Flag Ceremony celebrates Lake Forest school’s rich cultural diversity

The Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart community celebrated its multicultural makeup during the all-girls college-prep high school’s annual Flag Ceremony and prayer service on Friday, Sept. 9. 

The flags of the U.S.A. and 26 other nations – Australia, Belize, Bolivia, Canada, China, Colombia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Venezuela – were carried into the chapel during the Procession of the Nations. They represent nations where either a student or faculty/staff member was born or where they hold dual citizenship. All 27 flags will remain on display during the entire school year to visualize the breadth of Woodlands Academy’s cultural diversity.

“The Society of the Sacred Heart has been an international community since its early years,” Principal Rocco Gargiulo said. “At Woodlands Academy, there are many ways for each of us to expand our global hearts. Today, our Flag Ceremony recognizes, honors and celebrates the breadth and diversity on our campus.”

One of the program’s highlights featured 12 students and faculty/staff members offering prayers in their native language. The message of junior Mariia Korostelina’s Ukrainian prayer was especially meaningful: (English translation) “For those stuck in the middle of political unrest, may they find peace and refuge among all the violence, and may the families find ways to stay together safely. We pray, also, that the conflicts within their countries are resolved as swiftly and effectively as possible.”  

Woodlands Academy offers students a variety of ways to experience cultural diversity first-hand. Its boarding school is home to several girls from other countries pursuing their education at the Lake Forest school. In addition, Woodlands is part of a worldwide network of Sacred Heart schools that spans the United States and 40 other countries around the world. Its students can participate in an exchange program, allowing them to spend some time at one of the other Sacred Heart schools, as well as Woodlands Academy’s Global Odyssey and Global Scholar programs. To learn more about these programs specifically and/or the school in general, visit woodlandsacademy.org.