The Heartbeat of Holy Child: Actions Not Words
It’s the motto that our foundress Cornelia Connelly exemplified so well – step out of the classroom and apply your knowledge and skills through a life of service to everyone you encounter. Here are some reflections of where the “actions not words” motto took students this summer.
Encounter the Gospel of Life
Students, alumnae, and faculty members participated in Encounter the Gospel of Life (EGL), a service and retreat experience at the University of Maryland. “At Encounter, students discover the gifts God has given them and learn how to share them to better the world,” said Maddy Hopkins ‘14, who has attended for three years. The camp serves the needy areas of DC and Maryland.
“I was most impressed this summer with the fact that we had students ranging in age from the classes of 2013 - 2019,” said Assistant Head of School Mary Hopkins. “The girls formed strong cross grade level friendships and truly discovered the meaning of the word ‘sisterhood.’”
Wilderness Intensive Leadership
Tyler Johnson ‘17 attended a program called Wilderness Intensive Leadership Development (WILD), a two-year counselor in training program in Jackman, Maine. She spent four weeks alongside ten others in the wild, learning skills of survival which helped her to prepare for a night alone on an island. Ultimately, Tyler says the best takeaway from this experience was, “my relationship with Christ grew stronger because of all the challenges I faced. The hardest thing now is waiting a full year to go back again!”
Serving Children in Romania
Rachel Burley ‘16 spent eight days at a sleep away camp for underprivileged children in Romania. During that time in Romania, she volunteered at an orphanage for disabled children and helped a family rebuild their home. “Romania was a life changing experience,” she said. “I got to see how grateful and happy these kids are although they don’t have much. They thanked God for every little thing that happened to them, like the opportunity to go to camp. Going there made me realize how grateful I should be for what I have and that I should praise God everyday for everything He has provided me.”
Community Coalition for Haiti
Lilly Kishore ‘17 traveled to Jacmel, Haiti, through an organization called Community Coalition for Haiti. “One of the reasons I went to Haiti was to stress and encourage the importance of education starting from a young age,” she said. “So before traveling, I had the idea of writing an alphabet book for schools in Jacmel.”
Lilly created the book to emphasize the importance of literature. “The book is in Haitian-Creole and provides children with basic vocabulary words,” she said. “On the back of each page of the book are lines where the children can practice spelling and writing the word. I also thought it would be a cool idea to have elementary school students from a school in the US color one of the books so that kids in Haiti could be connected to children here. When in Haiti, I went to four schools and an orphanage and was able to meet with the teachers and they were able to edit the book, so I could implement their changes and send them multiple copies back. The children also colored pages of the book so each school could have their own special copy. I have made about 70 books total.
“I believe that my relationship with God was strengthened on this trip because I was able to realize how lucky and blessed I was. Our world is a beautiful place in the sense of the things we can see and cannot see. I gained so much from this incredible experience.”
Lilly plans to keep contributing her time and resources to Haiti even after the book is finished.
Costa Rican Embassy
Sofia Alpizar ‘16 spent her summer interning with the Costa Rican Embassy, the embassy of her home country. “Working at the embassy was like being at a home away from home,” she said. “The experience gave me the opportunity to take a glance at my preferred field of study, international affairs, and to work alongside diplomatic professionals.”
Serving Children in Romania
Juniors Molly Reyda, Katie Mann and Megan Mann were all involved in a month-long Counselors in Training (CIT) program at the YMCA Camp Coniston in Grantham, NH. The training involved travel and specialized instruction in outdoor activities like sailing, archery, canoeing and hiking, with the focus on team building.
“This experience was challenging but extremely rewarding, Katie said. “I had the opportunity to try new things and learn from other people. It made me feel like a leader and more confident.”