The Goal Award, bestowed annually, is the most prestigious honor given by Sacred Heart Schools-Sheridan Road in Chicago and was established to recognize a person or organization whose life and work exemplifies one of the five Goals and Criteria. This year, the school is focusing on Goal III, which calls the schools of the Sacred Heart to: commit themselves to educate to a social awareness which impels to action.
Susan Maxwell, RSCJ, who served as director of Sacred Heart Schools on Sheridan Road from 1997-2009, received the Goal Award on November 30, 2017, at the Parents of the Heart (POTH) luncheon. The Award was bestowed in recognition of Sr. Maxwell’s leadership in establishing and growing Sacred Heart’s service to the Edgewater community in which the school is located, and for ensuring that community service was woven more effectively into the fabric of the Schools’ curriculum.
In 2000, upon assessing the greatest needs of the Edgewater community, Sr. Maxwell founded Children of the Heart, a program that provided access to early childhood education for low-income families in the neighborhood with infant children through age 3. It also provided programs focusing on pediatric health and effective parenting skills. The Children of the Heart program included activities for SHS students and neighborhood children, and Sacred Heart alumni recall their participation as having helped to shape their understanding of service as both giving and receiving.
On the evening before the award was given, Sr. Maxwell was the guest of honor at the Parents of Alumni Holiday Party. She marveled at the number of parents who shared stories about her presence at important times in their children’s lives at Sacred Heart. In her remarks at the following day’s Award luncheon, Sr. Maxwell spoke about the natural desire to shield children from difficult circumstances – but knowing that that isn’t always possible – the need to give students the tools they need to cope with whatever difficulties may arise.
At both events, Sr. Maxwell was brought to tears by the number of attendees and by the stories that were shared. A guest at the award luncheon was Sheila Hammond, RSCJ, ASH’61, provincial of the USC Province and inaugural recipient of the Sr. Carol A. Haggarty, RSCJ, ASH’59 Leadership Award. Sr. Maxwell didn’t know that Sr. Hammond would be there and was delighted by her surprise visit.