Alumnae return bringing nostalgia and wisdom

Alumnae+return+to+Sacred+Heart+Greenwich+for+the+annual+Alumnae+Cong%C3%A9.+

Ana López del Punta '23

Alumnae return to Sacred Heart Greenwich for the annual Alumnae Congé.

For the first time since 2020, the halls of Sacred Heart Greenwich echoed with the voices of alumnae who returned to celebrate Alumnae Congé January 4.  As seniors will soon embark on their college journeys, five alumnae, Ms. Annabelle Hartch ’21, Ms. Lauren Mirando ’21, Ms. Morgan Smith ’20, Ms. Kate Hong ’22, and Ms. Amelia Sheehan ’20, shared their insights on the college admissions process and reflected on their university experiences thus far. 

Sacred Heart reinstated the annual Alumnae Congé after they suspended it for two years due to COVID-19.  As alumnae entered the Caroline’s Core Center yesterday, they reminisced with each other and shared advice with seniors while eating Garden Catering.  They also visited their former teachers and underclassmen friends.  

When GOALS time began, the five panelists took their seats.  After Mr. Michael F. Baber officially welcomed all the alumnae to campus, senior Laura O’Connor commenced leading the discussion. 

Members of the Class of 2022 gather to discuss their college experiences.  Courtesy of Sacred Heart Communications Dept.

Now a sophomore at the University of Virginia, Ms. Hartch first advised seniors to think about their objectives for college before selecting which university they will attend.  Because it is often easy for students to feel demoralized if they receive rejection letters, Ms. Hartch remarked that students must also remain hopeful and perseverant. 

“Mrs. Gerrity told me, ‘stay in your own lane,’” Ms. Hartch said.  “I took this to mean to keep my eyes focused on what I was doing, not what everyone else was doing, and focusing on what was best for me: not where other people thought I should go, but where I thought I was going to fit in best.” 

Also a member of the Class of 2021, Ms. Mirando emphasized that seniors should visit college campuses of different sizes and locations to experience daily life in distinct settings.  She believes that spending time at a campus and meeting current students can grant seniors a clearer idea of a school and could even change their perception of it.

“Even though it is really important to look into the programs [a college has] and the size of the school, I think that, if you go on a visit, there is a feeling that you get as you walk down the campus,” Ms. Mirando said.  “Trust that gut feeling.”

As a junior and a student-athlete at the University of Pennsylvania, Ms. Smith advised seniors who are also committed to lean on the upperclassmen on their teams.  Because these upperclassmen have more experience balancing academics with sports, Ms. Smith trusts that they can provide guidance and understanding to freshmen.  

Ms. Annabelle Hartch ’21, Ms. Lauren Mirando ’21, Ms. Kate Hong ’22, Ms. Amelia Sheehan ’20, and Ms. Morgan Smith ’20 serve as the five panelists.  Courtesy of Sacred Heart Communications Dept.

“When it comes to time management and balancing school life, homesickness, and sports, I think that hearing from older girls in your team and what their experiences were is super important because it helps you feel like you are not the only one who is struggling, if you are,” Ms. Smith said.

Ms. Hong, who graduated from Sacred Heart last year, currently plays golf at the College of the Holy Cross.  As an undecided student, she commented that seniors should engage in a range of introductory college classes to explore their interests before deciding upon a major.

“I’m currently in the process of figuring out what I want to do,” Ms. Hong said.  “I really put an emphasis on using your resources and branching out and trying different things to help you lead to something that you would love doing.”

A player of Division I lacrosse at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ms. Sheehan recommended that students attend professors’ office hours when their college careers begin.  As a result, students will be able to form relationships similar to those they currently hold with Sacred Heart teachers.  Ms. Sheehan also encouraged seniors to prioritize their mental well-being amid busy college schedules.

“No matter what your schedule is, I think it is really important to find time for yourself, even if it just 30 minutes for you to listen to a podcast on a walk, and for your friends,” Ms. Sheehan said. 

Featured Image by Ana López del Punta ’23