News Around Woodlands

Woodlands Academy celebrates Women in the Arts in March

Works by artists Leslie Iwai and Eloise Heinrich were displayed at Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart as part of the 2023 Jamie Tuttle Women in the Arts festival, which also included in-person presentations by each artist. The Women in the Arts event has been a Woodlands Academy tradition since 2005 when parents of two alumnae offered to sponsor exhibits by two visiting artists. Because this initial event was so well received by the visiting artists and Woodlands students alike, the donors offered to make Women in the Arts an annual event. In 2021, this annual celebration of female artists was named in memory of Jamie Tuttle, a vital member of the school’s arts faculty for three decades who inspired generations of Woodlands students with her dedication to the arts. (Pictured is the display of Iwai’s work at Woodlands Academy.)

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MathCats are 2023 ICTM State Finals bound

All 20 Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart participants in both team and individual events at this year’s Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ (ICTM) Contest are State Finals qualifiers. Overall, the all-girls college-preparatory high school from Lake Forest placed third in Division 1A at the 2023 ICTM Region 20 Competition held at Niles West High School in Skokie Feb. 25. Based on the strength of their third-place overall finish at the regional level, Woodlands Academy’s MathCats have advanced to the April 22 State Finals at Illinois State University in Normal. Regional competition highlights include a first-place finish by sophomore Hannah Burke in the Algebra 2 individual event. The purpose of the ICTM State Math Contest includes recognizing outstanding mathematical achievement and encouraging independent study while stimulating interest in mathematics.

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Woodlands Academy senior is 2023 National Merit® Finalist

Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart proudly announces that one of its senior class members continues to advance in her pursuit of a highly prestigious scholarship award. Anne Kelly is among the approximately 15,000 U.S. high school seniors achieving Finalist status in the 68th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. This group of academically talented students will continue in the competition for some 7,250 National Merit® scholarships worth nearly $28 million to be awarded in the spring. Kelly advanced to the Finalist’s round based on her academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. The 2023 National Merit Scholarship competition began during the last school year, with more than 1.5 million juniors taking a preliminary exam. (Kelly is pictured with Head of School Susan Tyree Dempf, Ph.D., and Principal Rocco Gargiulo.)

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Woodlands Academy celebrates its junior class

Junior Ring Ceremony, one of the most significant days of a girl’s time at Woodlands Academy, marks the turning point in a student’s time at a Sacred Heart school. The class rings and Philippine Duchesne medals presented at the March 3 ceremony, planned and hosted by the senior class, are a reminder of the strong bond students feel within the walls of Woodlands Academy as well as the entire Sacred Heart community. “This is the perfect time to reflect, remember and celebrate all that you have accomplished, all that you have learned, all the ways in which you have grown—both as individuals and also as a class,” senior Clara Bartusiak said in her opening remarks. “Look around. The girls sitting next to you have never left your side, and they never will.” Each ring bears the Sacred Heart symbol of two embracing hearts, which are signs of love, friendship and unity.

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Woodlands Academy students help those who help others

Community service is emphasized in 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 in mind, Woodlands Academy held the second of its two 2022-23 service days on Feb. 23. Sophomores and seniors from the all-girls college-preparatory day-and-boarding high school in Lake Forest lent a helping hand at three area service organizations – Northern Illinois Food Bank, Bernie’s Book Bank and Cradles to Crayons. At the same time, freshmen and juniors – who helped out in the community during November’s Service Day – participated in retreat activities this time. Pictured: (clockwise from left) sophomores Avery Drehkoff, Claire Smylie, Grace Jennings, Lauren Janos and Kit Kirkendall at Bernie’s Book Bank in Lake Bluff.


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Woodlands finishes 4th at Archdiocesan math event

A team of five Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart students won fourth-place honors at the recent Archdiocese of Chicago math competition. Team members senior Sophia Gammel, sophomores Claire Smylie and Hannah Burke, and freshmen Chloe Mensah and Maya Whiteman competed against students from other Chicago area Catholic high schools at the Feb. 4 event, which has been held annually since 1967. Individually, Smylie finished in seventh place and Gammel finished in eighth place overall. The Archdiocese of Chicago math contest was held at the end of National Catholic Schools Week, which celebrates Catholic education in the United States. This year’s theme was "Catholic Schools: Faith. Excellence. Service.” Pictured (left to right) are Chloe Mensah, Hannah Burke, Claire Smylie and Maya Whiteman with Archdiocesan math competition awards won by Woodlands Academy.

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Woodlands Academy 3rd quarter Sacred Heart awards presented

Eight Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart students (two from each class) and one faculty member received third quarter Sacred Heart awards Feb. 3 in recognition of living the Sacred Heart Goals and Criteria in a most visible way. Goal Five, “Schools of the Sacred Heart commit themselves to personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom,” was chosen by the Woodlands Academy student government as the basis for these awards. Freshmen Annabelle Hayes and MacKenzie Lockhart, sophomores Kit Kirkendall and Giuliana Popoff, juniors “RC” David and Chiara Rifiuti, seniors Ella Badger and Kennedy Cannon, and math/Learning Program teacher Courtney Pomije were recognized for their efforts in living out this goal. 

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Woodlands' Charlie's Angles advance in national competition

Members of a Woodlands Academy independent math study class have passed the first round and are now semi-finalists in the Modeling the Future Challenge sponsored by the Actuarial Foundation and Institute of Competition Science. The team, known as Charlies Angles, completed a qualifying scenario and wrote a project proposal to clear the first round of the competition and are now working on their project, "The Financial Risks of a College Education," in the semi-finals. “This is the first year that Woodlands has participated in this challenge, so becoming a semi-finalist team is exciting,” math/chemistry teacher Valerie Rickert, Ph.D., said. The Modeling the Future Challenge is a real-world competition for high school students combining math modeling, data analysis and risk management into a single challenge. Pictured: Charlie’s Angles (from left) seniors Ann Kelly and Sophia Gammel and juniors Aanya Sahu and Gianna Keuer.

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Woodlands Academy fundraiser ‘Going for Gold’

Woodlands Academy’s 50th annual Congé fundraiser will celebrate this milestone by “Going for Gold” Feb. 25 to benefit student athletics and wellness. Those attending will hear from an alumna who’s currently a United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) executive. They’ll also hear from a retired NBA and college coach whose lifelong dream of coaching high school basketball has finally come true at Woodlands Academy. Kate Hartman Rosenzweig, a 2000 Woodlands Academy graduate, is the USOPC’s chief external affairs officer. She leads the committee’s public, media, international and government relations efforts while also rallying enthusiasm and support for Team USA. Larry Farmer was a member of the three-time NCAA national champion UCLA Bruins basketball team coached by the legendary John Wooden. Farmer’s coaching credentials include the NBA, where he was an assistant for the Golden State Warriors. At the collegiate level, his head coaching stints included UCLA and Loyola/Chicago.

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Friendly paws provide some relief during finals week

Before they could close the book on the first semester and begin their Christmas/New Year’s break, students at Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart faced four days of final exams. Enter Paws for Patrick as one method of helping relieve the stress of finals week at the all-girls high school in Lake Forest. Paws for Patrick, a non-profit organization that uses therapy animals as a way of providing support to young people, brought Penny, an English Lab, and Piper, a Labradoodle, to interact with Woodlands Academy students for a while on Dec. 14. In addition to this, a hot chocolate bar during lunch on Dec. 12 was another de-stressing activity planned by the student government group WACOR (Woodlands Academy Council of Representatives) that was well received by students.

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