Published : Monday, September 19, 2016 | 2:25 PM
Naemah Morris, a proud Immaculate Heart High School alumna, recently stepped into her new role as the school’s principal. “It’s a vibrant place,” Morris said of her alma mater, now in its 111th year of teaching young women.
Her decision to return to Immaculate Heart was a natural one. In her school days, Morris served as Junior Class President and excelled as a founding member of Immaculate Heart’s Speech & Debate Team. After graduating from IH in 1995, she earned a degree in international relations from Wheaton College in Massachusetts. The Phi Beta Kappa scholar initially thought she would pursue a law career, but then she leaped at the opportunity in 2000 to return to IH as both a social studies teacher and debate coach.
Since then, Morris has continued to oversee the debate team, but she has also chaired the IH Social Studies Department, served as Sophomore Class moderator, and most recently held the administrative post of Director of Student Activities.
As a student and later as an administrator, Morris said she appreciated the mentorship of longtime Immaculate Heart Principal Virginia Hurst, who retired in June.
“I can’t imagine coming into this job not knowing the former principal,” she said. “In the culture of this school we know each other and what every individual offers.”
Morris is adamant about creating a beneficial learning and living environment for Immaculate Heart students.
“It’s important for them to be in a place where young women have leadership roles and where women are celebrated in a way that you don’t see in other places,” she said.
In her own experience, Morris noted how the single-sex education environment of Immaculate Heart encouraged her to be bolder in college, where she was known as one of the few females to speak up in class in front of her male peers. Later, as a teacher, she explained, she was able to tailor her curriculum to focus on issues important to young women. This included an emphasis on ways to prepare them for the workplace and how to be advocates for themselves, she said.
“I love seeing the girls shine. They come out of their shells and find their voices,” Morris said.
She aims to continue to support students in whatever their passions may be, and that effort includes encouraging them to explore their interests in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) classes. This year Immaculate Heart launched the new AP Computer Science Principles class, along with the new math and science courses “Advanced Algebra with Financial Applications” and “Engineering Your World.” Additionally, Morris said that this year’s Tech Team, a computer science-focused student club, was especially popular drawing new members at Immaculate Heart’s Join Day event.
“Every day my job is a source of fulfillment to me. I’m thankful for a chance to give back to a place that means so much to me,” said Morris.
Immaculate Heart High School & Middle School is located at 5515 Franklin Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90028. You can call them on (323) 461-3651
or visit their website http://www.immaculateheart.org/page.aspx?pid=405 for more information.