Sacred Heart Graduation Essays 2023

Landmarks around the Heart 

Ophelia Lorenz 

When a student walks into Sacred Heart Academy, they are instantly greeted by the regal Ursuline crest embedded in the floor of the lobby. Over a thousand feet walk over this crest every day, the floor beneath supporting the weight of an entire school resting on it. This placement of such a core component of an Ursuline education is a testament to its significance in the everyday life of a Sacred Heart Academy student. 

The words “Soli Deo Gloria” are emblazoned atop the crest, translating to “glory to God alone.” As students enter school each morning, passing over the crest, they are reminded that God is at the core of everything Sacred Heart Academy stands for. 

At Sacred Heart, there are countless ways for students to get involved. Students can showcase their athleticism on the field, express their artistic side in the theater, and showcase their leadership through the Jean Frazier Leadership Institute. But at the core of all these activities is the call to Sacred Heart’s roots, the call to live by the example the foundress Saint Angela set. 

Students are reminded each day not only of the idea of “glory to God alone” but also of the bravery and perseverance of Saint Angela. Around campus, there are multiple statues of the beloved saint. One such statue depicts Saint Angela with her arms extended, almost as if she is lifting something up. Similar to the Ursuline crest that rests at the forefront of the school, Saint Angela carries the foundation of Sacred Heart Academy with a grace and admirability she is known for. These statues and the Ursuline crest are significant but specific to those at Sacred Heart; very few outside of the academy know about the crest in the lobby or the statues of Saint Angela. 

When many think of Sacred Heart, they most likely think of the iconic red heart with a white cross down the center. It is difficult to find a single place at Sacred Heart where this logo is not seen. Each morning, students and faculty pray together the words “Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in you.” These words remind students and teachers alike of the meaning behind the school logo. This prayerful way to start each school day yields a productive and faith-guided student body that consistently strives to grow from learners into leaders. 

Each of these well-known facets of Sacred Heart Academy’s campus — the crest, statues of Saint Angela, and the Sacred Heart — are everyday reminders for students to allow their high school career to be guided by the academy’s four core values of community, reverence, service, and leadership. 

From the moment a Sacred Heart Academy student walks through the doors as a freshman up until a bouquet of twelve roses is given at graduation, the student will thrive as a learner and leader within Sacred Heart’s walls. 

The supportive faculty and staff constantly work toward the betterment of the school, keeping in mind Saint Angela’s vision and the Ursuline motto of “Soli Deo Gloria.” Each student comes to appreciate the opportunities they are given as a Valkyrie, and the lessons learned within the Academy extend to the world beyond.

Commitment to diversity, community important at Sacred Heart

Lucia Reynoso Donis

High school is one of the most formative experiences in a person’s life. Here a person is allowed to grow, find their identity, create values, and foster beliefs. Sacred Heart Academy is no exception as the culture allows students to partake in activities geared toward self-growth. Activities ranging from sports to Y-Club to leadership teams to theater all show that there is no one defined path for a student to take. This highlights Sacred Heart Academy’s desire for a diverse student body.

Perhaps the most valuable piece of the diverse activities Sacred Heart Academy provides is the support felt from teachers, staff, counselors, etc. All personnel involved with making Sacred Heart function make it a point to emphasize to students that if they need support they should not hesitate to reach out for help. The counselors make every student feel seen, heard, and they work tirelessly during the college admissions process. Additionally, teachers always look out for their students and advocate for them.

Another major commitment Sacred Heart Academy has for its students is the implementation of its core values. Sacred Heart Academy’s core values are community, reverence, service, and leadership, and each one is attached to a specific year of high school. The greatest of these core values is community. The core value of the community is dedicated to freshman year. Freshman year is the perfect time to be exposed to community, as it is the start of a new chapter of life, and it can be developed throughout the rest of high school.

Ultimately, Sacred Heart Academy’s desire for its students to find a path right for them, with the implementation of the core values, prepares each and every student to lead a life filled with purpose.

As the world around us becomes increasingly interconnected, diversity and inclusion should be at the forefront of people’s minds. Sacred Heart Academy has taken a step toward this reality. I encourage everyone to make people around them — those they know and those they do not know — feel included.

The twelve roses at SHA

Vittoria Riedling

Walking across the graduation stage, a Sacred Heart Academy senior holds twelve long-stem red roses. You might ask yourself, “Where did this acclaimed young woman find these beautiful blooming flowers?”

As she crossed the threshold from eighth grade into high school, she collected her first rose at the freshman rose ceremony Mass. At the start of this four-year journey, she is curious about the exciting new experiences in her future.

Freshman year, she found her second rose when she found her place in the Sacred Heart community. Inside and outside of the classroom, she formed relationships with teachers and peers.

Employing the sophomore core value of reverence, the graduating Sacred Heart Academy student obtained her third rose when she embraced our culture and tradition with open arms. Graduation is not complete without singing “Dear Sacred Heart,” arms intertwined with her Sacred Heart sisters.

After she learns about the founder of the Ursuline Sisters Saint Angela Merici, Sister Lorna presents her with another red rose. Every Sacred Heart student is blessed to attend a school that nurtures her Catholic identity through daily prayer, theology class, yearly retreat and service.

Dedicated to our community, she collects her next rose as a servant leader. By embodying the core value of service junior year, our graduating senior gave back to the school that holds a special place in her heart.

Inside the classroom, she earns a sixth blossoming rose by taking a mix of academically challenging courses. Sacred Heart’s wide variety of International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement courses push her mind to grow. IB Biology, AP Environmental Science, and Honors English will enable her to thrive in her upcoming college years.

Outside the classroom, she balances playing basketball on a state-winning team and singing in the madrigals choir. She sings in Ireland’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade weeks after becoming a three-time state champion — receiving two new roses to add to her bouquet.

Her teacher awards her a ninth rose when she raises her hand to ask for help in class. From her previous experiences, the intelligent graduating student learned to rely on others when stuck on a problem.

The Sacred Heart Academy senior collected her tenth red rose supporting her fellow Valkyries in the student section. Uplifting others makes her happy, so of course she was cheering on Team White at the annual Pink and White flag football game.

During her final year, she earned her penultimate rose by teaching underclasswomen to discover their own place, embrace our traditions, give back to their school, and continue the never-ending cycle of senior leadership at Sacred Heart.

Her bouquet would not be complete without a final rose given to her by her parents. She overcame high school’s challenges with the support of community members. Of course, family, friends, and teachers are cheering on our graduating Valkyrie as she pursues her newest challenge.

As the Sacred Heart Academy senior crosses the graduation stage, the bouquet of roses reminds her of serving her community, conversing in the cafeteria, and walking the hallways for the first time. In this bundle of personal memories and experiences, she examines her identity that shines through the petals. On her four-year journey, she discovered herself as a student, leader, daughter, teammate, and friend. Newly graduated, she sets off in the world, always keeping a special place for the school of her heart.

The Record
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