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.
News Around Woodlands
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.
Two Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart students have distinguished themselves in the current National Merit Scholarship competition. School officials recently were informed that Berkeley Borkert, of West Dundee, and Caitlin Mooney, of Chicago, are among high school seniors nationwide receiving a Letter of Commendation from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Mooney, pictured left, and Borkert are being recognized for exceptional academic promise.
Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart has earned another round of top marks for its faith-based education of young women. According to the just-released 2022 rankings by Niche, an independent research company, the Lake Forest school repeats as the #1 Best All-girls High School in Illinois. In addition, Woodlands Academy is again ranked the #1 Best Catholic High School in Illinois. This is the fifth year in a row that Niche has ranked Woodlands Academy the #1 Best All-girls High School in Illinois and the third consecutive year it’s given Woodlands an overall grade of A+. Niche, a website for researching K-12 schools, scored Woodlands Academy highly on a variety of factors.
The richness of Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart’s cultural diversity was celebrated with its Flag Ceremony Sept. 10 at the all-girls college-preparatory day-and-boarding high school. This annual event recognizes and honors the breadth of international diversity on its Lake Forest campus. Its rich cultural diversity is viewed as a true blessing at Woodlands Academy – one of the many forms of diversity which Sacred Heart Schools seek and cherish. Indeed, it’s very much the educational vision of Sacred Heart Schools, as articulated by the foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart, St. Madeleine Sophie Barat. “To influence our world, we must understand it,” she said.
The Aug. 24 start of the 2021-22 term launched a second year of in-person classroom instruction at Woodlands Academy with COVID-19 protocols once again governing life at the all-girls high school in Lake Forest. School officials believe that students learn most effectively when they can actively engage with their teachers and peers. For the second year in a row, the school’s COVID-19 guidelines are part of Woodlands Academy's dedication to keeping that a reality. The mood was festive with various displays of school spirit as members of the Class of 2022 celebrated their newfound status during what’s become known as “Seniors Rule Day.”
Capt. Lori Legat Cline ’79 has become the first female pilot to reach the level of managing director at American Airlines. In her new, additional role as managing director of pilot recruitment & crew accommodations, Cline welcomes the opportunity to find female and other diverse candidates to fill upcoming cockpit vacancies. She expressed an interest in flying at an early age and in 1983 became the youngest female airline captain in the world. Later, she was the industry’s first-ever female director of flight safety and scored other firsts for women in her profession. “The education I got at Woodlands Academy propelled me to heights I might not otherwise have achieved,” Cline says.
After a one-year absence due to the pandemic, Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart is once again hosting the Western Golf Association’s (WGA) Caddie Academy for young women. Some 50 participants from across the country are residing in the boarding school. An additional 27 are participating virtually. Woodlands has hosted the event since 2016. “Woodlands Academy has proven to be an excellent fit for our young women’s program, and we are very excited about returning this year as well as the future of our partnership,” said Mike Maher with the WGA, who oversees Caddie Academy. (Shown in this WGA photo are some of the 2019 participants.)
For her role in the Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart softball team’s highly successful 2021 season, pitcher Abby Moravek recently was named to the 24-member 2021 Illinois Coaches Association Class 1A All-State Softball Second Team. This distinction comes on the heels of Moravek being named the Independent School League’s (ISL) 2021 Softball Player of the Year for the second consecutive time. The Wildcats got off to an impressive start, winning their first 11 games en route to the 2021 ISL championship. That winning streak included non-conference victories over Lake Forest, Highland Park and Round Lake high schools.
Formed in 2020 to meet specific needs created by COVID-19 constraints, Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart in Lake Forest and Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bellevue, Washington, will continue their partnership by offering more of its robust online Sacred Heart Global Academy (SHGA) courses. During its inaugural year, the program featured eight courses grounded in the Sacred Heart mission that provided opportunities for international and domestic students to participate with each other along with teachers from both schools. SHGA’s two summer offerings will be followed by four more in the fall. The fall courses will be the first ones available to additional schools in the Sacred Heart’s worldwide network.