Immaculate Heart Academy BELIEVE. Conference + Spring Open House April 28th

Updated: Mar 31


Immaculate Heart Academy BELIEVE. Conference + Spring Open House April 28th, Bergen County Moms

From March 18-20, 2022, one hundred forty of IHA’s young women attended the Immaculate Heart Academy BELIEVE. Conference, an exclusive Catholic women’s leadership conference crafted solely for their students.


Over the course of three days at Crystal Springs Resort in Vernon, IHA students heard from inspiring speakers, participated in thought-provoking workshops, and strengthened their relationships with not only their fellow IHA sisters, but also with God.

The overarching theme of BELIEVE. was the deep intersection that can and should exist between authentic feminism and the Catholic faith. The Gospel-centered, personal growth conference boasted keynotes by their own Mrs. Sarah Shutrop, director of formation, who planned the event with the Christian Service Executive Board; Lisa Ann Cotter, founder of Made to Magnify and author of Dating Detox and the newly released Reveal the Gift; Mariama Roldan, social media director and content coordinator for Array of Hope Ministries; Lauren Meyers, former IHA Latin and Religious Studies teacher and current Theology teacher at Marian High School in Indiana; and Lauren Rhein’09, IHA alumna and Golf coach. The speakers shared their beautiful witness and challenged their students in incredible ways.



Miss Kerry Carroll’04, principal, and Mr. Jason Schlereth, president, also addressed IHA’s young women. All of the speakers emphasized how blessed the IHA students are to be able to attend a conference specifically made for them—one that recognizes the unique God-given gifts each of them brings to the table, teaches them how to love and champion one another, and guides them in establishing and maintaining real and healthy female friendships. The inaugural BELIEVE. Conference, held in 2019 at Icona Diamond Beach Resort in Wildwood Crest, was founded by Mrs. Shutrop with the goal of offering a new, women-centered conference tailored to Gospel-focused personal development, exclusively for IHA’s students.

Mrs. Shutrop said the 2019 conference would be hard to beat, and she was apprehensive to plan an event as they continue to enter a post-COVID world. “We were so thrilled to have one hundred forty students register this time around,” she said. “The girls came open, willing to participate, and excited to challenge themselves into growing as women who champion one another’s achievements. I already see some of the fruits of the program in the way the girls are interacting with one another back in the school building. I am so grateful for their buy in, their insight, and their willingness to try to make IHA and themselves the best they can be.”

IHA students from all grade levels participated in a variety of workshops and reflections, enjoyed delicious meals provided by Crystal Springs, and enjoyed some free time to take advantage of the beautiful facilities. They bonded together further at a Sisterhood Dinner and recognized their peers’ individual gifts with personalized thank you letters exchanged in a Sisterhood Circle. Lisa Cotter’s discussion about discernment guided the students into Eucharistic Adoration and an opportunity for confession. On Sunday, Fr. Matthew Dooley, chaplain at Oratory Prep, celebrated Mass to conclude the special weekend before their students headed back to IHA, ready to enhance their lives and put into practice all they learned.


During his speech, Mr. Schlereth encouraged conference attendees to not keep secret their discussions during BELIEVE., but rather teach their Immaculate Heart sisters how to best support one another. “Let it permeate through your classes, through your lunch table, through your friend groups, through your social media pages,” he said. “Make it such a part of who you are that everyone knows about it. Become the person that when people hear your name, they instantly think of the IHA sisterhood. Make IHA a place full of girls who support each other at every turn. When you climb the ladder of success, don’t knock the ladder over so no one else can climb it. Instead, let the next girl know which steps of the ladder are loose. Make her aware of the challenges that she’ll face so that she can join you at the top.”

Erin Burke’22, Christian Service Board vice president, said the BELIEVE. Conference was the perfect event for the IHA sisterhood. “The immersive experience of my faith and my Immaculate Heart family was tremendous,” she reflected. “I am truly going to miss IHA and these girls so much.”

It was clear that their young women left the conference full of joy and grace after a yearning to dive more deeply into becoming the best versions of themselves. They left prepared to make an even greater impact on Immaculate Heart Academy, the greater community, and the world.

“Do you believe what the women you heard from this weekend told you?” Mr. Schlereth asked the students. “Do you believe that you’re a daughter of God? Do you believe that you have gifts to share and that you can be secure in knowing about those gifts so that you can celebrate the women around you? The sisterhood is only as strong as its members. It’s up to each and every one of you to decide how strong you want that sisterhood to be.”

Emily Magee’24 felt as though her relationship with God and her fellow IHA sisters grew deeper through the conference. “BELIEVE. has made me so appreciative of the amazing opportunity I have to come to IHA every day, and be surrounded by so many people who love and care about me,” she said. “The IHA sisterhood is unlike anything else, and I am so thankful to be a part of it!”


Immaculate Heart Academy BELIEVE. Conference + Spring Open House April 28th, Bergen County Moms

Will you be a member of IHA’s Class of 2027?


SPRING OPEN HOUSE

April 28, 2022

6:30 p.m.


Click Here to Register

Founded in 1960, Immaculate Heart Academy is an all-girls Catholic regional high school of the Archdiocese of Newark presently celebrating its 61st year. A Blue Ribbon School, IHA enrolls approximately 700 girls in a competitive college preparatory program from more than 100 towns in Bergen, Passaic, Morris, Hudson and Essex counties in New Jersey and Rockland and Orange counties in New York. Its mission both at the time of foundation and today is to provide quality Catholic education to young women in an atmosphere characterized by respect for the individual, Christian community, and a high level of family involvement.


As IHA is a college preparatory high school for young women, a strong theme throughout the curriculum and extracurricular activities is the development of the special gifts that women can bring to society. The interests and needs of women in the areas of academics, spirituality, the arts, athletics, and social interaction drive the programs offered at IHA. As a single-sex school with a rich background of Christian beliefs and values, Immaculate Heart Academy meets the academic, social, and spiritual needs of today’s ambitious and high-achieving young women. Additionally, their emotional and psychological development is fostered by the positive, supportive, and affirming attitudes of the administration, faculty, and staff.

500 Van Emburgh Ave, Township of Washington 07676, Bergen County Moms

Immaculate Heart Academy

College Preparatory High School for Young Women

500 Van Emburgh Ave

Township of Washington, NJ 07676

(201) 445-6800

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