- Julia Birdwell ’23
One core aspect that differentiates Sacred Heart from other high schools is an unwavering support of individuality and the pursuit of self expression. Sacred Heart has established this as a foundational value by creating a framework of student leadership with different levels of involvement, creating an opportunity for each student to engage in a positive way with the community. Mr. Brady, director of Creative Inquiry, expressed, “We believe that [a] meaningful role exists for every student who wants it and as a faculty team, we are committed to making that happen–even if it means developing a role that does not currently exist.”
Currently, Sacred Heart values four main realms of leadership: government, media, justice and ministry, and community health. Government is a space for student leaders to assume either elected or appointed positions in the Associated Student Body, Class Leadership, or lead student Model United Nation teams. Meanwhile, the media team works to create and edit content that connects the Sacred Heart community by expressing shared experiences and insights through Heartbeat, Yearbook, the Quad, SHPTV, KSHS, and the Chomp. Justice and Ministry brings the value of a righteous society to life, following in the tradition of Catholic Social Teaching and the work of the RSCJs, in ways such as Service Immersion, Retreats, Prayer and Worship, and the annual Social Justice Teach-In. Finally, community health works to promote the mental, emotional, social, and spiritual well being of Sacred Heart, aspiring to make it a more healthy, inclusive, aware, and empowered community.
In addition to the four main realms of leadership, students are given the chance to choose to engage on three different levels. First, there are Tier One Roles, described as “contributors.” Next, there are the Tier Two Roles, described as “engaging in collaborative leadership.” Finally, there are Tier Three Roles, which constitutes the core leadership team of the school. During a student’s four years at Sacred Heart, they are encouraged to try all four realms of leadership, and engage on each of the three levels.
Despite given these incredible opportunities, many students feel apprehensive about trying something new. Students are made to feel as though they need to specialize in a certain domain at a young age. Maybe it is playing soccer, being great at math, playing the violin, loving science, the list goes on. Alan Kagiri ‘20 said, “Branching out means adding to our collective self, so that we are athletic and dramatic and creative and artistic and everything else.” Alan adds that, “Not branching out would have been a disservice to the rest of me, the whole of me.” Students start to feel chained to their one defining characteristic. Student Leadership is the perfect opportunity to challenge this notion, as it has been engineered to help kids break out of that one trick pony idea of a highschool student.
Now is the time for Sacred Heart students to capitalize on the chance presented before them. They have the option to engage in whatever they feel called to do and in whatever intensity desired. Mr. Kennedy, an English teacher and leader of both the Men and Women’s Groups, said, “As moderator of the Women’s Group, I have witnessed many strong women find their voices as student leaders of that group. The young men I work with each year in the Men’s Group usually don’t know they are leaders or have influence until given the chance to plan a meeting. It’s really beautiful.” Students who never thought they could experience success in a leadership position have grown to feel confident in themselves and their abilities.
If even remotely interested, students are encouraged to complete the Intent to Serve form by March 19th. The form is a way for students to apply to all levels and flavors of student leadership, and find their calling within the Sacred Heart community.