Gracie Bartley ’22 Wins Catholic Education Foundation Essay Contest
Junior Gracie Bartley submitted her essay to the Catholic Education Foundation and was chosen out of all submissions throughout the Archidocese. Her essay will be featured in the February 4 edition of The Record. Gracie was excited to share her love for Assumption and her Catholic education with this essay. It provided her a chance to reflect on her 3 years as a student and put into words what the community means to her. Gracie shared, “When I found out I won I was so shocked and excited. I am so grateful I can share how special Assumption is with the community.”
Following In Christ’s Steps
I walked up to the main entrance of Assumption where 50 girls stood cheering and clapping to welcome me for my first shadow visit. I was so shy that I kept my head down, but this made it possible for my eyes to catch the words written on the steps in front of me. I didn’t know it at the time, but those words would be the reason that I love Assumption High School.
“Faith guides. Compassion inspires. Integrity matters. Excellence empowers.” These four pillars of Assumption High School’s Mission Statement are proudly written on the main stairs of the school. At Assumption these 4 pillars are woven into the daily life of the students and teachers. Rooted in the values of Christ, Assumption’s first pillar is “Faith Guides.” At Assumption, as in every Catholic school, religion class is an important part of the curriculum from freshman to senior year. Prayer is also the start to every day and we have the opportunity to attend mass several times a year as a school. However, faith is so much more a part of our lives! Assumption is the only school in Louisville, Kentucky that has a Mission Week. During this unique week, seniors are given the option to go on mission trips throughout the country and internationally, while freshmen, sophomores and juniors are all given the chance to grow in faith through service and retreats. In addition, mission week allows students to learn more about themselves and their community to help them become servant leaders. Additionally, AHS offers the opportunity to go on an overnight retreat from freshman to senior year. During this process, you grow closer not only to God, but also to your classmates.
The second pillar is “Compassion Inspires.” Christ teaches us to love one another, no matter who another person is, where he/she is from, what he/she looks like, or what he/she is going through. Assumption lives out this pillar with a culture of acceptance. Everyone is kind and supportive of one other. No one judges you. Instead they encourage you and try to help you find clubs or activities you would be interested in. Assumption also promotes compassion in our community through a fantastic opportunity for sophomores called ACTS (A Christian Through Service). During ACTS, each student is assigned to a random agency in one of 4 categories: Special Needs, Elderly, Elementary school and Preschool children and Hospitals. I was paired with Heuser Hearing and Language Academy and worked with hearing impaired 3-year-olds. I was inspired so much by the experience, that it has made me consider becoming a Special Education teacher.
The third pillar is “Integrity Matters.” Assumption expects everyone to live with integrity. We have a strict policy prohibiting cheating. Assumption encourages every girl to live out her life with honesty and integrity because that is what makes both a good human being and a good life. I have learned that it is better to be honest and get in trouble then to lie, get away with it, and feel guilty.
The final pillar is “Excellence Empowers.” At Assumption, all teachers help empower student success. Teachers will do whatever they can to help you succeed in the classroom. I am in a program called PSP (Post-Secondary Preparation). PSP is a program for students with learning differences. I have APD, Auditory Processing Disorder, which has made it harder to do well in school. The faculty, staff and even the students want to help me succeed in school. I used to feel belittled or embarrassed about my learning difference in grade school, but at Assumption, I feel like everyone else. My support team (teachers, counselors, PSP advisor) has made me realize that I am not defined by my learning difference, but rather, I just have to manage how I study and learn in order to succeed.
If I would’ve known what those words written on the stairs of AHS would come to mean to me today, I would’ve chosen AHS at that moment without even walking into the building!