Goal Two: Community

Goal Two: Community

“I’m a cosmopolitan, the whole world is my country and heaven is my home.”
-Cornelia Connelly

By Dale Cummings
MS Campus Minister, 1996-2012

Holy Child schools live, learn, and worship as a dynamic community.

As I reflect on Goal Two and how it played out in my time at Holy Child, I remember some of the programs that brought the students, faculty, staff, and administration together. Some examples of this were:

Weekly prayer blocks— the students and I planned and participated together, sharing our joys and concerns. I love that they would pray for one another’s families, friends, the sick and the dying, peace in the world, and of course, for themselves.

Liturgies— all took part to plan and worship the liturgies. I loved that non-Catholics were invited to receive a blessing at Communion time.

Homeroom in the gym— where we celebrated on a weekly basis the accomplishments of the students and faculty.

Retreats— planned by the seniors for all the students to reflect on their spiritual gifts. During the 8th grade retreat, the middle school students would create a beautiful banner that would hang in the chapel during their closing liturgy.

Holy Child helped in our wider community. The students and I visited Martha’s Table in Washington, DC. They brought sandwiches they had made, they helped organize the sandwiches that would be delivered to McKenna’s Wagon and distributed to those experiencing homeless. While they were visiting Martha’s Table, the students would also help in the nursery school.

I loved taking a group of students (Service Buddies) on a weekly basis to the Manor Care Nursing Home and to Victory Terrace, an elderly community in Potomac, MD. The students would plan activities like playing games, singing, dancing for and with the elderly, creating arts and crafts, laughing and telling jokes. They also decided to create a beautiful quilt that still hangs in Victory Terrace.

“Be yourself, only make that self all God wants it to be.” 

This was the quote from Cornelia Connelly that the 8th graders chose as their theme for the 2008-2009 school year. The students reflected on this quote during their school year, and they were attentive to living out just who God wanted them to be. 

I loved my 16 years at Holy Child. It is my sincere hope that the Holy Child community will continue to live by Cornelia Connelly’s quote, “Be yourself, only make that self all God wants it to be.”

Four students with dog

By Christine Crilley | Class of 2022

As I reflect on the community at Holy Child, I can recall certain events where I have felt overwhelmingly welcomed by the students and teachers. These include each Mass where all students gather to sing and pray, every retreat where I built lasting bonds with my classmates, and all sports games where students and faculty gather to cheer on our athletes. A community is a safety net, a place where you feel heard and respected. At Holy Child, each individual plays a crucial and unique role that builds the community that makes the school so special.

Group of cheerleaders
5 students dressed for Spirit Week 1989
Three students at Holly Ball

Claire Jorgensen 24 interviewed alumna and Holy Child Middle School Counselor, Cece Garner 15, about how the Holy Child community has carried on throughout her life.

How has Holy Child impacted you after graduation?
Academically, I felt that Holy Child prepared me for the rigor of the College of the Holy Cross and equipped me with the skills needed to succeed. Specifically, I remember my freshman year of college: my English professor was shocked at how well I could write a thesis and structure an essay. Holy Child also provided a network of support, including both peers and adults. Holy Child has always felt like a home and a place where I can return (and I did, as soon as I could!). 

How do you stay in touch with other alumnae?
My high school group chat is still very active! Although we live up and down the East Coast, we try to get together as often as possible. I am involved in the Alumnae Council and serve as a class representative for the Class of 2015. I love that I get to know alums from various years who share the same passion for Holy Child. 

What was your favorite Holy Child tradition?
My favorite Holy Child tradition is definitely Spirit Week. It was always so exciting to work with the whole grade on coming up with themes and costumes. I remember my junior year, we did “Color Day” as our group day costume. While I don’t think we won many points for this, it was hilarious to dress up as teachers and as students from other grades. 

How has Goal Two impacted you personally?
The Holy Child community has been fundamental to my individual growth. Since graduating, I have continued to seek out similar, tight-knit communities. In my opinion, one of Holy Child’s greatest strengths is the unconditional support provided by teachers, coaches, and administrators. This support continued throughout my time in college; I knew the Holy Child community was always behind me, and I could turn to previous teachers for advice and guidance long after graduation. In coming back to HC as a faculty member, my goal is to cultivate and continue for my students the same sense of community I experienced.