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OLMA Headlines

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!

OLMA Receives $10,000 Award to Create Model Classroom

By | Alumni, OLMA Headlines

OLMA Receives $10,000 Award to Create Model Classroom

One of 25 schools to receive a portion of Ocean First Foundation’s $250.000 program.

Our Lady of Mercy Academy’s (OLMA’s) efforts to raise awareness among its students of the many career opportunities available to women in business recently received a big boost thanks to a $10,000 award presented to the all-girls’ school by OceanFirst Foundation. OLMA was one of 12 elementary schools, seven middle schools and six high schools selected from 144 applicants to each receive a $10,000 grant for use in improving academic achievement.
OLMA will utilize its $10,000 grant to transform a Laptop Lab into a fully functional Center for Business and Collaborative Learning.

The classroom will be geared for primary use by juniors and seniors as part of a four-semester business education program. The program will focus on using hands-on and simulated learning to introduce and provide skills for use in business careers in which women are underrepresented, yet successful and in high demand.  As part of the initiative, OLMA will establish a DECA chapter and develop courses focused on business fundamentals, create a business specific Job Shadow Program, recruit alumnae and other women in business and related fields to  become part of a Business Speakers Series, explore dual credit and/or certification opportunities, and form an Advisory Board of experts. The room will be outfitted with a stock ticker display, collaborative furnishings and interactive learning tools.

“We are thrilled to have the support of the OceanFirst Foundation as we work to provide our students with every opportunity possible for them to discover themselves and explore the many career possibilities that await them,” said Brooke A. Coyle. “The more informed they are now, the better job they’ll do when it comes to selecting colleges and fields of study. We are incredibly grateful to OceanFirst Foundation and intend to make them proud.”

Thousands of students across Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean Counties will see improvements to their classrooms this fall as part of the $250,000 Model Classroom Grant Program. Since its inception, the OceanFirst Foundation has awarded 6,600 grants totaling more than $36 million to over 900 local organizations, charities and schools throughout central and southern New Jersey.

“OceanFirst Bank has built a solid reputation and legacy as a good neighbor and responsible corporate citizen,” said Christopher D. Maher, Chairman of the OceanFirst Foundation and President, Chief Executive Officer, OceanFirst Bank, who was joined at the presentation event by OceanFirst Foundation Executive Director, Kathy Durante. “Our commitment to helping families, organizations, schools and communities throughout central and southern New Jersey has spanned several generations.  Through the OceanFirst Foundation, we are proud to support these 25 outstanding schools and this wonderful educational program.”

Our Lady of Mercy Academy, located in Newfield, NJ, is South Jersey’s only all-girls’ Catholic high school. Through a challenging academic curriculum, diverse extra-curricular program, hands-on leadership experiences, and the spirit of sisterhood, our students are forever bonded in faith and friendship. For more information, call (856) 697-2008, or visit OLMANJ.ORG.

Student Spotlight: Meet Gabrielle Staropoli, Class of 2019

By | OLMA Headlines

When it came time to select a high school, Gabrielle “Gabby” Staropoli thought she would be going on to purlic school with her friends. Little did she know that her parents and grandparents had other ideas. Gabby’s mom is an OLMA alumna (Class of 1991) and wanted the same for her daughter.

Now an OLMA senior, Gabby is grateful to be a student here. “I was so quiet freshmen year,” she said. “I hardly ever talked, so it was a little rough for me. Everything changed in sophomore year when I met my best friend, Laura Sloan, in Chemistry class. I felt comfortable, we started talking and became best friends. Every day after that has been great!”

This year, Gabby plays field hockey and is a member of the Debate club. One of the things she remembers most about her high school years was the summer that she and classmate, Alyssa D’Alessandro, volunteered to be part of the “Summer in the City” program. “We slept in a convent and spent an entire week meeting new people and doing service,” said Gabby. “The experience really opened my eyes to some of the sad realities of the world. I saw so many homeless people and many of them were children, I was glad that I could help.” Along the way, Gabby and Alyssa became great friends.

When she’s not in school, Gabby likes to spend as much time as possible with her two horses, Cassie and Prin. “Prin is Cassie’s filly and I’m helping my grandfather train her,” she said. “I used to compete and hope to do it again some day.”

Looking ahead, Gabby hopes to pursue a career in nursing. She hasn’t selected a college just yet, but is working on it. For now, her focus is on doing her best in the classroom and on the hockey field. Her advice for incoming freshmen? “Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Interact with other people, even if you’re scared and you will love it here.” Have a fantastic senior year, Gabby!

OLMA Student Spotlight: Meet Riley McNelia, Class of 2019

By | OLMA Headlines

While she is in no rush to see her time as an OLMA student come to an end, senior, Riley McNelia, is laying the groudwork for a successful future after high school. While Literature is at the top of her list of favorite courses this year, it’s her Business class that has taken her by surprise. “While I’m new to all of this, I’m doing well and really like the class,” said Riley. “I don’t know what type of business interests me the most, but I’m pretty sure it’s the field I want to pursue.” Riley says that she’s looking into Rowan University as a possible college choice. Rowan’s Rohrer College of Business may very well be a perfect fit.

Riley definitely has the smarts that great business schools look for. So far, she has earned honors in every semester of her high school career and we’re quite sure this year will be no exception. She credits much of her success to her teachers. “Our teachers are always there for us,” she says. “We can go to them anytime, which isn’t the case in many larger schools. I know that they’ve made a huge difference in my life and I will really miss them when it’s time to move on.”

While Riley works hard, she also likes to play hard, preferably on the Volleyball court. “I’m a middle hitter and have played all four years,” she said. “I just love the sport.” She also plays on a club team, but it’s her time with OLMA that she cherishes the most. That sentiment seems to run in the family as Riley’s older sister, Mackenzie (Class of 2017) and younger sister, Delaney (Class of 2021) are also volleyball players — and proud to wear their green and gold.

Riley is looking forward to the rest of her senior year. She’s especially excited about her class trip to Disney and, of course, going to semi and prom. She’s also happy about the classes she’s taking and her choices of Debate and Archery for clubs.

When asked what she would tell a prospective student about why she should consider OLMA for high school, Riley immediately returned to the subject of the educators in her life. “I would tell this student about my teachers and the one-on-one support they’ve given me,” she said. “It really makes a difference.”

Indeed, it does. Have an amazing year, Riley. We can’t wait to see what you do next.