The Importance of Healthy Love


NDP One Love Club 2019-2020

Anna Seal, Staff Writer

When thinking of February, images of red and pink often come to mind. Our social media feeds are filled with pictures of Valentine’s Day celebrations and the “perfect relationships.” February is not only marked by the holiday of love, but it is also designated as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Here at NDP, the month of February is a special time to remember alumna Yeardley Love and engage in the movement to end relationship abuse.

Yeardley Love was a member of the Class of 2006, and she went to study at the University of Virginia and play on the women’s lacrosse team. In 2010, weeks before her graduation, Yeardley was murdered by her ex-boyfriend. Following this tragedy, the One Love Foundation was created by the Love family and their friends to educate youth about the signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships.

When talking to Ms. Bartel, a physical education teacher and Yeardley’s former lacrosse coach, it was easy to detect the compassion and kindness that Yeardley spread throughout the NDP community. Ms. Bartel describes a daily ritual that she shared with Yeardley: “Before she left practice every, single day, she came over and thanked us. And that wasn’t cool back then, but I think that spirit has really caught on today.” It is the care for others that defined Yeardley’s contagious spirit and inspires many members of our community.

One of the ways Yeardley’s life is commemorated at NDP is through the work of the One Love Club. Striving to spread relationship health education to the community, members participate in workshops, create engaging activities, and start critical conversations with their friends and families. Last year, the club held a school-wide assembly where students had the opportunity to explore the ten signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships through a pop culture lens. This assembly is recognized by the One Love Foundation as the event where the one-millionth person was educated by One Love’s relationship health curriculum. Mrs. Caspari, the club moderator, says, “I think it was Yeardley’s way of shining down on us from heaven.” This year, NDP has been recognized as a One Love “Hero School” for the commitment to relationship health education in the classroom. This is the highest honor awarded to schools, and only 13 institutions across the nation have reached this level.

Senior Kat Munter describes One Love’s impact on her: “I had no idea that there were so many different factors that go into good relationships and also so many signs that lead to unhealthy relationships. I’ve learned ways to be a good partner in any type of relationship, platonic or romantic, and I’ve learned how to recognize signs that I am not being treated right. I’m so grateful that One Love has such a big presence at NDP because relationships are the most important things in my life, and One Love helps me and people around me to love better!” Many students share similar experiences, and this awareness provided on Hampton Lane truly prepares students for college and the world beyond. Senior Joanna Jeyachandran adds, “I think it is important to learn about the signs of abuse because it can be really easy to get caught up in the feelings of a relationship. Even if you aren’t in a romantic relationship, it’s important to know the signs so you can help friends if you see dangerous patterns in their relationship, before it escalates.” A community of support, care, and dedication to each other has been created among students due to the shared goal of healthy relationships. Notre Dame Prep has a relatively small school community, but as each student starts conversations in their own lives, the movement to end relationship abuse continues to grow.

This month, Yeardley is not remembered for the way she died, but instead for the life she lived. When asked, “If Yeardley were to see One Love at NDP today, what do you think she would feel?” Ms. Bartel responded, “She would look around in disbelief. I think that she would be in awe of the positive changes that have been made because of her loss.”  Each person can strive to live like Yeardley.  When faced with gossip, choose kindness. Thank a peer or a teacher for the goodness they bring into your life. Aim to love each person regardless of your differences.  This February, we are called to join the movement for a healthier, more loving society. We are all in relationships, and each one of us can learn to love better.