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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.

New Research Reveals Girls’ School Graduates Have a Clear Edge Over Co-educated Peers

By | Alumni, OLMA Headlines

Graduates of all-girls schools have a definitive edge over their co-educated peers. In December 2018, the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) released the results of a study that shows statistically significant advantages for girls’ school graduates as they enter university. Commissioned by the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools (NCGS), Fostering Academic and Social Engagement: An Investigation into the Effects of All-Girls Education in the Transition to University was prepared by principal investigator Dr. Tiffani Riggers-Piehl, Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), in collaboration with HERI. This new data analysis is an update of a 2009 report, also published by HERI, that was originally conducted by Dr. Linda Sax of UCLA in association with Dr. Riggers-Piehl.

These two major peer-reviewed studies spanning Generations Y and Z compare the self-confidence, academic achievement, political engagement, and aspirations of girls’ school graduates to their coeducated peers. Drawing data from the well-known Freshman Survey conducted by HERI, both studies used the same sophisticated multilevel modeling to separate the effect of an all-girls education from other influences including socioeconomic differences, race/ethnicity, parent education, and the characteristics of the high schools attended. Dr. Riggers-Piehl and her colleagues note the data reveals “a consistent portrait of girls’ school graduates who are more engaged academically and socially than their co-educated peers, findings which align with the profile outlined in the aforementioned report in 2009.”

The study identified several key areas in which all-girls schools are better preparing their students for success in university and beyond. Based on the reported data, the researchers concluded that when compared to their female peers at coed schools, girls’ school graduates:

  • Have stronger academic skills
  • Are more academically engaged
  • Demonstrate higher science self-confidence
  • Display higher levels of cultural competency
  • Express stronger community involvement
  • Exhibit increased political engagement

Specifically, the research report identifies over 80 statistically significant differences that favor graduates of all-girls schools when compared to female graduates of coed schools, such as the following:

  • Girls’ school alumnae are 5% more likely than their co-educated peers to say they frequently seek alternative solutions to a problem and more frequently explore topics on their own, even when not required. More than 2/3 of girls’ school graduates report frequently supporting their arguments with logic, whereas coed school female graduates are 7% less likely to report this academic skill.
  • Graduates of girls’ school are 7% more likely to frequently tutor other students and 6% more likely to frequently study with others.
  • Girls’ school graduates, compared to students from coed schools, are 4% more likely to report they are “very confident” or “absolutely confident” in their understanding of scientific concepts and ability to explain the results of a study and use technical science skills such as tools, instruments, and techniques.
  • When asked about their ability to work and live in a diverse society, alumnae from all-girls schools are nearly 10% more likely to have the goal of helping promote racial understanding, and 75% value improving their understanding of other countries and cultures, compared to 70% of their co-educated peers. Half (50%) of girls’ school graduates, compared to 45% of female students from coed schools, count their tolerance of others with different beliefs as a strength. Girls’ school alumnae are 6% more likely to note their ability to work cooperatively with diverse people as a strength.
  • Girls’ school graduates are 8% more likely to have a goal of participating in community action programs and are 5% more likely to think it is “very important” or “essential” to become involved in environmentally minded Alumnae of all-girls schools more frequently participate in volunteer work compared to their co-educated peers—52% versus 47%.
  • Women who attended all-girls schools are 5% more likely than co-educated graduates to plan to vote in elections and to publicly communicate their opinion about a cause. Considering their political engagement, graduates from all-girls schools are 7% more likely to think it is “very important” to have the goal of keeping up-to-date with political affairs.

As the data shows, girls’ school graduates rate themselves as more successful and engaged in areas where men have historically seen greater representation: science and politics. Reflecting on the totality of the findings, the researchers noted, “these statistically significant results demonstrate differences in areas of critical importance in the twenty-first century for women as they enter university and beyond, thus emphasizing the contribution of all-girls schooling for women’s success.”

Get Your Ticket to the OLMA 50-50 and Celebrate All Things Viva Las Vegas!

By | Alumni, OLMA Headlines, Support OLMA

This one is a biggie and requires all hands on deck!  It’s our largest fundraising event of the year, raising over $30,000 annually.  A total of 400 tickets are sold.  Each ticket includes two spots at the drawing party and the chance to win huge cash prizes (ranging from $250 to $10,000).  The drawing party, held in Carew Hall, is a great night.  It features a hot buffet, beer, coffee and tea, and desserts.  Each family is asked to sell or buy two (2) tickets — and while it’s lots of fun, you do not need to be present to win.  This year’s Super 50/50 event will be held on Saturday, February 23, 2019.

Claim your 50-50 number today by downloading and submitting the form attached here! 

OLMA Grad Named Leading Women Scholarship Recipient

By | Alumni, OLMA Headlines

Earlier this week, we received some exciting news about one of our graduates. Emma Durham, Class of 2014, was selected as The Maryland Daily Record’s Leading Women 2018 Scholarship Recipient . Now in its 9th year, this program honors women 40 years old or younger who have made outstanding contributions in their fields. The award recognizes professional experience, as well as community involvement and a commitment to inspiring change. Emma was selected from a field of 52 women from across the State of Maryland, where she attends school. She is one of so many OLMA alumnae who are doing amazing things in this world. We are proud of each and every one of them. For all the details, click on the link highlighted above. Congratulations to Emma and her family.

Student Spotlight: Meet Ava Casale, Class of 2020

By | OLMA Headlines

After spending her first two years of high school on another campus, Ava Casale decided to make a change. While she performed well both academically and athletically at her former school, she felt that something was missing. Fast forward a few months and the decision to transfer, and Ava says she found that something and so much more.

“I’m so happy to be here,” said Ava. “The environment at OLMA is so different from what I was used to. Everyone is very close and I feel like I actually have relationships with my teachers. They all know me and exactly what I need to succeed. I love every one of my classes and have made great new friends.”

Ava was one of five young women to transfer into the Class of 2020 this year. “It was great because there were a few of us who were new,” said Ava. “We were invited to the Big-Little Sleepover, assigned Big Sisters and immediately felt at home. I also started practicing with the soccer team which is a family all its own. We take care of each other and, while athletics here are very competitive, they are also still fun. I think a lot of that comes from the overall culture of the school.”

While we knew Ava was a talented athlete, we didn’t know just how great a leader she was — until our recent Powder Puff game. Led by Ava, the junior class team won the first round and then faced the seniors in the final. “We only had time to practice together for about an hour before the real thing,” said Ava. “That wasn’t much time, but I knew we would be okay. As quarterback, I asked them to trust me, and they did. We are a small class,so we all played the whole game, which gave us time to really gel. One play at a time, we worked together, trusted each other and got the win. It was so much fun. I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.” Ava was named the team MVP.

In addition to her love of football, Ava also played soccer for OLMA this fall and will be on the basketball court this season. She also plans to play softball in the spring. “No one really likes to change schools half way though high school, but OLMA made it easy,” said Ava. “The transition was seamless and I’m so glad I made the move.” We are too, Ava. We can’t wait to see what you do next.

Student Spotlight: Meet Lindsey Serafine, Class of 2022

By | OLMA Headlines

OLMA Freshman, Lindsey Serafine, travels 45 minutes to get to school each morning and says that she’d go even further if that’s what it took to get her to and from OLMA each day. “I absolutely love school,” says Lindsey, “and I’m so happy to be here. OLMA is a place where you never have to be afraid to be yourself or show your emotions. If you feel down, there’s someone to comfort you, and if you feel like jumping up and down because you’re excited about something, your friends will jump up and down with you!”

Lindsey and her twin sister, Anissa, first found out about OLMA from the sisters of their brother’s friends. “When Joey started going to the Prep, his friends would come over and tell us how much their sisters liked OLMA and then we met some of them and heard it first hand,” she said. “Even though we live in Tabernacle, we wanted to check it out, so we shadowed. That was all we needed. I couldn’t believe how well everyone got along and the connection the girls had with each other and with their teachers. We knew this was where we wanted to be.”

Lindsey admits to being a little worried at first about the fact that there were no boys at OLMA, but says she doesn’t even notice any more. “So many of my friends from middle school were guys, so I wasn’t sure how it would be without them,” she said. “Now, I absolutely love the fact that that we are all girls and wouldn’t want to go back to having boys at school. I’m still friends with the kids I went to middle school with, but love that we are all girls during the school day.”

When asked about what she thought of last week’s Sisterhood Olympic Games, she said, “I have no words to express how great it was. The teams had so much energy and the seniors in my group were so helpful. They took us under their wings and it really felt like family. Besides, where else can you dress up like we did and put a whole bottle of glitter in your hair for the day?”

She makes a good point!

So far this year, Lindsey says that Bravery Training is her favorite class. “Something I struggle with is staying out of my own head,” she said. “I’m my own worst critic and that’s not always good. In Bravery, I’m learning how to turn the critic into a cheerleader.”

Linsdey is a member of the OLMA Field Hockey Team and plans to play lacrosse this spring. She’s also a member of the OLMA Interact Club and recently spent a Saturday morning picking up trash along the beach in Atlantic City. “I could not believe how many bags we filled with trash,” she said. “There was so much and it felt good to be part of making a difference.”

Making a difference seems to be in your DNA, Lindsey. We are so blessed to have you here!