Where Wisdom, Confidence, and Friendship Intersect
School of the Holy Child is holding its annual Gala and Auction in a new venue — its recently opened Field House — but as always, the event, being held April 15, will honor and recognize extraordinary individuals with strong ties to the college preparatory girls’ school.
By Janice Llanes Fabry
School of the Holy Child is holding its annual Gala and Auction in a new venue — its recently opened Field House — but as always, the event, being held April 15, will honor and recognize extraordinary individuals with strong ties to the college preparatory girls’ school. Former Head of School and trustee Sister Jeanne Ronzani, SHCJ, past parent and former trustee Valerie Brown, and Dean of Students Suzy Slattery have each propelled the school’s vision forward.
This year’s gala theme, Wisdom, Confidence, and Friendship, is a perfect reflection of the honorees and the school. “We are delighted to honor three women who embody the mission of School of the Holy Child,” said Head of School William C. Hambleton.
Ronzani, the head of school for five years in the 1970s, recalls the days when the entire school consisted of a classroom wing and only part of the original mansion’s first floor. “The school has grown from a mom-and-pop operation,” she observed. “The campus is incredibly different and tuition is more than $2,000 per year now, but the core of the school, including its spirit of joy and trust and relationships, has remained intact.”
Although she retired from her post in 1979, she has served as a Sister of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus for more than 50 years. As a trustee, she continues to educate and inspire students and their families.
Impressed by the school from the get-go, Brown enrolled her daughter Julie at Holy Child in 2007. “It was the only school that supported her independence, yet was still nurturing,” remarked Brown, who herself was the product of a Catholic education. “It was also nice to reconnect with the morals, values, and ethics of an independent Catholic school.”
Although Julie graduated four years ago, Brown stayed on as a trustee for an additional two years. “I didn’t feel our work was done in creating a culturally, economically diverse board that was reflective of the school’s population,” she noted. As Chair of Governance, she was instrumental in the composition of a diversified board and the development of an alumnae program, as well as the implementation of marketing and fundraising strategies. Brown also worked on campus expansion and improvement, including the design of the Dining Hall and locker systems.
An educator for 26 years, Slattery started teaching history at Holy Child’s Upper School 11 years ago and took the reins as Dean of Students three years later. She couldn’t believe she landed in a school where joy in teaching and learning is part of its educational philosophy. In order to ensure the well being of all Upper School students, Slattery cultivates relationships between students and faculty, so that every student is known and valued.
“We want to make sure we know every girl and we keep our eye on every single one,” she noted. “I want every girl to love the school and all graduates to be women of conscience and action. It’s so much fun when they come back. That’s really gratifying.”
About the freshmen happily congregating in her cozy office while she’s working, Slattery confessed, “I love the noise.” Slattery, who is also the Student Government moderator, still teaches one U.S. History class. “I didn’t want to give up that relationship with the girls.”
This year’s Gala and Auction is co-chaired by parents Beth Cleary and Roz Carvin.