Walking into class freshman year, seeing the teachers standing at the front of the classrooms was intimidating. Little did we know, they would become our advisors, mentors and most surprising of all, friends. It is their influence that began a cascade effect over our high school experiences, inspiring us to make an impact on the world. The teachers at Sacred Heart Academy are truly special and play a pivotal role in helping students grow from learners to leaders.
At SHA, the teachers cultivate an environment in which it is “cool” to learn. They foster individual thoughts and encourage intellectual conversation both inside and outside the classroom.
Teachers in every discipline at SHA have a passion for what they teach. This passion is contagious and drives us to put forth our best effort in class. Our teachers make us want to do better, and we want to make them proud. They make us excited to learn in an era where learning is often viewed as a chore. They make hour-long tutorial videos to help with homework, FaceTime class the night before a test to answer questions and stay after school just to help with college essays.
It was because of this dedication to creating a comfortable learning environment that over the years the initial fear walking into classrooms was replaced by curiosity and anticipation. Excitement rises within each student as our math class discusses paradoxical applications of our lessons, our history class debates current events and our art class provides space for our creative thinking.
At the center of each of these experiences is a teacher who yearns to help each student discover her interest and decipher how she will use it to make an impact on others’ lives; this is the core of our transition from learners to leaders.
While teachers encourage us to be independent thinkers, they also stress the importance of hearing differing perspectives and being open to new ideas. From creating and presenting a typical group presentation to designing and executing our own group laboratory experiment, the experiences we have to collaborate with one another are unlike any other. This group work often results in the most creative solutions to problems as well as building relationships with peers.
With the confidence to think and to articulate our ideas, we take the lessons we learn in class and use them to become leaders on our teams, in our clubs and around our community.
Some are involved in service organizations like PAVE the Way, Operation Smile and the Community Awareness Club. Others are captains of various sports teams and some are leaders of STEM-related clubs.
These leadership experiences are the culmination of the lessons we learned starting on the first day of freshman year as Valkyries. Through each of these opportunities we are encouraged to discover what type of leader we wish to become after we graduate from SHA.
However, none of these leadership opportunities are possible without the dedication of our teachers. They lay the path for us — from learners, to leaders, and beyond.