Caroline Sweeny’20 is an enthusiastic young woman who has demonstrated her passion both inside and outside the classroom. While she has earned academic achievements, such as being inducted into the National Honor Society, what really stands out about Caroline is her deep-seated connection to service. Caroline won the President’s Volunteer Service Award during her time at IHA, served as the Service Coordinator of NHS, and was even honored with the Spirit of Service Award in 2020, one of the most impressive and valued awards in the IHA service program.
Caroline’s incomparable dedication to charity cannot simply be summed up by titles and awards. She is out in the world, making the community better with every effort, and that deserves to be celebrated as well. As a member of CARE, Caroline ran the Special Swim group at the Ridgewood YMCA, helping individuals with special needs in swim lessons and coordinating volunteers to join her through IHA. She is also the Light the Candle Chapter Leader for her church’s youth group, where she coordinates making birthday cards for kids in foster care.
Caroline’s profound faith life parallels her roots in service. At IHA, she was a member of the Christian Service Board and Small Christian Communities, as well as the vice president of Campus Ministry. In her own parish, she has been a member of the St. Peter’s youth group for the past three years and currently runs the Teen Mass program there, where she organizes a Mass by teens and for teens. Caroline also is a team member, and now rector, of the Journey Retreat for St. Peter’s.
As a student, Caroline enjoyed many classes at IHA, including the Genocide and Holocaust Film Studies class with Dr. Kenney. In this class, while they studied dark parts of human history, Caroline said they were tasked to look for the light in them as well. One of Caroline’s favorite teachers, Mrs. Pecora from the English Department, marked her as “an inquisitive student that has a genuine thirst for knowledge and always strives to improve her writing skills. She is a role model for her classmates and a pleasure to teach!” Unsurprisingly, one of Caroline’s favorite memories from her Immaculate Heart experience is the IHA Mission Trip in 2018. During this trip, Caroline was able to apply her love of service to Midnight Runs, Habitat for Humanity projects, and Camp Acorn excursions. She was also able to bond with her IHA sisters in a way unique from the friendships made in class. Caroline reflected on her time at IHA like a true senior, saying that “the calendar doesn’t dictate which days are going to be the most memorable.”
Looking to the future, Caroline has big plans. She will be attending Loyola University Maryland this fall, majoring in psychology. After college, Caroline plans to work in the special needs community, possibly as an Applied Behavioral Analyst (ABA). It is clear from her time at IHA that Caroline has a bright life in front of her, bettering each community she enters with her heart of gold and compassionate spirit. The IHA community will sorely miss her, but will never forget the wonderful influence she has made on the school. To close with Caroline’s own words, “Every day at IHA is a gift, and I pray that everyone makes the most out of her IHA experience.”
By: Katherine Conway’21, Features Editor and World News Editor