Sapporo Sacred Heart was founded during 1963, with the Second Vatican Council still in session. The aim of this new school was to provide an "education open to the world". In recent years, the school has conducted more than 20 study abroad programs and exposure trips, including an annual UN Study Tour to New York. Unfortunately, the Corona virus epidemic forced us to move to online exchange programs.
With travel restrictions lifting, our current 8 th Grade and 9th Grade students will be able to visit the Sacred Heart Schools in St. Louis and St. Charles next spring. As well as the exchange experience, they will trace the roots of the Sacred Heart in the United States and make a pilgrimage to the sites associated with St. Philippine Duchesne. Sister Donna Collins from the USC Province who has been with us for this term has helped the students prepare for their immersion experience.
In 2022, two UN on-line training programs were scheduled -sixteen 10th grade girls in February and seven 9th grade girls in October. Each group engaged in months of pre-study, research, and extra English lessons prior to the three-day intensive on-line program.
We had an introductory presentation from Sr. Sheila Smith, the Society of the Sacred Heart UN-NGO representative. Sr. Smith has supported our programs since 2018 and we are most grateful. We then heard from a variety of other speakers.
Mr. Felipe, an officer of the UN Department of Global Communications told us that we are the leaders of today not just tomorrow. He stressed the importance of the role of education. A Sacred Heart University alumna, an officer at the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, shared her experience of working in Liberia. An alumna of our school, who supports the AIDS orphans in Uganda and Kenya, was a powerful speaker.
Other speakers touched on the work of the United Nations Commission for Refugees, the High-Level Political Forum of 2021 and the efforts of the UN-NGO’s for a nuclear free world. Sr. Rita Pinto from India spoke on the impact of girls' education. While sharing on the Sustainable Development Goals and Sacred Heart Education, Sr. Lynne Lieux spoke convincingly about our responsibility to transform the world. Finally, Sr. Donna Collins gave an eye-opening talk on Food Sovereignty. All these presentations gradually revealed the challenging reality of our world to us.
We were also exposed to the thoughts and actions of other students. We had received a video from the students at Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York in which they shared the rich variety of their service-learning program, outreach activities and advocacy efforts on local and international issues. Another challenging video came from the students at Sophia University in Mumbai.
During the February program, we,10th graders raised a wide range of questions such as how to support indigenous people such as the Ainu in Hokkaido or how are the UN peacekeepers able to assist refugees fleeing Afghanistan. Later in the year, we gave a report to the representatives from 8 Catholic schools in Hokkaido present at their synodical conference.
Commenting on her UN study program, one of the participants of 9th Grade program reported that, “The three days flew by in no time and changed my way of thinking. It had been a rich and fulfilling experience without going to New York. I want to connect it to my future actions and life.” At the end of three days, each received the SDGs badge from Sister Collins who had accompanied them during the three days. Having learned the need to transform themselves and society, and with gratitude for all they have been given in this world, they began to develop concrete action plans.
For many years, the students at Sapporo Sacred Heart were educated to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Since 2015, the school has worked on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and focused on helping students to develop action plans. Demonstrating their original ideas and down-to-earth ability to implement the SDGs, our students have won awards such as the Hokkaido High School Contest for a Sustainable World. We would like to express our gratitude to all those who have supported us throughout these years allowing us to participate in the transformation of the world.