Perhaps you’ve seen the video. If so, you already know senior Erin Mash is a goal-oriented soccer player who loves to learn. Erin is not just surviving her high school experience. She is thriving.
The road to get Erin to this place of comfort with herself and her surroundings was not a straight path, as she explained to a group of prospective families during the Fall Open House. “About three years ago, I was a much different student and human being than the one that Academy of the Holy Names has helped mold me into,” Erin said. “I most definitely would not have had the courage to speak before you all. I began my freshman year at a very large public school and knew within the first three months that I would not thrive in that type of environment. I felt like just a number, an outcast the school did not have time for.”
After a shadow visit in March of 2020, Erin and her family attended an Open House two weeks later just before the COVID shutdown. Erin says “I sat in those chairs, just as you are now, listening to students speak about Holy Names. Immediately I knew something was waiting for me at this school and I could not be more grateful that my parents made it happen for me.”
Upon arrival, Erin says something unexpected happened: no longer feeling outcast, her new classmates were eager to get to know her and make her feel welcome, and her teachers were sure to acknowledge her adjustment period.
“I quickly realized why the school motto is Esse Quam Videri, which means ‘To be rather than to seem,’ Erin says. “At Holy Names, we are taught by experience to reach outside of our comfort zone, because we will not grow if we hide from the uncomfortable. We learn to live with intention and not to waste a single second. Within the rigorous academics and busy extracurricular schedule, we create sisters in our classmates, we participate in unforgettable traditions, and we learn to be the best version of ourselves.”
She says the seven advanced placement classes she has taken during her three years at AHN have improved her time management and study skills. Under the guidance of Director of College Counselling Annemarie McGarry, Erin has successfully submitted applications to Vanderbilt University, The University of Richmond, The University of Notre Dame, and seven other schools.
Overall, Erin says her teammates, coaches, and others she’s encountered along her journey here at AHN have become more than just friends. They’ve become family. The shy girl who was afraid to leave her “bubble” is now raising her hand to help with video promotions and public speaking opportunities.
“This school has helped me learn to ask questions, to public speak, to work with others, to be present, and to appreciate all of it because it goes way too fast,” Erin says. “I owe it all to my parents who were once in your (prospective families’) position and chose to give me this opportunity.”
As happy as you are to be here Erin, we’ve been twice as blessed to have you. As you said in closing out your speech, we also hope to see more daughters donning the AHN uniform giving similar addresses in the coming years. Thank you for being a shining example to families of what the Holy Names experience provides.