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Q&A With Melina Matar (SHP ’21)

A two sport student-athlete and Social Justice Teach-In leader
SHS: Describe your favorite class or project from your four years at Sacred Heart Preparatory (SHP). What about them inspired you, and what were the most valuable take-aways?

Melina Matar (SHP ’21): My favorite academic class was probably Bill of Rights with Ms. Allison Hurley, SHP social science teacher. I have always been partially interested in law, but I didn't know a ton about what actually goes on behind the scenes. Ms. Hurley made the class really interactive—we were able to be attorneys and defendants to take on difficult cases against our peers. We had a bunch of different assignments, but somehow they all seemed to connect in ways I wouldn't have realized before taking this course. I took Ms. Hurley's American Law class this past semester because I enjoyed her teaching method of lecture at the beginning of class, followed by the majority of the class being interactive role playing.
 
You’re an accomplished student-athlete—tell us about the sports you participated in, and what you liked about the experience.
 
I played water polo as a freshman and sophomore in high school. I was on the swim team all four years in high school. The aquatic community at SHP is very strong. Every coach I've had has been motivating and kind, but challenging. The bond of each team I have been on has been very tight-knit and close. Everyone supports one another and I have learned how to overcome personal obstacles, how to push myself, and how to be a better team player.
 
Describe what you’re most proud of achieving during your time at SHP, and why.
 
I am most proud of my work with planning the 2021 Social Justice Teach-In (SJTI). This school year was an unexpected one—no one knew what the following day would hold. At times, it seemed like an endless cycle of nothing to look forward to. I knew that planning the SJTI would be hard because we were unsure about so many things in the future. I feel really proud that inspirational speakers and passionate students were able to come together to make an impact on the community before graduation.
 
How would you sum up your time at SHS?
 
I came into the Sacred Heart community as a freshman—my time here has been incredible, and I wish I could have been here longer. Every student, teacher, and faculty member is there to support you. The community here is inclusive and nurturing; I have learned more about myself and my own morals.
 
What are your plans for the future, and how has SHP prepared you for it?
As of right now I am off to Texas Christian University next year. It's scary to move away from the place you have lived for over 18 years, [but] I know that SHP has prepared me for it because I have learned how to believe in myself and be independent. The past four years, I have been challenged to step out of my comfort zone and try new things. I feel really ready to take on the next chapter of my life, whatever that may hold.
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Founded by the Society of the Sacred Heart, SHS is a Catholic, independent, co-ed day school for students in preschool through grade 12