Discovering ways to strengthen the charism and hallmarks of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in the Chaminade Julienne community was just one of the many positive outcomes of the recent SND Student Leadership Conference.
Four CJ students along with English teacher Molly Bardine and school counselor Susan Eichenauer gathered in Boston with students and faculty members from six SND schools this summer for this first-time conference.
“After the international gathering of SND educators in Cincinnati and Boston, the idea was born to have students gather together to learn about St. Julie's charism, the SND hallmarks and their role as senior leaders in their schools in carrying out the charism and hallmarks,” Bardine said. “After the conference the seniors mentioned to me how much they learned about the SNDs – their work, mission, and what the hallmarks mean. Each day, certain hallmarks were emphasized and they learned how to apply them in their lives and in their school.”
The CJ students enjoyed interacting with other seniors from SND schools. They explored leadership issues at their schools, the qualities of being a leader, and what the charism and hallmarks might mean to them as leaders.
Claire Evans '17 was one of the four students who represented CJ at the conference. Her hope was to get a better understanding of CJ co-founder Sr. Julie, but she came away with much more.
“For years, I have been involved with the Marianist community, but I had never felt like the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur were a large part of my life, so I wanted to have a better understanding of that major part of my high school career,” Evans said. “My biggest takeaway from the conference was that it’s so easy to make a change or an impact in my community with the support of so many other schools and adults that want to be involved. I love that the wonderful sisters want to be involved with everything students around the country and world do and I would love to bring all our ideas to life. I am so thankful for this experience because it was so humbling to meet so many different types of leaders and to be able to work with them for a week.”
Evans, along with CJ students Danielle Lewis, Spencer Mullins and Bradley Walker, also made an impression on event organizers.
“The kids were absolutely wonderful,” said Sr. Rita Sturwold, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Director of Mission Integration. “They were participative, they were engaged, they were friendly. They enjoyed meeting one another. It was a really wonderful experience.”
And the takeaways may well impact the CJ community in the near future.
“One idea emerging from the conference was an SND Day of Service which we hope all SND schools in the United States will participate in this year,” Bardine said. “Bradley Walker hopes to formulate his Capstone project around the Day of Service. It will be nice for him to take the lead on this project within our school and also help the other SND schools in their efforts as well.”