SGHS Snapshot – Willoughby Clark ’19

Throughout the application and decision-making process, prospective students and their families often ask what it’s like to be a student at Saint Gertrude High School. We decided to ask our students to give their perspective on what life is like on Stuart Avenue. Visit our admissions page for more information.

Willoughby Clark ’19
Willoughby Clark ’19 is currently a junior at Saint Gertrude High School. Willow is a class representative for the Student Council Association, a Student Ambassador Coordinator, president of Respect Life club, and co-president of the Model General Assembly. Last year, she was Song Contest Assistant for her class. She also plays field hockey, swims, and plans to run track in the spring. Willow’s favorite class is English because she loves to write, though Graphic Design and Digital Video Design hold a special place in her heart.

What is it really like attending an all-girls school?
Attending an all-girls school was the best decision I’ve ever made. I don’t have to worry about how I look every day, and I’m way more likely to speak up in class. Although we don’t see boys every day, we still have so many fun events with our brother school, Benedictine College Prep. Coming from a co-ed public middle school, it was actually really refreshing to come to SGHS and be able to learn in an environment away from boys.

How has Saint Gertrude prepared you to be a leader? Are there many leadership opportunities?
Saint Gertrude has really helped me to become a better leader and grow in confidence throughout the past couple of years. Coming from a larger public school (2,000+ kids) to Saint Gertrude gave me so many more opportunities to hold leadership positions. Before coming to SGHS, I would’ve never thought of running for anything, but I’m now serving my third year as a class SCA representative. The Discover Leadership program has also taught me a lot about what it means to be a good leader and a build my confidence.

What is the workload like? Are the teachers helpful?
Although the workload is rigorous, it’s nothing that we can’t handle, especially with so many study hall opportunities built into our schedules. The teachers are very understanding when it comes to sports and other extracurriculars, but usually, there’s no problem with the amount of work they give.

What is it really like going to school in the Museum District?
Going to school in the Museum District is the coolest opportunity. Being given a membership to the VMFA is amazing because we can easily walk there to expand our knowledge on topics covered in our classes. Also, there are a ton of cool restaurants and shops just a few blocks over in Carytown to explore. Everything is within walking distance too, so all the girls can get together after school and don’t need cars or a ride from their parents.

What were you most nervous about when entering high school? What was the reality like once you got to SGHS?
I was most nervous about the workload and still being able to do sports going into high school, but Saint Gertrude does a great job helping me manage everything. Because of the built-in study hall and open lunch periods, I never have to worry about staying up or missing sports games and/or practices to finish my homework. The counseling department also helps a ton with planning and helping me manage my time.

If someone were worried about cliques, what would you tell them about the atmosphere at SGHS?
Saint Gertrude is the best community I’ve ever been a part of. The girls in my class have become my sisters, and it’s great because we’re all so close that you could sit anywhere at lunch and feel so welcomed. Not only have I found best friends among my classmates, but I’ve also become really close to girls in grades above and below me. The Saint Gertrude community is so tight-knit and welcoming and everyone always feels like they have a home in it.

Is it a problem if you are not Catholic? How does SGHS handle spirituality and Catholicism?
Saint Gertrude is great because we learn about Catholicism and have the opportunity to participate in Catholic masses and other events, but we are not forced into anything. They give the best balance of teaching about Catholicism without making anyone feel left out or judged.