David Perritano
Kristin Vivian, a member of the Board of Trustees at Academy of the Holy Names, says her daughter Catie used to be very shy girl, especially when Catie first made the transition to high school at AHN.
“I remember her crying for the first two weeks because none of her Middle School friends attended with her,” Vivian says. That would soon change. “One of the best things was the ease of getting ready in the morning. No fuss, just a uniform and hair in ponytail or bun.  No pressure to look or dress a certain way. Catie could be sensitive, so this made it easy for her to fit in. Our daughter Margaret also attended, and both had a terrific experience.
“As a freshman I was intimidated to be in a new place with new people, curriculum, and expectations of me, says Catie Vivian ‘14.  “After the first several weeks having been immersed and adjusted to AHN, I knew I was going to enjoy my experience over the next 4 years.”
Catie credits friendships, traditions, rigorous academics, and athletic opportunities as reasons she felt proud and grateful to attend the school. “Through my years it was comforting to be welcomed and accepted into this community and sisterhood; where you are allowed to focus on the importance of higher education, and scheduling, time management, creating lasting relationships with classmates and staff, and how to make the school environment enjoyable.”
Kristin says both of her daughters have become leaders in different ways. “We loved the invitations to attend school and sporting events and supporting in any way we could. You felt a part of a community. Catie played basketball and lacrosse. Sports from a young age helped to turn a very shy little girl into a more confident teenager.  Her success came through hard work.  She had natural abilities, but they required a lot of hard work to bring them to the next level.  Her coaches at AHN helped with this and provided positive reinforcement.  They recognized Catie as a leader and further helped to build her self-confidence. The College Counseling office was another huge help. They really listened to Catie’s wants and desire to play lacrosse in college and helped her to focus on the school that was the right fit for her. She ended up playing Division 1, which from a small school was an amazing accomplishment.”
Catie was recently promoted to a Marketing Development Manager position after less than four years in a sales role at E. & J. Gallo Winery. Kristin firmly believes that confidence and leadership began at AHN, was reinforced at home and in sports, and continued on the field in her college experience.
“At AHN it’s not uncommon because the girls are not only phenomenal athletes, but exceptional students and leaders, so colleges are attracted to those qualities.  The work ethic that Holy Names teaches in the classroom, which translates to all aspects of life is another factor that led Catie to future successes in college and now in her work career.”
“I feel that AHN’s college preparatory style of learning and teaching made me feel ready to take on the courses in college,” Catie adds.  “The preparation through time management, scheduling, balance of course load, in-class collaboration, independent work, and presentations, were all foundational components that Holy Names prepared me for.”
Catie says AHN also taught her how to listen and lead conversations with peers and educators/coaches.  “Relationship building and being comfortable expressing my thoughts and opinions was always encouraged in and outside of school. Athletically, I had a strong will to succeed, preform at my highest level of ability in hopes to earn a scholarship to play at the collegiate level. I needed to make relationships with college coaches and through my gained confidence at AHN I felt ready for those challenges.”
Kristin says in addition to having her children attend faith-based schools (her sons attended Christian Brothers Academy), she and her husband Tim chose Holy Names for their daughters’ education more for the certainty that the philosophy of the educational experience would be one that would teach ethics, responsibility, accountability, self-worth, kindness, and service to others. “We knew those moments of grace which happen when faith in something larger than oneself, are a part of the daily experience, help a person to better cope with challenges and adversity when encountered later in life. “
She says they feel great confidence their daughters were well prepared for and guided toward a college experience in which they would be successful. “They were able to follow their dreams and make them a reality. Those foundations are now playing out in successful working careers.  We strongly believe those foundations began at home, in school and particularly at Holy Names. We could not be more proud of both our AHN graduates, and all that they have experienced and achieved so far.”
Catie agrees and would recommend the experience to any young woman considering a Holy Names education. Her advice? “Be yourself, be confident, be kind and be open to the new experiences that AHN has to offer.  Do not be afraid and give up when there are challenges but look for ways to combat- raise your hand, ask for help, work with peers- so those obstacles can be turned into successes.”