Our outstanding faculty and staff lead and mentor by example every day at Stuart. Each year those who truly exemplify a specific Sacred Heart Goal and its criteria are nominated by their colleagues and selected by the Board of Trustees to receive an award. On Wednesday, May 27, the 2020 recipients were announced at our virtual Recognition Ceremony along with the members of our faculty and staff celebrating milestone years of service. We applaud these women who live and breathe life into the words that make up our Sacred Heart Goals.
Goal 1 – Phyllis Wright
Goal I: Schools of the Sacred Heart educate to a personal and active faith in God. The criteria under Goal One call us to foster spirituality, respect, compassion and generosity in our students. They summon us to affirm that there is meaning and value in life and to foster a sense of hope in our girls. Phyllis, our community knows you take these criteria to heart.
Through your love of the arts, you help each girl make connections to her inner spirit. One of your colleagues wrote, “Phyllis has a deep sense of spirituality and heart. She is compassionate and caring. She goes out of her way to make connections to people and to be supportive and uplifting. She also connects to the emotions of her students through their passions expressed in their artwork. She loves to learn about other cultures and to try to bring awareness to diverse groups of people. She is always reflective and prayerful.”
Actor Rainn Wilson once said, “The making of art is no different than a prayer….being creative and being a creator is the ultimate testament to the Great Creator God.” Phyllis, thank you for connecting our girls to the divine in all you do and for modeling Goal I so well.
Goal 2 – Alicia Testa
Goal II calls us to educate to a deep respect for intellectual values. The criteria associated with Goal II charge us to support our girls by utilizing a variety of teaching and learning strategies, by providing faculty with ongoing professional development and by modeling the ethical and respectful use of technology. Alicia, as far as we’re concerned, you win the Goal II COVID-19 hat trick.
Your colleagues have sung your praises saying “Alicia has gone above and beyond to assist everyone with remote teaching. She has made herself available morning, noon and night.” Still, another noted that “Right out of the gate in mid-March, Alicia was sending links and detailed instructions for faculty on how to implement the shift to total online instruction. She has been patient even with the staunchest Luddites among us, and I am thankful for that.”
Lastly, I think we’d all agree with what another colleague shared, “As Stuart navigated COVID-19, I can think of no one other than Alicia who has embraced intellectual growth during an unbelievably difficult time. She went above and beyond to engage and support all of our faculty as we prepared to go into remote learning, giving up her entire spring break to ensure that we were ready to support our students. It is largely because of her work that our students are being so well served during this time.
Thank you for stepping up in an incredibly difficult time to live Goal II so robustly.
Goal 3 – Heidi Echternacht and Elizabeth Collins
Goal III commits us to educate to a social awareness which impels to action. The Goal III Criteria calls us to act for justice, to inspire our students to be active, informed and responsible citizens and to teach respect for creation. If you want to see this great work being done at the youngest of ages look to the second grade.
As one colleague shared, “Heidi and Elizabeth are a dynamic pair who uniquely educate girls to understand what it means to act justly. Their work with the student newspaper fostered intellectual curiosity and a deep empathy for the greater community. Our students discussed complicated social issues and ways to address them and were given the tools to engage in thoughtful dialogue about what they cared deeply about. I saw their girls advocate on behalf of animals, discuss politics, and host a fundraiser for bees.” Talk about making Goal III real for an 8 year old!
Heidi and Elizabeth, you are women of the Sacred Heart who love to share ideas, bring new perspectives and keep the girls’ interests at the forefront! Thank you for showing us all that it is never too early for our students to tackle the big issues facing our world and to learn that they can be the difference makers who shape a better tomorrow.
Goal 4 – Beth Marks
Goal IV calls us to educate to the building of community as a Christian value. The key criteria under Goal IV speak to modeling skills needed to build community and promoting a welcoming environment where each person is valued, cared for and respected. In her unique role as Director of the Stuart Fund, Beth Marx has the unique opportunity to work with all members of our community to build engagement and connection. She organizes community-building activities for our affinity groups including our Southeast Asian Parent Association, Chinese Parent Association, Black Heritage Group and our Dad’s Club.
Beth, your colleagues spoke of how you treat every person with incredible respect while you worked to ensure each gathering or program is inclusive and reflects our commitment to the Goals and Criteria of the Sacred Heart. Madeleine Sophie Barat said that “as times change we must change with them.” Certainly much has changed since you graduated from Stuart in 1984. As a Child of the Sacred Heart, you have embraced and advanced our school’s diversity, equity and inclusion work. Your fundraising work ensures that resources are available to promote DEI programming and that funding is there to support our students in need. Your efforts see to it that today’s girls and their families feel valued, cared for and respected. Thank you for being a remarkable graduate who now continues to model the Goals as a member of our adult community.
Goal 5 – Angelina Howard
Goal V calls us to foster personal growth within an atmosphere of wise freedom. The criteria associated with Goal V compels us to foster a school community where all show respect, acceptance and concern for themselves and for others and where we promote self-discipline, responsible decision-making and accountability.
Angelina, though you have only been with us two short years, your modeling of Goal V and these criteria in particular, has been lasting. A colleague commended you saying: “Angelina has been so instrumental at teaching students to have concern for themselves and others. She made it okay for them to ask for help when they need it, to be accepting of those that do, and even more, to act on behalf of others that may not be able to take the first step themselves. She helps students to take mental health breaks, but also to do so in a responsible way that does not allow them to avoid work. I think she is effective at helping us all to use wise freedom better.”
Still another faculty member notes how hard you have worked to help all our girls grow and to be strong, courteous and kind. You are a true advocate of teaching both strength and kindness!
Angelina, you leave us as a true Child of the Sacred Heart. Thank you for your quiet confidence and commitment to modeling Goal V!