Sacred Heart symbol extolled

Eleanor Hinkebein
Sacred Heart Academy

Sacred Heart Academy is easily recognized by a simple but powerful symbol: A cross surrounded by a heart.

The power of this symbol has grown for me during my four years as a student. This image represents the strength of each Sacred Heart student as she cultivates curiosity, grit and compassion.

The structure of learning in our classes is based on building curiosity. Our learning is guided by the asking of compelling questions. Through literature, we ask questions about the roles of women in our world across time and cultures.

Our studies in science encourage us to question how and why systems work, so we can further understand the world around us. We question the causes of the events of the past and then apply those questions to how we can influence our futures.

Our teachers create an environment where questions are valued so that we can analyze the function of the liver, study the effects of the Cuban Missile Crisis and reflect on the vision of our Foundress, St. Angela Merici.

Furthermore, this growing curiosity extends the importance of learning beyond grade-bearing assignments. Instead, it guides us to the symbol of SHA which reminds us how much we care about what we learn.

The grit we possess pushes us to achieve at high levels. We develop the courage to take risks and to work out of our comfort zones. Even when we fear failure, we still prepare for the state tournament, we audition for key roles in the school play and we run for office.

We develop new clubs to build community, and we continue to create new organizations that focus on service to others.

This grit, this ability to work hard with determination, allows us to push beyond what is expected with resolve and positive attitudes. Thus, we are willing to wake up early to condition for our team before school, engage in learning during our classes and stay up late reading to prepare for the next day.

This passion leads us, once again, back to the symbol of the cross in the heart reminding us of our strength of character as we work to achieve.

Lastly, our compassion guides and challenges us to open our hearts to God, each other, and those in need. Through meaningful retreats, thought-provoking class discussions and diverse service experiences, we are now capable of looking upon our world with greater perspective.

Our experiences at Sacred Heart have encouraged us to share our gifts both within and outside our school community. We participate in our school liturgies, work the gate at sporting events, share our stories during open house, collect Christmas gifts for families in need and visit with the elderly, drawing us ever closer to the heart of Sacred Heart.

While the embroidered cross in the heart on my uniform may be the same as it was when I entered the building for the very first time my freshman year, I now know I will continue to value my curiosity, embrace my grit and appreciate the compassion I have developed.

I will take my symbol of Sacred Heart with me as I continue to grow as a learner and share my gifts with the world.