After nine months filled with research, planning, presentations, hard work, and a lot of heart, the Our Lady of Mercy Academy (OLMA) Compassion Quest Mini-Mester course came to a close at the Shirley Mae and Micheal J Race/Walk held recently in Atlantic City. Led by a team of freshmen, 25 students arrived by 7 AM on the boardwalk to volunteer and participate. Designed to raise funds in support of curing breast and pancreatic cancer, the event is also a celebration of survivors.
This was the last in a series of eight full-day service projects implemented by OLMA students since January. “To say that this experience was remarkable would be a huge understatement,” said Brooke Coyle, Head of School. “While most of our Mini-Mester courses happen in June, we wanted to make a few available during the school year for students who prefer that option or would like to do participate in two courses. Compassion Quest was one of them and involved more than 40 girls. They had to formally present their proposed projects, gain approval and then fully implement them. All eight were exceptional.”
The eight Compassion Quest service projects included feeding the homeless in Philadelphia, making and delivering Smile Boxes, creating enrichment toys for cats and dogs and volunteering at the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter, volunteering at an MS run, making blankets and hand delivering them to veterans at the Veterans Memorial Home, orchestrating a school and grounds clean up, collecting food for and volunteering at the South Jersey Food Bank, and working the run in Atlantic City.
“The girls learned a lot about the needs of the community, as well as how important it is for all of us to do our part,” said Mrs. Coyle. “Best of all, they enjoyed the smiles and warmth they received in return for something they thoroughly enjoyed.”
Mini-Mesters are week-long, experiential-learning courses. They provide students with the opportunity to delve deeper into subject areas that intrigue and interest them. Along the way, students learn a variety of life lessons including managing money, navigating tours and hikes, thinking on their feet, following directions, handling cultural and language differences, solving problems, as well as how to push themselves further than they thought they ever could. In June, OLMA students will participate in Mini-Mester courses involving the study of biodiversity in Cedar Key, FL, exploring the cultures of London and Dublin, the business of marketing professional sports, working with special needs children and adults, creating culinary delights, and more.
Our Lady of Mercy Academy (OLMA) is a Catholic, accredited, college preparatory school for young women located in Newfield, NJ. OLMA empowers young women to lead a world of change. OLMA provides challenging academics and diverse extracurricular programs in an environment that promotes faith, sisterhood, achievement, leadership, and service. In 1962, the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy established OLMA as South Jersey’s all-girls Catholic high school.