National Catholic Schools Week runs Jan. 30 through Feb. 4 Monroe - Sister Norbert, a Sparkill Dominican nun, is a familiar face at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Monroe where she’s been for 35-plus years. Raised in Manhattan, she was followed by both of her sisters who are also Sparkill Dominicans. Thousands of students sat in her classrooms. Maybe you were one of them. She is formally retired yet still a daily presence at Sacred Heart School where she leads morning prayers and assists with religious instruction, in addition to sacristan responsibilities. In reflecting on her decades at Sacred Heart, she has wonderful memories of her years as a full-time teacher. “My students knew what I expected from the first day of school,” Sister Norbert said in her direct, no-nonsense manner. “I expected them to do their best.” She expects the same from the children who attend the school today. And those high standards are driven by her desire to help children strive to reach their potential, so they feel proud of themselves, develop a focused work ethic and exemplify respect by their behavior. Self-worth and dress codes When asked what she thinks the strengths of a Sacred Heart education are, she cited the integration of religion throughout the curriculum, the dedication of the teachers and the strong academic program. She also talked about how the children are valued. “Sacred Heart School instills in each child a sense of self-worth,” she said. “The children are happy coming in here in the morning. I love being with them.” Sister Norbert is passionate about the uniform dress code. “It removes material competitiveness based on dress, and it influences the way the children behave,” she said. “When in uniform they know a certain type of behavior is expected.” While some Catholic schools have been struggling with closures in recent years, Sacred Heart had a record number of enrollments last year. She is happy to see Sacred Heart School moving forward: “The school has a positive atmosphere.” Catholic Schools Week Sister Norbert can be seen featured in one of the school television commercials and will be present at the upcoming Open House during Catholic Schools Week, from Sunday, Jan. 30, through Friday, Feb. 4. If you were one of her students, stop in and say hello. Registrations are being accepted for the upcoming academic year, and all are welcome to tour the school and meet with the teachers and the principal. This story was written by Priscilla VanAulen.
My students knew what I expected from the first day of school. I expected them to do their best.” Sister Norbert, a Sparkill Dominican nun who has been a part of Sacred Heart School in Monroe for more than 35 years.