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Mount Saint Dominic Classmate Remembers Whitney Houston

Classmates considering ways to honor her at their upcoming 35-year reunion.

When she thinks of Whitney Houston, Dr. Maria Pane doesn't just remember the legendary singer and actress.

She remembers the bright, talented and playfully rebellious teen who once sat next to her at homeroom at , the ordinary high school student who "always looked like she was having fun."

"Whitney Houston was a true legend, someone I'm truly proud to call a friend of mine and I'm deeply saddened by her death," said Pane, a Lutherville, Md. resident and neonatologist at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. Houston and Pane were among 79 girls in the Caldwell school's class of 1981 and had several classes together, including physical education, homeroom and art.

Houston died Saturday in Los Angeles at age 48.

"We at Mount Saint Dominic Academy are deeply saddened by the passing of one our alumnae, Whitney Houston," stated George Hayes, a spokesperson for the school, Monday morning. "She and her family, to whom we offer our condolences, are in our prayers."

Many of Pane's classmates went on to big things—she went into medicine, others are now also doctors, as well as lawyers and business owners. But few seemed as destined for greatness as Houston. The child of an entertainment executive and a gospel singer, Houston was already modeling for Seventeen magazine in high school, and in 1981 became the publication's first black cover girl.

"It was every girl's dream in our high school to be someone like Whitney Houston," said Pane. "That's how we knew her. She was beautiful. She had poise. She was dedicated to her modeling career. When we learned she had started to sing, we were shocked. But it was no doubt because she was a beautiful gospel singer in high school."

Houston was always looking to push the envelope, even in Catholic school, where she played with the rules of the school uniform.

"We had to wear maroon socks, a maroon blazer and a plaid and maroon skirt. Whitney Houston loved to challenge the school rules by wearing different-colored socks," said Pane. The singer would "roll up her sleeves, and sometimes roll up her skirt just a little bit above the knees and wouldn't think she'd get into detention."

One time, Houston was practicing a dance routine in gym class, twirled and accidentally struck Pane in the jaw. Pane said she can practically feel it when she thinks about it.

Pane never spoke to Houston after graduation, but never forgot her, and she and some fellow former classmates even attended one of her shows in New York City in the early 1990s.

"I tried to catch her backstage, but we didn't luck out with that," she said.

Pane said she'd "like not to know too much" about Houston's much-publicized personal troubles, including addiction and a turbulent marriage to singer Bobby Brown, but "I can't help but think that that affected her in so many ways. I'd liken her as a legend to Michael Jackson. She's just amazing. She's won so many awards, and for her to pass on the eve of the Grammys is really sad."

Since learning of her passing Saturday, Pane and her classmates have been sharing stories and photos on Facebook and considering ways to honor her at their upcoming 35-year reunion. Their favorite film—The Bodyguard—and her music will probably be part of the festivities. Pane thinks people should remember her not for her struggles, but for her legendary talents.

"I hope everyone remembers her for that. I will always remember her for how kind she was to me, how wonderful she was to all the students in the class and how beautiful her voice is," said Pane. "What a living legend she was."

molly mountie February 13, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Whitney was a wild child. I also knew her, and she always had an attitude. She didn't always like the school. She sucked up all the oxygen at times. If you see her picture in 9th grade, she didn't look all that cute. But God bless her anyway. Why she married that loser, we'll never understand. She didn't do herself any favors. or her body with all those drugs.
molly mountie February 13, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Re-reading this, I can't understand why you interviewed her except for the stories from school. When she says ''started to sing,'' that's so wrong, since she was singing in the church. I know the names of who she really was friends with, and you should interview those people. I remember Whitney putting her feet on the school desks, which was disrespectful.
MMH February 13, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Give me a break, Molly Mountie. You have never done anything disrespectful in YOUR perfect life??? You sound like a bit of a hypocrite to me. Give this amazing talent a break. Whitney had an awful addiction that she couldn't free herself of. If you were a genuine Mountie, you would be praying for her and her devastated loved ones instead of offering criticism and mouthing off nonsense. Shame on you!!!!! Whitney will forever be a talent that this world was blessed to know. MMH MSD Class of '76
Carolyne Curley February 14, 2012 at 01:15 AM
Whitney wasted her incredible gift of singing. Wasted it, threw it away and didn't even realize it until decades later. With continued success she ran to drugs and alcohol and listened to no one in her family who tried to get her out of it and not just away from the disgusting Bobby Brown. I heard her sing a few months ago and her voice was nothing like itself, she had abused it, she had ruined it. She really could have been something special, instead, she acted like a spoiled Diva who thought the world owed her everything. She completely disgraced the name of her talented mother Cissy Houston and Aunt Dionne Warwick. I loved her voice, and I have been mourning it. But Whitney didn't die for me this weekend, Whitney Houston died for me over 15 years ago. I can't imagine why the Mount would celebrate her life. They could celebrate the gift of talent given to her, yes. But her life? Hardly.
Cj February 14, 2012 at 01:37 PM
She had a voice like no other. Unfortunately fame and fortune got to her. The addiction took over. It was before Bobby Brown. You cant blame others for your addiction. Its you that has the control over your life. I only wish she could have gotten that under control. I feel for her mother and daughter. I will always remember her for her voice and her hit songs.
Imaral February 15, 2012 at 03:51 AM
God bless you Whitney Houston. May you rest in peace. And God bless her beautiful daughter. Be strong and be proud of your mother. She will always love you.
Andie February 17, 2012 at 12:38 AM
Whitney Houston went to Mt. St. Dominic - hopefully it enriched her life as it has with so many other girls. God bless her. She had her problems, but she surely had beauty, poise and talent.
Andie February 17, 2012 at 12:39 AM
You sound like a mean, angry person. Shame on you.
P February 19, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Even those these woman are in their 40's they still sound like sheltered, naive catholic school girls! I'm sure her high school cashed Whitney's checks with pleasure. Whitney had a golden voice and uplifted people the world over. She had her flaws as we all do---- She who is without sin cast the first stone. Her funeral introduced millions to true Christian celebration and was done with class and grace! RIP WHITNEY!
avlm February 19, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Do we not honor a person who died of lung cancer due to smoking 40 years? Do we not honor a person who commits suicide due to mental illness? Is drug and alcohol addiction a sickness? Do we remember all classmates at a reunion? Do we remember a person's positive contributions in this world and forgive their mistakes? I feel we should not have flown the flag at half mast for her, I believe it should be for heroes and elected officials....though are all of our elected officials deserving? What happens if one of them become a drug addict and dies of an overdose? Or cheats of his wife and gets caught......I am not sure where to draw the line.....I didn't know Whitney. I don't know if she had struggles or was just a spoiled brat......though I find it hard to believe she didn't want that beautiful voice back...I just can't cast stones
Khadija Ibrahim March 13, 2012 at 10:54 PM
On this article you are Molly Mountie and on another you are Heyden Heyfer posting the exact same comment. I believe you are either a liar who never knew Whitney or you are someone who was extremely jealous of her. For a 40 something year old, since you were in school at the same time as Whitney you really need to grow up. Good or bad attitude, she had an amazing voice and was a superstar. No one can take that away from her!
bettye black April 18, 2012 at 09:46 AM
we all struggle with something, we saw her last day on film but we did not see her last hours when everyone else had gone shopping, what was the coversation about between her and God (REPENTANCE / FORGIVENESS) WE REALLY DON'T KNOW LETS LEAVE IT THERE. God have mercy on us
KWilson November 16, 2012 at 11:18 PM
WH was a pioneer in music videos, like Michael Jackson. She made Black music into American music into international music. Her performances were allowed in Muslim countries and Brazil, Chile and Argentina. She shared her stage with her husband, daughter, other performers and the audience. She publicly spoke of God in her award speeches. She surpassed the Beatles and Elvis. She had the RIGHT to make mistakes, grow old, get sick and die like all the rest of us. Then there are the rest who criticize. Keyboard loners with NOTHING to compare to Whitney's accomplishments.
Sabrina March 19, 2013 at 09:29 PM
Thadiva wants people to get the hell off Whitney Houston and stop hating on her she had a beautiful voice like no other ok so she try drugs I try drugs and alcohol so what the hell yeah I blame bobby he struck her and lie about it talking about the marriage was doomed he was doomed before and after he went on about his dam bussiness because my girl was to dam good for him anyway and so dam what if she at spoil hell I'm spoil so dam what my girl was the best there help from any one on this dam earth any way all people do is run down people I love Whitney a whole lot she was my girl I meet her at her concert and kiss her and people I know are calling me a lesbian well I told that if it came down to me and Whitney oh well s person I know personally told me that he dream of me and Whitney going down on each and having sex I told that person what the hell are you talking about he said I dream some one said you and Whitney meet up and had a intimate relationship on the side no one knew about I said to say what you want about Whitney me and then said some one said you and Whitney were caught in a tongue lock position I'm kissing like a guy and girl would so leave Whitney the hell alone and damit stop judging her and get the fuck off her dam back or else you have to deal with me and trust me you want to cross my path because its a dangerous one

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