May Alumnae Spotlight, Erica Sage Pitts, Sioux of 2002
In what ways did your Ursuline education prepare you for the work you’re doing now?
I remember my first year at Ursuline as an 8th grader and feeling very unsure of myself and my ability to keep up academically with the girls who had been attending Ursuline for years before me. I remember not having the experience in French and Latin, or the music knowledge that they had and I felt quite intimidated. My teachers and the principal at the time were extremely personable, approachable, and never made me feel like I was “less than” the others. They saw potential in me that I did not see in myself. This continued on through high school and I am ever so thankful for all of my teachers, coaches, and the administration who had high expectations for their students and athletes. I experienced challenges in the classroom and on the volleyball court, but ultimately, those struggles helped make me a stronger person. I left Ursuline feeling confident, firm in my faith, sure of where my identity lied, and ready to go to new and different places.
As God transitioned me into a new phase of life, marriage and now children, I’m able to pour the same encouragement into my four children as a homeschooling mom. Our days are not always pretty and someone is usually complaining about having to do chores, practice math facts, or write history sentences, but I’m able to see part of the big picture for their lives. I know my kids’ potential and capabilities - their strengths and weaknesses - and I’m able to see in them what they can’t see for themselves at the moment. I appreciated my teachers and coaches modeling what it looked like to lay down their lives on a daily basis and now I aim to not get caught up in the world of “me” while serving my family. I am able to expect much out of my children because much was expected out of me.
Please describe the most significant value you learned from Ursuline Academy.
The most significant value I learned from Ursuline Academy was perseverance. From enduring Coach (Marta) Bott’s rigorous volleyball practices on hot summer days in the old gymnasium, to working long after school hours on art projects with classmates under SRM’s guidance, I learned that grit and passion were needed to accomplish great things. I’m reminded daily in my marriage and in motherhood that I’m going to mess up and I have two options: either give up or find growth in the journey. One minute I feel I’m doing everything right and the next I feel like the worst mother in the world. Persevering through the journey, making time for the refreshing truth of the Gospel, and looking for the good in all the chaos are some of the long lasting lessons I gleaned from my time at Ursuline.
Describe Ursuline in one word. Explain.
Sisterhood. While I didn’t grow up with any biological sisters, my Ursuline classmates quickly became my sisters. They came from all different races, social classes, and religious backgrounds. Still today, my dearest friends are my UA sisters. They were my college roommates, my sorority sisters, my bridesmaids, my first out of town visitors after having my first born, and the women I make an effort to see when visiting home.
ABOUT ERICA SAGE PITTS
Erica Sage Pitts attended Ursuline for five years and graduated as a Sioux of 2002. She attended Christian Brothers University and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. She went on to serve as a Lasallian Volunteer in the Bronx, NY at a non-profit organization where she was brought much joy in serving youth and senior citizens. While in the Bronx, she lived in community with fellow volunteers and four Christian Brothers. After two years of volunteer work, she and her college sweetheart, Hank, married and moved to Huntsville, Alabama. Hank is her best teammate and together they have four children, ages seven to ten months. She enjoys spending time with her children outdoors, participating in homeschooling co-ops, enthusiastically cheering on her sons’ baseball teams, learning more about the strong will and determination of her own daughters, striving to live missionally with her church small group, and occasionally, when life allows, a hot cup of coffee. She is delighted that Ursuline is about recognizing all jobs, including the not so glamorous ones!