Written by Chloe Briggs, Duchesne Upper School Student
Sisterhood is the feeling of kinship with and closeness to a group of women or all women. It's a value that is greatly treasured within the halls of Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart. But what does Sacred Heart Sisterhood mean to me? Well, to be honest, that’s a hard question. In the Sacred Heart, especially at Duchesne, there is more than one way to define sisterhood. It’s more about how we go about celebrating it.
Being a student that has attended Duchesne for 11 years now, I have experienced many of the school’s generation-long traditions that continue to this day. One of my favorite traditions is chapel buddies, which is when an Upper School student is assigned to a Lower Schooler to be the model they look up to during Masses so that they can learn the proper way to behave. I have been both the Lower Schooler and the Upper Schooler in this scenario, and both times were equally enjoyable. When I was in first grade, I remember being so excited for mass days. My chapel buddy was the best.
When it was time for our Upper School buddy to pick us up from our classrooms, she greeted me with warmth and joy when she arrived. We would sit at my table, she would ask me about my schoolwork or if I was reading any new books. And of course, I was. And most times, we would even have enough time before leaving for mass to read together.
Now, as an Upper School student myself, I help continue what it means to be a good chapel buddy. To be kind and caring towards the younger girls, but stern when I need to be. The bonds that these students make are pure and heartfelt, which is why the chapel buddy system is one of my favorite Sacred Heart Sisterhood activities.
Another one would have to be Unity Day. This is an Upper School event, but when this day comes, we feel like carefree little kids again. Just for a day, we get to forget about assignments and just run around as a community and play. The grade levels wear their respective class t-shirts, with themes, of course, as we compete with different games and activities in a battle for the title of honestly, I still don’t know what! My favorites are definitely the advisor hide-and-go-seek game and the infamous lip sync battle.
Throughout the day, the grades meet in their assigned classrooms and share snacks and drinks and chat. And at the end of it all, we meet back in the theater to share our class banners and present our class candles, both sporting our class themes. We then end with a prayer service, praying for God to watch over us as we tackle the new school year. Unity Day is all about us coming together as an Upper School community to relax and have some fun together, but there’s more to it than just the games.
I always look forward to Unity Day because it’s an opportunity for me to spend time with certain classmates that I don’t usually see throughout the day. It’s a time for us to catch up with one another and strengthen our bonds as a class. And while the competitive spirit does weigh the air, we still love each other at the end of the day, no matter who takes the victory.
Junior Ring Ceremony
The last memory I will share is the Junior Ring Ceremony. This one is more recent for me, as it just happened last year. In the ceremony, the senior that the junior chose to be their partner puts the junior’s ring on the girl’s finger. Then the junior take the senior’s ring off and flips it around, the Sacred Heart crest on the ring turned to face the outside to symbolize the senior graduating and leaving to take on the world and puts it back on the senior’s finger. Then, of course, photos of each pair are taken by the parents.
The ceremony represents the juniors sending the seniors off into the world while the seniors prepare the juniors to take their places. Truly emotional when we think about it. But it’s the gently feeling of reassurance and pride that the junior gets when their partner presents them with their ring that leaves the impact. It shows that we are connected, and no matter where we go, we will always be sisters in the Sacred Heart.
These activities and events are just three of my favorite sisterhood memories, and I have 11 years’ worth of memories that I could share, but these are the ones that stick with me! So, what does Sacred Heart Sisterhood mean to me? Well, the answer is in the question. We are sisters. Whether it is through the chapel buddy system, or Unity Day, or the Junior Ring Ceremony, we all get to form bonds with all levels of students and experience what it means to be close with someone.
The environment at Duchesne is all about the community. No matter what event or activity is going on, you can always look around and know that the idea is to build community or strengthen the sisterhood. The bonds I’ve made while being a student at a Sacred Heart school will forever be one of my greatest take away from my years as a student. It is a feeling that you can’t find anywhere else.