We were honored to welcome back Elizabeth Higgins Clark, IHA Class of 2002, as our 2017 Commencement Speaker. Elizabeth’s association with Immaculate Heart Academy began well before she was even born. Her mother, author, Mary Jane Behrends Clark, graduated in 1972, while her aunts, The Honorable Marilyn Clark’68, Carol Higgins Clark’74, Margaret Behrends’75, and Patricia Clark’76, were also IHA graduates. Elizabeth’s great aunt, June Clark, is a former IHA faculty member, and her grandmother is renowned author, Mary Higgins Clark, a longtime supporter of our school after whom our Writing Center is named. While a student at IHA, Elizabeth was a member of the Forensics Club, ITS, CARE, Communication Club, and Mock Trial. She was also a member of the Student Council and played on the IHA Softball team.
After graduating from IHA, Elizabeth attended Providence College where she received a B.A. degree in English literature and minored in women’s studies. She is an actor who has appeared on shows such as “The Mindy Project” and “Criminal Minds” and on stage at The Williamstown Theatre Festival and La MaMa E.T.C. Elizabeth has written for Maria Shriver’s website and The Huffington Post, with her article about the “R word” making the front page of the entire blog. At fundraisers and genetics counseling facilities, Elizabeth has spoken about her brother, David, who suffers from Fragile X Syndrome. She recently wrote her first play, FRACTURED, which led Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers to call her “lavishly talented.” But her message to the Class of 2017 was not about her success or the careers they may pursue after college. Instead, her focus was simply on the power of kindness.
“Your greatest power lies in the one thing you are in total control of for the balance of your life,” Elizabeth proclaimed to the graduates, “and that is how you choose to treat the people you encounter as you live.” She reiterated that there is no greater legacy than treating people well. “Kindness may not make you rich or win you awards, but its ripples will reach others in ways you can’t even imagine. It’s what the people who actually know you will remember most.”
Elizabeth concluded her speech by telling the Class of 2017 that she’s confident they will work hard and achieve. “I have no doubt you’re going to do well,” she said. “But because you’re IHA girls, I also have faith that you’ll take the time to do good.”
The Soaring Eagle Award is presented quarterly by Jason Schlereth, principal, to students who demonstrate excellence and work to the best of their ability in a particular subject.
After being nominated by a teacher, the Quarter Four Soaring Eagle Award recipients were recognized at a special presentation and reception on June 2, 2017.
Quarter 4 recipients were Kayla George’20 (English), nominated by Miss Mackin; Tinamarie Dadic’19 (World Language), nominated by Mrs. Daly-Valls; Myra Chaudhry’19 (Science), nominated by Mr. Opremcak; Mary Hughes’18 (Social Studies), nominated by Miss Kunnapas; Meghan McGuire’20 (Technology), nominated by Mrs. Nudelman; Isabella Sabino’20 (The Arts), nominated by Ms. LaForgia; Caroline Freeburn’20 (Religious Studies), nominated by Mrs. Szydlik; Elizabeth Croci’20 (Mathematics), nominated by Mrs. Cellini; Jazmin Bender’18 (Communications), nominated by Ms. Shaheen, and Kaguya Okawa-O’Connell’18 (Physical Education), nominated by Ms. Just.
Congratulations to our 2017 Quarter Two Soaring Eagle Award recipients! Students received their awards at a special ceremony and reception held on January 26, 2017.
Standing, from left to right, are Nicole Shanahan’17 (English), Emma Note’17 (Mathematics), Melissa Canavan’17 (Technology), Hannah Sutton’18 (World Language – Mandarin), Theresa Weglarz’19 (Physical Education), Christina Dolce’19 (Social Studies), and Mia Ianelli’17 (Religious Studies). Seated, from left to right, are Celina Esposito’19 (The Arts), Vanessa Geerlof’20 (Science), and Ella Parker’20 (Communications).