Dear Academy families and friends,
Today the Middle School students attended the Following in the Footsteps of Philippine Mass. The liturgy offers student time to reflect on the manner in which they support their community and serve the needs of others. In a very special way members of the Class of 2021 are called forward to receive a Philippine medal as they commit themselves to following in her footsteps and living out her legacy.
In the Goals and Criteria of Sacred Heart Education under Goal III: Schools of the Sacred Heart commit themselves to educate to a social awareness which impels to action, Criteria One states: “The school community educates to a critical consciousness that leads its total community to analyze and reflect on the values of society and to act for justice.”
As I reread this statement while preparing to offer remarks at the conclusion of the commissioning ceremony – I took a deep dive into what critical consciousness entails. I was reminded that it is in fact a process, something ongoing, where we use our critical thinking skills to examine current situations. The situations that the Middle Schoolers will be considering are: the needs of the elderly, the needs of the poor and hungry, as well as the needs of those who experience developmental challenges. These focused topics will likely bring forward their own interests as well.
We engage in these topics with a purpose – to not only develop an understanding about their concrete reality – but more importantly to develop, implement and evaluate solutions to these problems.
In non-COVID days our students would have been going out into the community to meet and serve the elderly, the poor and those with developmental challenges. We look forward to a return to those person-to-person exchanges. In the meantime, I thought it was important to know that we remain committed to the individuals and agencies we have actively served in the past. Together we will explore meaningful discussions and experiences that support this Goal and specifically this criteria.
I encourage our Middle School families to support the awakening social awareness that your child will experience. Ask them how they feel they are being called to serve. These conversations are essential and will help your child to grow in understanding of what their purpose, given to each by God, might be.
We are on the path of discovery, I hope you too will join in following the footsteps of Philippine.
Dr. Susan Dempf