Sister Helen Robert Boyd has been a Dominican Sister for 66 years, having spent most of those years in the ministry of education. "It has been wonderful for me. I think Education is in my blood and part of my DNA. And I appreciate all that I was able to do and maybe accomplish." Sister Helen has taught at every level (grammar school, high school, college) and at age 31 began a career in educational administration spanning 25 years as a school principal. This ministry called Sister Helen to serve throughout New York State, from Binghamton to Hicksville to New City to Cornwall to our own Albertus Magnus High School, and finally to Iona College.
Like many Sisters, Helen was a bit hesitant when she was first asked to be a principal. Having agreed to give it one year, she began her ministry in upstate Binghamton. By October, Sister Helen had attended a workshop in Albany for new principals. Putting the participants in touch with the latest trends, the dynamic presenter set Sister Helen on fire with enthusiasm. "I became so exited! I began to understand what a principal could mean to a school, setting the tone, implementing the latest techniques, having a good spirit...I was so nervous giving my first talk to parents but found in myself a little bit of a drama queen and that I could make people laugh. Believe it or not, I was a very shy person."
Sister Helen then went on to Saint Augustine School, New City, where she oversaw the implementation of more new programs such as the Workshop Way. In her next post as principal in Saint Thomas School, Cornwall, Sister Helen had the privilege of accepting the Presidential Blue Ribbon Award on behalf of the school from the United States Secretary of Education, William Bennett.
Sister Helen is grateful for the opportunities she has had to minister in parish settings. Being in a parish setting allowed her to be involved in adult education, sacramental preparation for children and families, women's focus groups-it was not just about school.
Having earned master's and doctoral degrees in history, Sister Helen has educated both the students at Iona College and our own Sisters on the historic significance of Greek and Roman antiquity as well as Middle Eastern civilizations. Currently she is adding to the quality of life for the Sisters at Dominican Convent by assisting the life enrichment director in presenting enjoyable recreation programs for the Sisters. From teacher to principal to professor and now "cruise director," Sister Helen has been "pivoting" long before pivoting became trendy. Her natural curiosity, enthusiasm, and humor have allowed her to move effectively in and out of many positions with ease, creating an extremely diverse ministry path. Whether communicating her passion for history, educating, or raising spirits, Sister Helen is most definitely a woman making a difference.