Ms. Heck has served as the school’s Dean of Students since 1999, she oversees all student activities and discipline. The job is demanding but Ms. Heck continues to find ways to connect with students to let them know they are loved.
“Martha is a true educator: authentic, open-minded, trustworthy, learned, a woman of integrity and deep faith,” said Head of School Meg Brudney.
Heck says she turns to Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat’s definition of a Sacred Heart educator to guide her, which she taped to the corner of her desk:
Give only good examples to children.
Never correct them when out of humor or impatient.
We must win them by an appeal to their piety and to their hearts.
Soften your reprimands with kind words.
Encourage and Reward them.
That is in short, our way of educating.
Ms. Heck’s dedication to her students does not end when the workday is over.
“I’ve seen her contact a dentist with children at our school and ask him to see one of our students who needed care and had no insurance,” said Principal Dr. Laura Hickman.
Her compassion and consistent discipline have earned her a special place in students’ hearts.
“One time, I heard of her calling a student to apologize for them not feeling loved and respected by our community at Duchesne. She does truly care and that she wants to do her job to the best of her ability to ensure that all students feel loved and supported by not only their peers, but their whole community at Duchesne,” said Caroline Ortman, A20.
Ms. Heck, who says walking the halls energizes her, finds inspiration in her students.
“I have the privilege of watching students grow through those challenges to become women of courage and confidence. They offer hope during these turbulent times as they pray, learn, serve, and lead together,” Ms. Heck said.ds
In recent years Ms. Heck has become adored not only for the compassion she brings to Duchesne, but also who she brings to school.
Heck often brings her five-year-old goldendoodle, Frannie to school. The dog rests in the hallway outside her office and greets students as they walk by. Heck said she started doing it because she recognized the girls were less stressed when they saw and played with the dog.
“I love Frannie. She’s the perfect thing when you’re having a bad day, just stop by and she’s happy to see you,” said Marissa Brown, A22.
“She is humble, and her work often goes unnoticed, but she does it not for recognition or awards. She does it out of genuine love for her students,” Dr. Hickman said.
Heck will be honored September 24 during a virtual ceremony hosted by the Archdiocese of Omaha.