Mini-Mester Program


“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me
and I learn.”
  — Benjamin Franklin

Mr. Franklin knew a thing or two about the power of learning by doing.  While not all learning can be experiential, we believe that it should play an important role in preparing high school students for college and beyond.  At OLMA, we integrate hands-on, experiential-learning in nearly every course.  To build upon the success we’ve seen, we recently introduced Mini-Mesters.  These week-long courses represent experiential learning at its best.  They give students the opportunity to delve deeper into subject areas that intrigue and interests them.

Along the way, students learn a variety of life lessons including managing their money, navigating tours and hikes. thinking on their feet, handling cultural and language differences, solving problems, following directions,  being on time, as well as how to push themselves further than they ever thought they could.

The program begin in June 2018 when OLMA’s rising sophomores, juniors and seniors took to the wind as part of nine Mini-Mester courses.  These included:  Exploring Canada, Hiking the Grand Canyon, Learning to Sew, Watercolor Boot Camp, The History of Cape May, Digital Photography, Culinary Arts, The History of Broadway, and Service at St. John of God.

In 2019 a new lineup of courses was offered to students.  These included Kings, Queens & Leprechauns (London and Dublin); Business of Sports and Entertainment; California Panorama; and Biodiversity in Cedar Key, FL.  Back by popular demand were Service at St. John of God and Culinary Arts.

Also new in 2019 were two courses that took place at different points in the school year.  The first was Spain Exchange, giving students the opportunity to live and attend school in a foreign country for three weeks.  The second was Compassion Quest.  Centered around service, the girls worked in small groups to research plan, propose, and implement service projects involving 25-30 students.  Some of the 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 a Cancer run in Atlantic City.

These Mini-Mesters far exceeded the expectations of our students, parents and teachers.  Students returned inspired and unafraid to step out of their comfort zones to try something new.   On this page, you will find visual highlights from the 2019 and a video summary of the 2018 Mini-Mesters.  covid-19 kept us from Mini-Mesters in 2020, but we are ready to roll in 2021.  To find out more, contact our Admissions Director at (856) 697-2008, ext. 140.

photo of girls at phillies game

2019 and Early 2020 Mini-Mester Photo Highlights

Providing a snack to a horse at the Funny Farm.

Lions, and tigers, and goats?  They have it all at the Funny Farm.

At work during a visit to the Funny Farm.

New best friends meet at the Funny Farm.

At the Funny Farm caring for rescued animals.

On laundry duty at the animal shelter.

Organizing supplies at the animal shelter.

A Compassion Quest team spent a full day at the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter.

Waling in support of a cure!

All packed and ready to go!

Check out the views in California.

Having the time of their lives during the Kings, Queens, and Leprechauns Mini-Mester course.

Loving life in London.

Posing with a pot during Culinary Arts.

Learning to cook as part of the Culinary Arts Mini-Mester course.

Kings, queens, and castles too!

Two friends exploring during the Kings, Queens, and Leprechauns Mini-Mester course.

A fun visit to Alcatraz during the California Panorama Mini-Mester course.

Silliness and sisterhood in California.

California girls during the California Panorama Mini-Mester course.

A Compassion Quest team organizes smile boxes at a local assisted living facility.

Learning to kayak as part of the Biodiversity Mini-Mester course in Cedar Key, FL.

It was carnival fun and games on one day at St. John of God.

Students enjoyed a week working with the children and adults served by St. John of God.

More from the MS Walk staffed by a Compassion Quest team.

The Compassion Quest crew volunteered at a local MS walk.

Kayaking down the Swanee River in Cedar Key, FL as part of the Biodiversity Mini-Mester course.

Checking out stadium history as part of the Business of Sports and Entertainment Mini-Mester.

The Business of Sports and Entertainment included some gametime fun.

Learning the Business of Sports and Entertainment at Citizen's Bank Park.

This little girl received a smile box in the grocery store.

A hug after a surprise smile box delivery at Goodwill.

A Compassion Quest smile box delivery after church.

Compassion Quest Smile Box Delivery

The Spain Exchange Mini-Mester Highlights

California Panorama Mini-Mester Highlights

Studying Biodiversity in Cedar Key, FL