lure the imagination of many.
Art captured her early when she participated in the “Mommy and Me” Art classes at the James A. Michener Art Museum when she was just 3 and 4 years old.
“We did a lot of drawing in Buckingham Nursery Pre-School and we always had a ton of crafts at home.
My mom is pretty crafty. She’s a first grade school teacher at Mount Carmel.”
Lily began taking chalk and pastel art lessons but “watercolors are my favorite.” She then started sessions with graphic designer/artist Donna McCafferty and has continued taking lessons from her since the 4th grade, sometimes working with lead pencils and prismacolor pencils.
Lily’s favorite subjects in grade school were Religion and Art.
“I liked how it was taught. All positive and happy.”
English has earned the top academic subject at VJM for Lily, next to her Art classes that included Freshman Portfolio, Drawing & Painting 1 & 2. AP Art is on her roster for senior year.
“Art is not as literal as writing. You can go just about anywhere with it.”
She has discovered just how well her passions of painting and running complement each other. Arts can improve motivation, concentration, confidence, and teamwork but both art and sport are rife with intensity and largely lacking in glory. They both require certain gifts, agreed, but also demand tremendous hard work and lots of arduous practice to be able to perform in that ‘one show only, win or go home’ arena.
Lily was named Elizabeth after both her mother and her maternal Grandmother. Her middle name is
Ann, in honor of her late paternal grandmother.
Lily’s parents were not runners. Liz and Mike met at St. Joseph University. Her mom played softball and her dad wrote for the newspaper and was elected to the SJU Student Government.
But both of her brothers ran. She started running cross country in the 3rd grade and track in the 4th grade.
Her older brothers Patrick, Fordham ’19 and Kevin, Fordham ‘21 run cross country and track and they all began on the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic School CYO teams. She earned the opportunity to compete in the Penn Relays with her CYO team. “The whole program was fun.”
Lily also played some soccer and was a member of the Girl Scouts Daisies and Brownie troops until the fifth grade.
Lily has structured her high school life to include service. “The service aspect of my life is a big part.”
This Friday's child is truly loving and giving.
Villa Joseph Marie’s December trip to Haiti was a highlight for her. “It has given me the most perspective on life. I really enjoyed talking with Father Bavon, the head of the Parish. He’s like the Mayor there. He deals with everyone’s problems in a very impoverished area.”
Lily got to carry the chicken home one night from the market for dinner. “I was ok with eating the chicken but one night’s ‘mystery meat’ was really chewy. I’m not sure what it was.”
She now has a different perspective on just how big the world really is.
“I like to think about what I can do on the outside for them, and not just being there with them.”
After her freshman year, Lily participated in the ‘Philadelphia Immersion Service Camp’. This spring she traveled as the leader on her 2nd return trip to Mount Carmel, PA arranged through the VJM Campus Ministry. “That first year was my first ‘going away’ service trip and I liked the experience. I learned a lot about Mother Maria Kaupas, the Foundress of the Sisters of Saint Casimir. The Parish there has a food bank; there’s a lot of poverty. We cut large blocks of butter and wrapped them to distribute last year. This year, since funding was cut and there was no postage money for the library, we walked around distributing letters asking for monetary help for them.”
Lily always leads by example, commanding dignity and respect, and she has been encouraged to use her strengths to present an effective role model for her team. She is truly competitive and she focuses on each meet, while exhibiting her personal emphasis placed on remaining relaxed, focused and in control at all times during racing and training. Because of her most positive desire to win, she strengthens that valuable team connection and her teammates work incredibly hard to up their game.
They come away energized by her enthusiasm.
“Running has taught me discipline and hard work and to push myself to see where I can go. I’m interested in seeing what I can do with the 400m and the 800m.”
Lily earned coveted positions on the AACA All-Stars 2nd team and the Bucks County Courier Times Golden team 2nd team for her masterful 1600m runs last spring season.
She was awarded the “Coaches Award” at the VJM Awards dinner her sophomore year and was named Junior MVP at the track banquet this month.
Lily designed and created the beautiful “running shoe” necklaces for the senior athletes’ gifts.
Coach Tracy Steven Peal really takes running and the love for the sport to a new level for each of the athletes with his balanced approach, opening their eyes to a whole new mentality towards training.
“I consider Lily Dineen as a ‘true runner’ in every sense of the term. She has the versatility, speed and consistency to compete successfully in a range of distances. She personifies the essence of a quiet leader, speaking through her performances and work ethic. Lily always puts her teammates first and is extremely coachable. Her wry sense of humor is a welcome relief to the daily grind of practices. Every season, she is arguably our most valuable asset,” confirmed Coach Peal.
Cross country/track athlete Lily Dineen proves that she literally RUNS the extent from impressive starts to incredible arts!
Lily was awarded the Drawing & Painting 1 Art Award scholarship at Villa Joseph Marie. She submitted a portfolio and her colored pencil drawing of sneakers that she had created in the 7th grade.
“It’s one of my favorite pieces.”
This multi-faceted and talented NHS student/ President of CSC has participated in Athletes Helping Athletes and she will serve as the elected Homeroom Rep for her senior year. She organized the VJM Art Club and she and the members do crafting projects. Last year they made paper mâché snowmen.
VJM Art teacher/ Fine Arts Department Chair, Ellen Brooks, exhibits a passion for working with her students and she clearly invests her heart in their success. She is known to talk openly and pragmatically about each student’s options, where her talents lay, her limitations, and about how each can and really should participate in the world beyond.
“Lily is an extremely gifted and dedicated young artist, overflowing with promise and a unique perspective. She consistently rises to any and all new challenges, and does so with a noteworthy, great sense of humor,” Ellen Brooks shared.
“I like Ms. Brooks. She has really helped me a lot. She gives her honest opinion but doesn’t try to change you. She values your personal style and tries to develop that. She has helped broaden my horizons.”
Lily recently participated in the juried High School Art Exhibit "Emergence II” at The Bristol Borough Centre for the Arts. “I chose to illustrate time and drew a girl walking who in a way represents me. In the background the crowd is all in motion utilizing soft blurs. The real focus is the clock. Time doesn’t stand in your way.”
Lily definitely likes drawing and painting but she also has a strong interest in Film.
Lafayette and Muhlenberg Colleges, and Fordham and Saint Joseph Universities are on her radar.
“Lafayette has a really nice Art Program.”
Her dream job? “Probably a Documentarian. I think it would be cool to dive into something and then travel with it.”
Even though they may seem like a galaxy away from one another, there is a shared line between artists and athletes, the visualization of space. And nothing feels better than the moment the exhibition comes together in its space.
“Hopefully everyone just thinks I’m a good person, like a kind person. The most important is to be humble and kind. Nothing else really matters,” Lily confirmed.
Lily Dineen is a true JEM. Her VJM team is witnessing something very special.
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