Considering all the uncertainty and tension surrounding this year’s election, the Woodlands Academy community began the day Nov. 4 with a prayer service. In announcing plans for the brief service, Dean of Students Emma Hindman said this is an important time to gather as a community. “Reflecting on our Sacred Heart mission will remind us all to look to the Goals and Criteria for guidance and stability in the days and weeks ahead,” she added.
Head of School Meg Steele did just that in her opening remarks. “We are blessed to have the Goals and Criteria to guide us,” she said. “Goal IV calls us to the building of community as a Christian value. Our community is strong and resilient. We take care of one another and stand up for what is right.”
Following all the political divisions and negative rhetoric of this election season, Steele said the Woodlands Academy community is now tasked with healing and moving forward together. “The Goals and Criteria call us to constantly work to build our community through respect, compassion, forgiveness and generosity,” she added.
The Prayer Intentions offered by a few students during the service reflected these themes in seeking guidance. For example, junior Caitlin Mooney asked for help finding ways to live peacefully with others following the election. “Allow each of us to be open to the opinions of others with whom we disagree. Fill us with a spirit of charity toward those who may oppose us.”
Then, in her prayer, freshman Hailey Ross sought guidance in finding paths of reconciliation for our civic leaders.
“All of us have different views, and the Woodlands community is made richer by the diversity of opinions among us,” Steele said. “Democracy is complicated, but it leaves a great deal of room for hope. The United States’ success necessitates our coming together for the greater good.”
This timely prayer service started the first day of in-person classroom instruction at Woodlands Academy following a two-week remote learning stint. The all-girls college-prep high school had begun the 2020-21 year by returning to full-time in-person classroom education but switched to remote learning Oct. 20, immediately after the Lake County Health Department urged all schools in the county to do so based on COVID-19 trends at the time.