The Hilligoss Family- LITTLE FLOWER SCHOOL
Story by Erin Foley
“…Daily, they get to learn and grow their faith.”
-- Sarah Hilligoss, on her children’s experience at Little Flower School

Connor and Aaden Hilligoss,
Little Flower School

Sarah Hilligoss’ relationship with Little Flower School is somewhat analogous to a math equation. Nineteen years ago she graduated, taking away fond memories. Three years ago, life came full circle when she and her husband Chad enrolled their two sons.

As a second grader, Sarah moved to the Springfield area from St. Francis, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee, transferring from St. Paul’s Catholic School to Little Flower School (Her brother also attended Little Flower). She graduated in 1996 and then went on to graduate from Glenwood High and Springfield College, where she earned an Associate of Science degree in Nursing in 2002. In 2004, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from St. John’s College. She is a registered nurse and Nurse Manager of HSHS St. John’s Surgery Suites, Montvale.

Chad was born in Effingham, Illinois, and has lived in many towns around Route 45, spending the majority of his formative years in Tolono, near Champaign. He graduated from Tolono Unity High in 1998 and then earned an Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice Education from Parkland College in Champaign. He continued his education at UIS, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 2003. He is employed as the Human Resources Officer at the State Attorney’s Appellate Prosecutor’s Office.

Sarah and Chad met during college and recently celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary.

Seven year-old twins Aaden and Connor attended pre-K at Cox Children’s Center at UIS, but Sarah and Chad wanted to carry on the family tradition of Catholic education.

Sarah was well aware of what Little Flower had to offer, yet Chad needed to see for himself. When they toured in 2013, it was definitely a homecoming for Sarah.

“I was amazed that day walking through the school, at how many teachers and staff remembered my name, even though it had been nearly 16 years since I graduated” she recalls.

Aaden and Connor liked seeing their mom’s eighth grade class picture hanging on the wall outside the classrooms. Chad immediately sensed that this was the right school for his sons. After the tour, they joined the parish and the boys started Kindergarten that fall.

The boys are now in second grade. Connor enjoys math and reading and loves PE and music classes. He likes playing basketball with his friends on the playground at recess. His favorite activity is the Halloween Fun Fair.

Science and writing are tops for Aaden. He also appreciates Mrs. Jane’s generosity in the hot lunch line and is a fan of Sports Day and Grandparents’ Day.

The twins enjoy playing Pee Wee basketball through the Catholic School League in the winter. They also like attending Little Flower’s summer camp each year, where they enthusiastically participate in the fun activities planned by Mrs. Taylor. At the YMCA, they play basketball and flag football, and they also enjoy swimming and playing with their dog, Libby.

Sarah and Chad attend as many school activities as possible. Sarah works the Halloween Fun Fair each October, sets up the Scholastic book fairs, and volunteers for the annual craft bazaar each fall. They enjoy working together at Heritage Days and planning a holiday party at least once each year. Chad helps coach the Little Flower Pee Wee basketball team every year.

Chad and Sarah do not take parenthood for granted, especially since it wasn’t certain that they’d be able to have children without medical intervention.

“We prayed that God would help us. Our faith guided us through this difficult time…little did we know that we’d be blessed with two children” Sarah says.

Sarah’s pregnancy was deemed high-risk and there were many issues throughout. The boys were born a month premature, which is not unusual for twins. Sarah says it was a relief that they were born in good health, due to the complications that can arise in the births of multiples.

They were fortunate to have had great family support from the boys’ grandparents, aunts and uncles, who remain a constant in their lives.

Little Flower widened their circle of support.

“We love the family atmosphere at Little Flower” says Sarah. “The school really has become a second family to us. We are blessed that our children get to learn not only their academic subjects, but daily, they get to learn and grow their faith. We can’t say enough about the faculty and staff. Each day they care and nurture our children like they were their own.”

Deeply devoted grandparents and parents taught Sarah and Chad that if they put their minds to it and trusted in God, they could do anything. It’s a belief that resonates at Little Flower, and another reason the Hilligosses continue to count their blessings.

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St. Aloysius
Blessed Sacrament
  Christ the King
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Sacred Heart-Griffin

St. Agnes  
Little Flower 
St. Patrick