In the Upper School at Academy of the Sacred Heart (ASH) in Bloomfield Hills, young women prepare for college through an education rooted in the classics and liberal arts. Holistic and nurturing, ASH provides an environment where students can take risks, build relationships and thrive.
Through a small-by-design approach, a curriculum that encourages deep thinking and experiences that build self-confidence, students learn independence and self-reliance as they build academic success, says Emily Mayer, Chair of the Board of Trustees at Academy of the Sacred Heart — where students of many faiths engage in a Catholic, college-preparatory education for girls (infant-grade 12) and boys (infant-grade 8).
Mayer should know; she’s a fourth-generation alumna. She attended ASH from fourth grade through graduation, matriculated to the University of Michigan, then graduated cum laude and Order of the Coif with a Juris Doctor from Wayne State University Law School. In 2021, Mayer achieved partner at the law firm Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss.
In the single-gender Upper School, young women learn that their voices matter. “As students, we held leadership roles in academics, sports and clubs, which builds independence and self-reliance,” Mayer says. In a highly competitive college, law school and career, Mayer leaned in, never hesitating to speak her mind. “This confidence was ingrained in me every step of the way at Sacred Heart,” she says.
Through five Goals and Criteria — foundational to Sacred Heart education — students develop respect for intellectual values as well as a personal and active faith in God. “Students are encouraged to be intellectually curious and that means open and honest discourse. We were challenged to consider topics individually and form our own opinions, and that instills a lifelong love of learning,” Mayer says. “Our classes were engaging conversations with long-lasting lessons that stick with us.”
Because ASH students learn in an intentionally small environment, they are known deeply by one another and by faculty. They are supported in their college search by a leader in the college counseling community who has strong relationships with universities across the globe — including the highest-quality Catholic universities.
“The teachers know you and can identify your strengths and help you refine your interests,” Mayer says. “My college counselor knew me better than I knew myself and gave me advice about where I best succeed. I use this knowledge about myself even today.”
Students build community as a Christian value at ASH, into college and beyond. “Many alumni contribute to their communities as volunteers, board members and more. This speaks to the Sacred Heart whole-person education ethos,” Mayer says.
Members of the Class of 2021 will soon join the colleges of their choice — they’ve received offers from top-ranked public and private universities. Like Mayer, some will attend the University of Michigan, while others will head to Louisiana State University, Marist College, Loyola University in Chicago, Marquette University, Butler University, Barnard College and many others.
Wherever they go, ASH alumnae will take with them the foundation of the Sacred Heart Goals and Criteria — and a sisterhood of support.
“I have five very close friends from Sacred Heart who I keep in touch with, even though we are scattered,” Mayer says. “Every time we get together, it’s as if no time has passed at all. What we talk about is often Sacred Heart-focused. We have shared experiences and we are all still very invested in our school.”
Learn more about Academy of the Sacred Heart at ashmi.org.