Notre Dame High School Student Leadership Conference Inspires and Uplifts

From June 24 – 27, student leaders from 11 schools from across our learning community came together at Emmanuel College for this year's Student Leadership Conference. More than a hundred students and their teachers and chaperones joined our Sisters for several days of workshops, uplifting speeches, prayer, community service—and a little downtime at a ballgame at Boston's famous Fenway Park!

Sister Patricia O'Brien speaking to Notre Dame San Jose Students.

On Tuesday, a day dedicated to the theme of leadership, Sister Patricia O'Brien, SNDdeN gave a moving presentation on St. Julie Billiart as a leader. She challenged the students to have the courage to make mistakes and to step out of their comfort zones. "Julie knew that mistakes are part of the human condition," she shared, "God expects them, and so should we."

Afterward, Sisters Bárbara Gutiérrez, Carol Lichtenberg, Kristin Hokanson, Mary T. Kelleher, Maryalyce Gilfeather, Pat Toce, Rita Sturwold, Susan Thornell, Julie Mokidi, Ellen Dabrieo and Patricia Shea, SNDdeN met with students for discussion sessions. Students had the chance to ask the Sisters questions about their vocations and the legacy of Saint Julie Billart.

"I loved learning about the rich history of my school and the dedication the Sisters' have to their schools," shared Audrey Shisler, a student from Summit Country Day School in Cincinnati, Ohio. Inspired by the conference, she plans to help organize sustainability initiatives at her school.

Other highlights from the conference included a virtual meeting with congregational leadership team members, Sisters Mary Johnson and Lorraine Connell, SNDdeN, and a day dedicated to service projects within Boston.

Arthiery Rosario, a student from Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School in Methuen, Massachusetts, says the conference has changed the way he thinks about leadership and confidence. "A huge thing I learned is that you have to put yourself out there," he reflects, "if you don't put yourself out there you won't get as much out of the situations you're in. People are usually friendly and welcoming."

This year's conference was organized by Sisters Rosemary Reynolds, SNDdeN and Gina Helms, Campus Minister at Badin High School in Ohio. Sisters Maria Delaney and Pat Toce, SNDdeN, provided critical support.

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The Notre Dame High School conference seeks to empower these student leaders from across the country to do their best and follow their passions. "It is a joy for me to join our Notre Dame High School students and faculty members each year as we share in our common charism and mission," says Sister Rosemary Reynolds. "As Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur we are blessed to know that the charism and mission are alive and well in the hands of our students and faculty members."