Healy sisters make name for themselves serving as Brentwood class president
Lauren Healy snapped a photo of herself as she stepped up to the podium before giving a final speech in front of her Brentwood peers.
Two years later, Victoria Healy took a picture of her classmates to kick off her commencement speech.
That means Olivia Healy is going to have to come up with something just as creative this year, when it's her turn to take the microphone and bid farewell to Brentwood's 82 high school seniors.
“I have ideas,” Olivia said with a smile.
The three Healy sisters, ages 17 to 20, have held the title of Brentwood High School senior-class president three of the last four years.
“To have all three of them in that position, that's extremely rare,” high school Principal Jason Olexa said.
Senior-class presidents at Brentwood are elected by their peers.
The president of the senior class is in charge of selecting themes for school dances, plans class reunions and speaks at commencement, along with the valedictorian and salutatorian.
“You're kind of the leader of the school,” said Lauren Healy, 20, a 2011 Brentwood graduate and 2010-11 senior-class president. “You plan the big events. ... You're the head honcho of the grade.”
Growing up in Brentwood, the girls participated in athletics and extracurricular activities.
Lauren, the eldest Healy, ran for class president her senior year with the dream of speaking at graduation, she said.
She passed out candy, and her friends made campaign signs, and they collaborated on a video for the school's morning announcements.
“I just thought it would be a really cool thing to do senior year,” said Lauren, who was active in volleyball, softball, band and German Club.
She said she was surprised she won.
Watching her sister win made Victoria, then a Brentwood sophomore, want to go for the class presidency all the more.
“I like to lead,” said Victoria, 18, a 2013 graduate and 2012-13 senior-class president.
Victoria served as junior-class president at Brentwood. As a participant in volleyball, band, track, the superintendent's council and principal's round table, and National Honor Society — and a two-year stint playing basketball — Victoria, too, won her classmates' vote to lead them her senior year.
Speaking at graduation for Lauren and Victoria was an emotional experience, they said.
“It was raining that morning. I was thinking, if it rains that night, I would probably cry. I've always pictured it being outside in the stadium,” Lauren said.
Holding back the tears were hard, they said. Victoria cried during the ceremony as she read her speech to classmates.
For the youngest Healy, Olivia, 17, now a senior, it was hard to understand what senior-class president meant when Lauren won.
Yet, Olivia also won her junior-class presidency. That student is in charge of planning the Snowball Dance.
Olivia served as junior-class president last year, while Victoria was senior-class president.
Watching her two older sisters win the senior-class presidency, Olivia, too, went for the task.
“They always say their senior year was the best,” she said.
The older Healys wanted that role for their sister just as badly as she did, they said.
“We are all so close, and we're all in such close grades. We want her to have the year that we both had,” Lauren said.
Olivia's win wasn't so easy.
She was up against two classmates, and it got competitive, she said.
Olivia campaigned by hanging pencils on the lockers of her classmates and posting signs in the school halls.
While Olivia was sitting in her chemistry class of six, a teacher announced over the loudspeaker that she had won.
“It meant everything,” she said. “Knowing that my grade was behind me and knowing that I was a leader with my sisters ... It's everything, the speech, the leadership, knowing that if anybody in my grade needs anything they can come to me.”
The vote was done online this year for the first time through the website of the school's newspaper — The Minaret. It came down to four votes, said Jen Hughes, communication teacher and the school newspaper adviser.
The Healy sisters all have made it onto Brentwood's homecoming court in their respective years. Lauren was crowned queen, Victoria was runner-up and, this week, Olivia was named to the 2013 court.
The Healy sisters are good role models for their classmates, their teachers and principal said.
“They're very mature in the way that they handle things,” Olexa said.
The credit, Olexa said, goes to their parents, Jeff and Karen Healy, who are involved at the school and in the community.
The girls' involvement in school and community activities, too, comes from home, he said.
Jeff Healy, 50, a 1981 Brentwood High School graduate said his childhood did not allow him to be involved like he would have wanted. He had to work during high school. So, he has encouraged his daughters not to miss out in anything.
“There really is no limit to what they can do,” he said. “They see that being involved can really be its own reward.”
While the Healy sisters have similarities, each is unique, their father and teachers agreed.
“They each bring their own qualities to the table,” said Jen Ditoro, senior-class sponsor. “They're kind. They're polite. They're sweet. It's all of the things that as a parent you want to hear about your kids.”
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.