Frances '20

Service Aficionado, Tennis Player
Additional Activities: Think Pink Club, Peace, Love, and Happiness Club, JV Fall Tennis, Varsity Spring Tennis

What is your favorite thing about the school?

It is hard to pick one thing I love most about Visitation. I have grown to appreciate the unique sense of spirituality, the genuine girls, and the beautiful campus that I get to walk across everyday. I am also grateful for the friends I have met here at Visitation.

Why did you choose Visi?

After visiting several different schools, I found that the Visitation community was unique in several ways. During my shadow visit, I recognized how present and attentive all the girls were. Girls that I had never met before waved to me and welcomed me throughout the day. When I learned that Visitation was a Salesian school and I read about the Little Virtues, I saw that all of the girls were living them out and going out of their way to make me feel at home.

Which class has been your favorite so far?

This year, it was English. I’ve always enjoyed writing and reading—and this year I was able to read a variety of different genres and express my ideas on paper. In English, I am always prepared to have a thoughtful discussion about a book, and I always feel that I am challenged.

What is your favorite tradition here?

One my favorite things about Visitation is its rich mixture of traditions that bring the whole school together. When I first came, I couldn’t understand why these traditions were so important and honestly what they even were. Then when I attended my first Marshmallow Roast, I finally understood why everyone looks forward to it. I had so much fun just being with my friends and laughing around the campfire while my classmates poked fun at the teachers. It was also great seeing everyone's hard work on the costumes and sets come together to create a hilarious skit. I truly felt like I was a part of something bigger than myself.

What makes the learning environment here unique?

Everyday, when I walk into class, I am prepared to learn and I am surrounded by encouraging classmates. I also feel a unique sense of spirituality in the classroom because we pray before our classes. All of these factors make Visitation’s classroom environment special and enjoyable.

How do Visitation’s teachers make learning exciting?

The teachers here are truly engaging and work hard to ensure that class-time is productive yet enjoyable. All my teachers are always available, willing to help, and have encouraged me to ask questions if I’m ever confused. A freshman-year highlight was teachers’ availability beyond the classroom, which helped me on several occasions. I had a lot of questions when I started my Physics class and my teacher was always willing to explain a problem or go over a quiz or test.

Which is your favorite Salesian Little Virtue?

Thoughtful concern for others. I’ve noticed that Visitation girls are always concerned for each other, which is a quality I admire. The school offers a wide variety of ways for girls to contribute and help others in the community, and I look forward to stepping outside my comfort zone when I attend this summer’s VISTORY service trip in St. Louis with girls from other Visitation schools in the U.S.

How does Visitation help you grow in your faith?

This year I have grown immensely in my faith. The words of St. Francis de Sales have reminded me to always “Be who [I am] and be that well.” This quote has helped me be the best that I can be and never someone I am not. I am also able to see Visitation girls living out the Little Virtues every day. They all embody virtues such as cheerful optimism, thoughtful concern for others, and gentleness. The Visitation Sisters also serve as daily reminders of my faith. Whenever I see them on campus, they are always so caring and kind. They pray for every single person, past, present, and future, which always reminds me how lucky I am to attend Visitation.

What do you enjoy most about doing service?

Throughout my time here, I have learned the importance of serving those in my community. Visitation has helped expose me to different types of people and different environments. I am also always aware of service opportunities, and I try to participate in everything I can—like the VISTORY summer service trip I mentioned earlier.

What do you do outside of school?

After school and on weekends, I do a variety of service, including Wider Circle, helping in the kindergarten CCD classroom, National Presbyterian School service day, and making sandwiches for Martha’s Table. I am on the Chevy Chase Inter-club Tennis Team and in the Excellence Tennis Program at Chevy Chase. My hobbies include playing tennis, writing, reading, art, swimming, playing guitar, and traveling.

Frances responded to these questions after her freshman year.