Letting her go (for it).
People ask me how I raised such wonderful girls. And I say, “I didn’t. They raised me.” Their strength, their poise, their confidence—the women they became because of St. Agnes amazes me. – PARENT OF ALUMNAE
AS A PARENT, YOU KNOW FIRSTHAND THAT WHEN YOU LET GO, YOU LET HER GROW. Think of your daughter’s first steps: her small hands gripping your fingers, unsteady at first. You helped her practice. She kept trying. And before you knew it, she was letting go—navigating the house on her own, bumping into things and picking herself back up. As a parent, you encounter these letting-go moments over and over again, each time trusting and praying your daughter finds success, learns from her failures, and meets new experiences with bravery. And now, your little girl—full of energy and ambition, ready to take on the world from those first steps—ventures boldly into high school. As a St. Agnes parent, we ask more (than others might) of you. Like many fine schools, we ask you to step up—to participate in our parent clubs and organizations, to volunteer during your busy week, to share your knowledge, perspective, and talents. And we also ask you to step back—thoughtfully, intentionally, purposefully—to let us take the lead in challenging and empowering your daughter through this life-defining education. And then to step in—to guide and fortify her with your unconditional love, time-earned wisdom, and ever-present support. Why? Because this is more than high school. This is her preparation for a life of purpose, courage, and fulfillment.
STEPPING BACK TO LET HER ASK QUESTIONS, STEPPING IN TO GUIDE HER. As a St. Agnes parent, you play a critical role in your daughter’s education. When you give her the encouragement, and the space, to begin asking questions and figuring out what she really thinks—about what she’s learning in class, about her goals, about her personal values, about herself—you give her the chance to think critically and honestly about the world she lives in, her own identity, and what her future holds. And you aren’t alone. Through our Center for Wellness and Student Support, each freshman gains a social/emotional counselor—a specialized advocate who remains with her throughout her entire St. Agnes experience to offer help in a crisis, act as a sounding board for ideas, and partner with you in empowering your daughter toward discovering her voice. Her first year at St. Agnes is only the beginning, as you see your daughter embodying our Dominican tradition of “asking the hard questions.” She wonders about your family’s religious choices and how to make them her own, she discusses ancient Greek philosophy and current genetics research, how discrimination and intolerance lead to violence, how poverty could be prevented or her role in speaking out for others, why her friends make the choices they do, what she considers wrong and right. Within our safe and nurturing culture, we challenge her to question everything, even the things we teach her—and to do so with courage and purpose, knowing she’s supported on all sides. And we rely on you to offer the type of guidance and advice only a parent can provide at this point of transition.
We create a safe, non-judgmental and confidential environment that encourages self-care in our students’ academic and personal lives. What guides our work is a desire for the girls to be supported, educated, and continuously growing in mind, body, and spirit. –ST. AGNES COUNSELOR
STEPPING BACK TO LET HER SPEAK UP, STEPPING IN FOR SUPPORT. As a sophomore, we ask your daughter to approach her education with a new sense of maturity. She takes ownership over her learning and her school life. More homework hours, harder courses, a demanding schedule, and initial meetings with her college counselor to begin thinking about her best-fit college choices. When she has a question about an assignment or needs more information, when she disagrees with a grade or feedback, when she has a conflict with a classmate or teacher—she learns to step forward for herself, to make her case with sound reasoning and poise. And as she does, she realizes what she’s capable of. She manages a rigorous course load with her extracurriculars, she plans ahead, she hones her time management skills and her self-discipline. She builds an individual sense of self. For some students, this comes naturally—for others, it won’t be easy. But for every student, her success depends upon your unconditional support, the kind that says, “I believe in you,” through long nights of studying and early morning practices, when she’s struggling in chemistry or when she aces her English final. You support her by letting her go for it, even when that means letting her fall down and cheering her on as she picks herself back up.
As a child, you want your daughter to be obedient; as a teenager, you want her to question and not just accept what she’s told. We know our daughter is in a safe place to do that at St. Agnes. By the time she gets to college, she’s going to know what she thinks and believes. – CURRENT PARENT
STEPPING BACK TO LISTEN, STEPPING IN TO SHARE WISDOM. We admire all our students, but juniors, especially, display a vivid and effervescent intellect. They decide what they want to know and how to figure it out. They recognize their best effort is only the first step. And while we always welcome you to contact your daughter’s counselors with questions or concerns, by her third year she’s in control—not only of her learning, but also of her future. She’s developing her unique style and solidifying a strong work ethic. She isn’t afraid to say what’s on her mind. Her grit is showing. Co-ed classes with Strake Jesuit offer her the opportunity to enter a new type of scholastic, and social, environment where she’s charged to assertively voice her opinions and insights as she would in a university setting—a well-timed transition as she begins the college hunt and considers what she truly needs from her next school. She’ll seek your counsel, though maybe not as much as you’d like. She’ll also want to offer hers: her emerging beliefs and ideas, what she gleaned from a recent workshop or seminar, her interests, her debate points from class, her design ideas for an upcoming project, her just-written poem or essay. We encourage our third-year parents to really listen, to ask questions, to embolden their daughter’s full-throttle inquiry and ambition, to understand this year is one of fluctuation and boundary-testing. And to step in with a loving nudge in the right direction, to attend school-sponsored college fairs and grade-level-specific parent sessions, to help her weigh options for what comes next alongside her counselors, or simply to tell her that even if she’s having a rebellious month or an argument she doesn’t want to talk about, you’re there.
My parents told me “If you want to be a basket weaver, we support you.” They support me unconditionally and they trust the school to help me become myself and to pursue my dreams to the fullest extent. –STUDENT
STEPPING BACK TO LET HER FIND HER DREAMS, STEPPING IN TO TELL HER YOU BELIEVE IN THEM. Your daughter’s final year at St. Agnes is a whirlwind of excitement and activity: state championships and awards ceremonies, college application essays and acceptance letters, AP exams and art shows, final performances, and a flurry of decisions. Chances are, your daughter’s passions are on full display. She knows what she wants to do with them, how she plans to use her gifts for a greater purpose. To this end, she spends senior year honing her skills in every area of study—including her athletic, artistic, and extracurricular pursuits. She’s exhibiting a whole and authentic self-understanding. Her plans for the next years are coming into focus. Working closely with her college counselor and her teachers throughout the application process, she determines which schools align with your family’s values and priorities, financial or geographical requirements, which best fit her personality, her needs as a learner, her goals for her college career and beyond. She’s ready and she knows it. As a parent, you’re ready to trust her and to trust the expertise of our counseling department. Together, we’ve watched her become herself. The precocious, compassionate, poised Academy woman we saw in her from the beginning. This year, you encourage her determination, guide her alongside our expert teachers and staff, provide the sometimes necessary push when she’s feeling tired or distracted, remind her that college is only the beginning of her purpose-filled future.
AS A ST. AGNES PARENT, YOU KNOW YOUR DAUGHTER IS (MORE THAN) PREPARED FOR SUCCESS. And so do we. Because from her first day, we each and all step up—challenging her to become her best self. We step back—letting her mature holistically into an independent, self-sufficient woman. We step in—offering encouragement, motivation, or a push in the right direction. From her first day (and well into her future), we each and all commit to celebrating every St. Agnes girl for who she is, authentically and unapologetically. And to empowering her beyond her limits. Because we know that when we do, our Academy women go on to do extraordinary things. Your daughter is ready. And we can’t wait to see where she’ll go (for it) next. Interested in learning more about letting your daughter go (for it) at St. Agnes? Visit st-agnes.org.
You have to be willing to trust the school for this to work. You have to believe in what goes on here and relinquish control. It takes a strong parent. But the end product will be worth itâ€”I promise. â€“ ALUMNA AND CURRENT PARENT