After attending a private elementary school, it was Macie Millard’s idea to move to a Catholic school for seventh grade.

“I actually came to my parents and asked if I could go to an all-girls Catholic school,” she said. The resident of Kensington, Maryland, had been active in Holy Redeemer Parish, and she craved the focus on faith that she found at Connelly School of the Holy Child in Potomac. “It has really provided good opportunities for me.”

Millard will continue her passion for Catholic education by attending Ave Maria University in the fall.

“I want to grow in my Catholic faith,” she said, adding that was the main reason she chose the Naples, Florida, university.

“I was able to visit Ave Maria in November,” she said, “and I sat in on a psychology class. I really liked that their focus was on mind, body and spirit.” At another university she visited, Millard said, the psych class she joined was “very secular,” which lacked appeal for her. She’ll major in psychology, but her long-term goal is to become a pediatric occupational therapist.

“I’ve always had a love for younger kids,” she explained and she has done a little academic coaching. With three younger siblings, Millard had a lot of quality time with them when schools were closed during the pandemic. “It wasn’t too hard for me,” she said. “I love being with my siblings.”

Millard will play for Ave Maria’s volleyball team. At Holy Child, she was on the varsity volleyball team for four years, and even was allowed to be part of the junior varsity team as an eighth grader, she said.

She’s also been active in theater, working on set design, and played golf for the school for three years.

Throughout high school, Millard has had multiple roles at Holy Redeemer’s Kids for Jesus (K4J) Vacation Bible School. “I’ve been a camper, a guide and a captain,” she said. And she is a regular at her parish’s Eucharistic Adoration. “I try to go every single Friday,” Millard said.

Prayer is such an important part of Millard’s life that she started a Marian prayer group for the school during the pandemic.

“I thought it would be able to bring people together, virtually and in person,” she explained. The group meets every Wednesday, with a program that focuses on the 10 Marian virtues. Doing the group online has meant they were able to bring in guest speakers to help the participants understand the virtues before meditation and prayer, she said. Because some of the participants were freshman and sophomores, she was optimistic that it might continue after she graduates.