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Catholic elementary schools are 'A place where children grow and succeed.'

High Expectations – High Achievement

Sacred Heart Valedictorian Repeats Extraordinary Accomplishment

Kaitlyn PowersWhen your older sister was the valedictorian of Long Island’s prestigious Sacred Heart Academy, and you are the youngest of three on the same education path, there is a lot of pressure to perform. Kaitlyn Powers, the 2014 valedictorian of Sacred Heart proved that she could handle the pressure, add a measure of varsity sports, and still manage her time well enough to have earned a 104.51 GPA.

Balance Was the Key

As the third of three sisters attending Our Lady of Victory Catholic Elementary School in Floral Park, you know that your parents place a high value on education.  And even when your parents don’t force you to work hard, the supportive environment of Catholic school encourages it. “I pushed myself simply because I wanted to succeed.’ said Kaitlyn. “My parents supported me no matter what, even if I didn’t do well.”

Kaitlyn Powers soon found that in her grammar school, Our Lady of Victory, that there was a lot expected of all of the students. “I think the most important thing I took away from my time at Our Lady of Victory was an ability to bring balance to my life.” said Kaitlyn. “It was the skill to do the things that were important, without sacrificing the things that are important to you.” Kaitlyn continued.” I was a good student, played four sports at once and participated in a lot of clubs.” The opportunity to experience, participate in, and enjoy all of those things was what Kaitlyn appreciated. Her look back on elementary will be marked by Kaitlyn’s takeaway; “My time at OLV taught me that you could enjoy yourself while learning. I loved it there!”

The Challenges of High School

Both of Kaitlyn’s sisters preceded her at Sacred Heart, the middle sister being a highly ranked student and pursuing her passion in acting and the arts, and her older sister, who is eight years her senior, being an excellent student and becoming the valedictorian. While many students would have been intimidated by the family legacy at Sacred Heart, Kaitlyn accepted the challenge.

In spite of her busy sports and activities schedule, Kaitlyn still managed to excel in her studies. As a high-achieving student at OLV Kaitlyn had her choice of high schools and was offered scholarship money to offset the costs. She elected to follow in the footsteps of her sisters and attend Sacred Heart Academy in Hempstead.

The Catholic high schools pride themselves in helping each student maximize his or her potential, and based on Kaitlyn’s previous performance and her two sister’s successes, the individualized learning path that the Sacred Heart Academy faculty laid out for Kaitlyn accelerated her progress. “High school taught me that everything isn’t always going to be easy.” said Kaitlyn. “My Honors and AP (Advanced Placement) classes were considerably more challenging.”

Time Management

Kaitlyn continued following her extracurricular interests at Sacred Heart and played on the varsity basketball team. “One of the most valuable things I’ve taken away from my high school experience is my time management skill.” explained Kaitlyn.  “During basketball season I often got home at 8:30pm to start my homework. Making effective use of my time was critical.” Luckily, good time management is a skill that should serve Kaitlyn well as she continues her schooling.

One of the other things that Kaitlyn was grateful for at Sacred Heart was a group of close friends who were very supportive of each other. “Four of my friends in honors classes were also on the basketball team. They were going through the same things I was.” said Kaitlyn. “We ended up carrying each other when any of us needed support.”

Memorable Experiences

While Kaitlyn thought that “All of the teachers in the Sacred Heart English Department were amazing.” she had one class that stood out. “In my sophomore year I took an American Literature course taught by Mrs. Caiozzo.” Kaitlyn explained. “The class introduced a new format to me, one where we would get into a circle and discuss our interpretation of the literature. It became my favorite class.”

If success in a class makes it more enjoyable, then a decision on which class she liked best should have been a more difficult decision for Kaitlyn. Eight years after her older sister was the valedictorian at Sacred Heart, Kaitlyn finished her senior year with a 104.51 Grade Point Average becoming the 2014 Sacred Heart Academy Valedictorian.

The Catholic Education Experience Continues

As Kaitlyn was reviewing colleges, two stood out; Villanova University and Fordham University, both Catholic colleges. “I’ve loved my Catholic school experience.” said Kaitlyn. The decision between the two universities was a difficult one, but Fordham prevailed based on an academic scholarship and a father who is a Fordham graduate.

While Kaitlyn hasn’t had to commit to a major yet, she is leaning towards English or Journalism. “I love to write.” said Kaitlyn. “I’m not sure whether my writing will be directed towards literature, business or education, but it is what I love.”

“Catholic elementary and high school instills the drive in you to want to achieve.” said Kaitlyn. “And it helps you achieve it in the right way.” Kaitlyn continued. “For me, the right way was a balanced life. A life filled with family and friends and sports and writing and laughter to relieve the stress.”

In closing Kaitlyn said “I am forever grateful for my Catholic School Experience.” For Kaitlyn, the high expectations have been realized.

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