Goal Six: Personal Growth

Goal Six: Personal Growth

"Be yourself but make that self just what Our Lord wants it to be.”
-Cornelia Connelly

By Julie Connelly
Associate Director of Development & Special Assistant to the Head of School

As I reflect on my eight years at Holy Child, I have witnessed Goal Six lived out by all who participate in the life of the school. I have the unique perspective of someone who went from delivering the mission in my previous role as Dean of Students to supporting the mission in my current role as Associate Director of Development. To me, this is one of our most important goals to fulfill. 

As the Dean of Students, I was able to experience this goal firsthand in my relationship with our students, faculty, and staff. This goal not only speaks to academic growth, but also to the personal growth for all members of our community. The activities that students participate in as part of Student Life, such as athletics, the arts, clubs or student government, are important to our students’ development. There are important lessons to be gained on the field or stage, during Spirit Week or Blue/Gold. Perhaps the most impactful way I have witnessed this goal come to life is through the relationships between our students, faculty, and staff. I have seen students grow to fulfill their potential, with faculty and staff supporting and guiding them. I have seen my colleagues grow in their profession, learning how to teach virtually, and leaning on each other for support. I have seen our college counselors spend countless hours with our students to ensure they have all the support they need to take that next step. I have seen our counselors spend time with our students, supporting their social and emotional well-being. And finally, I have seen our students pick each other up, celebrate the everyday small victories, and grow in faith with each other. 

As the Associate Director of Development, I have learned how integral our team is in supporting the mission of the school. We share the commitment to personal growth of all members of the school. It is our goal to support that growth by finding opportunities to invest in the current and future needs of our students, faculty, and staff, and the greater Holy Child family makes that possible. The continued generosity of our community enables us to fulfill our mission and support the personal growth of all who participate in the life of the school. 

Group of students on stage dressed up - 1969

By Pamela Grace von Seelen | Class of 2024

I entered Holy Child as a timid, broken, and dependent fourteen year-old. Now, as a senior, when I reflect on my last four years, it is undeniable that I am an entirely different person in the best way possible; now, at 18, I am a confident, secure, and innovative young woman. My personal growth journey has been chaotic and long, but as I start to draw nearer to my close of high school, it is evident how far I have come and how much I have grown. Personal Growth is one of the Seven Goals that Holy Child fosters here in our community.

I am grateful for everything Holy Child has taught me, and I don’t just mean in the academic sense. Over the past four years, I have learned more about myself and my faith, and I have matured greatly. Through Holy Child retreats, I have fostered a close relationship with God. When I first started at Holy Child, I did not consider myself all that religious, and I did not prioritize my faith. But as I have gotten older, I have finally started to understand God and grow closer with Him and truly love Him as I know He loves me. For this, I can thank the retreats I did every year at Holy Child. While my relationship has grown with God, this has also translated into my emotional and mental growth. I no longer waste time on petty and unnecessary drama, and I have learned to focus my energies on academics and athletics. Over the years, I have become more of an intellectual thinker, which has paid off in my studies, and I have devoted myself to my sports, growing as an athlete. I have seen the progress, maturity, and growth as I hear back from colleges this year. I am grateful to Holy Child for not only encouraging and promoting this growth, but also because I can say that I am proud of the woman I have become.

Group of 4 students singing along with acoustic guitar
3 students playing lacrosse
Group of 10 students

Reese Kim ’23 interviewed alumna Jordan Quinn Canter ’08 about what Goal Six means to her and how she has continued to grow since her time at Holy Child. 

In what ways has Holy Child helped you grow?
There are so many examples I can look back on that remind me how Holy Child has helped shape who I am as a person. I think for young women, lack of confidence and self doubt can be an ongoing struggle. I am so grateful for the environment Holy Child has created – one that builds confidence, prioritizes faith, and teaches leadership skills. Most importantly, Holy Child brought me lifelong friendships. My best friends from the 7th grade are my best friends today and have been with me through every milestone in my life. 

How do you see the effects of that in your life after graduating?
The impact Holy Child has had on my life only grows more apparent with time. While my experience at Holy Child from 6th to 12th grade was overwhelmingly positive, each new challenge and opportunity in my life connects back to my time at Holy Child. I specifically recall starting college and entering my first semester as a freshman. I sat in the front, I did not hesitate to raise my hand, I sought public speaking opportunities, and I built genuine relationships with my professors. This was not the norm across my class. I developed these characteristics at Holy Child, where the community is built to facilitate confidence in young women. These qualities served me through four years as a college athlete and today in my professional career. 

How did your relationships at Holy Child with other students and teachers encourage you to grow to your fullest potential?
The list goes on and on. I owe a tremendous amount of thanks to my teachers and coaches at Holy Child who pushed me out of my comfort zone time and time again. In 7th grade, my teacher encouraged me to try out for lacrosse despite having never played. My fondest memories at Holy Child were on the lacrosse field. Without that push from my teachers and coaches, I may have never pursued the sport. That experience led me to Franklin & Marshall College where I played four years of Division III lacrosse and was selected as captain my senior year. From an education perspective, without my experience taking Government 101 with Ms. Kenny, I may not have found my passion for politics and the US government. That very class at Holy Child drove me to major in Political Science at Franklin & Marshall and build a career in Government Relations. These are just two examples of teachers and coaches pushing me to reach my full potential and directly impacting significant decisions in my life.

How did you feel supported by Holy Child?
I always felt supported by Holy Child, as a student and now as an alumna. I think what has become most apparent to me is that to be a successful leader, you must be willing to take risks. Holy Child created a supportive environment for me to take those risks and not fear change. This is a lesson that has served me well over the years. At the core of the Holy Child community is faith; this foundation has been instrumental to me during challenging times in life. I always have the stability of my faith, which is a principle of the Holy Child community. As a member of Holy Child’s Alumnae Council, I hope to provide that same support to the Holy Child community.