January 11, 2024

January 11, 2024

“I can live for two months on a good compliment” – Mark Twain

From your heart to From the Heart, this week we are sharing some recent reviews left by parents, alumni and parents of alumni on leading school review sites. Like any worthwhile investment, prospective parents consider your reviews and word of mouth when they are researching their school choice. We are grateful for these heartfelt testimonials!

Share the Academy Love on Niche.com and Private School Review.


January 4, 2024

January 4, 2024

This week, John Storjohann shares gratitude to—and for—our Academy families on behalf of the faculty and staff.

What has always struck me about the Academy of the Sacred Heart is that while our purpose is education, our foundation is the relational charism of our community; the deep commitment to our mission, the support we offer one another through the challenges inherent in life, and the kindness and generosity that is exhibited throughout the year in so many ways and in so many venues. That kindness and generosity was profoundly on display from the gift offered from our parents to our faculty and staff through their Silver Tea donations. I know that I am not alone to say that I was deeply moved when I opened the envelope; I also know that I am not alone in saying that I am moved throughout the year as parents volunteer as room parents, to work at Country Fair, to plan and prepare Chemin de Fer, to serve at the Graduation Dinner…time after time, the presence and efforts of our parents help to make us the community we are.


December 14, 2023

December 14, 2023

This week, we share a brief Advent reflection from Suzanne Cooke, RSCJ, Provincial of the Society of the Sacred Heart, United States-Canada Province. As we move into these last days before Christmas, we wish you time to stop, breathe and pray.

Advent reminds us that the self-discipline of stopping, breathing and praying is a simple practice, but there is no better preparation for Christmas. During Advent we listen to prophets who are beckoning us to trust in the fidelity of God’s promise. We hear stories of Christ demonstrating the depth of the Father’s love. The words of the Scripture consistently challenge us to see the light of Christ being revealed through acts of justice, acts that build peace, acts that inspire hope. Advent comes alive for me when I spend time with children. Just look into the face of any child during these weeks of waiting for Christmas and what do you see? A sense of wonder, a sense of expectancy, a sense of excitement, and a sense of confident joy.

— Sacred Heart Advent Calendar —


December 7, 2023

December 7, 2023

This week Donna Swantner Tobin ’80 shares the impact of the Academy community’s generosity for Christmas Baskets with clients she serves at Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service. 

During the weeks leading up to Christmas each year, I recall the times my sisters and I would help my mother make a special grocery list, shop together, and then carefully pack a large basket of food and holiday goodies for the family who would receive our basket following the annual Christmas Basket Mass at the Academy. We would often wonder about the family who received our basket. Did they like it? Did it make their Christmas day a little brighter? While at the Academy, activities like preparing Christmas Baskets led me to an awareness of needs in our local community and how my actions could have an impact on others.


November 30, 2023

November 30, 2023

This week, Mr. Horner reflects on our blessings as we welcomed visitors from the Network of Sacred Heart Schools to campus.

Last night, I sat in the Shrine surrounded by colleagues and students from approximately 20 Network of Sacred Heart Schools. More than 70 high school students, faculty, staff, and administrators were in town for the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) People of Color Conference and Student Diversity Leadership Conference. The Academy was happy to welcome our Sacred Heart family for a tour of the Shrine and historic areas, a prayer service, and dinner.

As evening descended, sitting in the Shrine with the bright colors of the stained glass windows shifting on the walls, I was reminded through the lens of others’ perspective — most first-time visitors to our campus — of the privileged blessings of our school: To be the first international school of the Sacred Heart . . . to be Philippine’s school . . . to have in our Shrine the inspiration of a saint . . . to be followers in her footsteps. How fortunate we are to live our lives daily on these grounds!


November 16, 2023

November 17, 2023

Last week Middle School students reflected on the successes of the first trimester. Mrs. Renken asked for a Seventh and Eighth Class volunteer to write a brief summary of that brainstorming session. This week, we share a reflection from Alara M. ’24.

Getting to start back up school again in August as an Eighth Class student was a whirlwind of emotions. I say this because as the year progresses, the time will soon come when I must leave the Academy. I have built so many strong friendships and gained many life skills to succeed. 

There have been many successes for the Eighth Class this trimester. To start things off, the first week of school, we threw a beginning of the school year pep rally. We got to be introduced to new students and get everybody pumped for the year to come. It was a great demonstration of all the leadership opportunities we have had this trimester. Not long after, the Seventh and Eighth Class went to Camp Lakewood. We grew as a class and bonded with the new students who joined us last year.


November 9, 2023

November 9, 2023

This week, Mrs. Marcia Renken, principal, shares what is at the heart of an Academy education. 

A distinctive aspect of a Sacred Heart education is the commitment to the nurturing and development of the whole child. Long before the term “whole child” became a buzz word in educational research and circles, the development of Habits of the Heart were a guiding principle in the designing and opening of Sacred Heart schools beginning in France. St. Madeleine Sophie Barat founded the Society of the Sacred Heart believing that “in order to reach the mind, you must first touch the heart.” The building of a relationship, akin to the feeling of family, was the best way to guide and support “our children,” a term used by the RSCJ community in lieu of “students.” Her vision was to create an environment that would feel like home while the children attended classes. Today, at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, it continues to be important for every student, adult, and family to feel loved and accepted. We continue to listen, learn, teach, and grow in our understanding of how to make this happen.


November 2, 2023

November 2, 2023

As we enter the season of gratitude — and anticipate the Feast of St. Philippine Duchesne — this week we share notes from Eighth Class students. As leaders of the school, they were recently asked to write to Academy donors who are members of the Philippine Society and Board of Trustees. Their heartfelt messages are filled with appreciation for their Academy education as well as gratitude for the generosity of our philanthropic leaders. 

The Academy greatly appreciates your generosity toward it. Our wonderful school has helped me to become a more thoughtful and compassionate person, and your kindness contributed. We are truly grateful for all you have done.

— Concetta ’24


October 26, 2023

October 26, 2023

This week, we share a reflection by Elizabeth Grygo, parent of alums:

My husband, David Smith, and I are the proud parents of Ansel and Astrid Smith, Class of 2018. Ansel attended CBC High School and is now in his second year at the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!); Astrid attended Visitation Academy and is in her second year at Drake University in Des Moines (best Saturday farmer’s market in the country!). Both attended the Academy from Pre-Primary through Eighth Class.

Our investment in our children’s experience at the Academy generated returns exceeding expectations. My selection of the words “investment” and “experience” is deliberate. The Academy experience is more than just an education. It is directed at, and impacts, the whole child, laying the foundation of sound character through each of the Goals and Criteria. The time, talents and resources that we as parents invest in that experience blessed us as much, if not more so, than our children.


October 19, 2023

October 19, 2023

This week’s From the Heart is written by Lisa Tebbe ’80, Director of Marketing and Communications.

This morning I had the opportunity to accompany Seventh Class students to one of their Service Learning sites. For me, this wasn’t any Service Learning site but one that holds a special place. My mom has Alzheimer’s, and she is a memory care resident at The Boulevard, St. Charles.

My mom, Sharon Tebbe, was a respected, dedicated, tough, but loving, elementary teacher in St. Charles City School District for 33 years. She adored children, watching them grow in responsibility, encouraging their independence, and helping them succeed academically. She often supported them in their out-of-school activities and stayed in touch with them into their adulthood. Now, living with Alzheimer’s, she lights up whenever children are around. I know it taps into her innate love of teaching and being with young people.

Mom sent my brother, John, and me to the Academy in the early 70s. She was a single mom and was convinced this was the best school for her two kids. She was very proud that we are Academy graduates and believed it was the best decision she made for us. She could’ve never imagined the gift of Sacred Heart education she gave her own children would extend almost 50 years when Academy students returned that gift to her.


October 12, 2023

October 12, 2023

A message from Mr. Horner…

“Are you going to be at Country Fair?” The question rings out often on campus this week as the excitement for Country Fair builds. Tents are up, booths are being constructed, decorations are being placed, and colorful pumpkins line the halls. I join our students in my excitement for this weekend and look forward to seeing our fields, rides, and games overflow with people.

We are indeed blessed here at our school, and our blessings are too large and numerous to count. However, our culture of gratitude invites us to appreciate:

  • Our Chairs, Amber and Jamie Westerson, and Co-Chairs, Louise and Phil Kuhlmann. Their dedication, hard work, and leadership are exemplary.
  • Our many Committee Chairs who have worked tirelessly and creatively to bring the vision of Country Fair to life.
  • The support of our community, from buying raffle tickets to volunteering to joining us this weekend.
  • Our sponsors and donors for their generous support.
  • Our faculty and staff for their support, from tickets to set-up and all things between.
  • Colleen Leahy, Special Events Coordinator, for her planning and attention to a myriad of details, along with assistance from Cindy Johnson, Director of Advancement and Amelia Gorman, Database Coordinator. 
  • Adam Nelson for set-up preparations and behind the scene support.