Head of School Blog
Susan Tyree Dempf, Ph.D.

Stretching Beyond Service with Goal III

Dear Academy families and friends,

This morning on my drive to campus and then over to the Membership Meeting for the Network of Sacred Heart Schools held annually in Saint Charles, I saw a bumper sticker on the car in front of me as together we were stopped for a red light. The sign on the silver Prius read “I don’t know how to explain to you that you should care about other people.” My immediate thought was ‘what a shame!” As the Prius moved away from me, the message stayed with me.

As promised, this week we continue our journey into the 2020 Goals & Criteria of Sacred Heart Education, with a focus this week on Goal III “Schools of the Sacred Heart Commit themselves to educate to a social awareness which impels to action.” This is the Goal most commonly thought of as our commitment to service. Service certainly is a component of this Goal, a very important one, but it is not the only dimension represented in the Criteria. Goal III and associated Criteria is our response to the problem noted on the bumper sticker.

Through Goal III, the Academy and all its members — students, parents, teachers, staff, alumni and Board members — are called to “serve the common good in an interdependent world.” Drawing from Catholic Social Teaching, students are educated in a manner that views social structures, practices and systems with a critical eye . . . to consider the ways things have been done and to challenge themselves and others to find a more just path forward for all.

Through these 2020 Goals, we are to be held accountable “for the care of God’s creation” and to be responsible stewards of the great gift of our earthly home. Again, the Criteria require us to look to the future and in doing so, take action to prevent harm. Immersing “students in diverse global perspectives, developing competencies such as critical consciousness, language facility and cultural literacy” all come together to offer our young learners a view that goes well beyond the school campus.

I think the key term that sums up Goal III is “impels to action.” Academy students do not just learn about the challenges faced in our communities, they are invited to consider what they can do to right a wrong, correct a problem and eliminate injustice. They seek to grow up to be the best for the world.

And, that is the answer to the quandary of how you “explain” that “you should care for other people!”

United in mission,
Dr. Susan Dempf