Woodlands Academy celebrates diversity with Flag Ceremony
The richness of Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart's cultural diversity was celebrated with its annual Flag Ceremony Sept. 13 at the all-girls college-preparatory day-and-boarding high school in Lake Forest.
"One of the many blessings that we have here at Woodlands is the richness of our cultural diversity," Director of the Center for Global Studies Amy Perlick said. "This is one of the many forms of diversity which Sacred Heart Schools seek and cherish, for as our knowledge and experience of new cultures and peoples expand and deepen, we come to more fully understand ourselves, our world and our global interconnectedness.
"This is very much the educational vision of Sacred Heart Schools, as articulated by the foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart, St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, who said, 'To influence our world we must understand it,'" Perlick said.
The flags of 20 nations, which will be displayed in the building during the entire school year, are a proud visualization of the breadth of Woodlands Academy's cultural diversity. They represent nations where either a student or faculty/staff member was born or where they hold dual citizenship.
For the 2019-20 school year, those nations are: Afghanistan, Austria, Belize, Canada, the People's Republic of China, Colombia, France, India, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico, Poland, Rwanda, Serbia, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Venezuela and Vietnam.
"It is not by chance that we are all here at Woodlands surrounded by such rich cultural diversity and giftedness in this special place," senior Áine Heaney of Chicago said. "We hope that as we gather as one community that this liturgy will unite us as we explore and celebrate our diversity."
The ceremony also featured students and staff from 13 countries offering a brief prayer in their native language.
Woodlands Academy offers students a variety of ways to experience cultural diversity firsthand. Its boarding school is home to several girls from other countries who are pursuing their high school education at the Lake Forest school.
In addition, Woodlands is part of a worldwide network of Sacred Heart Schools that spans the United States and 40 countries around the world.
Its students can participate in an exchange program, allowing them to spend some time at one of the other Sacred Heart Schools, in addition to Global Odyssey and Global Scholar programs.
For more information about Woodlands Academy, visit www.woodlandsacademy.org.
• To submit Your news, go to dailyherald.com/share.