January 20, 2018
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  • Susan Maxwell, RSCJ signing copies of her recently published history of the Network of Sacred Heart Schools.

Sacred Heart Schools established the Goal Award in 2004 as a way to recognize, within the larger Chicagoland community, a person or organization whose life and work exemplifies one of the Goals and Criteria of Sacred Heart education. This year, the school is focusing on Goal III: Schools of the Sacred Heart commit themselves to educate to a social awareness which impels to action. We are honored to announce that Susan Maxwell, RSCJ, is the Goal Award recipient for the 2017-2018 academic year.


Sr. Maxwell served as the Director of Sacred Heart Schools from 1997-2009. She shared, "I was focused on the Goals and Criteria, and so excited for our school to be in the heart of Edgewater. I wanted to find out its greatest needs and the ways that we could serve our neighbors. It was a great blessing that soon after I arrived, Maria-Paz Salas joined the faculty to lead the community service program. Paz had been a student when I was at Bloomfield Hills and was a student leader in the service program there." Ms. Salas added, "It was Sr. Maxwell's goal for Sacred Heart to 'open up the gates' and create a reciprocal relationship between the school and the community." Through Sr. Maxwell's guidance, Sacred Heart continued wonderful relationships with service partners like Howard Area Community Center, Care for Real and Misericordia Heart of Mercy, cultivated new relationships with Uptown Head Start and Inspiration Café, and worked to establish service projects within the school curriculum.


In her tenure as Director, she founded Children of the Heart, a program that provided diverse, low-income families in Edgewater with access to early childhood education for children from birth through age three, and parental development programs focusing on early education, pediatric health and effective parenting for their families. Today, Sacred Heart continues the efforts begun by Sr. Maxwell by addressing the current needs of our neighborhood through Edgewater Kids United (EKU), an after-school program that serves youth every Friday evening. The program provides young people a safe learning and play space in which they are known and loved for who they are.


When asked if she has a preferred criterion within Goal III, Sr. Maxwell said, "It is hard for me to choose one criterion because all are important in educating to a real sense of compassion and respect for others in the world. But the fourth criterion: in our multicultural world, the school prepares and inspires students to be active, informed, and responsible citizens locally, nationally, and globally, particularly resonates with me today. As our children grow into adulthood, it is so important they see themselves as citizens of the world. The multicultural community at Sheridan Road helps all of us to live as global citizens, understand and appreciate one another and our various cultures."


Sr. Maxwell began her education ministry in the mid-1960s teaching children and adults in Harlem, in New York City. She later served as headmistress at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, Bloomfield Hills, Mich., from 1974-1984. Before coming to Sheridan Road, Sr. Maxwell was the Director of the Network of Sacred Heart Schools from 1984-1995. In addition, she has served on several Network school boards around the country and has consulted with the Society of the Sacred Heart provinces around the world.


"I look forward to coming back to the school I love very much," concludes Sr. Maxwell. We look forward to celebrating Sr. Maxwell as Goal Award recipient throughout the academic year.


Previous recipients of the Goal Award, Sacred Heart Schools' highest honor:


2017 Goal II: Wenche Haverkamp
2016 Goal I: The Jesuit Community of Loyola University
2015 Goal V: Family Matters
2014 Goal IV: Howard Area Community Center
2013 Goal III: Care for Real
2012 Goal II: Josephine Lee, Chicago Children's Choir
2011 Goal I: Steve Bumpus
2010 Goal V: Helen Bruns Ryan
2009 Goal III: Mikva Challenge
2008 Goal IV: Inspiration Corporation
2007 Goal I: Msgr. Kenneth Velo, Big Shoulders
2006 Goal II: Dr. Constantine Mavroudis & Dr. Carl Backer, Children's Memorial Hospital

2005 Goal V: Sr. Rosemary Connelly, Misericordia Heart of Mercy
2004 Goal III: Shirley Ryan, Pathways Foundation

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