Mes Amies Spring 2014
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SARAH PERSONETTE ’97 kicked off the 27th event by
saying, “Woodlands is definitely part of who I am.
Woodlands wants you to be the best you can be.
It challenges you to do that . . . Love every minute
of your school here. It’s incredible.”
At a young age, Personette is president of Univer-
sal McCann advertising agency. She offered these
“commandments for consideration:”
1. Start by starting. Start with your dreams. Take
a chance. Learn from what works and what doesn’t. 2. Be the master of your own
education. Use resources around you to understand more about what’s interesting
to you. 3. Ignore the job title and focus on what you’ll learn. 4. Raise your hand
for the role. Don’t just think about it. Say you want to participate. 5. Work really
hard, and be kind to everyone. There are no shortcuts. Nothing is handed to you.
In closing, Personette said, “Integrity is the one true compass you should follow.”
Sherree BurrussSHERREE BURRUSS ’08 discussed “the good, the
bad and the ugly” sides of a career in TV journal-
ism. Her passion for reporting and love of sports
put her on the path to a job as sports anchor/
reporter for ABC 17 in Columbia, Mo. “You have to
really want to do this,” Burruss was quick to point
She added that while there is much that is good
about what many perceive as a glamorous career,
such as every day being something new — never knowing what you’ll be covering
or who you’ll be meeting or where you might be travelling — there’s also a bad and
ugly side. The negative factors, according to Burruss, include generally low pay for
those first jobs in TV news, long/weird hours and often working holidays.
“You need to have good news judgment, the ability to think creatively — and a thick
skin — to make it in this business,” she said. “You also should be personable, trust-
worthy and patient. A lot of these traits can be traced to my Woodlands education.”
Kiki Hamilton ClarkKIKI HAMILTON CLARK, Sacred Heart Villa Duchesne
class of 1982, urged students to strike the proper
balance in their lives. “If your job is 80 percent
and your personal life is 20 percent, you’re out of
balance,” she said.
Clark, a realtor with Prudential Rubloff, discov-
ered her own life was “out of balance” in 2006,
when the real estate market was “getting crazy.”
As stress began to get the better of her, she
turned to yoga/meditation to calm down. The next step was to consider taking a dif-
ferent approach to her career by looking for a job in her chosen field that she could
enjoy – and not take too seriously.
“Enjoying family and friends is a key to keeping your life in proper balance,” Clark
said. “Also, don’t be afraid to try new things.”
She credits her Sacred Heart school roots with getting her off to a good start on her
career path – and for being there to help get her life in balance long after graduation.
Mes Amiesa publication from Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart
2014 Spring ISSUE
CAREERDay 2014Experienced Sacred Heart alumnae in various fields offered their words of wisdom to students during Career Day Jan. 31.
Jenny Sullivan Sanford reminded students that there are a lot of ways to MAKE A DIFFERENCE in the world – not just via their careers.
CONTINUED INSIDE »
Pictured above, from left: FRANCESCA MATEO ’15, MIA OBERTO ’17 and JERUSALEM ADAMS-SHEPARD ’17 hold an extended Q & A session with
Woodlands alumna SHERREE BURRUSS ’08.
O ne of the many wonderful as-
pects of being a Woodlands
Academy student is having
the opportunity to participate in a wide
variety of clubs.
From CREW to Yearbook to Model UN,
clubs allow students to explore per-
sonal growth in an atmosphere of wise
freedom. There are many interesting
clubs, and most of them have been
started by students.
There are six new offerings this year:
Anime, Art, Book Club, Debate Team,
Ping-Pong and Woodlands Academy
Media (WAM). We’ll highlight a couple
of these as well as some of our longer-
Inspiring girls to be 21st Century sci-
ence and technology leaders is what
the 3-year-old Robotics Club at Wood-
lands Academy of the Sacred Heart is
“We do this by engaging students in
exciting activities that build science,
technology, engineering and math
(STEM) skills while also inspiring inno-
vation and fostering well-rounded traits
such as self-confidence, communication
and leadership,” says physics teacher
Matthew Wilen, the Robotics Club’s
Critical thinking and problem-solving
skills are required as students brain-
storm, design, build and program a
robot based on sound engineering
principles. The robot must be able to
perform tasks that are specified at the
start of each school year. Once built,
the robot can be entered into compe-
titions sanctioned by the FIRST (For
Inspiration and Recognition of Science
and Technology) Tech Challenge. Ro-
bots built for this year’s meets must be
able to place blocks on both sides of a
teeter-totter to balance it and then do
a pull-up on a “high bar.” Competition
takes place at the regional, state and
national levels each year.
At the typical regional meet, Wood-
lands’ Robotics Club will compete with
about 30 other teams. While the tasks
are identical, Wilen says no two robots
designed to perform them are ever the
same. “Students learn a lot from seeing
the other entries. You’ll often hear them
saying, ‘We should have done that.’”
“Our club is one of a very few all-girls’
robotics teams competing, which has
impressed some of the judges,” he
While Robotics Club may be a hobby
for some of its 15 members, Wilen says
all are truly interested in science and
technology. For those planning to pur-
sue that interest beyond high school,
there are college scholarship opportu-
nities available. One club member from
last year is now studying engineering
at Purdue University on a scholarship
while also serving as a mentor for high
school robotics teams in that area.
Woodlands Academy’s Robotics Club
meets twice a week – once during
lunch hour and once after school.
WAM is comprised of students work-
ing with Marketing and IT to do writing,
photography, video, social media and
campaign projects such as the Giv-
ing Tuesday initiative last fall. WAM
students have been trained to use the
school’s new GoPro video camera and
are beginning to capture first-person
Clubs Offer Endless Possibilities
WA WorldJENNIFER FLINT ’13, COLLEEN
ANDERSEN ’13 AND HAYLEY
LOVELL ’13 reconnect at a Provi-
dence College hockey game.
SARAH FEELEY ’93 filming on location for her latest project, My Side of the Sky, a half-hour documentary series about the kids who eat, sleep, study and shred at Windells Academy.
CAROLINE WATTS ’14,
HONORE OLSON ’14, CHLOE
SCHERER ’14, and CAROLINE
HITESHEW ’14 pose near one
the school's five festively
decorated trees during Winter
MARISA PERINO ’16
assists a St. Malachy's
student during a ceramics
AUDREY COLLOPY ’16 and MARY HURTGEN ’16 sport their team colors during the "favorite-sports-team" themed day of spirit week.
’15 and FRANCESCA
MATEO ’15 rehearse
in brightly colored
costumes for the
of Guys and Dolls.
Jenny Sullivan SanfordJENNY SULLIVAN SANFORD ’80 joined the
school community via Skype. She had
planned to be at Woodlands, but the
weather in South Carolina was uncoopera-
tive. Sanford worked at a Wall Street bank-
ing firm before being campaign manager
for her then-husband, the governor of
South Carolina. She published a memoir,
Staying True, an instant national bestseller,
Sanford reminded students that there are a lot of ways to make a difference
in the world — not just via their careers. She relayed that her oldest of four
sons told her recently that when he graduates from college this year, he will be
working at the same Wall Street firm, in the same position she once held. “To
have him walk in my shoes is the biggest compliment to me.”
She offered this advice:
1. Know who you are at your core – your values, skill, passion. 2. Think
about a vocation, not just a job. A job that just puts money in your pocket isn’t
so rewarding. 3. Seek balance in life. The more we do, the less balanced we
are. 4. Sometimes less is more. The more we do, the less time we have to be.
5. Be resilient. Don’t be afraid to change.
The theme for the 2013-14 school year is THE RESILIENT
SACRED HEART WOMAN. Graduating young women of
courage, confidence and compassion is Woodlands Academy’s
four-year goal. The all-girl educational environment the school
provides is much about preparing young women to be resilient.
PRESERVING the Cupola
» CONTINUED from COVER
accounts of life at WA. You’ll see some
bylines of WAM members in this news-
letter as part of the club’s intention is
to provide real-world experience and to
equip students with meaningful pieces
for their portfolios.
Brought to Woodlands Academy by
teacher Peter Cashman and supported
by the Leadership Team not that long
ago, Model United Nations has quickly
emerged as a club worthy of praise.
Designed to provide students with a
realistic political and diplomatic envi-
ronment, Model UN helps them foster
important skills and develop an under-
standing of international policy.
“Model UN is a fun experience that
helps me to develop my public speak-
ing skills and to meet a lot of great
people,” says BRIDGET CARMODY ’15
after her first conference.
Woodlands usually participates in
the annual CIMUN conference held in
downtown Chicago. As an international
event, many CIMUN attendees will
some day help to run countries in the
real world. It is this idea that Model UN
helps to foster.
“The world is so complex and inter-
connected, and Model UN allows the
participants to learn about issues and
controversies about which most have
never heard,” explains moderator Cash-
“I hope that we continue to increase
our membership with students who are
dedicated to the club and are willing to
put in great effort to learn the intrica-
cies of the Model UN process and the
issues which are debated.”
Model UN takes place during fall
and winter and has 15 students who
RoboticsBuilding STEM Skills (and Robots, too)
WAMCapturing the Student Perspective
Model UNCreating the Next Generation’s Leaders
EMMA PARKINSON ’15
Be wise and good, and learn from your experience.
The newly formed Woodlands de-
bate team has already made its mark.
Within its first few months the stu-
dents have attended four tournaments.
Success has been immediate, as they
shocked themselves by winning first,
second and third in one particular
The Woodlands debate team is
composed of three students and was
initiated and is monitored by Kyle
Schmitt, coordinator of educational
technology. These students dedicate
their time to exploring the world of
debate, specifically Lincoln-Douglas
style, which encourages them to have
quick rebuttals and strong justification
for their argument.
Debate team member ELLIE RAN-
DOLPH ’16 expresses how debate has
impacted her, “Practicing debate has
helped me with reasoning, organizing
my thoughts and even my confidence.”
The debate team tries to meet the
Friday before an all-day Saturday
tournament, practicing a mock round
to strengthen individual debate argu-
ments. The debate team has devel-
oped rapidly over the first few months
and only continues to get stronger.
“When I think about growth, I think
about the personal growth my debat-
ers are going through as a result of
their experiences debating,” Coach
DEBATENewly Formed TeamMakes Its Mark
KELLY BOWLER ’15
From left: ERIKA CERILLO ’15, MIA ALVERGUE ’15 and ARMINDA DOWNEY-MAVROMATIS ’16 show off the latest configuration of their robot.
Your example, even more than your words, will be an eloquent lesson to the world.
The world is so complex
and interconnected, and
MODEL UN allows par-
ticipants to learn about
issues and controversies
about which most have
THE 10,000-POUND CUPOLA FROM ATOP BARAT COLLEGE was successfully removed and awaits restoration as part of the campus expansion project underway thanks to the generosity of the donors of the property.
“While we were optimistic, we didn’t know for certain that it would be able to be removed intact,” said Ralph Elwart of the Board of Trustees. “We all breathed a collective sigh of relief when our engineers carefully hoisted the cupola to its interim location.”Coincidentally, this happened on students’ last day before Christmas break, Dec. 18, 2013.
Plans include restoration and re-installation on the ground directly below its former perch atop the building. Its base is expected to include some of the red bricks from Old Main as a decorative element. Ninety-five percent of the building’s materials are being repurposed.
“The cupola will be the focal point of a serene meditation and reflection garden. People will be able to sit, relax, meditate, pray or otherwise enjoy the beauty and space.”
The iconic cupola has been identified with the presence of the Sacred Heart in Lake Forest since the school was transferred from Chicago to Lake Forest in 1904.
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INSIDE THE NUMBERSWoodlands Academy Club Statistics
Exchange Program Takes New Twist with Chilean Opportunity
F or the first time in Woodlands
Academy’s expanding ex-
change program, two visit-
ing students from Chile will host our
students later this summer.
MARIA GRACIA DEL VALLE and CATALINA
RIOFRANCOS from Sacred Heart Sa-
grado Corazón, Santiago, Chile, picked
the coldest and most snowy winter in
recent history to visit Woodlands Jan.
18 through March 2. They chose Wood-
lands in part because of our boarding
school, which is not a common amenity
Their all-girls pre-K through high
school has about 1,400 students, and
the school year runs March through
Both students lived in the Woodlands
boarding school for half of their stay,
and then with host families for the
other half. They liked that they could
experience the “best of both worlds.”
Maria Gracia stayed with the family of
GRACE MCKIERNAN ’16. Catalina stayed
with the family of ELENA GUTIERREZ ’16.
“I thought coming here might be dif-
ficult, but the girls are so open, and the
classes are so small compared to ours
which are 30 to 33 students,” Catalina
said. She is a senior and plans to go
into the medical field, perhaps to be-
come either a doctor or nurse.
Maria Gracia, a junior, noted that every-
thing in America is different, such as
our shopping centers. “Here, every-
thing is so big and you have food and
all other supplies in one store, whereas
in Chile, you go to a supermarket and
get just food.” She enjoyed seeing
Chilean wine at Costco.
Many of the Sacred Heart traditions
made our guests feel right at home.
“We have similar traditions such as
Mater, so it was easy to walk around
the campus and school and feel like we
belonged right away,” said Maria Gracia.
Catalina and Maria Gracia enjoyed their
visit. “I think Woodlands opens your
mind,” said Catalina. “We’re in a good
school here with the social services,
clubs, classes, and how everyone treats
each other is wonderful.”
They look forward to having Grace and
Elena visit their county and families this
Global Education Director Amy Perlick
said the program, in general, is expand-
ing significantly, which our Strategic
Plan emphasizes. She is always looking
for host families. “Being a host family
is a great way to expose your daughter
to another culture and is a good way to
be involved in exchange without having
to travel. We encourage host families
to just do their normal daily routines
while guests are here so that a realis-
tic glimpse of life in the United States
can be had.” Please contact Perlick if
you’re interested in being a host family,
as there are opportunities to do so.
Save the date
CONNIE SOLARI The Resilient Sacred Heart Woman Series
MSB PRAYER SERVICE
FINE ARTS EVENING6:00PM
A. MARIA GRACIA DEL VALLE and CATALINA
RIOFRANCOS don homemade birthday hats.
B. ELENA GUTIERREZ ’16 and CATALINA RIOFRANCOS bond during a weekend ski excursion.
C. ERIKA RODRIGUEZ ’16, MARY MCKIERNAN ’16,
CATALINA RIOFRANCOS, ELENA GUTIERREZ ’16, and
MARIA GRACIA DEL VALLE enjoy a lunch in Chicago.
A B C
29,565Pages turned by book club members this school year
ued by the new
Robotic arm designs created by Robotics Club
Number of social media applications utilized by Yearbook Club to collect student generated content for the 2014 Yearbook 5
27Number of student-run clubs actively meeting this school year
47 Chemical reactions performed and examined by Chemistry Club
WORDS of WISDOM Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat