Our Lady of Mercy Academy rising senior, Ava Casale was named to the 2019-2020 class of the Governor’s STEM Scholars. Admission to this program, sponsored by the Research and Development Council of New Jersey is highly selective. The Council’s Advisory Board used rigorous criteria, including character, leadership ability, and STEM aptitude to select this year’s class of scholars.
Over the course of the upcoming academic year, the students will receive a comprehensive introduction to the New Jersey STEM economy, participate in a STEM research project and meet state thought leaders in academia, government, and industry. Casale will join other selected students in the program’s Opening Symposium on Saturday, September 28, 2019, at Rutgers University.
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.
Prior to transferring to OLMA as a sophomore last fall, Mikayla Jones had never run track. That’s not the case anymore. In fact, Mikayla has discovered a talent she didn’t know she had and is developing into an exceptional runner She is also an exceptional student, friend and sister — and could not be happier to have landed at OLMA.
“The school where I spent my freshmen year didn’t provide enough of a challenge,” said Mikayla. “It just wasn’t a good fit, so my mom and I started looking for other options. Because we were new to the area, we asked our neighbors and they recommended OLMA. I decided to shadow and that was all it took. I was hooked. Everyone was so welcoming and made me feel right at home.”
In terms of academics, science and math are what make Mikayla tick. “While I’m not sure exactly what I want to do, I know that it will be something in STEM,” said Mikayla. “I love science and math and through the L2T program, I’m learning a lot about the kinds of careers that require skills in those subjects. We met a financial professional this week and will be hearing from an aerospace engineer soon.”
Mikayla says that she’s also looking forward to participating in the service Mini-Mester at St. John of God in June. The girls who went last year really loved it, so I’m excited,” she said. Until then, Mikayla plans to keep on running. She and her teammates will compete in Delaware this weekend. We will be rooting for you!
Congratulations to Nicolette Merlino — CAL Player of the Week! This weekend, Nic allowed just three earned runs in 24 innings pitched, striking out 18. She threw a complete game in a 4-2 win over Cedar Creek and threw a six-hit shutout against Burlington City. Can you say, AWESOME?!
10 Days of Art! Get ready, get set…bidding starts tomorrow! The art is amazing, so don’t miss out. Our student artists worked hard to create this collection of masterpieces. The show opens at 12 noon on April 23! All proceeds will go toward supporting #OLMAArts.
Click here to view and bid:https://www.32auctions.com/OLMAART #
One of the best things about working at OLMA is witnessing the dramatic changes that take place in our students as they grow academically, spiritually and socially during their time here. While Olivia Stefano is only in her second year at OLMA, you can’t miss how this young woman has blossomed. The best part is that she recognizes it as well. When asked to describe what she was like when first joining OLMA Olivia responded with the words scared, small and different. Today, she describes herself much differently using words like brave, smart and myself.
Olivia credits these changes to the comfortable environment and opportunities offered at OLMA. “The small size of our school makes it easy to make friends and participate in many different things,” she said. “While my academics come first, I’m also a class officer, play two sports and manage another. It’s great to get involved, which is something I started doing in the summer before freshmen year started.” Olivia explained that she attended sports camps that summer that instantly translated into new friends. She also cited the Big-Little Sleepover as something that helped lower her anxiety level in a big way.
In addition to the activities already mentioned, Olivia serves as a Student Ambassador. She visits middle schools to share information about OLMA and provides tours during Open House and Shadow Days. She’s also participating in the Compassion Quest series of service projects. “Last week’s smile Boxes day was great and I’m excited for what we’ll be doing at the animal shelter this weekend,” she said. “I’m helping to organize a project around an upcoming MS Walk set for late next month. I enjoy being part of a school that helps us experience how great and important it is to give back.”