Rich traditions from the long history of Sacred Heart education are introduced to the children in pre-kindergarten and each year the students grow in depth and knowledge of what it truly means to be part of the Sacred Heart network of schools.
Some are based purely in fun; others are rooted in spirituality or service. All bring the community—students, parents, faculty and staff—great joy!
Traditions we share with other member schools in the Network include:
Congé - (kon-zhay: French leave taking, farewell) It’s Congé! This announcement is recognized by students at Sacred Heart Schools as signaling a day when they take leave of their regular studies and channel all energy into having fun. Congé comes when it is least expected, since the planning for them is done in secret. Originally, the activities and games, such as cache-cache (a group form of hide-and-seek), were planned by the religious for the girls of the boarding schools.
Espacio quite literally means space. As a practice, espacio entails carving space from our schedule, our use of time and our consciousness in order to develop competency as one who can be silent, as one who desires to be in tune with Mystery. The daily practice of taking time, even for a few minutes, in silence allows us to nurture our sensitivity to the Spirit dwelling within us.
Goûter is a long-standing tradition in Sacred Heart schools. In days of the boarding schools, when it was not uncommon for classes to meet until five o’clock in the afternoon, it was necessary to provide the students with a mid-afternoon snack. Later, as the schools grew, the cost and logistics of providing daily goûter became too complex. Today, goûter, is a special treat to which students in Sacred Heart schools look forward on special feast days and holidays.
Mater Admirabilis is a fresco painted in 1844 by an RSCJ postulant, Pauline Perdrau, at the Trinità dei Monti at the top of the Spanish steps in Rome. Pauline was inspired to paint Mary as she had imagined her as a child. The lily at Mary’s side represented her purity; the distaff and spindle, her love of work; a book, her dedication to study. With some training but limited experience with fresco, Pauline was not prepared for the harsh colors of the painting before it cured in the plaster. The fresco was covered and it was later discovered to have (miraculously) transformed into a beautiful painting, declared to be , “Mater Admirabilis!” (Latin for “Mother Most Admirable”). Permission was given to offer Mass before the miraculous picture and to celebrate the feast of Mater Admirabilis on October 20. A re-enactment of the story is performed each year by the 2nd Grade class. Students wear pink accents and pink goûter complete the celebration.
Red and White Teams Traditionally, a Sacred Heart school is divided into teams. Each student, and sometime each teacher and administrator, is inducted into one of two teams, usually designated by school colors. Distinct from the varsity athletic or physical education program in a school, the activities in which teams compete can range from participation in a fundraiser to participating in or attending an extracurricular event to decorating parts of the school building or keeping the grounds clean. In the boarding-school days of some of the schools, students earned or lost points for their team by the orderliness of their study hall desks and dormitory lockers; sometimes the striving for points led even to double casting for dramatic productions. Involving students in group ventures and rewarding group effort, teams attempt to foster a healthy sense of competition and school spirit and to heighten awareness of the value of individual contribution to communal ventures. Public recognition of such efforts can come from the posting of team points throughout the year and the final awarding of a trophy or prize to the team with the most points at the end of Field Day.
Also unique to Sheridan Road are the Senior Kindergarten Nativity play, Christmas hot dog lunch (held on the final day of school before Christmas break, hot dogs are served by the parents after an all-school mass), Justice Day, and commissioning our 8th graders as leaders of our school community. In addition, the Buddy Program is a much-loved tradition at Sacred Heart. This is the pairing of senior kindergarteners with 7th grade students. The buddies continue the following year when students become 1st graders and 8th graders. The buddies share a variety of school activities throughout the year—they attend all-school masses together, march in the Halloween Parade, read stories, and gather for a "Stone Soup" celebration just before Thanksgiving break, among other activities throughout the year. The Buddy Program promotes leadership and mentoring for the older students and fosters an increased sense of belonging and inclusivity for the younger students. Importantly, the program promotes friendship and highlights the value of community for all.