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OLMA Bravery Training Gains Notoriety at NCGS Symposium

By | OLMA Headlines

Newfield, NJ; February 19, 2019 — A course designed by Our Lady of Mercy Academy (OLMA) to empower girls and cultivate the courage and confidence necessary for them to realize their own leadership potential, is among the featured programming at the Educating Girls Symposium taking place this week in New York City.  Now in its second year, OLMA’s Bravery Training course was selected by event sponsor, the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools (NCGS), to be the subject of one of the breakout sessions offered to conference attendees.  The session is titled, Choosing Courage:  Bravery Training for Girls and will be presented by Brooke A. Coyle, Head of School and Jennifer Valore, Dean of Academics & Leadership.

The freshmen year course is part of a two-year L2T (leadership, life skills, and technology) program created to foster the competencies for girls that today’s world expects from its leaders. The conference session introduces Bravery Training and how it meets the demand for leadership programming for girls and provides key concepts and experiences that help support efforts to prepare them for the future.

“We are excited and proud to be part of this symposium,” said Coyle.  “While still relatively new, this course and the larger L2T program, is already making an impact on our students.  The transition from middle to high school is a big one, especially for girls who may not be comfortable speaking up for themselves.  Through Bravery Training, our students are taking charge of their studies, learning accountability and how to better manage their time.  Along the way, they are also gaining problem-solving skills, finding their voices and becoming leaders.”

Located on a 47-acre campus in Newfield, NJ, OLMA is dedicated to helping young women realize their dreams through challenging academics, diverse extracurriculars, and the spirit of sisterhood in an environment of achievement, empowerment, leadership, and service. For more information, visit our website at OLMANJ.ORG.

The NCGS is the leading advocate for girls’ schools, connecting and collaborating globally with individuals, schools, and organizations dedicated to educating and empowering girls. NCGS acts at the forefront of educational thought providing its member schools research on girls’ education and performance outcomes; professional development for educators to share best practices for teaching girls; networking opportunities to unite and build a community of thought leaders; and advocacy about the unique benefits of all-girls education.  To find out more visit NCGS.ORG.

Pictured in top photo are students and their shadows participating in a Bravery Training exercise.  The middle photo features two summer campers during Bravery Training camp last year.

Student Spotlight: Meet Mikaela Szamreta, Class of 2019

By | OLMA Headlines

It takes only a few minutes with OLMA senior, Mikaela Szamreta to realize that she is all about people and places. She loves Sociology and learning about the many issues that impact people — past, present and future. Mikaela was one of the first two students to participate in the Spain Exchange. “I was only a sophomore, so I was a little nervous, but had a great time,” said Mikaela. “I loved meeting so many new people and experiencing a culture that’s very different from mine.”

A year later, Mikaela traveled to Canada for her Minimester. “I loved that trip,” she said. “We saw so much and really got a good feel for what life is like there. It was beautiful and we tried new foods and visited many different places.”

As a senior, Mikaela has decided not to do a Mini-Mester this year as she sets her sights on college. While she’s not sure where she will be going just yet, she has already been accepted to St. Joe’s, South Eastern, Rutgers and Stockton. What she does know is that she wants to study Psychology. “The field interests me because I like the idea of helping many different people with their own, unique issues,” she said. “I expect it to be a constant challenge, which is a good thing and something I welcome.”

Mikaela certainly rose to the challenge of her academics. She is an excellent student and a member of the National Honor Society. She is also a member of Student Council and just finished up her fourth year as part of the OLMA Volleyball team. Mikaela is a member of OLMA Interact and Bake Clubs this year.

Looking back on her time at OLMA, Mikaela said that her friends and the sisterhood are what she will miss the most. She’ll also miss the relaxed and comfortable environment OLMA offers.

Mikaela went on to say that what she didn’t miss in her four years at OLMA was having boys in her classes. “No one should let the no-boys thing keep them from choosing OLMA. We don’t even notice that they’re not here.”

We couldn’t agree more. Enjoy the rest of your senior year!

OLMA and Pizza Hut BLACKOUT Cancer

By | OLMA Headlines, Support OLMA

Our Lady of Mercy Academy, Pizza Hut Pizza and a packed house of fans dressed in black joined forces to BLACKOUT Cancer. The event took place as the OLMA Villagers battled Buena High School on the basketball court in OLMA’s
Carew Hall.  OLMA took home both JV and Varsity wins.

“Win or lose, tonight’s game was all about supporting Go4theGoal, an organization that helps kids with cancer achieve their goals,” said Matt Lenguadoro, Athletic Director, OLMA.  “Our athletes, coaches and parents are passionate about helping others and wanted to support this organization, so we decided to dedicate a game to doing just that.” For a $5 donation, fans were treated to a great game, free pizza and an #OLMACares shirt.  More than $1,700 was raised in support of Go4theGoal.

Basketball is one of 13 competitive sports offered at OLMA, South Jersey’s all-girls school. Located on a 47-acre campus in Newfield, NJ, OLMA students strive for pride, passion and purpose in all they do, think and say; a spirit of sisterhood that forever bonds them in faith and friendship; and an environment of achievement, empowerment, leadership and service. For more information, visit our website at OLMANJ.ORG.

Go4theGoal works to improve the lives of children battling cancer by providing financial assistance, granting special wishes, developing unique hospital programs, and funding innovative research. Learn more about Go4thGoal and how you can help make a difference by visiting Go4theGoal.org.

Student Spotlight: Meet Ava Mottola, Class of 2019

By | OLMA Headlines

Whether it’s a toy, a special snack while at the grocery store, a few extra dollars, or permission to join a friend on vacation, kids can be very persuasive when they want something from their parents. When Ava Mottola decided that she wanted to transfer to OLMA, she knew she needed to be convincing, so she turned to Powerpoint. “I asked them to sit down and then presented a Powerpoint on why I needed to be at OLMA,” she said. “I still keep it on my computer!”

Needless to say, they bought it — hook, line and sinker — and Ava joined OLMA as a sophomore. “I wanted a sisterhood,” said Ava. “I was an only child until I came to OLMA and found my sisters.” Ava says she also enjoys the feeling of belonging and being known for who she really is. “At OLMA, I’m not just a face in a large crowd,” she said. “I can express myself freely without worry and feel appreciated for who I am. OLMA is a place where you feel more you.”

Now a senior, Ava is grateful for the opportunities that she has had as an OLMA student. “I want to become a special education teacher and work in an elementary school,” she said. “I know that because of the opportunities I’ve had to test out my career choice. Last year, I shadowed an elementary school teacher in Vineland and loved it. As part of senior Religion my classmates and I visit an area elementary school class every week in service to the students and teachers there. Last summer I chose to spend my Mini-Mester at St. John of God. I spent an entire week working with children and adults with disabilities. The combination of these experiences cemented my decision to pursue a career in Special Education.”

Ava, who serves as Secretary of the OLMA Interact Club, thrives on service and has made it a part of her everyday life. “I volunteer whenever I can and really enjoy it,” she said. “I especially liked the service we did in Camden at a thrift shop and school as part of our senior retreat. These are experiences that you just can’t get anywhere else.”

When asked if she had any words of wisdom for the young women who will be joining OLMA in the fall, Ava emphasized the importance of surrounding yourself with people who really care about the real you. She found that at OLMA and says that you will too.

OLMA Thanks Wawa for Service Project Grant

By | OLMA Headlines
OLMA Interact Club members thank The Wawa Foundation for a $1,000 service project grant. The grant was used to purchase the materials needed to make, package and ship 350 Paracord Survival bracelets to military personnel and first responders. On Thursday, students packaged up the bracelets along with personal notes of thanks and encouragement. They will be shipped to Operation Gratitude whose volunteers will distribute them as part of special care packages. Thank you Wawa for helping us help others.