“What sets the Academy apart from other elementary schools?” As the Director of Strategic Enrollment Management, I find that is one of the most often asked questions by prospective parents. That question is by far one of the easiest questions to answer!
Yes, we have an amazing, talented, faith-filled faculty who collaborate and support each other. Yes, we have small class sizes which allow our faculty to understand and reach each student’s potential. Yes, we have an outstanding curriculum which emphasizes the arts, music, technology, and languages. Yes, we live the Sacred Heart GOALS AND CRITERIA every day. Yes, students celebrate their successes and are not afraid to learn from their failures. And yes, the Academy “educates and inspires the heart and mind of each child to become a courageous and confident leader who knows and loves God, and who reveals that love by serving others.”
However, there is something else that truly separates the Academy from other elementary schools – and that is relationship building. Not only for our students but for our parents and the extended Academy community.
As a parent of two alumni and the father-in-law of an alumna who graduated 20 years ago, the relationships begun during the time our children were students continue and thrive today. I often share with prospective parents that my wife, Cindy, and I are still best friends with many of the parents of the children who graduated with our children. Most prospective parents are surprised when they learn we not only keep in touch with fellow parents from the time our children were here, but that we cherish and nurture those friendships. My son’s best-man at his wedding was a Pre-Primary classmate! In fact, three of Evan’s groomsmen were fellow Academy graduates. One of his groomsmen was married last Memorial Day in Tulsa. In all, seven former Academy families traveled to Tulsa to celebrate Luke’s wedding. And all seven of those families just celebrated New Year’s Eve together continuing a long-standing tradition.
So how did those relationships develop and thrive? I tell prospective parents that it started with shared educational goals and values for our children which were solidified on the soccer field, on the basketball court, at Country Fair and Chemin de Fer, at Silver Tea and Little Glimpses, through the Mothers’ and Fathers’ Clubs, and at General PCC Meetings and class parties, and through volunteering and supporting the Academy in all endeavors. Does it take some effort? You bet! Do you need to leave your comfort zone? Again, you bet! But that is what sets this elementary school apart from other schools.
My wife and I will be forever indebted to my neighbor, Molly George, who invited me to the Father Daughter Mass and Brunch and introduced me to the Academy when my daughter, Ami, was only a toddler. I was blown away by the girls in their white dresses who performed a touching tribute to their dads. I knew then that there was something very special about the Academy. That experience began the first of so many amazing relationships my wife and I have experienced through our association with the Academy. As Philippine is often quoted, “My heart abides here.” My heart abides here as well. And now my wife and I have the luxury of continuing to build even more Academy relationships through our grandson, Max, who is a very proud Little Acorn.
As I tell prospective parents, I pray your children’s time at the Academy will be as transformational and relationship-rich for them as it has been for my family. It is also my wish for you. If you haven’t yet, step outside your comfort zone and introduce yourself to fellow parents in your child’s class. Begin those relationships on shared values and goals for your children. Who knows, 20 or 30 years from now, you too might be celebrating New Year’s with those parents you journeyed with at the Academy of the Sacred Heart.
— Don Albert, Director of Strategic Enrollment Management
(pictured with wife, Cindy, and their long-time Academy friends)