OLMA Headlines

Jennifer Trallo Schreiber, OLMA Alumna selected for Harvard program

OLMA Alumna Selected for Prestigious Harvard Program

By Alumni, OLMA Headlines

Outstanding OLMA alumnae are everywhere we look. Today’s kudos go to Jennifer Trallo Schreiber, a member OLMA’s Class of 1994. This leading healthcare professional holds a BSN from NYU and a Dual Masters from Wilmington University. Never one to rest on her laurels, Jennifer recently applied to Harvard University’s Safety, Quality, Information and Leadership, HMS postgraduate certificate program. She was accepted and recently notified of her selection as one of only three students to deliver her capstone project to Harvard healthcare professionals and educators. Jennifer currently serves as the Vice President of Clinical Quality and Information at Acuity Healthcare. Congratulations Jennifer, and thank you for your extraordinary efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have no doubt that even greater achievements are ahead of you.


#OLMAPride #OLMA1994 #OLMAAlumna #Sisterhood

OLMA Literature teacher Mr. Jarrell

Teacher Feature: Meet Wes Jarrell

By OLMA Headlines

If you are a student who loves discussing literature and isn’t afraid to debate the issues, you are a perfect fit for Mr. Jarrell’s class. Wes “Mr. J” Jarrell is finishing up his third year at OLMA. While he certainly didn’t expect a semester of teaching entirely online, he has enjoyed it. He is more in tune with his students than ever before.

“Early on, we started having regular conferences about the work students were doing,” said Mr. J. “These were small scale, often individual Zoom sessions to discuss how to approach an upcoming project or what went well or poorly with the last project. It was during these periods where most of the learning took place. I found the online environment to be very conducive to personalization.”

While on the topic of personalization, Mr. J said he had fun seeing how everyone brings their personality to online learning. “Some of the girls like to sit in darkness, while others sat bathed in eye-piercing neon,” he said. “Pets made frequent guest appearances. Students also had some fun with their virtual backgrounds.”

Mr. J said that the initial transition to online learning was a smooth one. “Mrs. Coyle and Ms. Valore put together an excellent plan; clear, concise, detailed enough to provide guidance yet flexible enough to allow for innovation,” he said. “My biggest challenge was reading the room. It’s tricky when you have 20 people on your screen. Our discussions often involve taking the pulse of the class. When together in a classroom, it’s easier to tell the difference between who has an opinion and wants to share it and who prefers to stay silent. It’s tougher when everyone is on mute, and internet connections are sometimes unreliable, but we made it work.”

Indeed, they did. Along the way, Mrs. J integrated several online tools. “I had been using Screencastify off and on since the beginning of the year to reinforce skills that we discussed in class,” said Mr. J. “I continued with that, and we also used Padlet to share ideas during our debate. We even ended up posting our whole debate online to make sure everyone had a chance to hear each other without worrying about speaking too fast or glitching. It worked well.”

Thank you, Mr. J!

Class of 2020

OLMA Grads Ready for the Future

By OLMA Headlines

Our Lady of Mercy Academy Graduates Class of 2020

One hundred percent moving on to higher education


June 2020; Newfield, NJThe 20 members of the Our Lady of Mercy Academy (OLMA) Class of 2020 have graduated with their sights firmly set on college. Well prepared for the opportunities and challenges ahead, they are grateful for the spirit of sisterhood that has helped guide their hearts and minds over the last four years.  

The Class of 2020 graduation celebrations looked different than in past years but were uniquely special. In addition to hand-delivered signs, chalked messages of congratulations left on driveways, and mailboxes full of heartfelt letters from friends and faculty, OLMA planned a three-part celebration for the Class of 2020. It began with a Senior Tribute Parade on Thursday, May 21, 2020. “The parade was a first for us and far surpassed my expectations,” said Brooke A. Coyle, OLMA Head of School. “The Forest Grove Volunteer Fire Department surprised the girls by leading the parade, which included more than 200 cars filled with well-wishers. The entire community joined in to celebrate these remarkable young women.”  

The second part of this year’s festivities was held virtually on May 27, 2020. “The seniors led a prayer service for the entire school and their families,” said Coyle. “It was followed by an awards ceremony.” On June 17, the school’s first-ever Graduation Tribute Video will premier on YouTube. Each senior and her family came to campus to participate in some cherished traditions. “We wanted them to have the opportunity to be in cap and gown and walk down the center aisle of Chapel, receive their diplomas, present a flower to the Blessed Mother, and sign the OLMA Sisterhood book,” said Coyle. The students were interviewed, turned their tassels, and tossed their caps — and we got it all on camera.”    

Coyle began her role as Head of School when the Class of 2020 entered as freshmen. “We’ve grown together over the last four years,” she said. “These young women have contributed to the life of our school in so many ways. As students, athletes, artists, leaders, and in service to others, they have learned to listen and found their voices. As they move on to what’s next, I pray that they will always see the good, even in the most difficult of times and that they will continue to be the people who bring out the best in others.”

Our Lady of Mercy Academy is a Catholic, accredited, preparatory school for young women located in Newfield, NJ. OLMA empowers young women to lead a world of change, realize their dreams, and reach their full potential. 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. For more information, visit OLMANJ.ORG or call (856) 697-2008.   

Angelina Balis

Rowan University

Kimberly G. Kinkade**N


The United States Air Force Academy

Ava R. Casale**N

Immaculata University

Nicolette A. Merlino**N

Immaculata University

Lia E. D’Orio*N

Stockton University

Elizabeth R. Myers**N

Stockton University

Rachel M. Donahue*N

Florida Institute of Technology

Caleah E. Palumbo*N

College of Lake County

Delaney J. Donzola*N

Florida Atlantic University

Mia T. Rudolph*N

West Chester University

Madeline R. Fawcett***N


LaSalle University

Corinne Shields**N

Rutgers University

Amanda Guzman*

Stockton University

Madison Z. Springer

Montclair State University

Derien P. Hartline   

University of Tampa

Isabella Testa**N

Catholic University of America

Maris E. Horner*N

Caldwell University

Catherine M. Thomas*N

Immaculata University

Meadow Karpiak*

Mount St. Mary’s University

Emily R. Torrence**N

Pepperdine University

***Head of School Honors (All A’s for four years)

** First Honors (Cumulative GPA 4.0 or higher)

* Second Honors (Cumulative GPA 3.5 or higher)

N – National Honor Society


psychology teacher at OLMA in NJ

Teacher Feature: Meet Nicole Donovan

By OLMA Headlines

Nicole Donovan was looking for a change and a new challenge after nine years of teaching in a Philadelphia public school. She found both at OLMA. “I am so thankful that I found OLMA,” said Mrs. Donovan. “It’s a special place that truly matches my top value, which is family. As soon as I entered the school, I felt the sisterhood and knew that I needed to be part of it.” Of course, three years in, Mrs. Donovan didn’t expect to be teaching online.

“I am always up for a challenge, but it was overwhelming at first,” said Mrs. Donovan. “I had to figure out how I was going to teach five classes and help both of my elementary school daughters with their schoolwork. I also had to find a place in my house to set up since my husband also works from home. It took some time for us to all get settled.”

In reality, she made it look easy as she took Lifetime Fitness, Financial Literacy/Digital Communications, Psychology, and AP Psychology online. “Teaching is my passion, so I wanted to make sure my energy transferred over into the online learning world,” she said. “Every time I had a live class, I challenged myself to bring my ‘A’ game to make the lessons truly meaningful for my students. I think the girls appreciated it, although I’m sure there were times when they wished I’d stop dancing or breaking into yoga poses to emphasize key points.”

Mrs. Donovan is especially proud of how well her Psychology class has gone. “In so many ways, we are experiencing social psychology in action during this pandemic,” she said. “It’s one thing to learn concepts in class, but it’s another to live them. We’ve had many ‘aha’ moments and great conversations during our live classes.”

In her free time, Mrs. Donovan shares her endless energy with students by helping to keep them connected when they’re not in class. “I’ve led guided meditations and ab workouts,” she said. “Our ab workouts are still going. I also organized the OLMA Lip Sync Challenge and recruited faculty and staff to participate. It was a great way to come together to create something fun.”

Pandemic or not, Mrs. Donovan is glad to be part of OLMA. ” I was talking to our 10th-grade class this week about living the dream,” she said. “I tell the girls how important it is to find a job that matches your values and make you happy,” she said. “I’m so glad I did.”

Student Spotlight: Meet Madison “Maddie” Heipp, Class of 2021

By OLMA Headlines

OLMA junior, Madison “Maddie” Heipp grew up just five minutes away from OLMA yet never even considered attending until late in her 8th-grade year. “We drove by all the time, but I had my mind all set on attending my local public school,” said Maddie. “One night during dinner, my mom brought up the idea of attending OLMA, almost as a joke, to see how I’d react. Then, my dad starting doing some research and convinced me to shadow. I wanted no part of it, but went anyway, and fell in love.”

A month or so later, Maddie was surprised at home with the delivery of her acceptance letter. “I was right in the middle of a piano lesson,” she said. “It was exciting.” She said she was still nervous about leaving her old friends and making new ones. “I expected to be going to high school with the same kids I was already with, so I was a little scared,” she said. “It was all fine, though, because my senior ‘big’ immediately put me at ease, and making friends was easy.”

Maddie said that online learning has been going well, but prefers an in-classroom setting. “It’s easier to procrastinate at home,” she said. “I had to find the right balance, but I’ve had no problem learning the material. Math has even gone more smoothly, and I’ve taken advantage of the online office hours. The teachers have been great. Even if it’s not during office hours, they make them themselves available to help.”

As she looks toward her senior year, Maddie anxious to be a ‘big’ to an incoming freshman. “I’m excited to see them all come in and to have the chance to help them get comfortable just like my ‘big’ did for me,” she said. Maddie also looks forward to getting back on the volleyball court. “I had never played volleyball before coming to OLMA, but my friends encouraged me to try,” she said. “I’m so glad I did because I love being part of the team. Joining a sport right away was a good way for me to settle into the sisterhood.”

With college on the horizon, Maddie hasn’t decided on colleges or majors just yet but is pretty sure she will settle on something in the sciences. Whatever she decides, we know she will excel. Have a great summer and senior year, Maddie.

OLMA NJ English Teacher

Teacher Feature: Meet Michele Fortis

By OLMA Headlines

While quiet and unassuming, English teacher, Michele Fortis is a treasure trove of knowledge, a delight to be around, and beloved by her students. Now in her 22nd year of teaching at OLMA, she never expected to have to bring the English curriculum entirely online, yet she did it and did it well.

“It was a little daunting at first because I had to learn a new online platform,” said Mrs. Fortis. “I’m usually tech-savvy, but I was nervous about implementing Zoom and wasn’t sure how the students would react. Fortunately, the transition went smoothly, with only a few minor hiccups.”

Mrs. Fortis was pleasantly surprised by just how well the students embraced online learning. “My students were extremely enthusiastic and engaged,” she said. ” Several times, my classes went on far beyond their designated end times. That’s always a good sign.”

While Mrs. Fortis has always used technology in the classroom, she discovered some new tools since remote learning began. “I started using resources like Edpuzzle and Vocaroo,” said Mrs. Fortis. “I really like Edpuzzle because I can create interactive videos for my students and post them on Google Classroom, enabling them to become more active learners by responding to written questions while viewing the video.”

Mrs. Fortis’ connection with her girls extended beyond class time. As part of the OLMA Mind, Body and Soul Program, Mrs. Fortis hosted Movie Nights. “We started with The Great Gatsby and Pride and Prejudice,” she said, “and later, added Zombies. I cautioned my students that there is usually a big difference between the book and the movie, but we all had a great time.”

Thank you, Mrs. Fortis, for always finding a way to make learning English fun.

OLMA faculty member, teacher feature

Teacher Feature: Meet Diana “Ms. Cop” Coppinger

By OLMA Headlines

Diana “Ms. Cop” Coppinger has not let COVID-19 stand in her way — not for a single minute. Fortunately, Ms. Cop’s students were already using online textbooks, so that made the transition to remote learning easier. “It was exhausting but went relatively smoothly,” said Ms. Cop. “My greatest challenge was figuring out how much work was best suited for the students, given their various online learning conditions. Every family is facing different situations, like having to care for younger children, technology limitations, or parents who are essential workers and not at home. It took a while to figure out the right balance, but we’ve got it now.”

Ms. Cop is proud of the progress her students have made. “One of our greatest successes is the Imagineering project that the Physics students are doing,” she said. “It is Disney based, and the girls will finish with a table-top sized model of a thrill ride complete with costumed characters and a map of their imagined theme park. The finished product will be professional enough for pitching to financial backers. We’re having a great time with it.”

When she’s not teaching, students can connect with Ms. Cop and with each other in a yoga class on Zoom. Originally designed to prepare students for the Mindfulness through Yoga and Surfing in Costa Rica Mini-Mester course, the yoga classes have caught on. “I teach two or three times a week and have some students who are regulars and some who pop in and out,” said Ms. Cop. “I started doing yoga when I was 16, and I would love to instill the practice in some of my students. It helps me navigate the world in a calm, cool, and collected manner. It’s the source of my positive attitude and optimistic view of life.”

As the school year winds down, Ms. Cop is making more of her teaching student-directed. This approach is working particularly well with her freshmen students. “Rather than teaching them all the same thing at the same time, I’m giving them choices,” she said. “Some girls have chosen to learn about evolution, while others are studying vertebrates or plants. It’s a way to give the girls more ownership over what they’re learning and keep them engaged.”

Now in her 25th year of teaching at OLMA, Ms. Cop is still learning new things every day and stays in touch with many of her former students. “They are mothers and foster mothers, married and single, nurses and doctors, lawyers, and engineers,” she said. “My girls are pediatricians and OBGyn’s, forest rangers, teachers of high school students, and caretakers of infants and the learning challenged. They are involved in politics, are fitness fanatics, artists, administrators, and executives of huge companies. Some have companies of their own. There is no one more proud of these women than I am. I love them,” And, they love you. We all do. Thanks, Ms. Cop.

olma student spotlight

Student Spotlight: Meet Breanna Volpe, Class of 2023

By OLMA Headlines

OLMA freshman, Breanna Volpe, is quite the superstar. She is a fantastic student, talented athlete and makes community service part of everyday life. This young woman chose OLMA after hearing about it from a family friend. “It sounded great, so I did the group shadow when I was in 7th grade and came back for an individual shadow day when in 8th,” said Breanna. “I loved how close everyone was, and friends surrounded all the girls. I could feel the sisterhood. There was no judging going on. I knew it was for me.”

Nearly one year in, Breanna says that OLMA has met all of her expectations. “I’ve made so many friends,” she said. “Lunch is my favorite part of the day because I can walk up and talk to anyone at any table.” Breanna said she met many of her first friends as part of the Volleyball Team. “Joining a sport is a great way to get involved and make friends right away,” she said. “Everyone welcomes you in even if you’re new to the sport.”

In addition to Volleyball, Breanna played JV Basketball and joined the Lacrosse team. “The JV team got very close,” she said. “And even though we didn’t get to play the Lacrosse season, the team has come together.”

On the weekend, Breanna helps bring kids with special needs together on the soccer field and basketball court as part of Top Sports. “It’s an awesome program,” said Breanna. “We partner up with kids and teach them how to play. Along the way, we form close relationships. I love seeing them smile and have fun.” Her work with Top Sports led her to The Night To Shine program. “This is a prom for people with special needs and part of the Tim Tebow organization,” said Breanna. “We get to serve as buddies and hand out tiaras and sashes. My favorite part is watching them all on the dance floor. You can’t help but smile.”

Academically, Breanna’s favorite class is Biology. “I love the labs, even the online ones that we’re doing now,” she said. “They are interactive and fun.” She looks forward to getting back into the real classroom but is confident in what she’s learning remotely. “We’re getting everything we need. It’s a lot of work, but I’ve got it down now. It’s all going well.”

OLMA Athletics Launches #OLMAKeepsPlaying Program

By OLMA Headlines

OLMA athletes have found a way to keep on playing this spring in a way that benefits them and others. The initiative called, Keep Playing for the W.I.N. begins today. W.I.N. stands for What’s Important Now and is one of the concepts introduced earlier this year as part of the OLMA Sports Leadership Academy (SLA).

“It’s a valuable concept for teams, and given the cancellation of spring sports and the uncertainty we’re all facing, it provides a good perspective as we navigate the adversity that comes with this challenging situation,” said Ms. Jennifer Valore, Dean of Academics and Leadership. “The SLA has created an opportunity for all OLMA athletes to Keep Playing for the W.I.N. in support of people in need and those fighting on the front lines during this pandemic. We get to help others by doing what we love to do — setting goals and crushing them!”

Here’s how it works. OLMA athletes will participate in a 5K event from home as part of one OLMA team on Saturday, May 16. They can walk, run, bike, use a treadmill, and more. Beginning tomorrow, participants will seek sponsors who will donate directly through a fundraising portal created by Larry’s II Restaurant in Vineland. All of the funds raised will help feed the area’s essential workers.

Want to help? Make a donation anytime this week by CLICKING HERE and be sure and add the hashtag, #OLMAKeepsPlaying so we can track our progress. Way to go, OLMA athletes!