Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp says there’s more to do after receiving Lifetime Achievement Award
In the true spirit of a Sister of Providence, Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp leaned toward the woman sitting next to her and said, “Lifetime achievement? Don’t they know I have another 20 years of work ahead of me?”
On March 6, Sister Jeanne became the third member of the Congregation to receive the prominent Torchbearer Award from the Indiana Commission for Women. Her award was the Lifetime Achievement Award in honor of her dedication to educating young people and educating teachers.
Mayor Greg Ballard proclaimed Sister Jeanne Hagleskamp Day in Indianapolis on Wednesday. Sister Jeanne was the founding president and is the current principal of Providence Cristo Rey High School in Indianapolis. She is only the ninth recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award that was established in 2004.
Equally appropriate for a Sister of Providence, Sister Jeanne gave thanks to God for her work.
“I truly know that is has not been my work or my achievement. It is the work of our Provident God, using thousands of hearts and hands as we have all worked together to level the playing field for women and for countless students in urban areas. I accepted the award on behalf of all those people who made Providence Cristo Rey a reality,” she said.
A native of Indianapolis, Sister Jeanne is known nationally as an expert in Catholic educational leadership. She served previously on the faculty at the University of San Francisco where she was director of teacher education for the entire USF system and a member of USF’s Institute for Catholic Education Leadership.
Sister Jeanne helped found Providence Cristo Rey High School in Indianapolis. It is a Catholic, co-educational, college preparatory high school for economically disadvantaged on the near west side of Indianapolis.
She mentioned that this is the second time she has been honored by the city of Indianapolis. When Providence Cristo Rey opened in 2007, the city proclaimed “Providence Cristo Rey High School and Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp Day.”
In accepting her honor, Sister Jeanne referred to the Congregation’s identification message: Breaking boundaries, creating hope.
“People said, ‘No, we don’t have a building, no we don’t have any money, but we can make it happen,’” Sister Jeanne said. The project that was initiated in 2005 became reality in 2007. Now, for three consecutive years, 100 percent of the student body has been accepted into colleges, and 91 percent have stayed in college, far exceeding the national average of 58 percent.
She thanked the Congregation’s leadership, corporate support sponsors, faculty and staff, governing board, students and others for “believing that Providence would provide the men and women who could make it happen.”