The pillars that shape Assumption
I rushed up the stairs and ran into my classroom just as the bell rang. The morning had gotten off to a rough start; I’d driven to school in the rain, ran into traffic and then realized I’d forgotten my lunch as I hurried up the stairs to avoid being tardy. Zoned out at my desk, thinking about how terrible my morning had been, a cheery voice broke through my thoughts, “Make it a great day, Assumption!”
These words are repeated almost every day at Assumption High School on the morning announcements. The reality is, I know that each day at Assumption WILL be a great day. No matter how the day starts or ends, the time spent at AHS will be valuable. There is a special “magic” at Assumption that makes this happen.
The “magic” is hard to describe to someone who doesn’t attend Assumption. I’m sure that each student may describe it differently, but my favorite way is to use the eight simple words that make up our four pillars: Faith guides. Compassion inspires. Integrity matters. Excellence empowers. These pillars are a way of life at Assumption and each girl ensures that they come to life every day at school.
The first pillar is Faith Guides. Assumption provides the foundation for our faith. Each day we start off the day with morning prayer, we have a religion class each semester and we have the opportunity to go on an overnight retreat each year of our time at AHS. But most importantly, our love of God and one another guides our actions toward each other, our teachers and our community. Our faith is tangible at Assumption! I feel Christ’s love in my daily interactions with my classmates and teachers.
The next pillar, Compassion Inspires, is also reflected within everyday occurrences. From smiling at one another in the halls to helping someone pick up her books, there is true kindness and compassion within our walls. Our teachers and administrators lead by example, supporting us, encouraging us and promoting a culture of acceptance at AHS. Their example helps to create a non-judgmental environment, which is why AHS feels like home to most.
The third pillar that guides Assumption is Integrity Matters. Each day, every single student is challenged to live out their life with honesty. In our schoolwork, in admitting and correcting our mistakes and in our interactions with one another, AHS is always encouraging us to be truthful in our daily life. It has prepared me to be the best version of myself.
The culminating pillar of Assumption is Excellence Empowers. The highest goal of all the faculty and staff is to make sure we are prepared to be successful in college and life. Each teacher is dedicated to forming nurturing bonds with their students to help them reach their full potential. Whether it’s a 7 a.m. meeting or 9 p.m. study session, the teachers are here to help students succeed. The variety in classes and academic levels allows each student to develop her interests and to be challenged appropriately. I have three sisters with very different talents, strengths and interests, and we have all flourished at Assumption.
As a community, we live out these four pillars every day at Assumption. Together, we create a “magic” that ensures every day IS a great day. Assumption feels like a second home, a place where everyone feels loved as their true self, all while having fun and growing both mentally and spiritually. 2170 Tyler Lane is not merely an address. “This is the community of Assumption where faith guides, compassion inspires, integrity matters, and excellence empowers. Let’s make it a great day Assumption!”
Assumption High School challenges
and prepares its students for life
Picking a high school to attend was quite the endeavor for me. After many shadow visits and pros and cons lists, I found myself at the steps of 2170 Tyler Lane in December 2017 for the high school placement test, unsure if I had made the right decision, wondering if Assumption High School would ever become my future home.
At any good school, students learn. However, throughout my time at AHS, I have learned that Assumption challenges those standards, ensuring that each student not only receives an education but also learns with purpose. To achieve this mission-driven education, the faculty and staff supplement classroom instruction with experiential learning. My experience in the Argentinean exchange program through Assumption is a testament to this. Not only was I able to enrich my classroom Spanish instruction by communicating in Spanish with a student who attends a fellow Sisters of Mercy school thousands of miles away, but also I made a friendship I foresee lasting a lifetime.
Furthermore, an Assumption education prepares each student for life, as each student is encouraged to bring the AHS mission to life through service and giving back. This is nurtured in a variety of ways, from a friendly school competition dedicated to donating as many canned goods to Dare to Care as possible or through learning about immigration policies with the Sisters of Mercy in Washington, D.C., on a mission trip. Moreover, an Assumption education involves opportunity. The rigorous AP Capstone program enabled me to conduct research and take a multitude of college-level courses that reassure me of my preparedness for success in college and beyond.
The faculty, staff and coaches who compose Assumption encourage each student to see challenges as opportunities. When I am faced with a choice — to play it safe or push my limits — my teachers, counselors, coaches and deans continuously push me to choose the more challenging option. Amidst each challenge, whether that be taking on a leadership role, choosing the harder class or opting for the more rigorous athletic team level, the community of Assumption always encourages me, a constant reminder of the pervasiveness of compassion at AHS that permits growth, but not at the expense of support.
One adjective Assumption students never use to describe the Assumption experience is “boring.” The school is always evolving, notably through the new addition to campus. The new facilities have allowed me to savor eating chocolate chip cookies outside in the new courtyard, cultivate my relationship with God in the new chapel through faculty- and staff-led prayer sessions and expand my knowledge and appreciation for subjects like aviation with the new flight simulators.
As I near the time I walk down the steps at 2170 Tyler Lane one last time, I can confidently say that I will be leaving AHS as a woman rooted in Catholicism, smiling, knowing that there is no place I would have rather called home for the past four years than Assumption High School.
Assumption’s transformative power
There is a common sense of awe shared among Assumption students when reflecting on the transformations they have experienced from freshman to senior years. Parents and family members may look upon their daughter, niece or grandchild and wonder if the Assumption faculty put some sort of spell over their little girls. While the teachers at Assumption may seem like fairy godmothers or godfathers here to grant our wishes in life, they unfortunately cannot wave their magic wand in order to change the hearts of those who step foot on Tyler Lane.
They can, however, give students tools to succeed beyond academics, shaping and supporting women of faith, compassion, excellence and integrity.
Assumption students are blessed to be able to learn what it means to be a woman of faith. It is a sacred atmosphere in which prayer intentions are said in math class or the Bible may be referred to when analyzing books in English. As a community, students are encouraged to grow in their relationships with God. Assumption encourages this through weekly Bible studies, faith affiliated clubs and through a reminder from administration over the announcements every week to “always go to church on Sundays.” Upon entering the postsecondary world, students have the foundation to succeed with the strength that they possess through God’s love.
This strong sense of religious belief shared among Assumption students creates women of compassion. Servant leadership is at the core of what it means to be a student filled with mercy for others. Teachers at Assumption embed the critical concerns of mercy into their lesson plans each day. These values include care for the earth, for women, for immigrants, for racial injustice and for non-violence. Students leave Assumption with a mission to be the future of goodness in the world.
In terms of success, Assumption defines excellence differently. A student’s ability to excel isn’t measured in what appears in the grade book or the letter attached to their test, but rather, how she grew. What did she learn? Who did she become? Through the eyes of Assumption’s faculty and staff, excelling is growing and growing is shining. The growth mindset instilled in Assumption students is carried with them into their future universities, careers and families where they can shine as examples for others.
Doing the right thing when no one is watching is also a large theme integrated into the teachings of Assumption. Integrity means having the courage to be the better person when there is no recognition to follow. Assumption displays this through Mission Week, an entire week in which students learn the importance of being an advocate and to spread kindness.
The Assumption faculty and staff always have each student’s best interest in mind and are rooting for them every step of the way. Whether it is a coach making their players scream, “I am a warrior” if they say the word “can’t” or the school counselor checking in on each student at least once a semester. At Assumption, every student is valued and respected.
While the faculty and staff cannot turn a pumpkin into a glass carriage with the wave of their wand, the values and lessons of Catherine McCauley that they instill can transform student’s views and perspectives. That alone is magic. Assumption is more than just four walls made up of classrooms and hallways. It is an environment of faith, compassion, excellence and integrity, and it raises young girls to be the future leaders of our world.