Words of Gratitude

February 4, 2019

I wish that within the English language there was a deeper expression of gratitude than simply “thank you.”  It seems so inappropriate to offer the same words of gratitude for your vote of confidence, (expressed through a confirmed desire to continue our relationship as parents and educators) as would be offered when presented with a refill of my Pepsi at a local restaurant!  Yet I shall say it nonetheless—“Thank You.”

Recently I was asked by a prospective parent—“what differentiates an Academy education from that of (fill in the blank) or any other Catholic school?”  As they had offered a specific school, I promptly reviewed the academic differentiators—single gender classes in the middle school, three Science labs, a teacher dedicated to teaching only Science in the Lower School, the offering of both French and Spanish language instruction, quality daily Physical Education for all students in both indoor and outdoor learning environments, the new Kocs Computer Lab and 1:1 availability of devices in the classrooms across all grades, project-based experiential learning, customized instruction and support of a learning consultant.

While I was on a roll, I knew I had not yet even touched upon the greatest differentiators…our greatest differentiator comes from our shared understanding that together as parents and educators we seek to inspire students with a life-long love of learning and a clear sense of hope…hope as individuals, hope for our community and hope for our world.  How do we do this?  We do this by understanding that God is made manifest in this world through us, though our love and our actions that reflect that love. 

When a teacher comes in early to help a student grow in his/her understanding of a Math concept, when a student stops to greet another in the hall with a smile and a hug, when a parent makes a second trip to bring in their child’s blazer for Mass, when the call for food baskets results in hundreds donated, when students willingly sleep in a box on the front lawn to grow in understanding and empathy for those suffering homelessness, when someone takes the time to just listen…these are the moments that distinguish our community…because it is in these moments that love is put into action.  It is in these moments that this first Sacred Heart School in the Americas becomes more than an educational institution- together we become the eyes and hands of Christ to one another.

And that is why, ‘thank you’ is so very insufficient.

Gratefully united in our mission,

Dr. Dempf

February 4, 2019

In an Era of Instantaneous…

December 4, 2018

This past Sunday we entered into the holy season of Advent, the first season of the Catholic Liturgical Calendar. It is a time when we as a community of the faithful prepare our homes, places of worship and most especially ourselves for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus and ultimately the second coming of Christ at the end of time.

Generosity of Spirit

October 4, 2018

Two hundred years ago today, Emilie and Therese Pratte, along with their cousin Pelagie Chouteau, woke up in the Duquette Mansion having spent their first night as boarders at the newly established Sacred Heart school.  Imagine the excitement around that breakfast table—the students beginning an adventure in the frontier town of Saint Charles and the Religious now having the much-needed boarding students.  What a leap of faith it was for all parties involved!

The Lost Art of Letter Writing

August 30, 2018

On the second floor of the 1835 building there is a very special place.  This room, with its wide plank floors and large fireplace, was the community room for the Religious of the Sacred Heart.  For me, more than any other location on campus, this is where I feel the presence of Philippine.  In this place, I envision Philippine sitting with her companions in the evenings—planning, praying, writing and, especially, reading letters sent from ‘home.’

“Ser un Instrumento Dócil en Las Manos de Dios, pero Sólo un Instrumento”

August 23, 2018

In my office hangs a banner which I cherish.  It has so many levels of significance to me.  On the sentimental level, it hung in the office of my dear friend, a mentor-colleague who had served as Head of School when I was a Sacred Heart student.  It also offers a daily reminder to me of the internationality of Sacred Heart education and the Society of the Sacred Heart…that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves.  On a personal level it reminds me of a meeting when I allowed my mind to wander into the image…and got caught!