Woodlands Academy holds 2024 graduation ceremony

Members of Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart’s Class of 2024 received their diplomas during the all-girls college-preparatory high school’s 165th Commencement Exercises on June 5 in the Lake Forest school’s chapel.

Senior Aanya Sahu was selected by her classmates to address the assembly on behalf of the graduating class. She reflected on a high school journey that began with the switch to remote learning during her class’s first year at Woodlands Academy due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“My last four years with you have taught me the value of a strong community. … It is at Woodlands, where I am surrounded by such inspiring and amazing people, that I am continually able to become a better version of myself,” Sahu said. “Seniors, as you go off into the world, spend some time reflecting on the memories you made with each other because I know I wouldn’t trade them for anything else. The strength of this tight-knit community that we have the privilege to be a part of will continue to influence each and every one of us as we do incredible things, fulfilling our every dream.”  

The Woodlands Academy senior class chose Jeremy Sands, who teaches history and science classes, as the ceremony's faculty speaker. “I am grateful for Woodlands' commitment to connection. … Woodlands is a small school, but this tight-knit community allows us to connect at a much higher level,” he said. “Woodlands has given you the gift of sisterhood. The sisters next to you here today, as well as the other graduates of Schools of the Sacred Heart around the globe.  Embrace this connection. It is truly a gift. … Go forth to college and beyond, bringing a fresh perspective to the world. I know you, and I know that you will.”

Woodlands Academy's Class of 2024 departed graduation en route to various enriching futures. College admission applications submitted by the school’s 35 seniors were accepted at 123 institutions in the U.S. and Europe. The graduates have committed to attend institutions from those nearby, such as Lake Forest College, Carthage College, Northwestern University, University of Illinois/Chicago, DePaul University, Marquette University and University of Notre Dame, to ones as far away as University of Southern California, Gonzaga University, University of Miami, University of Florida, Arizona State/Tempe, University of Arizona and University of Vermont.

Several in-between destinations for Woodlands Academy seniors this fall include University of Illinois/Urbana-Champaign, Indiana University, Illinois Wesleyan University, Augustana College and Texas Christian University.

Members of Woodlands' Class of 2024 have been awarded scholarships or special recognition from many of the colleges and universities to which they have applied. In all, Woodlands Academy seniors have received more than 100 scholarships worth more than $2.5 million.

Woodlands Academy’s comprehensive College Counseling program is an important reason why Woodlands has a robust college-preparatory culture. Its students get accepted into colleges and universities across the country and the world that offer them the opportunity to grow as scholars and individuals. The program features Woodlands’ unique College Skills class in which the college counselor works with students through the college process during their junior and senior years in a classroom setting. It is a prime example of how Woodlands Academy provides the support students and parents need in the ever-evolving college process.

(Photo credit: James Vitullo)