Twelve years later, the Class of 2023 lifers speak from the Heart


Avery Kim '24

The Class of 2023 lifers will carry their education and friendships beyond King Street.

In September 2011, new and returning first-graders walked through the mansion doors for their first day of school.  Over the years, these students would trade their jumpers for skirts, forming new friendships as Middle and Upper Schoolers.  Now, the sixteen lifers of the Class of 2023, seniors Madeleine Ball, Lindsay Benza, Olivia Caponiti, Genevieve (Vivi) Caruso, Olivia Caruso, Claudia El-Masry, Jacqueline Franco, Charlotte Gannon, Sia Goyal, Elsa Latrille, Robin Murphy, Sinclair Noonan, Stefanie Novak, Laura O’Connor, Caterina Pye, Gabriela (Gabi) Pye, Morgan Remsen, and Maggie Sullivan, prepare to embark on journeys beyond King Street.  Gabi, Vivi, Maggie, and Laura reflected on the impact of the Sacred Heart Greenwich education and community.

Laura remembers her first day as a Sacred Heart student.  Courtesy of Laura O’Connor ’23

Gabi, Vivi, and Maggie have attended Sacred Heart for 13 years.  The three lifers recalled their earliest memories at the school and spoke about their close bonds with their peers.  Gabi shared that her first memory in the school was when she and her twin sister, Caterina, switched Kindergarten classrooms as an April Fools Day prank.  Vivi remembered feeling jealous of the girls who got to sit at the “pickle” table in the KB class while her teacher assigned her to the “ketchup” table.  Maggie thought back to the Christmas pageant, where she starred as Joseph.  Laura came to Sacred Heart 15 years ago as a pre-schooler.  She reflected upon her memories of the school, even before she was a student.

“My first memory of Sacred Heart is actually from the year before I started, when my dad and I dropped my sister off for first grade,” Laura said.  “I remember being so jealous that my sister got to spend the entire day at Sacred Heart, and I was so desperate to find a way to stay with her for the day.  When I finally got to start, I was beyond excited to go to Sacred Heart and be with my older sister, who walked all the way to Barat Center with me on my first day.”

Lifers have experienced all the traditions of Sacred Heart, from their first Congé to the Senior 100 Days Celebration.  In Lower School, they hatched chicks, raised monarch butterflies, received their third grade St. Rose Philippine Duchesne medals, jump roped for Uganda, and participated in Prayer Buddies.  As Middle Schoolers, they performed at the Christmas concert, sang along at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Day prayer service, and wore their seventh grade St. Madeleine Sophie Barat medals.  Finally, they experienced the Upper School traditions of receiving sophomore Mater Admirabilis medals, embarking on Kairos, and accepting their Sacred Heart rings on Ring Day. 

The lifers recalled memories from these traditions.  For Gabi, the most meaningful events were the Father-Daughter Dances and Mother-Daughter Liturgies.  Maggie commented on the personal significance of Ring Day.

“I have loved all the traditions, so it is hard to name one, but most recently I loved Ring Day,” Maggie said.  “Getting to pass along rings to the junior class and know what they have in store for senior year was a really special experience.”

Maggie and Mrs. Marcie McDonald celebrate 100 days until graduation.  Courtesy of Sacred Heart Communications Dept.

Looking forward to college, the Class of 2023 lifers will hold on to the lessons of Sacred Heart.  Maggie expressed gratitude for the well-rounded experience at Sacred Heart, and she feels prepared academically, spiritually, and athletically for her next chapter at Colgate University, where she will play lacrosse.

Vivi shared that Sacred Heart has taught her to value student-teacher relationships.  As a freshman at Amherst College in the fall, she hopes to continue learning in intimate classroom settings. 

“Something key about my Sacred Heart education that I will bring into my college years and beyond is the ability to speak up for myself and communicate with my teachers,” Vivi said.  “Since Sacred Heart is a tight-knit community where the class sizes are small, I am comfortable meeting with my teachers and speaking with them if I ever need help with something.  This aspect of Sacred Heart is part of the reason I chose a small college because I hope to maintain personal relationships like that with my teachers in college.”

Gabi, who will attend the University of Michigan in the fall, also touched upon the impact of Sacred Heart’s close community.  As a lifer, she has sustained bonds with faculty across the three divisions.

“Many of the teachers that taught me in Lower and Middle School still currently work at Sacred Heart, and they always make an effort to speak with me,” Gabi said.  “The relationships I have created with teachers have been very rewarding, and they are something I am going to miss so much next year.”

Vivi treasures her friendships with fellow lifers.  Courtesy of Sacred Heart Greenwich Green Years 2012

As the summer approaches, the seniors are preparing to part with their lifelong classmates.  Vivi spoke about the strength of her lifer friendships.

“I think the most significant aspect of being a lifer is being able to call the people you go to school with your siblings,” Vivi said.  “Some of my very best friends are lifers with me, and even if I’m not as close with another lifer, I will always be able to rely on them if I truly need to.  These girls have been with me for 13 years, and, while each year Sacred Heart does a great job of maintaining that spiritual, loving community with the new girls who come, my fellow lifers hold a special place in my heart.”

Although the Class of 2023 lifers will walk down the mansion steps this June and become alumnae, the memories and values of Sacred Heart will remain with them.  Laura will hold on to these lessons even as she leaves for Yale University.

“During my time here, Sacred Heart has emphasized the significance of stepping outside of my comfort zone in order to grow as a person,” Laura said.  “By providing a supportive and uplifting community, Sacred Heart has gifted me with the knowledge that, no matter how far I go or how many years have passed, I will always have a home on King Street.”

Featured Image by Avery Kim ’24