Sacred Hearts’ Centennial

By Betty White
Wednesday - December 31, 2008
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By Betty White
Head of School for Sacred Hearts Academy

In the midst of Sacred Hearts’ centennial anniversary, excitement permeates our daily routines at the academy.

Indeed, it is a time for recollection of 10 decades of the special people and events that have brought us here, and a time for reflection on our proud Catholic tradition, which has molded the academy, and a time for gratitude for the blessed work of the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts over the last 150 years.

Hawaii’s largest all-girls school is celebrating 100 years of preparing girls to become women who will participate with confidence in an ever-changing world.

What began as a single building amid lava boulders, cacti and a small staff of dedicated sisters has grown into one of the state’s outstanding educational institutions.

Now occupying the city block between 5th and 6th avenues in Kaimuki, the school boasts a quality program for the performing and visual arts, and an array of programs designed to capitalize on the unique abilities of each student.

During our centennial year, alumnae, parents, friends and faculty are paying homage to the rich traditions nurtured by the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts, who founded the school.

Sacred Hearts Academy team: (standing, from left) Sr. Katherine Francis Miller, Randy Iwashita, Toni Normand, Karen Muramoto, Mary Girard (seated) Andrea Hamilton, Linda Debo, Betty White, Remee Bolante and Chantal Seitz

Over the years, these traditions have been the foundation for thousands of young women passing through the academy’s hallowed halls. Most certainly, this special year will afford many alumnae the opportunity to reconnect and share fond memories of their formative years about cherished “Sister” stories, uniforms, oxfords, and programs and meetings beneath the shadow of the old kiawe tree.

Our 100th-anniversary year has been doubly joyful as the academy unveiled its new Mother Louise Henriette Performing Arts Center on Sept. 12. It will be home to the academy’s band, choral and dance programs. This ambitious project, together with the McKeough Visual Arts Center, ably enhances the academy’s growing arts program, which is part of the school’s diverse college preparatory curriculum that sends 100 percent of its graduates on to higher education.

The academy also has mustered a strong and long-term effort to counter gender stereotyping by promoting our students’ passion for math, science and technology. These disciplines rank high among the school’s academic strengths. In 2008, Sacred Hearts’ Robotics program was honored with the Rookie All-Star Award at the national FIRST Regional Robotics Competition, and is the only school in the country to telebridge with astronauts in space.

Of equal importance, the academy has long been committed to developing one’s heart and soul as well as one’s mind. Our emphasis on character development comes from the academy’s dedication to developing compassion, moral values and caring respect that become the spiritual foundation for every woman of Sacred Hearts Academy.

The academy always remains a relevant force for character, intellect and faith with its meaningful Campus Ministry Program that provides leadership for a vibrant community service program. A 2007 National School of Character, Sacred Hearts’ students annually log an extraordinary 60,000 hours of community service.

Yes, there is much to celebrate during this centennial year as the academy continues to nurture excellence in education for young women to prepare them to participate in life. A Sacred Hearts graduate is able to articulate her sense of identity and make a loving difference in her family, community and society.

We will continue to prosper under the nurturing spirit and inspirational legacy of the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts that have embraced the academy in Kaimuki for 100 years.

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