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June 2020

OLMA Literature teacher Mr. Jarrell

Teacher Feature: Meet Wes Jarrell

By OLMA Headlines

If you are a student who loves discussing literature and isn’t afraid to debate the issues, you are a perfect fit for Mr. Jarrell’s class. Wes “Mr. J” Jarrell is finishing up his third year at OLMA. While he certainly didn’t expect a semester of teaching entirely online, he has enjoyed it. He is more in tune with his students than ever before.

“Early on, we started having regular conferences about the work students were doing,” said Mr. J. “These were small scale, often individual Zoom sessions to discuss how to approach an upcoming project or what went well or poorly with the last project. It was during these periods where most of the learning took place. I found the online environment to be very conducive to personalization.”

While on the topic of personalization, Mr. J said he had fun seeing how everyone brings their personality to online learning. “Some of the girls like to sit in darkness, while others sat bathed in eye-piercing neon,” he said. “Pets made frequent guest appearances. Students also had some fun with their virtual backgrounds.”

Mr. J said that the initial transition to online learning was a smooth one. “Mrs. Coyle and Ms. Valore put together an excellent plan; clear, concise, detailed enough to provide guidance yet flexible enough to allow for innovation,” he said. “My biggest challenge was reading the room. It’s tricky when you have 20 people on your screen. Our discussions often involve taking the pulse of the class. When together in a classroom, it’s easier to tell the difference between who has an opinion and wants to share it and who prefers to stay silent. It’s tougher when everyone is on mute, and internet connections are sometimes unreliable, but we made it work.”

Indeed, they did. Along the way, Mrs. J integrated several online tools. “I had been using Screencastify off and on since the beginning of the year to reinforce skills that we discussed in class,” said Mr. J. “I continued with that, and we also used Padlet to share ideas during our debate. We even ended up posting our whole debate online to make sure everyone had a chance to hear each other without worrying about speaking too fast or glitching. It worked well.”

Thank you, Mr. J!

Class of 2020

OLMA Grads Ready for the Future

By OLMA Headlines

Our Lady of Mercy Academy Graduates Class of 2020

One hundred percent moving on to higher education


June 2020; Newfield, NJThe 20 members of the Our Lady of Mercy Academy (OLMA) Class of 2020 have graduated with their sights firmly set on college. Well prepared for the opportunities and challenges ahead, they are grateful for the spirit of sisterhood that has helped guide their hearts and minds over the last four years.  

The Class of 2020 graduation celebrations looked different than in past years but were uniquely special. In addition to hand-delivered signs, chalked messages of congratulations left on driveways, and mailboxes full of heartfelt letters from friends and faculty, OLMA planned a three-part celebration for the Class of 2020. It began with a Senior Tribute Parade on Thursday, May 21, 2020. “The parade was a first for us and far surpassed my expectations,” said Brooke A. Coyle, OLMA Head of School. “The Forest Grove Volunteer Fire Department surprised the girls by leading the parade, which included more than 200 cars filled with well-wishers. The entire community joined in to celebrate these remarkable young women.”  

The second part of this year’s festivities was held virtually on May 27, 2020. “The seniors led a prayer service for the entire school and their families,” said Coyle. “It was followed by an awards ceremony.” On June 17, the school’s first-ever Graduation Tribute Video will premier on YouTube. Each senior and her family came to campus to participate in some cherished traditions. “We wanted them to have the opportunity to be in cap and gown and walk down the center aisle of Chapel, receive their diplomas, present a flower to the Blessed Mother, and sign the OLMA Sisterhood book,” said Coyle. The students were interviewed, turned their tassels, and tossed their caps — and we got it all on camera.”    

Coyle began her role as Head of School when the Class of 2020 entered as freshmen. “We’ve grown together over the last four years,” she said. “These young women have contributed to the life of our school in so many ways. As students, athletes, artists, leaders, and in service to others, they have learned to listen and found their voices. As they move on to what’s next, I pray that they will always see the good, even in the most difficult of times and that they will continue to be the people who bring out the best in others.”

Our Lady of Mercy Academy is a Catholic, accredited, preparatory school for young women located in Newfield, NJ. OLMA empowers young women to lead a world of change, realize their dreams, and reach their full potential. 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. For more information, visit OLMANJ.ORG or call (856) 697-2008.   

Angelina Balis

Rowan University

Kimberly G. Kinkade**N


The United States Air Force Academy

Ava R. Casale**N

Immaculata University

Nicolette A. Merlino**N

Immaculata University

Lia E. D’Orio*N

Stockton University

Elizabeth R. Myers**N

Stockton University

Rachel M. Donahue*N

Florida Institute of Technology

Caleah E. Palumbo*N

College of Lake County

Delaney J. Donzola*N

Florida Atlantic University

Mia T. Rudolph*N

West Chester University

Madeline R. Fawcett***N


LaSalle University

Corinne Shields**N

Rutgers University

Amanda Guzman*

Stockton University

Madison Z. Springer

Montclair State University

Derien P. Hartline   

University of Tampa

Isabella Testa**N

Catholic University of America

Maris E. Horner*N

Caldwell University

Catherine M. Thomas*N

Immaculata University

Meadow Karpiak*

Mount St. Mary’s University

Emily R. Torrence**N

Pepperdine University

***Head of School Honors (All A’s for four years)

** First Honors (Cumulative GPA 4.0 or higher)

* Second Honors (Cumulative GPA 3.5 or higher)

N – National Honor Society