(Elizabeth Seton High School – an all-girls Catholic school in Bladensburg, Maryland, sponsored by the Daughters of Charity – is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2019, and in an interview with the Catholic Standard, Sister Ellen Marie Hagar, a Daughter of Charity and member of Elizabeth Seton’s class of 1974 who serves as the school’s president, reflected on its ongoing legacy in an email interview with Mark Zimmermann, the editor of the Catholic Standard newspaper of the Archdiocese of Washington.)

1.) What impact did your education at Elizabeth Seton High School have on your life?

Sister Ellen Marie: “While I was at Seton, I met very capable, smart, intelligent women (both lay women and Daughters of Charity) who impressed me with their knowledge and teaching and who solidified my desire to be a teacher.

“I also came to see, firsthand, the ways the Daughters of Charity served the poor, and I was inspired to become a Daughter of Charity.

“The administration of the school always worked hard for us, even when we were not always appreciative or even respectful.As an adult, I am in great admiration of that selfless love.”


2.) What impact do you hope that education has on Seton’s students and graduates?

Sister Ellen Marie: “I hope that our education prepares them to be engaged in a pathway of life about which they are passionate.  I hope it instills a commitment to our core values of service and respect.  I hope they are forever convinced of God’s tremendous love for them.”

3.) How does Elizabeth Seton High School reflect the vision of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul?

Sister Ellen Marie: “The Daughters of Charity are committed to the improvement of people’s lives through faith, love, and service.  We collaborate with our staff to do just that for our students in the hope that they will do the same for others.”

4.) Could you summarize the innovative educational programs for young women that Seton offers?

Sister Ellen Marie: “LEAD – Seton’s LEAD (Learning Engineering And Design) is a STEM program wherein students engage in creating ideas, developing innovations, and designing practical solutions for engineering-related problems. Laboratory and classroom activities require student applications of science, mathematics, and other school subjects in authentic situations.

A Seton student takes part in an engineering lab at the school. (Photos by Steve Spartana Photography/Courtesy of Elizabeth Seton High School)

“The Agnes M. Brown Pre-Law Program offers students the opportunity to explore issues relating to law, the legal profession, the court systems and individual rights.  Other topics include social justice, women’s rights, consumer contracts, estates, and immigration.

“The Elizabeth Seton High School Pharmacy Program Curriculum focuses on the selection, preparation and distribution of medication, labeling and filing orders, record maintenance and general assistance to a licensed pharmacist.  The pharmacy technician student develops a broad background in pharmacology, medical terminology, pharmaceutical calculations, pharmacy laws and regulations, pharmacy technology and pharmacy management principles. The curriculum includes a mixture of lectures, calculations, vocabulary/terminology, pharmacology, leadership, hands-on skill labs, field trips, and pharmacy technology program modules.

“The Elizabeth Seton High School Hospitality and Tourism program focuses on the leadership and managerial aspects, responsibilities, knowledge, and skills required by a leader in the hospitality and tourism industry.  This curriculum is industry driven, and prepares today's students for careers in hospitality with a large focus on globalization and diversity.

“All of these Pathway to Career Programs include opportunities for student mentorship and internships in their respective fields.  Students develop relationships with businesses and employers who can further their career success.”


5.) What special events are planned for the anniversary year?

Sister Ellen Marie: “A 60th Anniversary Gala in College Park, several alumnae reunions and gatherings, and anniversary liturgies for students, parents, alumnae and former parents.”

6.) What are your goals for the anniversary year?

Sister Ellen Marie: “To increase our contact and nurture our relationships with our alumnae, to express profoundly our gratitude to all those who support Seton, to celebrate Seton’s milestones and accomplishments, and to advance Seton’s mission and impact in the community.”

(For more information on Elizabeth Seton High School, go to www.setonhs.org.)