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OLMA Compassion Quest Mini-Mester Wraps in Atlantic City

By | OLMA Headlines

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.   

One of the Compassion Quest projects involved making enrichment toys, called Snuffle Mats, to help stimulate the brain activity for shelter cats and dogs awaiting their forever homes. 

More than 30 girls participated in the “Smile Box” service activity.  Students selected a box in their favorite color and filled it with all sorts of things (in the same color as the box) intended to make its recipient smile.  With boxes in hand, students made surprise deliveries to random people at the grocery store, an Urgent Care Center, church, assisted living facility, and restaurant. 

Student Spotlight: Meet Mikayla Jones, Class of 2022

By | OLMA Headlines

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!

OLMA’s Merlino Named CAL Athlete of the Week

By | OLMA Headlines

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?! 

Student Spotlight: Meet Olivia Stefano, Class of 2021

By | Uncategorized

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.”

As sophomore year begins winding down, Olivia is excited for Mini-Mesters. I’m going to California this year and cannot wait. As she looks toward junior year one of her top goals is to be accepted into the National Honor Society. You are certainly off to a good start, Olivia. Keep it up!

Student Spotlight: Meet Reagan Kennedy, Class of 2019

By | OLMA Headlines

For OLMA senior, Reagan Kennedy, helping people is her passion. She’s also up for a challenge. Those two character traits have led to her decision to study nursing in college next fall. “I’m the kind of person who tries to put the needs of others before my own,” said Reagan. “I don’t like to see people off by themselves or looking sad. When that happens I go over to talk or offer to listen. This is something that’s pretty easy to do at OLMA because we’re all sisters. There’s a comfort level here that you just don’t find in other places.”

Reagan has also paid close attention to her studies while in high school. My grades are good and I especially enjoy science. She plans to attend Rowan University as she is impressed with their nursing program.
Other plans are a bit up in the air — literally. Prompted by her dad, Reagan is working on getting her pilot’s license. My first time flying was a spur-of-the-moment thing and I loved it. I am excited to finish my training and be able to fly solo!

She did say that she liked a challenge.

When asked about words of wisdom for incoming freshmen Reagan’s advice was to be yourself. “Explore everything you can and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Ask questions of your friends and in class. Enjoy the ride.”

That sounds like pretty good advice. Good luck, Reagan! The sky is no limit for you!