A look back on a decade of innovation, renovation, and collaboration


Leah Allen '22

Over the past ten years, Sacred Heart Greenwich has improved many of its facilities, expanded its academic programs, and achieved athletic milestones.

Over the past decade, the Sacred Heart Greenwich community experienced numerous athletic triumphs, academic achievements, and renovations to facilities.  These changes and accomplishments contributed to the overall growth of the school over the last ten years.

Sacred Heart made many collaborative connections with other schools in the Sacred Heart Network.  The Network Exchange Program developed and grew in popularity amongst students.  The program allows students to spend two to six weeks at another Sacred Heart school either in the United States or overseas, according to shgreenwich.org.

In addition, the school developed an especially strong relationship with its sister school in Uganda.  In 2011, the African Task Force club organized the first Run for Uganda fundraiser.  Since then, Run for Uganda has become an annual event that aims to sponsor the tuition of six students for the Sacred Heart Primary School in Kyamusansala Hill and the St. Charles Lwanga Secondary School for Girls in southern Uganda.

This decade also brought enhancements to Sacred Heart’s facilities.  During the summer of 2012, the bathrooms and classrooms in the Upper School underwent a cosmetic makeover.  Students returned to school in the fall of 2012 t0 find two freshly painted and refinished bathrooms as well as seven updated classrooms. 

In 2012, the King Street Chronicle published its first digital edition.  The digital newspaper allows writers to publish daily multimedia content that family, alumnae, and members of the wider Sacred Heart community can access.

Eighth graders practice robotics in the MakerSpace.  Courtesy of shgreenwich.org

With the new renovations and enhancements to classroom technology came new opportunities for students to explore science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) initiatives.  In 2012, Sacred Heart partnered with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory to have researchers from the lab collaborate with students in science classes.  In 2013, the school installed its first 3D printer, further expanding its computer science program.  Finally, in 2014, the school added the MakerSpace, a room designed for students to explore robotics, computer programming, and computer arts. 

In 2014, Sacred Heart made renovations to ensure the safety of students and faculty, adding new alarm and security systems to its entrances.

This decade also allowed the school to form a relationship with the Red Cloud Indian School, located on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, after Dr. William Mottolese, Upper School English Teacher and Head of the English Department, returned from sabbatical in 2015.  This connection led to the creation of the Pine Ridge Club and initiated fundraisers, art exchanges, and service trips to the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Sacred Heart also launched SophieConnect , the online academic course initiative in the fall of 2015.  The program offers classes that are open to students in 13 Sacred Heart schools across the United States and Canada.

In 2015, the school opened the newly renovated Student Dining Room, Hayes Hall, named in honor of Mrs. Pamela Juan Hayes ’64, as a part of its “Framing our Future: Today, Tomorrow, and Forever” campaign.  The alterations also provided outdoor eating and learning spaces, a fountain, and extra parking spaces. 

A ribbon cutting ceremony, led by Head of School Mrs. Pamela Juan Hayes ’64, officially opened the newly-renovated athletic center. Courtesy of shgreenwich.org

Sacred Heart made various improvements to its sports facilities, which coincided with many historic victories made by the school’s athletic teams.  In 2015, the school opened a newly-renovated, 35,600 square foot athletic center, complete with locker rooms for visiting and home teams, administrative offices, basketball, volleyball, and squash courts, classrooms for physical education, a strength and conditioning room, and a dance and yoga studio, according to shgreenwich.org

The school also made significant improvements to its field hockey and lacrosse fields in 2017.

“The field hockey field is a water-based artificial turf that is blue in color to provide high visibility both on the field and for spectators,” according to shgreenwich.org.  “The lacrosse field is woven, not tufted, to create a more natural grass-like surface that plays true to all sports.” 

The Sacred Heart Varsity A Field Hockey team earned the school its first ever NEPSAC class A championship title.  Courtesy of shgreenwich.org

In light of these new facilities, Sacred Heart athletic teams have made record-breaking achievements.  Notable accomplishments include the Varsity Basketball team’s qualification for the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) tournament in 2018 for the first time in Sacred Heart history.  Similarly, in 2019, the Varsity A Field Hockey team competed in the NEPSAC championship tournament for the first time and won the championship, earning the school its first-ever NEPSAC championship title.

In 2018, Sacred Heart updated the Mary Aloysia Hardey Observatory and announced its partnerships with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) to further women’s education in STEAM fields.

Sacred Heart also renewed the lighting and sound systems in the Lennie and John de Csepel Theater in 2018.

The decade also brought about the development and improvement of existing Sacred Heart programs.  In 2019, Sacred Heart’s tenth annual film festival celebrated the growth and achievements that the Broadcast Journalism program has made over the past decade in creative filmmaking.  The tenth annual Sacred Heart film festival recognized the growth and development of the program and festival over the years. 

In 2019, Sacred Heart made cosmetic updates to the Upper School Core Center and library and constructed a walkway leading to the Magnetti and Sheehan Fields.

Mrs. Jenn Bensen P’10 H’15, Head of the Upper School, reflected on the impact that the renovations and updates continue to have on Sacred Heart programs.

“As I look back on the last ten years at Sacred Heart, I am reminded of the vast upgrades the school has made to the facilities and programs,” Mrs. Bensen said.  “The addition of the spectacular Athletic Center, remodel of Hayes Hall, and the upgrades to lighting, sound and technology to the [Lennie and John] de Csepel Theater, just to name a few, have positively impacted students in all three divisions.”

Featured Image by Leah Allen ’22