After spending her first two years of high school on another campus, Ava Casale decided to make a change. While she performed well both academically and athletically at her former school, she felt that something was missing. Fast forward a few months and the decision to transfer, and Ava says she found that something and so much more.
“I’m so happy to be here,” said Ava. “The environment at OLMA is so different from what I was used to. Everyone is very close and I feel like I actually have relationships with my teachers. They all know me and exactly what I need to succeed. I love every one of my classes and have made great new friends.”
Ava was one of five young women to transfer into the Class of 2020 this year. “It was great because there were a few of us who were new,” said Ava. “We were invited to the Big-Little Sleepover, assigned Big Sisters and immediately felt at home. I also started practicing with the soccer team which is a family all its own. We take care of each other and, while athletics here are very competitive, they are also still fun. I think a lot of that comes from the overall culture of the school.”
While we knew Ava was a talented athlete, we didn’t know just how great a leader she was — until our recent Powder Puff game. Led by Ava, the junior class team won the first round and then faced the seniors in the final. “We only had time to practice together for about an hour before the real thing,” said Ava. “That wasn’t much time, but I knew we would be okay. As quarterback, I asked them to trust me, and they did. We are a small class,so we all played the whole game, which gave us time to really gel. One play at a time, we worked together, trusted each other and got the win. It was so much fun. I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.” Ava was named the team MVP.
In addition to her love of football, Ava also played soccer for OLMA this fall and will be on the basketball court this season. She also plans to play softball in the spring. “No one really likes to change schools half way though high school, but OLMA made it easy,” said Ava. “The transition was seamless and I’m so glad I made the move.” We are too, Ava. We can’t wait to see what you do next.
OLMA Freshman, Lindsey Serafine, travels 45 minutes to get to school each morning and says that she’d go even further if that’s what it took to get her to and from OLMA each day. “I absolutely love school,” says Lindsey, “and I’m so happy to be here. OLMA is a place where you never have to be afraid to be yourself or show your emotions. If you feel down, there’s someone to comfort you, and if you feel like jumping up and down because you’re excited about something, your friends will jump up and down with you!”
Lindsey and her twin sister, Anissa, first found out about OLMA from the sisters of their brother’s friends. “When Joey started going to the Prep, his friends would come over and tell us how much their sisters liked OLMA and then we met some of them and heard it first hand,” she said. “Even though we live in Tabernacle, we wanted to check it out, so we shadowed. That was all we needed. I couldn’t believe how well everyone got along and the connection the girls had with each other and with their teachers. We knew this was where we wanted to be.”
Lindsey admits to being a little worried at first about the fact that there were no boys at OLMA, but says she doesn’t even notice any more. “So many of my friends from middle school were guys, so I wasn’t sure how it would be without them,” she said. “Now, I absolutely love the fact that that we are all girls and wouldn’t want to go back to having boys at school. I’m still friends with the kids I went to middle school with, but love that we are all girls during the school day.”
When asked about what she thought of last week’s Sisterhood Olympic Games, she said, “I have no words to express how great it was. The teams had so much energy and the seniors in my group were so helpful. They took us under their wings and it really felt like family. Besides, where else can you dress up like we did and put a whole bottle of glitter in your hair for the day?”
She makes a good point!
So far this year, Lindsey says that Bravery Training is her favorite class. “Something I struggle with is staying out of my own head,” she said. “I’m my own worst critic and that’s not always good. In Bravery, I’m learning how to turn the critic into a cheerleader.”
Linsdey is a member of the OLMA Field Hockey Team and plans to play lacrosse this spring. She’s also a member of the OLMA Interact Club and recently spent a Saturday morning picking up trash along the beach in Atlantic City. “I could not believe how many bags we filled with trash,” she said. “There was so much and it felt good to be part of making a difference.”
Making a difference seems to be in your DNA, Lindsey. We are so blessed to have you here!