As a member of the first-ever all-female 4-Way Dynamic Indoor Skydiving team, Gianna Keuer, 15, will represent Team USA at the April 2022 World Cup competition in Belgium. She and three teammates from Colorado, Oregon and New York won a silver medal at the 2021 U.S. Indoor Skydiving Nationals, qualifying them for a spot in the world championship event. Gianna is a sophomore at Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart, an all-girls college-prep high school in Lake Forest. “One goal of my team is to inspire girls to work hard and follow their dreams, and I believe that my experience at Woodlands has helped me learn to do just that,” she says. “Being in an all-girls school has helped me build a self-confidence that’s enabled me to accomplish so much more than I could have imagined.” (Gianna is on the far right in the photo.)
News Around Woodlands
Abby Moravek, who played a vital role in the Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart softball team’s highly successful 2021 season, has signed a National Letter of Intent to continue her athletic and academic journey at Amherst College in Massachusetts. She was one of the pitchers named to the 24-member 2021 Illinois Coaches Association Class 1A All-State Softball Second Team. That distinction came on the heels of Moravek being named the Independent School League’s 2021 Softball Player of the Year for the second consecutive time. [Pictured: Abby's mother, Janelle Moravek, looks on during the signing ceremony at Woodlands.]
On four occasions during the school year, the Woodlands Academy community comes together to acknowledge two girls per class and one member of the adult community for living the Sacred Heart Goals and Criteria in a most visible way. The second quarterly Sacred Heart awards of the 2021-22 school year were announced Dec. 8. Those recognized for living out Goal V were, pictured L-R, (front row) Judith Koukol ‘24, Karishma Bhatara ‘24, Laly Castillo ‘23, Natalie Vela ‘23 and Yotsuba Ito ‘25 (back row) math teacher Shao-Yun Guo, Pascale Ricketts ‘22, Skyler Oldenburg ‘22 and Claire Smylie ‘25.
Forty-two percent of Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart’s graduating class of 2022 are among high school seniors being honored as Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) State Scholars. This designation recognizes exceptional academic achievement that indicates an especially high potential for success in college. Woodlands Academy’s State Scholars are (L-R) (front row) Scarlett Montalvo, Agnes O’Toole, Pascale Ricketts, Charlotte Sparks, Lily Hinojosa and Lillard Preschlack; (back row) Caitlin Mooney, Stephanie Smith, Brandy Brennan, Berkeley Borkert and Abby Moravek.
The Boeing Company’s information technology & data analytics director of strategic solutions provided a truly inspirational launch of Woodlands Academy’s 2021-22 “Imagine Yourself in the C-Suite” series. Paris Forest spent an hour sharing insights and advice in response to questions from students at the all-girls college-prep day-and-boarding high school in Lake Forest on Nov. 9. Forest, who joined Boeing in 1999, has led key technical efforts and both capital and non-capital programs. "Imagine Yourself in the C-Suite" features highly accomplished individuals interviewed by Woodlands Academy students to learn from their guests’ experiences and then imagine themselves in leadership positions.
Seven Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart students and one faculty member recently received first quarter Sacred Heart awards in recognition of living the Sacred Heart Goals and Criteria in a most visible way. Goal Three, “Schools of the Sacred Heart commit themselves to educate to a social awareness that impels to action,” was chosen by the Woodlands Academy student government as the basis for these awards. First quarter recipients are, pictured from left, (top row): theology teacher/campus minister Melissa Judah, Emily Newman, Abby Moravek, Karla Tapia and Mags Roemer (bottom row): Fiona McNulty, Ida Psencik and Abby Hironimus.
Service is an integral part of a Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart education. Goal III of all Sacred Heart schools seeks to educate to a social awareness that impels action. With this commitment in mind, Woodlands Academy held the first of its two service days this school year on Nov. 1. Freshmen and juniors from the all-girls college-preparatory day-and-boarding high school in Lake Forest lent a helping hand at area service organizations. At the same time, sophomores and seniors participated in retreats on campus. Pictured are junior class members at Lambs Farm in Libertyville.
The Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart community was joined by parents and other guests Oct. 19, for the Mater Liturgy, which celebrates the drawing of the sophomore class more deeply into the family of the Sacred Heart. A statue of Mater (depicted) that graces the vestibule of Woodlands Academy’s 400 wing has a history that can be traced to Society of the Sacred Heart foundress St. Madeline Sophie Barat. The statue was sent to the United States from France in 1853 as a gift from Barat to a Sacred Heart school in St. Joseph, Missouri. When that school closed, the statue was sent to Woodlands Academy for the opening of its present building in 1961.
Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart students will benefit in many ways from $5 million in recent leadership donations as part of the school’s continuing efforts in a major gift initiative to propel Woodlands forward. In addition to general support of the school, these donations will help fund scholarships and STEM programming among other things. “In what many organizations have found to be one of the most challenging years in memory- due to the obstacles created by the pandemic – I am humbled and inspired by these donors,” Head of School Dawn Nichols, Ed.D., said. “Their support is a testament to the strength, integrity and caliber of the Sacred Heart education Woodlands provides its students every day.” The top donations include one $1.25 million gift, three $1 million gifts and one $500,000 gift.
After last year’s hiatus due to the pandemic, Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart hosted its ninth annual Mathalon event Oct. 2. In all, two dozen 7th- and 8th-grade girls from five area schools spent a Saturday morning putting their math skills to the test in creative, problem-solving ways at the all-girls college-prep high school in Lake Forest. Teams of three middle school girls tackled a variety of fun and engaging mathematical tasks with Woodlands Academy students providing both guidance and encouragement during the eight-event competition.