World traveler finds a home

Senior Maria Mikhail has attended more than ten schools in  her lifetime, but her final stop before college is Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich. Molly Geisinger '15

Senior Maria Mikhail has attended more than ten schools in her lifetime, but her final stop before college is Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich. Molly Geisinger ’15

From Egypt to France, Switzerland to the United States, world traveler and Convent of the Sacred Heart’s newest senior, Maria Mikhail, has spent the last 17 years attending ten different schools in seven countries. After traveling through Europe and crossing the Atlantic, Maria Mikhail’s last stop is Sacred Heart before her next destination: college.
As the newest addition to the senior class, Maria is well known by classmates for her travel log, earning her the unofficial title as Sacred Heart’s resident globetrotter.
Maria was born in Cairo, Egypt and has since lived in Cyprus, France for four years, Switzerland for one year, Greece, the United States and the United Arab Emirates.
“My favorite place was Athens, Greece. I loved the weather, the Mediterranean culture and people,” Maria said.
Although her upbringing was unconventional, Maria believes that her adventures have shaped not only her identity but also her ability to communicate and understand other cultures.
Maria speaks English, Arabic, and French fluently, and is also able to understand German. 
“It defines who I am because each place has impacted me, adding a new quality to my character and personality,” she said.

Senior Maria Mikhail has attended more than ten schools in  her lifetime, but her final stop before college is Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich. Molly Geisinger '15
Senior Maria Mikhail has attended more than ten schools in her lifetime, but her final stop before college is Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich. Molly Geisinger ’15

While traveling through Europe, Africa, the USA and the UAE, Maria has also been able to keep up with her studies. Her diverse academic record includes five elementary schools, two middle schools and three high schools.
“Maria’s worldliness makes it fun and interesting to talk to her about her experiences. I applaud her resiliency as a young woman who has lived in so many places and attended so many schools,” Mr. Vincent Badagliacca, Upper School History Teacher, Chair of History Department and Maria’s advisor, said. 
Maria’s experiences growing up are very different from those of senior and fellow advisory member Emily Davenport’s, who has attended Sacred Heart for 15 years. Nonetheless, Emily understands that the welcoming community of Sacred Heart is beneficial to Maria’s impression of and experience in Greenwich.
“I feel as if whenever I walk through Salisbury Hall I’ve grown up here, forged my own self here, and have come to love and thrive in this community,” Emily said. “Lucky for me, I’ve never had that new kid anxiety, so I honestly can’t imagine having to change schools, especially not multiple times.”
Thanks to senior class bonding events, such as attending a Mets game, the Emmaus retreat and Green and White Inductions, the school is helping to make Maria’s transition seamless.
“Her acclimation has been very smooth, no doubt due in part to her friendly and enthusiastic personality, and our advisory has welcomed her with the generosity of spirit I expect as members of the CSH community,” Mr. Badagliacca said.
Despite the challenges of entering a new school in senior year, Maria is glad to have found herself in the Sacred Heart hallways.
“The community has definitely been so very welcoming,” Maria said. “I have learned that it is important to open up when getting to know people; it is a two way street. The Sacred Heart community definitely fulfilled their part.”
After Sacred Heart, Maria plans to use her experiences of traveling, meeting new people and learning new cultures in college and beyond. She hopes to take advantage of her unconventional upbringing by majoring in International Relations and minoring in Arabic.
“I think my love for traveling and moving around has powered this passion to go back into various other cultures and explore the possibilities,” Maria said.
Regardless of where she ends up in life, Maria believes that Sacred Heart will always remain a prominent place on her burgeoning log of destinations.
– Molly Geisinger, Co-Features Editor