Grit, determination and getting back up

Thank you to members of our Board of Trustees, our parents and family members in attendance, to our Seniors, and to all of you, for a beautiful Prize Day!

Several weeks ago, I was reading Education Week magazine which highlights important trends and science within the field of education. One article caught my attention where a top psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth was exploring such questions as, “Can we predict academic or professional success?” and “What qualities separate successful students from those who struggle?” (

To me, these are good questions to be curious about as we come to the end of Prize Day. Today, we have recognized many of you who have achieved academic success and many of you who have received other awards which highlight outstanding qualities of character and person. To all of you who have received this recognition, I share my congratulations for your commitment to the highest standards of Sacred Heart education. All of us recognize in you our hopes for doing well at something and for being the best at something you strive to do.Sacred Heart

For many of us, the awards given out to these special girls were not really surprises. Most of us know who the girl is in the class that is the smartest, that always gets an A on the test, the girl who never goes to detention, the one who never misses school, or the girl who is most like Mater.

As we sit here, we might think to ourselves that these girls were born smart, they have high I.Q.s’ or they were just born sweet. We might think that these girls do not have to struggle—or that they do not have to work that hard. Maybe, we think that they will inevitably go on in life to have the best jobs, or the most popular.

But, if you are thinking some of these things, you really would be wrong.

Psychologists, educators and, yes, saints say what makes us successful in school, at camp, and in whatever you try to do at any age is the determination to get back up when you fall down. They say that the real winners are people who persevere in spite of real struggles—the ones who stick with the things because they have the grit, self-control and passion to push through the struggle of doing whatever it is they are doing. Successful people finish the thing that they set their minds to doing.

St. Paul talks about in the Scripture those who “run the GOOD race” and how important it is to not just race to the finish but to run with God and with values.

St. Madeleine Sophie said 200 years ago “Even though you have fallen a thousand times in one day, if in the evening you stand up again on your two feet, you may sing of victory.”

Hopefully, all of us can end this year, whether we won an award or did not, knowing that we ran a GOOD race…. That we got up after falling down, that we worked hard and that we ran to the best of our ability.

So, we come to the end of another year at Sacred Heart. All of us can say, “We have made it to the end. We did persevere.” So, to all of you, I say, CONGRATULATIONS, girls! You have done well!

A special word of thanks to all the faculty, staff, and administrators of this school who have accompanied each one of you students on your path this year. Parents, that you for your partnership. It has been a wonderful year as a Sacred Heart community!

Before ending Prize Day, I do want to put the spotlight on two very special people who truly show the spirit of Sacred Heart.

The first person is Sr. Lorraine Landry who is retiring from being our full-time art teacher in the Middle School. Sr. Landry is not leaving us at the Rosary, and she will continue with us in lots of different ways. Sr. Landry has been teaching for a total of 60 years. For 43 of them at the Rosary, she has gotten up at early hours, beginning her day with prayer, preparing classes, and teaching art to children. Let’s all give her a round of applause for her service.

Next, I want to recognize the Head of our Upper School Division, Dr. Yvonne Adler, who is moving on to become the Headmistress at our school in Grand Coteau. Dr. Adler has served the Rosary for many years as Chair of our Board of Trustees and as the Division Head for 8 years. A parent of 3 children who graduated, Dr. Adler is a member of the Associates, a Child of Mary and she known by many as a “want-to-be RSCJ.” It is hard to say goodbye, Dr. Adler, but we are happy for your service in so many ways to our school.
Others within our faculty community are departing, and we will have a special celebration for them next week.

Now, it is a time for you to rest up and to enjoy the summer. Have a wonderful time this summer and a fantastic vacation.

Note: These comments were given at our Prize Day.

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