From the Heart, Community Voices

Community Voices

From the Heart

May 30, 2024

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For our final From the Heart of the school year, Mrs. Renken reflects on the year behind us and the special moments of growth it held. As she concludes her time as Principal at her beloved school, please keep her in your prayers for a restful, fulfilling, and fantASHtic retirement!

As we greet the summer days that lie ahead, we are given the opportunity to reflect on the days we have spent at the Academy for the past ten months. It is safe to say, everyone is ready for summer – the change of pace, the freedom to sleep in and stay up late, barbeques, ballgames, and vacations near and far.

It has been a great year – #thebest year ever! Beginning in August and throughout the school year, students have eagerly come to school, some even running to class. Excitement and joy filled the hallways and classrooms because learning is fun and there has been something new to experience and learn every day. Perhaps that eagerness waned from time to time, but overall students and adults appreciated the days in this very special “home away from home.”

Sometimes, it takes distance from any experience to appreciate the gift of that experience. We are often too busy, too tired, too mired in our own needs and demands to enjoy or savor the big and small gifts in the ways they deserve. As someone who has relished this year in a special way, I see the many amazing ways we live on the holy grounds of the Academy of the Sacred Heart.

I am confident in sharing some of my reflective thoughts and moments of this year in the hopes that your memories will be stirred and your hearts will remember fondly.

  • Beautiful and eager young hearts and minds of our Little Acorn, Pre-Primary, and Primary students ready to embrace every activity offered to them.
  • Excited and confident Lower School students ready to showcase their reading, writing, and math skills in new and exciting ways.
  • Students transitioning to Middle School with a little apprehension and worry, but clearly ready for more independence and a team of teachers throughout their day.
  • Our older students better able to identify their own strengths and limitations. Their capacity to question, share their points of view, problem-solve, and work independently is more evident in a variety of settings. They are beginning to think about and prepare for high school.
  • Amazing teachers whose commitment and focus is their students. These teachers offer opportunities for learning and growing academically, emotionally, and spiritually to individuals who are at various stages of development. The art of teaching, encouraging, supporting, leading, guiding, and stepping back which may lead to moving forward or stepping backward is what our teachers do every day with a great level of success.
  • The dedicated support of the staff, whose variety of roles is a heartfelt calling and who are deeply invested in students and families.
  • The unwavering partnership of parents with the school strengthens the success of their children. Shared goals for growth make students feel safe to succeed and fail. Grandparents and alumni are active participants in supporting the legacy and strength of the Academy community.
  • Traditions with a capital “T” – St. Philippine’s Feast, Silver Tea, May Crowning, Congé, First Communion, Field Day, Graduation, Closing Prize ceremonies. These timely and timeless events remind us of our history and give us opportunities to celebrate one another in ways that reflect the times.
  • Traditions with a lowercase “t” – Little Glimpses, field trips, Camp Lakewood, In the Footsteps of Philippine service, class parties for Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Adopt-a-Family, Toy Drive, Blessing Bags, and more. These traditions build community and can offer us the chance to be other-centered.
  • Routines and procedures – homework, tests, projects, clean uniforms, multiple uniforms, lunches, report cards, conferences, carpools, keeping up with the Parent Portal and Thursday Mail. While these can keep us on our toes or exhaust us, they help instill organization, accountability, grit, and resilience.
  • The pure fact that we live, learn, play, and pray on holy ground should bring us peace. We recognize and appreciate those that made this possible for us and now we have the privilege of making this possible for future Academy “saints,” which is reason enough to celebrate and be grateful.

As we know, education is about growth, in both small steps and in long strides. There is no one path for everyone and no singular timeline for everyone to follow. We are each a work in progress, and we each need others to grow toward our potential. There will be many celebrations. There will be many setbacks. There will be many questions and wonderings. The beauty of this journey is we are God’s masterpieces sharing our time at this moment and in this place. This is not by accident. This is God’s plan.

Thank you for being a part of my journey and may we celebrate the journey of us all as the Academy community and as individuals. Happy Summer!