Statistics show that girls are not as likely to pursue careers in science, math or technology as boys. At Sacred Hearts Academy, however, modern technology and math and science programs are encouraging girls to explore these areas and seriously consider them for careers.
Breaking the mold
Cool school technology encouragesYou asked
girls to consider careers in science
By Celia Downes
"Technology at the academy rivals that of Hawaii's elite private schools, which is surprising when one considers our size and resources," said Dean of Students Kimberly Clissold.
Computer banks in multiple classrooms and libraries, four top-of-the-line tech labs, computerized science labs and weekly tech training for faculty emphasize the academy's seriousness in training girls and teachers alike in current technology.
"Our science labs are the coolest part of the school!" said senior Ivy Takahashi. "Returning to school in August was an awesome experience with the wireless laptops and SmartBoards in four of the science labs."
"The SmartBoard allows me to present the lesson interactively on screen," said science teacher Joan Rohrback. "I can go online, project PowerPoint presentations on a larger screen and move in and out of programs at an incredible speed."
"I can even show video clips or have a running stream of notes with visuals on the side, literally at the touch of my hands," Rohrback concluded.
The girls are definitely motivated by teachers like Rohrback, who does not look like the experienced scientist she is.
"She's cool because she doesn't give homework that is unnecessary," Takahashi said. "She knows her stuff and gets to the point!"
Girls said the science program emphasizes both solid college preparation and intriguing co-curricular activities.
The school's electric car team has done very well at races, including an overall second-place finish last year.
"Being on the electric car team is a unique learning experience," said ninth-grader Anne Yamanoha, who has been on the team for three years. "Everyone is working hard and wants to take first place in all categories at the Electron Marathon in March 2002."
Sacred Hearts has also sponsored the Amateur Radio Club since 1994.
"We are the only high school in the world designated by NASA to be an official telebridging ground station," said chemistry teacher Nancy Rocheleau.
"We connect astronauts to their families and friends on the ground when they cannot access them directly from space," said Rocheleau.
But science is not for everyone.
Senior Ashley Abbott said, "I'm doing better in math because my teacher gives me hands-on opportunities, like creating a 'bungee balloon' which shows us how to collect and analyze data on a more manageable scale when it is not easily done."
The academy will soon be adding a new piece of technology to math classes. The Texas Instrument TI-Navigator will let students' computers connect to the teacher's computer.
"I can send a different question to each girl and see her response immediately on my computer screen," said math teacher Deborah Kula.
Although some students resist taking these tougher, nontraditional courses, they are constantly told the reason for the push toward technology.
"The teachers keep reminding us that we have to be competitive in the future since most jobs nowadays involve some kind of technology or math or science," said Takahashi.
"And, actually, the fantastic salaries of such jobs blow my mind!"
"Although the technical fields are usually thought of as masculine professions," said religion teacher William Plourde, "at the academy we encourage our girls to break the mold."
What was your reaction to the events of Sept. 11? How do they affect you now? How will they affect your future?
Theresa Duddy, Grade 10: I was completely overwhelmed with shock. Strong feelings of anger followed. I have slowly realized that our great country, the strongest one in the world, is not immune to these horrific acts of terrorism. I feel very patriotic right now and pray for peace daily.
Amanda Caravalho, Grade 10: I had thoughts of total frustration when the terrorists struck. America tries to do so much good, and this bad thing happens. Right now I am very worried. My dad is in the Army, and although it is his job to serve his country, he is my dad and I need him.
Leah Fukuyama, Grade 9: I felt anger at the terrorists and very saddened by the deaths. The people who attacked us need our prayers and forgiveness, but I still cannot forget about the pain that they caused our fellow Americans. I am very worried about going to war. I do not want to postpone my education. My male cousins are in high school; if things get bad, they may have to go to the Middle East.
Maggie Stark, Grade 9: Anger and shock filled my mind! My father is in the U.S. Navy, and I know some people who work at the Pentagon. I am frightened by what the coming months may bring. My family now goes through numerous security checks just to get to our house. I will hesitate to get on a plane in the future. I have to deal with my mind to get rid of this fear and go back to a normal life. I know the terrorists win if I live my life in fear.
Marylee Mcloughlin, Grade 9: I just moved to Oahu from New York, and I have lost friends and the parents of my friends. My cousin, scheduled to be married next month, barely escaped the collapse of the World Trade Center. The thought of how close he came to death still haunts me.
Kristilyn Ozoa, Grade 12 The morning of Sept. 11 was the most tragic day of my life. Watching people trying to flee still brings tears to my eyes. The long flights to the mainland will be nerve-wracking for the rest of my life. I always notice the sounds of airplanes passing overhead now. My desire to go to a mainland college is not as strong anymore. I may check out the colleges on Oahu.
Erika Au, Grade 10: The whole world will never be the same. I am concerned about more killings, this time in Afghanistan. Our economy is slowly crashing. Some of my friends may have to go to other schools because their parents will lose their jobs.
Each week, Hawaii's teenage reporters and photographers will tell us about their high school. This week's school is Sacred Hearts Academy.
About this page
Newspaper: Ka Leo
Editor-in-chief: Celia Downes
Faculty adviser: Gaylen Isaacs
Next week: Pearl City High
Address: 3253 Waialae Ave., Honolulu, HI 96816
Founded: 1909 by the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts
Principal: Betty White
Vice principals: Remee Bolante (JK-6), Linda Debo (7-12)
Deans: Toni Gopaul (JK-6), Kim Clissold (7-12)
Colors: Gold and white
School motto: Orare et laborare (To pray and to work)
By the numbers1080: Students
98: Percentage of graduates who go to college
35: Percentage of seniors who apply to mainland colleges
5,300: Total number of Sacred Hearts graduates
50,500: Hours of community service performed by students in 2000-2001
206: Number of times "The Star-Spangled Banner" was sung in 2000-2001
20: Percentage of students who are in military families
52: Percentage of students who are Catholic
350: Number of computers
304: Musical instruments available for student use
Compiled by Katherine De Ponte
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