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Sacred Heart Academy E-Newsletter

E-Newsletter, Volume 4 | November 2019
American Cancer Society Recognizes Sacred Heart for Participation in Strides Walk

In one of the largest, most collaborative community service efforts, Sacred Heart students, faculty and administration raised over $10,700, for the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Walk last month.


Sacred Heart continues to be one of the largest fundraising schools on Long Island, and, in addition to the money raised, sent more than 200 members of the SHA community to join the walk at Jones Beach.


“As young women growing up in a region with historically high rates of this disease, there aren’t many causes that should come nearer and dearer to our hearts,” said World Languages Teacher Ms. Lori Vollmer, who serves as SHA’s liaison to the American Cancer Society (ACS). “The prayer intentions board we take with us to the beach each year (on which the girls, faculty and staff write the names of family and friends fighting, surviving and lost to cancer) bears witness to how this disease this affects all of us.  I hope and expect SHA will stay strong and steady in its support of this fight for many years to come. Simultaneously, I hope that the need driving this effort is soon abated, and we definitively find a cure.”


In a letter of thanks, the community development manager at ACS said, “I just wanted to reach out and say what an AMAZING job Sacred Heart did at the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk.  Not only did the team come out in full force on walk day; they also fundraised tirelessly before.  I want to thank the entire SHA team for joining us in the fight against cancer!  Each donation helps make a difference in the lives of so many and we cannot thank you enough.”


Included in the note was a break down, highlighting the impact the SHA community has: The money raised by SHA gives 440 rides to treatment, 440 patients access to a live 24/7 cancer helpline for answers and support and it provides 220 nights of free lodging at an American Cancer Society Hope Lodge when treatment is far from home. 

SHA Invited to Women's Leadership Conference at Adelphi University

Through the collaboration of all of SHA’s constituents – students, parents, faculty, administration, alumnae and supporters, Sacred Heart Academy works to empower its students to take the lead in academics, athletics, service and in life. 

Several SHA students were recently invited to take part in Adelphi University’s Women’s Leadership Conference: Becoming Your Most Powerful Self.  The training and professional development conference is traditionally open only to members of the Adelphi University community, but an invitation was extended to graduates of Sacred Heart Academy’s Emerging Leaders Institute.

During the day-long experience, participants heard from two keynote speakers, Dottie Herman, chief executive officer of Douglas Elliman Real Estate and Carolyn Quinn, executive director at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, as well as several panelists who shared their expertise and professional stories.

Included among the impressive group of presenters was Sacred Heart Academy President, Kristin Lynch Graham, who joined a panel titled: Lessons In Being Limitless, where the discussion focused on ways for women to not restrict themselves in their lives and in the workplace.

The Emerging Leaders Institute at Sacred Heart Academy is a four-day intensive experiential program designed for rising sophomores that provides them with exposure to career paths in various fields such as legal, communications, engineering and healthcare.  

Academic Highlights

Athletics Newsletter: Fall Sports Recap 2019 

Faculty Awards

Science Research Director Wins Nancy Lyman Roelker Mentorship Award 
Once every three years, the American Historical Association Roelker Award Committee meets to recognize the nation's best precollegiate mentor "to honor teachers of history who taught, guided, and inspired their students in a way that changed their lives."  At first glance, the AHA decision to grant one of its most prestigious prizes to Sacred Heart Academy's Science Research Director might seem curious.

However, if one considers Dr. Stephen Sullivan’s long career, and expansive and interdisciplinary definition of historical and scientific research, their thinking becomes clear. Between 1987 and 2019, Dr. Sullivan’s students have earned literally hundreds of national awards in humanities, social science and natural science competitions.  

"I teach research, not history, psychology or biology, per se,” Sullivan said. “The students pick their own topics, then pursue fiercely their hypothesis to its logical conclusion. I point them in the right direction, support their quest, and challenge their conclusions every inch of the way. It's all terribly Socratic."  

Dr. Sullivan’s students at SHA work across a wide range of STEM disciplines, from anthropology, to biology, to chemistry, to economics, to engineering, to geography, to psychology, to physics. In less than a year, a dozen girls earned an invitation to present original research at the Association for Psychological Science Convention.  

Sacred Heart Physical Education and Health Teacher Receives Amazing Person Award
Sacred Heart Academy Physical Education and Health Teacher, Mrs. Kaitlin Szczesny has been named the recipient of the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, Inc.’s Amazing Person Award. 

The award is presented at the Annual Conference in November, allowing her peers to acknowledge individuals who have gone above and beyond in service to school, community and the association.   

Mrs. Szczesny returned to Sacred Heart as a PE and Health teacher this year.  In addition to her teaching duties, she serves as moderator for two of SHA's major programs for the Arts, The Nutcracker and Red and Gold.

Congratulations to Dr. Sullivan and Mrs. Szczesny. 

An Insider's View of Sacred Heart
The admissions season is in full swing and the buzz about SHA is exciting.  One of the key admissions strategies that Sacred Heart employs is the SHAdowing program.  Following the Open House in September, SHA schedules visits where prospective students have an opportunity to spend the day with our current students.


More than 450 prospective students visited Sacred Heart at the annual Open House in September and, since then, we’ve seen 180 eighth grade SHAdows return to spend the day with a current student, with 65 additional appointments scheduled.


The SHAdowing day is designed to provide the visiting student with a first-hand inside look at what being a student at Sacred Heart is really like.  Almost all of the eighth graders who SHAdow at Sacred Heart are coming from a co-educational environment and are curious to learn more about the all-girl advantage.


One eighth grader, Annie, who attended the SHA Open House for the past two years and recently returned to SHAdow, told us that her reason for visiting was because she wanted to see for herself what SHA has to offer academically, athletically and socially. 


Annie was paired up with a freshmen and spent the day walking the halls, attending classes and catching up at lunch to discuss Red and Gold practice schedules and after-school plans – just as if she was a current SHA student. 


“The most memorable part of my SHAdow experience is how comfortable the students and faculty made me feel,” she said.  “The all-girl student body can make you feel very comfortable and confident.  I fit in and could totally see myself at the school.”


SHAdowing appointments are available for eighth graders through mid-January.  The calendar for seventh graders opens in January and appointment for SHAdowing will be available between March and May. 


“I would suggest that all girls interested in SHA should attend the Open House and SHAdow.  They are very informative and can give them an opportunity to find out what SHA is all about – like they did for me!”


Learn more about SHAdowing, or schedule an appointment by clicking here.


#SHAStory: Dr. Gajal Kumar '02

Dr. kumarGajal Kumar '02 a trauma surgeon and mom of two is also a Six-Star finisher who has completed six of the world's largest marathons.  Balancing the time to train with young children and through pregnancies, while also managing a busy and stressful career, can be challenging, but Gajal credits SHA with helping to build her strong foundation and giving her the self-assurance to “Take the Lead.”


“I will always look back fondly and thankfully at my time at SHA, Gajal said.  “Not only did the environment allow me thrive academically it also provided me with the confidence to reach for my goals no matter how lofty.”

Her story was featured in Abbott World Marathon Majors where she shared how she finds balance through running.


Read the Abbott World feature on Gajal here.


See all of the features in the #SHAStory campaign


Development Update

President's CircleAnnual support is essential to the financial health of any school. At Sacred Heart, you can be assured that your gift - of any size - to the Annual Fund will make a meaningful difference in our students’ lives. The President’s Circle recognizes donors who make annual gifts of $1,000 or more.


The Young Alumnae President’s Circle recognizes alumnae who graduated in the past 15 years who make a gift of $250 or more. A donor can reach the President’s Circle by making an outright gift, through recurring gifts and/or company matching gifts. Our donor goal for the President’s Circle is 300. Give generously. Give fearlessly. Give today.


Donate button


Stay Connected with SHA by Joining our Alumnae Linkedin Group


We encourage you to:

  • Connect with fellow SHA Alumnae
  • Share professional updates
  • Post job openings and other career opportunities for fellow SHA alumnae.
  • Remember to also connect yourself Sacred Heart Academy's Linkedin Page

Sacred Heart Academy E-Newsletter
Vol. 2, January, 2019

In this Issue


Donor Spotlight

Beth (Genalo '99) Savino

As a child, Beth Savino’s parents encouraged her to participate in sports. They both valued the basics that sports bring to a child’s life and pushed Beth and her brother to keep active and healthy through sports. After a standout soccer career at Sacred Heart, she went on to play for Fordham University and has excelled in a career as an accountant.  She is currently a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers.    

 Beth credits her experiences as a student-athlete with providing the platform for her personal and professional success. She developed friendships, learned about commitment, dedication and responsibility and how to deal with pressures and anxiety.  She came back to Sacred Heart to speak with our current student-athletes and shared her experiences at SHA with us.

What is your favorite memory of Sacred Heart?
Being a member of the girls’ soccer team gives me my greatest memories and proudest accomplishments while at SHA. Before starting the first day of freshman year, soccer pre-season was in full swing. I had met my new classmates as well as my upper classmen role models and we were a team right from Day 1. Girls from all over Long Island, from different schools and cultures playing together as one unit. We knew we had something special and we let it shine on the field – all the way through the State Championship game our senior year! We grew together from girls to women and SHA helped mold us every step of the way.

How did Sacred Heart prepared you for college and career as an accountant?
Sacred Heart gave me my process. How to organize my thoughts, prioritize my work, understand what to think about now and what to leave for later. They gave me a juggling act – classes, sports, clubs, spirituality, friendships…all were important at their appropriate times.  I am so thankful for that base now that I juggle my husband and three children, a full time job, staying healthy, family, friendships...

What is the most rewarding and challenging part of being a working mom?
There are rewards and challenges every day. I love being able to show my girls that having a career you love and a family are possible. It’s so satisfying hearing them tell their friends that their mommy goes to New York City every day on the train, that their mom is the BEST at helping with math problems…But it’s awful when I have to miss a field trip, a basketball practice or a dress rehearsal because I’m busy at work. But it’s all a give and take and that’s what I’m trying to teach my girls – you can have it all, just not all at the same time.

You recently came back and donated to SHA. Tell us how it felt to be back in the mix!
It’s a great feeling to be able to give back to a place that has given me so much! So many memories, friendships and lessons. Like I said above, SHA taught me about priorities. I think it’s important to give your assets (money, time or talent) to organizations that mean a lot to me and that I want to remain connected to in the future. Sacred Heart is one of those places for me, so when it came time to make the decision of how to allocate my donations, it was an easy choice!


 Student Spotlight

Lauryn Johnson '19 

Sacred Heart Academy senior Lauryn Johnson '19 is one of the top swimmers in the region, leading SHA to a state championship and winning several accolades as an individual competitor.  Like many high school students, her schedule is demanding. 


In February and March, Lauryn will swim in two competitive meets, including the 5-day long Junior Nationals, where Lauryn hopes to finish in the top-five.  This year’s season ends in August at the National Finals before she heads off to begin her freshman year as a student-athlete at UCLA.


Lauryn credits the teachers and coaches at SHA for helping her emphasize balance between academics, athletics and her extra-curricular activities including volunteer time with SHA’s Key Club. 


What made you choose Sacred Heart?

A lot of girls from my town (Rockville Centre) were going to SHA and my cousin went as well.  I knew from when I SHAdowed that I would be a perfect fit in this school.


What is your most memorable experience at SHA thus far?

At high school swim states when our 400 Freestyle Relay team won in 2017 (I was a junior).  We beat every public school and Catholic school team in the state!


What are your plans for next year?

In April of 2018 I made the decision with the help of my family, friends, and coaches to commit to UCLA.  I will be part of the swim team at UCLA, which is an honor in itself.  I am deciding to follow the career path of either physical therapy or speech pathology.


How has SHA prepared you for college?

Academically, I think SHA has prepared me for college more so than any other high school would have.  I have learned how to study and take very good notes and most of all, I’ve learned how to properly manage my time between swimming and academics.  The teachers here are awesome in that they are always willing to help me with my schedule.  SHA has also taught me to always speak up, because if you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.  I’ve also learned to be humble about my swimming achievements, a trait that I will definitely bring with me to college. 




SHA's Athletic Teams Stand Out During Fall Season 

Sacred Heart Academy’s tradition of strong athletics continued this fall with several of our teams and student-athletes winning championships and receiving recognition for their performances. A special congratulations to our championship winners:

  • Maggie Maier ’20 | Cross Country CHSAA Intersectional Meet Champion
  • Varsity Volleyball | GCHSAA State Champions

Cross Country Highlights

  • Varsity Cross Country finished second at the CHSAA Intersectional Meet.
  • JV won the CHSAA JV Intersectional Championship, with five runners finishing in the top-six.
  • Maggie Maier won the Intersectional Meet for the third year in a row. She won the Sophomore Intersectional race last year and holds the current CHSAA record. Her freshman year, she was the winner of the Freshman Intersectional, making her a three-time CHSAA Intersectional Champion.
  • Maggie Maier was also recognized on Newsday’s All Long Island team list.
  • Shannon Thieke '20 came in second in the varsity race.


  • Varsity Soccer played their hearts out in the league championship but were not able to defeat St. Anthony's, losing 5-1.
  • Christina Biscardi '19 was named NSCHSAA Player of the Year.
  • Christina Biscardi was also recognized on Newsday’s All Long Island team list.


  • Swimming finished third in the New York State Federation Meet at Ithaca College.
  • Lauryn Johnson placed third in the state for both the 100 fly and the 500 free.
  • Joan Cash '21 had two amazing swims, placing fifth in the 50 free and 4th in the 100 free.
  • The 200 medley relay with Kaitlyn Devaney '21, Ariana Brattoli '21, Hannah Harkins '19, and Fiona Walsh '19 placed 20th in the state and received a best time.
  • Cash, Harkins, Walsh, and Johnson had an amazing 200 freestyle relay and placed third overall.
  • Cash, Harkins, Walsh, and Johnson came together once again for the 400 freestyle relay, receiving their best time and placing second in the state.
  • Lauryn Johnson was also recognized on Newsday’s All Long Island team list for the fourth year in a row.
  • Coach Mary White was named Coach of the Year for the second year in a row by Newsday


  • Varsity Volleyball defeated St. Mary's High School Buffalo 27-25 in the fifth set to win the GCHSAA State Championship.
  • Emily Barry '19 was also recognized on Newsday’s All Long Island team list.
  • The Tennis AA team tied for regular season champions and lost to St. Anthony's in the finals to be runner up.


The Athletic Department hosted a National Letter of Intent Signing Breakfast recognizing a group of outstanding student-athletes who have committed to colleges where they will continue their academic and athletic careers.

The student-athletes celebrated represented four different sports and have selected schools whose academic reputations are internationally recognized. 

Congratulations to the following seniors for all of their outstanding academic and athletic accomplishments!

  • Emily Barry, Volleyball, University of New Haven
  • Christina Biscardi, Lacrosse, Duke University
  • Melissa Biscardi, Lacrosse, Duke University
  • Hannah Harkins, Swimming, Manhattan College
  • Lauryn Johnson, Swimming, UCLA
  • Caitlin Kennedy, Soccer, Fordham University
  • Gianna LaBiento, Soccer, William Paterson University
  • Lily Miller, Lacrosse, Adelphi University
  • Tori Minda, Soccer, George Washington University
  • Caitlin Murphy, Lacrosse, Lehigh University
  • Layton Nass, Lacrosse, University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Molly O'Hara, Lacrosse, College of the Holy Cross
  • Daniela Stelcer, Lacrosse, University of Richmond
  • Arden Tierney, Lacrosse, University of Richmond
  • Fiona Walsh, Swimming, College of the Holy Cross
  • Tathiana Pierre, Basketball, Brandeis University
Annual Fund Update

Last month, Sacred Heart Academy President, Kristin Lynch Graham, announced that the Annual Fund Goal has been increased by $150k to support a much needed state-of-the-art public address system.  This is a priority that must be addressed, as the system will improve communication in the Academy building and campus-wide. Clear and audible information is critical to the girls’ experience and safety. 

The Office of Development ran a successful Red and Gold campaign to support the Annual Fund.  Alumnae participants of Red & Gold were asked to take part in a friendly competition for bragging rights.  Which alumnae team would have the most donors?  It was an extremely close race with the Gold alumnae (59 donors) edging out Red (58) for the victory.  Most importantly, $6,465 was raised for the annual fund.  We thank all of our participants for their generosity!

Many of you have responded to the call and for that we are grateful! We are on our way toward our ambitious goal of $400,000. We know our students are worth it!

Whether this is a first-time gift or you are an annual donor, your support directly benefits Sacred Heart. The generosity of our alumnae, parents, and friends gives us the confidence that you will respond to this need and help realize this goal. 

Make a Donation to Sacred Heart Academy's Annual Fund

For more information, contact Daria (Moringiello '00) Mulhall, Director of Development at [email protected]



 Mission in Action


CSJ Schools' Mission Highlighted in New Display


The Sisters of St. Joseph (CSJ) opened Sacred Heart Academy in 1949 with the purpose of providing a school where young women would be empowered through education to make a difference in their communities, professions, the Church and the world.  

Sacred Heart Academy strives through the highest academic and spiritual standards to prepare, empower, and inspire women leaders who are mindful of the call to work for justice and peace in an increasingly interdependent and connected global community.  Today, Sacred Heart is thriving, and the mission is still the same.  Our students are Leading with Heart. 

In addition to Sacred Heart, the CSJ sponsors Fontbonne Hall Academy, St. Joseph High School and Bishop Kearney High School in Brooklyn; The Mary Louis Academy in Queens; and Academic Maria Reina in Puerto Rico.

All six schools, schools all committed to nurturing Inclusive Love, Unity, Reconciliation, Justice & Peace.  Each strives to develop compassionate, confident students, rooted in the gospel of Jesus, who use their exceptional academic and leadership skills to address the needs of our times.

In recognition of the CSJ schools, unified by their common core values of spirituality, academic excellence, leadership, service and community, a new display now hangs in the main office of Sacred Heart Academy.  As students and visitors enter our school, they are reminded of this bond and of the impassioned leadership of the Sisters of St. Joseph and all who work to uphold these values for our students.


A Focus on Giving Back


Sacred Heart Academy students are challenged by the mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph to use their education to make a difference in our communities and throughout the world.  What they learn at SHA is the base for a lifetime of not only being their best selves, but working to lift others. 


Service opportunities are available for students through participation in clubs like the Key Club, CSJ Leaders, and the Mission Club, as well as through collaboration with external partners.  Students took part in various Christmas activities including collecting pounds of food and toys for the annual Christmas Drive to benefit Our Lady of Loretto, and the student-run Santa Brunch which not only brings Christmas spirit to members of our community, but raised funds to help support a family in need.  Residents of the CSJ-sponsored homes were treated to a holiday party hosted by Sacred Heart students who brought gifts and sang Christmas carols with the retired Sisters. 




In January, a group of SHA students braved the cold weather to represent the Diocese of Rockville Centre and participate in the national Right to Life in Washington, DC. 


Earlier in the fall, Sacred Heart took part in a unique event that combines engineering and hunger awareness.  CANstruction is an engineering competition that showcases structures made entirely out of full cans of food. These amazing structures compete for a variety of awards that celebrate the participant’s talent, creativity and dedication to the fight against hunger.  In addition to raising awareness for the fight against hunger, SHA’s talented team was honored with an engineering award for Best Canfiguration, given to the team whose display provides the most structural integrity.






Campus Connections



Connecting for Student Success

On Thursday, November 20, Jason Crosby P ’20 hosted nine seniors for a panel discussion, “Empowering the Next Generation,” and a tour of the trading floor at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The students heard from a panel of women from different generations in different positions at the bank about their career paths and work/life balance.


The panel was engaging and our students asked important questions. The students also had the opportunity to meet SHA alumna, Yetunde Ekunwe-Agada ’96, COO to Global Banking and Markets CFO, and this year’s Dinner Dance honoree, who shared her career trajectory and how Sacred Heart prepared her for her career in Finance.



On Friday, December 7, 49 juniors and seniors visited Bloomberg for an informational day. A special thank you to Board of Trustee member, Casey (White ’99) Spezzano, Peggy McKenna ’78 and Sandy Beharry ’12 for their help in arranging this trip. The students, who are in economics classes, heard from Jason Kelly from News, Rachel O’Grady from Recruiting, and alumna Sandy Beharry ’12 from Global Data about their careers at Bloomberg. Following lunch, the students took a tour of the Bloomberg building. It was a great day for all participants!



SHA Alumnae Making an Impact on College and University Campuses

Giulia Mignardi ’18 was selected to participate in the University of Delaware’s Blue Hen Investment Club in her first semester at the Newark, DE school.  Each year, the school admits 1-2 freshmen into the prestigious club, which manages over $2.5M of the University’s endowment and invests the money in several areas.  All of the profits earned are donated directly to charity. 


Giulia is currently a finance major and said that her interest was sparked at SHA, specifically in Mr. Power’s Economics and Government class.  “Having my Bloomberg Certification helped me so much and it definitely set me apart from the other applicants,” Giulia said.


Read more about the success of the students in the Blue Hen Investment Club.  


Previous E-Newsletters
November, 2018