This week, instead of returning from Christmas break to a week of midterms and standardized testing, Nardin Academy High School students are immersing themselves in the newly launched WinterMission, a week-long experiential learning program. WinterMission offers young women the opportunity for academic intensives, internships, global travel and service in alignment with Nardin's mission: inspiring hearts and minds to do amazing things for the world through faith, character, academic excellence and service.
"Each experience inspires the girls to engage in learning for learning's sake without it being attached to a grade," explains Adrienne Forgette, high school principal. "We believe in the importance of igniting girls' passions and introducing them to the amazing things our alumnae are doing for the world."
Nardin alumnae play a strong role in the WinterMission program, both here in Western New York and nationally. With a Classroom to Career WinterMission option, Nardin students will shadow alumnae Maura Comerford Devlin '04 and Jessica Maglietto Smith '99 at Eric Mower & Associates, Kara Quinn Burke '00 at Rich Products, and Kara Eaton-Weaver '94 at Roswell Park.
"An important component of Nardin's alumni relations program is to connect current students with our graduates," said Jennifer Westerholt, director of alumni relations. "Our Classroom to Career WinterMission project has been so rewarding, because so many of our local alumnae are jumping at the opportunity to engage directly with our high school girls. What better way to showcase our alumnae than in their places of work?"
Another group will be traveling to Washington D.C. to establish connections with the national Nardin community. Although adjustments to the trip had to be made due to the government shutdown, students will be meeting with Kate Songin Measer '07 at NBC Studios and Karen Boyd '96 from the Food and Drug Administration (due to the shutdown, Boyd has graciously agreed to meet the girls off-site). The trip also includes stops at Congressman Higgins office, a U.S. Capitol tour, and a gallery pass to watch the House of Representatives in session.
In Buffalo, Nardin has formed community partnerships to provide opportunities for student WinterMission selections. Oishei Children's Hospital will provide an "Oishei Medical Experience" shadow opportunity for juniors and seniors that will include radiology, surgery, NICU, the hospital foundation and more. The Department of Homeland Security will be hosting seniors interested in criminal justice and forensics. This WinterMission includes SWAT training alongside visits to the US District Court, TSA airport tour, and US Marshall Service.
A group of freshman and sophomores have chosen to serve the local community at several non-profit organizations, including City Mission, Cornerstone Manor and St. Vincent de Paul while immersing themselves in the experience by staying overnight at the Nardin DHM house on West Ferry Avenue.
WinterMission opportunities are not limited to shadowing careers or serving off-site. A week-long offering called Psychology and the Media will examine the representation of mental illness in literature, film, and media. This group will also host guest speakers and visit the Historical Buffalo Psychiatric Center while introducing students to the history of mental health care and careers in mental health. A WinterStock Theatre offering will provide an all-inclusive exploration of all things theatre. Students will rehearse and perform "Broadway Through the Decades" for senior citizens from area homes, participate in workshops from professionals in the field and tour both Shea's and Alleyway theatres.
Students also had the ability to select quilting for refugees, learning how to start a business on campus (Nardin Café), or designing an on-campus Escape Room as their WinterMission.
Globally, a group of students is immersing themselves in Italian culture with a one-week leadership training program for young women, while another group is currently in Costa Rica focusing on digital media and ecotourism projects.
We look forward to following the exciting adventures of our high school students during WinterMission!