News Around Woodlands

Woodlands Academy launches unique summer camp option for girls

Before entering grades 5 and 6 this fall, a motivated group of girls from Lake and Cook counties participated in a unique, new summer day camp experience at Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart. GrowGirl’s inaugural session, “Investigating Mysteries,” inspired students to combine their interest in storytelling and mysteries with building curiosity about the ways subjects such as math and chemistry are used in forensics. Woodlands Academy English teacher Jennifer Allison Brostrom teamed up with chemistry and math teacher Valerie Rickert, Ph.D., to create a curriculum combining fiction and forensics designed for 5th through 7th graders. This new summer camp also featured mystery-themed games and activities planned by Woodlands Academy incoming juniors Karishma Bhatara and Ally Jenner, both of whom are actively involved in Woodlands’ arts and STEM programs. The photo depicts Rickert helping a GrowGirl participant analyze the Ph level of some evidence during a crime scene investigation scenario in the school’s chemistry lab.

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Woodlands Academy graduation: ‘I see women who shine’

Members of Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart’s Class of 2022 received their diplomas during the 163rd Graduation Ceremony held June 2 in the school’s chapel. Classmates selected senior Charlotte Sparks to address the assembly on behalf of the graduating class. She began by reflecting on some of the unique issues that came to mind as they entered an all-girls high school. For example, would they miss some necessary high school experiences? “I’m happy to answer that question with a no,” Sparks said. “Although we didn’t realize that from the start, teachers, staff and administration created the best environment that I know no other school would be able to achieve. … The Sacred Heart mission and its five goals have given us the tools and purpose to live meaningful lives in service to others.”

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Honors Recognition ceremony awards 2021-22 achievements

Many Woodlands Academy students – and one of their teachers – were recognized for numerous achievements this school year during the Honors Recognition ceremony June 1, the 163rd annual distribution of awards. Highlights included presentation of the 2021-22 Woodlands Award, the highest honor that can be attained at Woodlands. Based on the votes of faculty and students, this award recognizes outstanding service, leadership, character and scholastic development. This year’s recipient is Berkeley Borkert. Meanwhile, the Frances de la Chapelle Excellence in Teaching Award went to mathematics/science teacher Dr. Valerie Rickert. Congratulations to all our 2020-21 honorees!

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Beloved Woodlands Academy teacher, coach retires after 48 years

Rosemary Briesch is retiring after tenures as a teacher, coach and athletic director since 1973. Senior Abby Moravek, Woodlands Academy’s Athlete of the Year, sees Briesch’s legacy as one of building an athletic program that helps empower young women to live by values extending far beyond sports. That legacy will live on at Woodlands in ways that include the athletic department’s newly created Rosemary Briesch Award. Multi-sport athlete Lily Hinojosa is its first recipient. Photo note: Briesch and Moravek are pictured with the “Athletic Director’s” chair given to Briesch May 19 as one of the athletic department’s commemorations. It will be kept at the school for Briesch’s use during hoped-for frequent visits during her retirement.

 

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Woodlands Academy MathCats make strong contest showings

Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart’s participation in this year’s Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ (ICTM) competition added up to multiple successes at two levels. Overall, MathCats team members from the all-girls college-preparatory high school in Lake Forest finished third in their Division 1A regional competition and then in eighth place at the state level. “I’m so proud of our MathCats for their achievements in the regional and state competitions,” Head of School Dawn Nichols, Ph.D., said. “They confirm Woodlands Academy’s commitment to teaching and leading our outstanding girls along the way to becoming empowered young women in career fields such as STEM.”

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May Crowning and senior class celebrations at Woodlands Academy

May 2 was a day of double celebrations at Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart. It began with the annual May Crowning ceremony, followed by a special event for members of the senior class. May Crowning honors Mary, Mother of Jesus, by crowning her statue with a wreath of flowers. It serves as a visible reminder that Mary’s example continues to endure even 2,000 years after her Assumption. Participants expressed gratitude to Mary for her example of a life well-lived and honored her as a woman of great virtue. “She is a model of faith for all of us, senior Isabel Rettino said. Immediately following the May Crowning service, members of the senior class were inducted into the Woodlands Academy Alumnae Association and two other Sacred Heart alumnae/alumni associations. The induction ceremony ended with each member of the Class of 2022 turning the ring she received during her junior year so that the heart faces outward symbolizing a readiness to explore the larger world.

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Woodlands Academy musicians win Gold and more in St. Louis

Woodlands Academy received several top honors at the WorldStrides OnStage Heritage Festival, April 22-24, in St. Louis, Missouri. Gold awards were won by the Kaleidoscope choir, the Woodlands Academy Symphony Orchestra and the student-led Microscope choir. In addition to their three Gold award plaques, Woodlands Academy’s musical ensembles brought home three large trophies, including the prestigious Adjudicator Award won by the orchestra. This award is the hardest to obtain. The other trophies were for Outstanding Choir (Microscope) and Outstanding Orchestra. In addition to the ensemble accolades, junior Clara Bartusiak received the Ovation Award and senior Berkeley Borkert won a Maestro award.

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Woodlands sophomore medals in World Cup of Indoor Skydiving

By being there, 15-year-old Gianna Keuer made some “girl power” history. Her team, Volare, is the first all-female 4-Way Dynamic team selected to compete at a World Cup of Indoor Skydiving event. They finished second in their event’s junior division to a team from Singapore at the 4th FAI World Cup of Indoor Skydiving event April 5-10 in Charleroi, Belgium. In addition to their silver medal, Gianna’s team appears to have set a North American Dynamic 4-way junior record, which is pending formal ratification by the FAI (World Air Sports Federation). Gianna says it’s a dream come true to represent the USA on the world stage of indoor skydiving. (Photo note: Gianna is second from the right.) 

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Woodlands Academy observes Month of the Military Child

Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart has joined in commemorating the Month of the Military Child. It began with a special ceremony on April 6 honoring the school’s two students from military families. “Thank you to our military guests for joining our community as we acknowledge and applaud military-connected youth and their families,” Head of School l Dawn Nichols, Ph.D., said in her opening remarks. The featured speaker was Lt. Col. Joseph Common, operations officer, 9th Marine Corps District. “It’s an honor to be here, and we appreciate what you’re doing here today,” he said. “This speaks volumes about Woodlands Academy’s dedication to service.” Commons then presented certificates of recognition to junior Madison Nekvinda and sophomore Nakeiya Banks.  

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