How do you see & instill a passion for social justice in your students?
Social justice is the underlying theme in all we do in my office. The Catholic Social Teachings of dignity for all, care for God's creation, solidarity with the poor and vulnerable and a call to participate in community inspire our liturgical celebrations, retreats and club activities. When we work with students to design these experiences and events, we help guide them to bring these values to life in a way that speaks to all of our students. We help facilitate opportunities for student leaders to think from different perspectives, develop compassion for others and create experiences that spread dignity and love. We want our students to learn that they have the capacity to do great things — in the classroom, on the field, in their community, in the church, in their families and in the world.
What is your favorite activity to work on with students?
I love working with students to plan Welcome Day each year. It is a joy to watch our students’ creativity, energy and excitement come to life. Welcome Day holds a special place in my heart. Each year, I love to see how the classes and faculty will showcase their creativity and skills to welcome our new students. As soon as one Welcome Day ends, I start brainstorming the next!
What school tradition shows the spirit of the Immaculate Heart school community best?
Mary's Day! For over 100 years, IH has paused for a day to honor Mary, celebrate the legacy of the Sisters of Immaculate Heart and showcase our creativity. While the celebration each year is unique, it includes some of the same elements that are passed on from year to year. Our themes reflect passion for social justice, love for all people and commitment to mercy; it's beautiful to see how students and faculty express these values. IH has this burst of joyful energy in May expressed in song, dance, prayer, art, theater, food and sisterhood.
What do you love about the all-girls environment at Immaculate Heart?
I was very much shaped by my four years at St. Joseph’s Academy, an all-girls Catholic high school in Cleveland, OH. Students in an all-girls environment are able to focus on their academic curiosity, confidently explore creative interests and develop a strong bond with peers. The feeling of attending an all-girls high school stays with you for life and has given me a sense of empowerment that spills into all I do.
What do you love about Catholic education?
As a graduate of Catholic schools, an educator in Catholic schools for 16 years and now a parent of children in Catholic schools, Catholic education holds a very special place in my heart. Students in Catholic schools receive instruction and guidance on lessons that do not fall within traditional academics. It seeks to educate the whole child, emphasizing spiritual and social-emotional growth. Graduates of Catholic schools possess a solid academic foundation and, perhaps more importantly, they go out into the world with a charge to live the Gospel: to be a voice for the marginalized, to bring compassion to their community and to spread love and forgiveness in a complicated world.
What is something special about working at Immaculate Heart?
I have been at IH for 13 years & have developed very close friendships with my colleagues over the years. They have become more like family than co-workers; one has even become my son's Godmother! The faculty & administration at IH are well-educated, professional & talented. If you ever see our faculty skits & games, you will see we also know how to have fun!
What advice would you give to students looking at Immaculate Heart?
Jump in! Go on that retreat, take that class, go to that dance, volunteer with that organization, talk to that teacher, sign up for that play, try out for that sport. You have been gifted four years to grow, learn & love. We can't wait to see what you will do at IH!
What has been your proudest professional accomplishment?
Despite the difficulties that COVID brought us, even when we were all stuck at home, we created a virtual Mary's Day, Class Day & Welcome Day that were equally moving and entertaining as they would have been in “normal” circumstances. I have two Masters degrees in education; neither directly prepared me for the challenge of fostering community among 500 people in their individual homes. Our virtual celebrations not only feature so many of our students & faculty members, but they kept alive the spirit of IH & gave us hope during a time when we were all struggling.