From the Heart, Community Voices

Community Voices

From the Heart

October 26, 2023

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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.

At my employer, our annual reviews are based not only on the “what” we do, but the “how” we accomplish those goals. I could easily go into “Mom brag” mode, listing my children’s accomplishments (see me later!). However, it is really the “how” that distinguishes my Academy graduates from their peers. This was evident at the high school level, but I am amazed at how much that continued at the university level. The “soft skills” of critical thinking, risk taking, respecting others and themselves, communicating (not just expressing thoughts but looking others in the eye when addressing them…and real handshakes!), are all done with that trademark Sacred Heart quiet confidence that my children developed from their first days at the Academy.

Image by John Storjohann; Ansel and Astrid, Pre-Primary ’08

Current Parents: One of the best parts of my Academy experience was, and continues to be, community involvement (Goal 4!). Lifelong relationships are built helping with Chemin der Fer auction decorations (who knew you could make cherry blossoms out of cupcake wrappers and coffee filters?), coaching teams, driving to service activities, or running games at Country Fair.

Our family is extremely grateful for our Academy experience!

Elizabeth is a current member of the Board of Trustees, serves on the Advancement Committee, and previously served on the Finance Committee. As a parent, she was a room mother, Parent Coordinating Council member, assistant volleyball coach, Chemin co-chair and chair.