Alumnae share wisdom for the journey ahead


Leah Allen '22

Members of the Class of 2021 offer college advice to the graduating seniors.

The 2021-2022 Sacred Heart Greenwich academic year marked a reemergence of school traditions and a newfound emphasis on the importance of community.  As the Class of 2022 prepares to embark on their respective college journeys, three recent alumnae spoke with the King Street Chronicle to offer advice for success in college.

Ms. Lauren Mirando ’21 began her first semester at Bucknell University this fall.  Remembering her time at Sacred Heart, Ms. Mirando values the individual relationships she built with peers and faculty.  She has worked hard to keep in contact with her former classmates, five of whom also attend Bucknell University.  She is especially grateful for her unique relationship with her former advisor Mrs. Jillian Bozzi, Upper School History and Psychology Teacher.  Ms. Mirando describes Mrs. Bozzi as a person she can continue to turn to for support and advice.  She also credits Mrs. Bozzi’s Advanced Placement (AP) Psychology class for inspiring her choice of major.

Ms. Mirando ’21 encourages graduating seniors to remain open to new opportunities.  Leah Allen ’22

Her hope for the Class of 2022 is that they maintain and strengthen existing bonds with current classmates and faculty while also challenging themselves to reach out to new peers and professors at their colleges.  She credits Sacred Heart with teaching her the importance of stepping outside her comfort zone.

“There are countless lessons that I have learned during my time at King Street, but one that has resonated the most with me would have to be the importance of reaching out,” Ms. Mirando said.  “College can be stressful as there are lots of components to manage in our daily lives, and I can definitely say that Sacred Heart taught me the importance of reaching out in times of need.  I can’t name enough times where I’ve needed clarification on an assignment, or just needed advice from a friend, and taking that extra step to write an email or call my friend has made all the difference.”

Sacred Heart taught me so much about gratitude, and I’ve definitely taken these lessons with me.”

— Morgan Wilkens '21

During her first year at Wake Forest University, Ms. Morgan Wilkens ’21 made an effort to involve herself in her new school community.  She describes her eight years at Sacred Heart as the most formative period in her life and values the time she spent growing up alongside her classmates.  As a senior, Ms. Wilkens served as Executive Board president and challenged members of the Upper School to carry out the year with “Grit and Grace,” especially in light of the coronavirus pandemic.  Ms. Wilkens believes that her experience as a high school student taught her the importance of gratitude and she hopes that the current Sacred Heart seniors will carry similar lessons with them.

Ms. Wilkens ’21 is grateful for the connections she built in her eight years at Sacred Heart.  Courtesy of Sacred Heart Communications Dept.

Sacred Heart taught me so much about gratitude, and I’ve definitely taken these lessons with me,” Ms. Wikens said.  “It’s so important to remind yourself what you’re grateful for and to openly express to the people in your life how thankful you are for them.”

Ms. Wilkens advises the Class of 2022 to make use of every opportunity they encounter in the next year.  She places immense value in the communities that she has worked to establish beyond King Street.

“Trust me, get involved,” Ms. Wilkens said.  “Anything that piques your interest, do it.  Ignore the fear of putting your name on a sign-up sheet, going to a tryout, or attending an audition; just participate in whatever excites you. This will make the transition easier and help you meet new friends.

Ms. Piper Gilbert ’21 completed her first year at Dartmouth College.  During her time at Sacred Heart, Ms. Gilbert designed award-winning projects through the science research program, participated in Upper School theatre productions, and served as Salutatorian in her senior year.  She believes that her time in the Upper School instilled in her the importance of celebrating her achievements, both tangible and intangible, and establishing close relationships.  Her advice to the current seniors involves embracing and coming to terms with newfound independence.

I  feel incredibly fortunate to have had such a positive experience of building a family/Ohana at Sacred Heart.”

— Piper Gilbert '21

“Be prepared to walk some paths alone,” Ms. Gilbert said.  “College necessitates independence, though you’ll constantly spend time with others.  Many decisions and tasks will need to be made and undertaken independently.  There will be general resources you can access, but you won’t have people hovering over you.  You will be expected to make difficult choices that will affect you long-term; your friends will be expected to do the same.  You can support each other by listening and offering advice, but at the end of the day, there are specific paths you have to traverse by relying almost solely on yourself.  Your decisions are your own. Your life is your own. You will need to walk alone often, so lean on the people around you when you can.”

As her first year of college comes to an end, Ms. Gilbert remains grateful for the friendships she built at Sacred Heart.  She stresses the value of those relationships.

“College moves very fast, and so does life; what you’ll remember long-term is the people you loved and [who] loved you, not the specific assignments and grades you get,” Ms. Gilbert said.  “Looking back at Sacred Heart, I remember my friends, teachers, and extracurricular achievements the most.  I didn’t fully internalize until college that most people don’t have a solid high school community.  As a result, many people don’t stay in contact with their home friends.  I  feel incredibly fortunate to have had such a positive experience of building a family/Ohana at Sacred Heart.  Most of my college friends didn’t go back to their high schools to see the fall plays or talk to their old teachers over breaks.  I value my Sacred Heart relationships so highly that I would’ve hated losing them during my freshman year of college.  My home friends will always be my family, no matter where we go in the future.”

Featured Image by Leah Allen ’22