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SHA Traditions
Deirdre Cryor

Happy Halloween! I hope that everyone has a howl-ing happy day!

What is Primes?

The other day as I was working on scheduling an appointment with one of our Upper School students, I told her I couldn’t meet on Friday afternoon because I would be at Primes. She looked at me quizzically and asked, “what is Primes, Miss Cryor?” Ahh, I was so glad she asked!

Primes (pronounced “preems”) is a wonderful old Sacred Heart tradition. Not just at our school but at Sacred Heart schools around the world.

For us today, it is a ceremony to end the week in the Lower School. Held in the Chapel, the girls receive notes for their work in their classes, they receive très bien and bien cards for their behavior that week and two girls receive the Courtesy Medal. I have the privilege of handing out the cards and shaking hands with each girl as she comes forward.

When my mother was a student at Overbrook in the 1950s, Primes was a ceremony for the older girls as well. As I was growing up, she would share stories about the nuns gathering, the girls lining up and their names being called out for très bien, bien and assez bien.  The third one, assez bien, was for a student who might have broken a rule that week. Or perhaps for one who needed to work on her behavior. I have spoken with alumnae of Stone Ridge and Overbrook who have shared their experiences of receiving their cards at Primes, including, they admit, times they just might have received assez bien!

Stone Ridge, our school in Bethesda, Maryland, also continues to have Primes for the Lower School. And, a friend who has her daughter enrolled there, just sent out a picture with her daughter wearing her Primes medal! Her caption for the photo: A Primes Medal…Hooray for traditions! Her daughter shared a great big smile for the photo.

To say that I love being with the Lower School students during Primes is an understatement. The assembly ends with the girls sharing their journal entry that week. Miss Porter pulls out a name from her special container and the student comes to the front of the Chapel to speak—without any notes. From the oldest to the youngest students, the girls speak clearly and in full sentences. They answer questions about what was great about the week or what does Philippine Duchesne mean to you? As I listen to the girls speak, I admit that I have smiled, cheered and on occasion wiped away a tear. I have watched the shy girls dig deep for their courage (with wonderful support from their teachers), and I have marveled as many of the girls raise their hands high and higher in hopes of being picked by Miss Porter when we have extra time. They love to be together, and they are so comfortable speaking in front of the group. So much that is special about Sacred Heart takes place in those 30 minutes with the Lower School. 

And so that is why I told my Upper School friend, I couldn’t meet on Friday afternoon!

Community Service Day—SHA Style

On October 24 the entire school fanned out for community service day. The Lower School focused on their activities and special organizations; the Middle School students welcomed their friends from St. Rose of Lima and played games, enjoyed lunch together and shared time together.  The Upper School students went to different sites around the area to give their time. What a delight it was to visit their sites and hear from the organizers how happy they were to have the girls on site that day.

I was so impressed to see our girls working so hard—no matter the assignment. Mrs. Day and I traveled around to different sites that day, and as we walked in, we found our students engaged in different activities, including sorting food, organizing clothes or cleaning kitchens. No matter the activity, we found the girls smiling, focused, and on more than one occasion, singing as they worked!

Sacred Heart Network Meeting

I recently traveled to St. Charles, Missouri for a meeting of all of the heads of Sacred Heart Schools. The Network of Sacred Heart schools includes 24 schools—from the US and Canada. We gathered in late October in St. Charles, which of course is where Philippine settled the first Sacred Heart school in 1818.

To be together is so enriching and empowering—knowing that Madeleine Sophie’s mission is being carried out throughout all of our schools. We shared news from our schools. Duchesne in Houston just won states in field hockey; Stone Ridge won the banner for cross country; Woodlands, the Sacred Heart boarding/day school near Chicago held their annual flag ceremony earlier this year with 19 flags, each representing a country where a member of their community was born.

As we gathered in our meetings, we enjoyed the opportunity to learn and to share current practices in schools and expectations of us as members of the Network. It is so exciting to be a part of a Network of schools focused on sharing the mission of Madeleine Sophie and implementing the dreams of Philippine Duchesne.

Field Hockey! Volleyball! Cross Country!

So when I traveled to St. Charles, I missed our field hockey and volleyball teams in district tournaments. I was disappointed that I wouldn’t get to go to the games. But what was so delightful was that when my plane landed, and I turned on my phone, it (as the girls sometimes say) blew up with text messages! I received numerous messages from SHA folks who wanted to share that we had won the field hockey game against Jenkintown High School.

And then… I received texts letting me know we had won Volleyball… And THEN I received texts that Kayleigh and Chiara were heading to States for Cross Country. It made me glad to have the all-encompassing data plan. And it made me so proud of our teams. Way to go SHA!

Happy Halloween!

What better way to spend Halloween than sharing time with the Middle School girls as they competed Red Team versus White Team in a dance competition? In their costumes (animals, princesses, flappers among the group), the girls presented dances that they had choreographed. Each grade had a team for Red and one for White. 

As I sat in the back of the PAC and tapped my toe to Michael Jackson's Thriller, I loved watching as the girls worked together. Not only do they have fun, but they are problem-solving, working as a team, and sharing their creativity. As I sat with one of the teachers, I said to her, "I think this is so courageous!" She responded, "I know I could never have done it as a middle schooler."  And as the dances finished, the entire school erupted in applause and cheers. Everyone cheered for everyone--no matter if they were on the other team! 

What an awesome Halloween celebration-- SHA style!


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