Program Intern Returns to Sacred Heart Academy Roots

Going to an all-girls high school impacted how I think and see that world, it is also what started my passion for women’s health which led me to pursue an internship with the Maurer Foundation. Recently, I was given the opportunity to return to my alma mater Sacred Heart Academy (SHA) to conduct our high school breast health education program in the health classes. Sacred Heart has been a champion of women’s education since long before I attended, so I was surprised to hear that it was one of the few schools on Long Island we were not regularly speaking in.

Returning to Sacred Heart was a surreal experience. So much has stayed the same from when I was there like the uniforms, the teachers, and even the smell of the cafeteria. But there were also massive renovations to the library and some of the classrooms that left me feeling almost out of place. I wasn’t prepared for how strange it would feel to be the one standing in front of the class, being there to educate instead of one of the students sitting at a desk.

I spoke about breast cancer preventions, , and methods of early detection, before handing out breast models for the students to practice a breast self-exam on. After the workshop, the teacher encouraged the students to discuss some of the information they learned and what surprised them. I always find it interesting to see what information each school gravitates toward and what surprised them. Both students and teachers commented on how they were shocked that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, some breast are noncancerous, and that antiperspirants do not cause cancer.

Getting to share the lifesaving information I have learned with the next generation of ‘SHA girls’ was an extremely gratifying experience. I hope I was able to not only provide information about breast cancer but also get them interested in a public health career.