A Valkyrie is a woman of faith

Madeline Stokes
Sacred Heart Academy

Horned helmet, navy skirt, cross-embedded heart.

What makes a Valkyrie?

From the top, it is difficult to miss the studded, feathered, red and blue horns of her helmet, bobbing up and down as she shouts in praise of her teammates at what is just the latest in a slew of state championships. Indeed, it is these unmistakable horns that identify her in a crowd, a living symbol of her effervescent school pride and unparalleled support of her classmates, teammates and friends. This is the Valkyrie head.

Digging deeper, it doesn’t take long to realize that her mind radiates with this same passion. From day one of her time at Sacred Heart, she is driven to think beyond the covers of a textbook and delve into the realms of her own curiosity, in one moment debating the legacy of redlining in her community and in the next designing her own mathematical models to evaluate contemporary claims about immigration. Supported by a learning environment that pushes her to independent discovery, her academic exploration fuels a passion for innovation and originality. This is the Valkyrie mind.

Nevertheless, her learning doesn’t stop where academia does. No, after the last bell of the day rings, her free time is consumed by efforts to mold the world she can only imagine. From hosting a podcast in SHA’s Innovation Space to designing legislation with Student Y, choreographing her own musical production to producing stand-up poetry on the state of race relations in America, her penchant for creativity is fueled by a desire for change. This is her life outside of the classroom, her passion, and her focus. This is the Valkyrie heart.

Beyond what can be seen, however, she is animated by an underlying current of vibrancy that sets her apart. From the homes of Kermit, W.V., to the walls of a local ESL classroom, her actions pulse with a radiant devotion to service and solidarity that transcends both literal and metaphorical boundaries. Guided by this devotion, she treks a path from Peru to Thailand and from the walls of Sacred Heart to the male-dominated offices of Aston Martin Americas, all the while leaving a spark of vibrancy in her wake. This is the Valkyrie spirit.

Head, mind, heart and spirit. What makes a Valkyrie?

Her helmet, a symbol of her pride for her school and herself. Her mind, a vessel for exploration and innovation. Her heart, a stimulus for change. Her spirit, a beacon of radiance.

Collectively, this is a Valkyrie: a strong woman of great faith.