Marianna '21

What is your favorite thing about Visi?

The traditions are what I enjoy most about Visitation. I transferred to Visi after completing my freshman year in Colombia. At my previous school, I didn’t feel as much as part of a community as I do here. So I’ve been blown away by this close-knit community and how much the traditions make me feel a part of the Visi family - past and present.

Why did you choose to attend Visi?
The academic rigor is what initially attracted me to Visitation. Then, the day I shadowed, I fell in love with Visi – I actually did. During my shadow visit, I learned that Visitation was much more than an academically challenging environment. Beyond the beautiful campus, I admired the genuine connections between students, and how learning at Visitation meant more than memorizing information, but also analyzing how classwork relates to real, modern day issues. Service is also really important to me, so the community’s emphasis on service and the Little Virtues meant a lot, too.
Which class has been your favorite so far?

So far, Honors European History (now Honors Modern World History) has been my favorite class. At first I was nervous about taking History because I hadn’t been introduced to the subject in elementary school. Now, I love history! I especially enjoy the class discussions and final projects, which have inspired my social justice work outside of school.

What is your favorite Visitation tradition?
I love Gold-White! I also love Marshmallow Roast, though, because it allows me to bond with my classmates over pure fun. It’s also what makes Visi, Visi - where else will you find teachers giving students permission to roast them at a bonfire? Also, it’s a joyful tradition that allows everyone to come together for the same goal: laughter.
What makes the learning environment here unique?

My teachers are extremely helpful and accessible. It means so much to know that if I’m having difficulty with a subject, I can seek help. Our in-class discussions and Socratic seminars also create a comfortable environment for asking questions and exploring different perspectives, no matter what subject.

How do Visitation's teachers make learning exciting?

I love the end-of-year projects and how they bring everything together to an applicable takeaway that I can use to impact my greater community.

Which is your favorite Salesian Little Virtue?

Perseverance. Since freshman year, I have overcome different obstacles that have caused me to lean on my Visitation community and discover the strength within myself. Also, we tend to think that perseverance is an individual effort. When we face tough times, we give ourselves pep-talks, saying, “I can do this,” but Visitation has enlightened me to the community behind the “I”. And in that light, perseverance has guided me throughout my years at Visitation, and it’s reminded me of the support I have all around me.

How does Visitation help you grow in your faith?

I never really felt connected to my faith before coming to Visi. As I got settled in this community, though, seeing all of the opportunities that could help me connect with my faith – having access to a chapel at any time, getting to know the Sisters, and offering prayers throughout the day – heightened my awareness of God’s presence in small, everyday moments.

What do you enjoy most about doing service?

I love how service allows me to explore my interests and gifts for the benefit of others. For instance, a class project during my freshman year piqued my interest in photography. The following summer when I visited Barranquilla, Colombia, I coordinated a photography exhibition of art that highlighted the dignity of refugees and migrants in the city. Then my sophomore year, I did a history project on migration that inspired me to return to Colombia with an organization called ProBarranquilla, which works to strengthen the city’s local economy. This trip empowered me to approach service from a creative lens – before I knew it, I was selling art and jewelry to benefit these communities. Even once I returned to the States, my classmates and I raised over $200 selling hand-made bracelets at Espirit de Noel! So, in a sense, service empowers me to bring color into our black and white world – to empathize with the vulnerable and challenge the stigmas that divide us. I hope I can always effect change in that way.

What do you do outside of school?

Besides photography, I like to dance. I’ve done it since I was little, and last year I stepped into choreography for a Latin-fusion routine for the EnVISIon dance troupe. Even though I’ve found a home in Visi, I do get homesick sometimes, so I try to celebrate my culture and keep dancing whenever I can.

Marianna responded to these questions during her junior year.