Duchesne Alumnae Create the Future, Celebrate the Past

Duchesne Alumnae Create the Future, Celebrate the Past

The education the girls receive at Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart does not end at graduation. All graduates, as members of the Associated Alumnae & Alumni of the Sacred Heart (AASH), have the opportunity to continue in their formation.

In April 2017, alums from across the country came together in celebration of Sacred Heart fellowship.

"I had the honor of attending my first AASH Conference this year," said Jennifer YOUNG Beck '87, Duchesne parent and math and science teacher. "I think AASH is a wonderful way for alums to stay connected with other alums and our Sacred Heart mission. Alums are able to reconnect and even make new friendships at these conferences. There is an instantaneous bond between alums and it is magical. For many alums, they have not missed a conference in more than 30 years."

"I have been attending AASH Conferences since I served on the Duchesne Alumnae Board back in the mid '90s," said Jodie HANNAMAN Thorne '85. "After attending my first conference and meeting Sacred Heart alumni from our other network schools, I look forward to reconnecting with them every two years. The conferences always have a varied selection of speakers and panels and I leave feeling energized and connected to the Sacred Heart."

At the conference, the AASH 2017-2019 Board of Directors was elected, and Duchesne alumna Jodie HANNAMAN Thorne '85 was elected President.

"The AASH Board is comprised of two members from each Region with an additional member from the President's Region. This ensures that there is equal representation for our alumni in all parts of the country," said Thorne. "In addition, the presidency rotates each biennium through the Regions with no one Region maintaining leadership control for more than a two-year span. On the 2013-2015 AASH Board, I served as Southern Regional Director. On the 2015-2017 AASH Board, I served as the Vice President and Deborah NEWHOUSE Dunham '70 served as the Southern Regional Director. On the 2017-2019 AASH Board, I will serve as the President, Deb Dunham '70 will again serve as the Southern Regional Director, and Colleen CURRAN '85 will be joining the Board as the Western Regional Director. Duchesne has had a strong history of past Board service – Beth LOWRY Speck '71 was the AASH National President in the 2009-2011 biennium. In addition, Maggie SIEGER Kaspura '85 is the AASH National Office Director overseeing all of our 'business activities.'"

"AASH is heavily influenced by Duchesne Houston alums," said Mary Ellen PRICE Butler '90 and Duchesne's Alumnae and Community Relations Director. "We are immensely proud to have the majority of the Board represented by our graduates. It is a testament to Duchesne Academy and the RSCJs; our ladies serve, in love and in gratitude, the Sacred Heart mission."

This year, the conference was held in San Francisco. In addition to the meetings, panels, and Masses, attendees also visited Sacred Heart schools in Atherton and San Francisco as well as Oakwood, the retirement community for the RSCJ. Many attendees helped in preparing for the upcoming Bicentennial celebration of Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne's journey to America.

"This conference was filled with speakers and panelists covering topics as varied as the goals/mission of the Network, the upcoming Bicentennial events, alumni pursuing careers in film, alumni pursuing careers in technology, and Sacred Heart alumnae who are Olympians," said Thorne.

Olympians Katie Ledecky and Lia Neal and Paralympian Kelly Crowley all attended Sacred Heart schools and were among the alums at the conference.

Staying in touch with your fellow Duchesne alumnae isn't the only way to stay connect with Sacred Heart alums. AASH helps alums find that commonality among everyone who is a member.

"It expands our Sacred Heart community past the walls of our home school. One of the fundamental tenants of a Sacred Heart education is the building of community, and by participating, I am able to live that mission," said Thorne. "Over the years, it has become more common for our alumni to not live in the geographic area of the school that they attended; AASH can fill that gap by connecting them with Sacred Heart alumni in their area – easy friendships are formed based on common experiences and a shared educational background. Sacred Heart alumni around the country welcome other alums with open hearts. This is also true of AMASC, our international alumni organization of which AASH is a part – I often hear stories of alumni connecting when traveling outside of the country with alums from our schools and that they eagerly provide friendship and support."

Whether in Houston or elsewhere, Sacred Heart alumni may get in involved at any level...by attending a reception, a reunion, or the AASH Conference or by serving on the Board, every Sacred Heart alum has something in common.

"I often say that a Sacred Heart education was the best gift my parents ever gave me – it resulted in not only a great education and lifelong friendships, but also a roadmap for a rewarding life by living the five Goals. Being part of AASH allows me to continue to support Sacred Heart traditions and hopefully ensure that they continue to grow and flourish in years to come," said Thorne.

For more information on Duchesne's alumnae association or AASH, please contact alumnae@duchesne.org.