Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart celebrated its richness of cultural diversity with its annual Flag Ceremony and Liturgy of the Holy Spirit Sept. 13.
“One visible representation of our cultural diversity is manifested in our flags of many nations — 19 this year — representing the breadth of our diversity. They represent nations in our community where either a student or staff member was born or where they hold dual citizenship,” Principal Madonna Lee Edmunds explained at the beginning of the Mass. “One of the blessings that we have at Woodlands Academy is the richness of our cultural diversity. 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.”
Senior Danlin Huang of China led the flag procession, carrying the Woodlands Academy flag, followed by flags from these countries represented by students and staff:
- Belize, Maria Sierra of support services, flag carried by Bitsy Ustaski of Glenview
- Bulgaria, Marineta Kropke of IT department, Oak Lawn
- Canada, Mia Alvergue of Germantown, TN
- People’s Republic of China, Yue Sheng Wang of China
- Columbia, Alex Garcia of support services, flag carried by Carrigan Smoot of Glenview
- Germany, Marisa Alsberg of Lake Forest
- Guatemala, Mayra Orozco of Berwyn
- Malaysia, Zara Anderson of Mundelein
- Mexico, Carolina Rodriguez Borjas Krause of Lake Forest
- Netherlands, Eleanore Van Marwijk Kooy of Lake Barrington
- New Zealand, Arabella McMenamin Walshe of Highland Park
- Philippines, Francesca Mateo of Lake Bluff
- Poland, Oliwia Barteczko of Franklin Park
- Romania, Sophia Healey of Evanston
- Serbia, Valentina Masanovic of food services, flag carried by Arminda Downey-Mavromatis of Gurnee
- Switzerland, Chloe Scherer of Highland Park
- United Kingdom, Chloe Tomkins of Lake Forest
- Zimbabwe, Beatrix Charlotte McMenamin Walshe of Highland Park
- USA, Caroline Hiteshew of Chicago
The flags remain in the Chapel of the Sacred Heart during the entire school year.
Students and staff from 10 countries also offered prayers in their native language.
Bishop George Rassas presided over the Mass and commissioned the following Eucharistic ministers for the school year: Sarah Allen, Lake Forest; Hiteshew, Chicago; Anne Kotlarz, Lake Forest; Ellyse Keller, Lake Bluff; Megan Oelerich, Chicago; Chloe Scherer, Highland Park; Summer Simmons, Waycross, GA; Smoot, Glenview; and Ustaski, Glenview.
He told the students and entire Chapel to celebrate their diversity, share with those in need, to hope and to live lives of humility.