When it came time to select a high school, Gabrielle “Gabby” Staropoli thought she would be going on to purlic school with her friends. Little did she know that her parents and grandparents had other ideas. Gabby’s mom is an OLMA alumna (Class of 1991) and wanted the same for her daughter.
Now an OLMA senior, Gabby is grateful to be a student here. “I was so quiet freshmen year,” she said. “I hardly ever talked, so it was a little rough for me. Everything changed in sophomore year when I met my best friend, Laura Sloan, in Chemistry class. I felt comfortable, we started talking and became best friends. Every day after that has been great!”
This year, Gabby plays field hockey and is a member of the Debate club. One of the things she remembers most about her high school years was the summer that she and classmate, Alyssa D’Alessandro, volunteered to be part of the “Summer in the City” program. “We slept in a convent and spent an entire week meeting new people and doing service,” said Gabby. “The experience really opened my eyes to some of the sad realities of the world. I saw so many homeless people and many of them were children, I was glad that I could help.” Along the way, Gabby and Alyssa became great friends.
When she’s not in school, Gabby likes to spend as much time as possible with her two horses, Cassie and Prin. “Prin is Cassie’s filly and I’m helping my grandfather train her,” she said. “I used to compete and hope to do it again some day.”
Looking ahead, Gabby hopes to pursue a career in nursing. She hasn’t selected a college just yet, but is working on it. For now, her focus is on doing her best in the classroom and on the hockey field. Her advice for incoming freshmen? “Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Interact with other people, even if you’re scared and you will love it here.” Have a fantastic senior year, Gabby!
While she is in no rush to see her time as an OLMA student come to an end, senior, Riley McNelia, is laying the groudwork for a successful future after high school. While Literature is at the top of her list of favorite courses this year, it’s her Business class that has taken her by surprise. “While I’m new to all of this, I’m doing well and really like the class,” said Riley. “I don’t know what type of business interests me the most, but I’m pretty sure it’s the field I want to pursue.” Riley says that she’s looking into Rowan University as a possible college choice. Rowan’s Rohrer College of Business may very well be a perfect fit.
Riley definitely has the smarts that great business schools look for. So far, she has earned honors in every semester of her high school career and we’re quite sure this year will be no exception. She credits much of her success to her teachers. “Our teachers are always there for us,” she says. “We can go to them anytime, which isn’t the case in many larger schools. I know that they’ve made a huge difference in my life and I will really miss them when it’s time to move on.”
While Riley works hard, she also likes to play hard, preferably on the Volleyball court. “I’m a middle hitter and have played all four years,” she said. “I just love the sport.” She also plays on a club team, but it’s her time with OLMA that she cherishes the most. That sentiment seems to run in the family as Riley’s older sister, Mackenzie (Class of 2017) and younger sister, Delaney (Class of 2021) are also volleyball players — and proud to wear their green and gold.
Riley is looking forward to the rest of her senior year. She’s especially excited about her class trip to Disney and, of course, going to semi and prom. She’s also happy about the classes she’s taking and her choices of Debate and Archery for clubs.
When asked what she would tell a prospective student about why she should consider OLMA for high school, Riley immediately returned to the subject of the educators in her life. “I would tell this student about my teachers and the one-on-one support they’ve given me,” she said. “It really makes a difference.”
Indeed, it does. Have an amazing year, Riley. We can’t wait to see what you do next.