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Get Insight into Your Child’s Future Success by Talking to an Eighth Grader – Chicago Parent

Choosing the right school for your young child can be a difficult task and you want to make the right decision for your child’s academic growth and future success. You know what your child needs now as a preschooler or kindergartener, but how will those needs translate as your child grows?

parents on tour Chicago Sacred Heart Schools will have the opportunity to learn how their child will experience academic growth at this independent Catholic preschool Grade 8 school for students of all faiths. But they will also catch a glimpse of their child’s potential future success when they experience a student-led tour and meet a Sacred Heart Student Ambassador.

“Our student ambassadors occupy a position of leadership that has been in place for at least a decade,” says Ann Chiumino, director of admissions at Sacred Heart Schools Chicago. She says Sacred Heart Student Ambassadors are eighth-graders who fulfill a variety of responsibilities, including guiding parents of prospective students on school tours as part of regular admissions events.

“Parents tell us the reason they chose Sacred Heart for their child is because of this eighth grader who showed them around the school,” Chiumino says. “They say they want their child to be as calm, as thoughtful and as comfortable looking an adult in the eye, answering questions and carrying on conversations. Not all eighth graders have this ability.

Authentic perspectives – from eighth graders

The Student Ambassador role is a coveted position and students must apply and interview before being chosen. Each year, only ten are selected to represent their school by hosting tours. While many have been attending Sacred Heart since kindergarten, others can talk about their experiences transferring from other schools.

Student Ambassadors receive information about buildings and renovations, but they have plenty of opportunities to share their favorite experiences at Sacred Heart. Authenticity is important, says Chiumino.

“We don’t want the experience to be scripted. We want students to be able to provide genuine and truthful feedback about their time here,” she says. “We want our student ambassadors to take ownership of their role.”

Student Ambassadors demonstrate a variety of skills that they have, most often, acquired throughout their years as students at Sacred Heart.

What makes the Sacred Heart special

From their first day at Sacred Heart, students begin to develop communication skills that will help them succeed in high school, college, and beyond. Teachers constantly establish and model these skills with students.

“They arrive on the first day of school and the schools principal shakes their hands. In their classrooms, they shake hands hello,” Chiumino says. “Those values ​​of being a good communicator are instilled when they enter the school, then are reinforced at each age.”

Because effective communication involves active listening, students also experience this. “It’s about letting the person you’re talking to know that they’re being heard, and that’s also something that teachers model,” she explains. “They let the students know that their voice matters. It’s a way of communicating that lets someone know you respect them and want to know what they have to say.

This demonstrated respect is especially important for middle school students, and Sacred Heart teachers and staff genuinely engage with students to foster authentic mutual conversations.

As ambassadors, students hone their communication skills and become comfortable talking to adults they have just met. “They gain confidence by talking about something they know very well, which is their school, and they learn to answer questions that they cannot anticipate,” explains Chiumino. “They accentuate the positive and show what they love about school.”

Although nervous at first, Sacred Heart Student Ambassadors gain confidence and challenge themselves to learn skills that will serve them well throughout their college careers.

“One of the things I have heard when our students go to high school, whether they go to a Catholic school or a CPS selective enrollment school, is that the teachers know when the students have attended the Sacred Schools -Heart. They are polite and behave with an appropriate level of confidence, and this includes their ability to communicate better than other children their age.

And the student ambassadors of the Sacred Heart are having fun too.

“They love it. We contact the base after their tours to find out what went well and if they had any questions they didn’t know the answers to. They all end up saying it was really fun,” says Chiumino, adding that touring parents also provide positive feedback on their tour guides.

“We advertise that we do student-led tours, but you have to experience it to really understand the impact,” says Chiumino. “It is the experience of the Sacred Heart.”

Learn more about Sacred Heart Schools of Chicago. Visit shschicago.org.

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