Student Activist: Sarah Normand

Academy of the Sacred Heart

photographed By cheryl gerber

Sarah Elizabeth Normand, a freshman at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, has been volunteering since sixth grade. This past year she and her friends chartered a service club – Shelby’s Work Club – in honor of their friend and classmate Shelby Leonhard, who passed away at 14 from non-Hodgkins lymphoma in February of last year.

Shelby’s Work Club organizes projects that unite and help the community. The group is also focusing on projects in which their classmate would’ve enjoyed participating. Through this club, the founders wanted to create a legacy of Leonhard’s goodness.

The first fundraiser that Shelby’s Work Club organized was the Scrunchie Fundraiser. “We chose scrunchies because these were one of Shelby’s signature items,” Normand says. “She could almost always be found wearing her blue scrunchie.”

For the Scrunchie Fundraiser, the members made over 200 scrunchies and sold them at Stuart Hall School for Boys’ Christmas event, where they made more than $900 to donate to the local Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

“It was hard to organize this club because the concept of it is very bittersweet, but I’m very glad that two other girls and I from my class decided to charter it. It meant so much to us that so many girls from our grade, as well as other grades, signed up to be part of service work to honor Shelby,” says Normand. “I’m proud of this because this club is capable of doing so many great things to make a difference in our school and the wider community.

“I think it’s important to be involved in my community because I believe that everyone should make an effort to contribute to making the community a better place,” she continues. “I believe that if you have a gift or skill that you can offer or are presented with an opportunity to improve or help the community you should take advantage of it.”

Normand has also been involved with other organizations, including volunteering at John Calvin Presbyterian Church, Metairie Ridge Presbyterian Church and Children’s Hospital. She also runs cross-country in the fall and track in the spring. She has played piano for the past 11 years and enjoys playing all types of music, from classical to country.

Normand loves spending time with her friends at her family’s house in Mississippi, where she enjoys wakeboarding and water-skiing. In the future, she wants to go to medical school and become a physician specializing in oncology. By studying medicine, Normand hopes to help others in the future by providing services to those in need.

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