Recess! In the Courtyard

Recess! For a kid, that word ranks up there with “Christmas” and “snow day.” For the parents of Sacred Heart School students and the parishioners of Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, Recess! In the Courtyard means a fun, annual fundraiser that encourages the kid in everyone to come out to play. 

The schoolyard brought out the kid in everyone!

Putt-a-looza, Bulls-eye Blitz and Baskets for Brew are just a few of the catchy challenges that caught the attention of the 175 gaming guests who lined up to support the 114-year-old Sacred Heart School’s ever-growing list of budget items. Students will benefit from the event through upgrades to classrooms, professional development for its teachers and, hopefully, the resurfacing of the schoolyard. 

Among the grownup-style playground games and silent auction items, two special guests attracted the most fans. Sister Eileen Barnett and Sister Georgiana Connell – two nuns from the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary – returned for the event, having retired from the Sacred Heart faculty in March 2024. 

Guests also gathered in the gym to socialize, reminisce and support the 114-year-old school.

When asked, “How are you enjoying retirement, Sister Georgiana?” she replied, “Retired? Oh, we’re still active.” Both she and Sister Eileen, now in their 80s, work daily at their new residence, Camilla Hall in Malvern (the Convent Home and Healthcare Center of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary), where they care for sick and infirmed Sisters.

Chip Snyder makes the toss and scores!

With 27 years as a classroom and learning support teacher, cafeteria supervisor, weekly mass coordinator and development assistant at Sacred Heart behind her, Sister Eileen also served as Honorary Chair of this year’s Recess! In the Courtyard. She was also feted for her years of service and love of all things Philadelphia. When faculty member Julia Hartman quizzed her from the stage on her Philadelphia sports knowledge, Sister Eileen all but aced the test, providing answers that ranged from Wilt Chamberlain to Bryce Harper. 

Franc Genoese sinks a basket!

A bronze plaque designed by local artist and Sacred Heart parishioner, Richard Ressel, will be unveiled later this year to honor the many Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary who served Sacred Heart School from 1910 to 2024. It will include the order’s prayer that has been said at the school every morning since 1910.

Bob Krimmel tests his skills at the Putt-a-looza game.

School principal, Kathy Alton, had earlier collected comments from the students to share with guests, having asked the children to express what Sacred Heart means to them. “I don’t want the school year to end,” said a fifth grader. “I was new here. I was behind when I came but the teacher worked with me and now, I’m all caught up!” shared another. “It’s a welcoming place,” added another student. “Passed down through my family, Sacred Heart means being around good people.” Principal Alton agreed: “It’s a top-notch faith-based school that serves a niche in the city, a special place because of the families and the teachers.”

The tightly knit community of parishioners continued to give their support when the live auction got underway. Perhaps a newly resurfaced schoolyard will become a reality! 

As alumni reminisced in the school’s vintage-style gym, old friendships were renewed. Sisters Eileen and Georgiana warmly smiled as they made their personal farewells. One could hear Sister Eileen, full of hope and optimism, remark: “How about those Phillies!”

Information: Sacredheartschlanc.org

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