HomeOpinionThe homecoming of a lifetime: Returning to Little Flower as president

The homecoming of a lifetime: Returning to Little Flower as president

Kristie Hughes Dugan

By Kristie Dugan

Homecoming season is upon us and students across our region are celebrating school pride alongside alumni and family. The Little Flower community is no exception, and for me, this fall marks the homecoming of a lifetime. I have worn just about every Little Flower hat: student, alumna, parent of three graduates and one current student, friend and devotee. Now, my life’s path has led me to the role of president of Little Flower Catholic High School for Girls. Those of us who are close to the school treasure it and lovingly refer to it as “LF.”

While LF has often been called the “Jewel of Hunting Park,” I’ve always felt it more appropriately called the “Rose of Hunting Park,” a rose in a bountiful bouquet that makes up this section of North Philadelphia.

The rose is a traditional symbol of our beloved patroness, St. Therese, who said, “The splendor of the rose and the beauty of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.”

St. Therese’s words ring true in our hallowed halls. Little Flower’s diverse student body reflects the makeup of our great city. Here we honor people’s differences, and we celebrate sisterhood. Little Flower students are authentic, they know who they are, they are persistent and positioned for greatness. And like the thorns of a rose, ready to defend our legacy and traditions.

Little Flower DNA

As president of Little Flower I will work tirelessly to honor St. Therese and the alumnae upon which our school’s heart rests. Luckily for us all, Little Flower is built into the DNA of our student body and into the neighborhood. The good people of Hunting Park watch over us and have been vocal about their commitment to our school.

I graduated from Little Flower in 1992 just months before news of the school’s slated closing hit. As a college student at nearby Immaculata, I joined the passionate fight to save our school and was in awe of the many “little acts of kindness” that turned an insurmountable crisis into a new era of hope, determination, life and love, a renewed mission of nurturing young women to grow strong in the beautiful garden. That moment continues to inspire the fighting spirit I feel every day in the halls of LF.

Make no mistake, the stakes are high. But my commitment to quality, women-centered Catholic education is supported by Little Flower leadership and administration. Our goal is to provide a sacred place of safety where academics are just as important as emotional wellbeing. We draw strength from the 40,000 Little Flower graduates who came before us. And together, we are unstoppable.

Little Flower, the Rose of Hunting Park, a partner in community and home.

Little Flower is more than just a building, made of brick and stone. It’s more than our maroon jumpers or award-winning art program. It’s more than the advanced-placement courses and our dominance in golf – it’s the spirit and the love we have for each other. We are family – we rise and fall together. When one of us is low, we stop and pick our sister up.

Little Flower’s role in the Philadelphia region is to produce hard-working, dedicated women who will make change, often in small yet powerful ways. Our girls find their voice and they know their worth.

They say you can’t go home. But here, at Little Flower, the Rose of Hunting Park, the door is always open, and it’s homecoming all year long. ••

Kristie Dugan is president of Little Flower Catholic High School for Girls.

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