The OLMA Overview -- March 28, 2020
Week two of OLMA Online Learning is in the books. Thanks to our dedicated teachers, supportive parents, and resilient students, our Online Learning Program is going well and keeping everyone on track. While we'd prefer to be back on campus, this new approach has challenged us to think more creatively and strategically. It has also taught us patience and the importance of flexibility. COVID-19, while extreme, is just one example of the many curve balls life likes to throw our way. It's what we do with them that's important.

The faculty continues to work together to share best practices and plan for the next few weeks. I'm excited to let you know that we will be holding our first all-school online assembly next Thursday, April 2, at 12 PM. I cannot wait to have everyone back under the same roof, even if it is a digital one! The Student Government and the Interact clubs met this week to discuss ways to continue to keep the OLMA Sisterhood strong and our mission of service alive. We have some exciting plans to share with everyone. 

In the meantime, I ask students to continue to stay focused. Online assessments will also begin in earnest next week. Please stay on top of your schoolwork and take advantage of your teachers' office hours. We are all here to help. Most of all, please take care of yourselves and each other. Please check in on your friends and continue to keep everyone affected by this virus in your prayers. I wish you a healthy and happy weekend. -- Mrs. Coyle
SCENES FROM THE SCREENS
STUDENT SPOTLIGHT:
MEET LILYANNA LEMAURO, CLASS OF 2023
LilyAnna Lemauro is one extraordinary young woman -- smart, talented, and caring beyond belief. While she seems a little on the shy side at first, she is full of surprises and says that OLMA has brought her out of her shell. Originally, OLMA wasn't LilyAnna's first choice, but when she shadowed, she knew it was the place where she needed to be. "Academically, I wanted the challenge," she said. "I also knew that I could be myself and grow my confidence in a way that would help me be more outgoing when out of my comfort zone."

As it turns out, LilyAnna's comfort zone is a place where most people are uncomfortable -- on stage, with a microphone in hand. "I am a member of the Harmony Show Choir, which is part of Mainstage Center for the Arts," said LilyAnna. "Believe it or not, I'm most comfortable when I'm singing or dancing. Music is my home and where I can shine."

That she does, and not just for herself. LilyAnna has a heart the size of Texas. She spends a lot of her time performing for Kidz4Cuz!, an organization that promotes mental health awareness through music for kids and teens. "My vocal coach, Debra Michaels, started the foundation as a way to help people use their voices and talents to bring hope and comfort to people who are battling depression or dealing with grief," said LilyAnna. "We perform in a variety of places, and people can request us as well. It allows me to express myself for the good of others, and I love it."

Academically, LilyAnna is exceptional and enjoys the challenge she gets from her teachers. "I'm always working toward something, a new goal," she said. "It's much different than when I was in middle school and is even working well online. I miss seeing everyone in person every day, but the transition was flawless. I'm also using the teachers' office hours to get help when I need it. For me, it's the same as staying after class for a few minutes."

We are happy to hear that, LilyAnna -- and thank you for sharing the song you recorded as part of Kidz4Cuz!. (Click on the video below to listen.) 
TEACHER FEATURE: MEET MRS. HELMS
When it comes to having a can-do, glass-always-half-full attitude, Mrs. Joan Helms is an expert. This talented artist-educator inspires confidence and creativity in all who enter her classroom -- on campus and online. 

Art class can be particularly challenging to transition to an online format, but that didn't stop Mrs. Helms. Of course, in true Mrs. Helms fashion, she credits her students for the classes' success. "The kids have been incredibly flexible," she said. "From day one, they were full steam ahead, and none of them have missed an assignment." 

Mrs. Helms explained that she shifted the focus of her Painting and 2D/3D classes from paints and clay to drawing. "Drawing is an essential skill for any art and something that lends itself well to an online environment," she said. "The girls are doing some really great work as part of a nine-day challenge. I asked them to do one drawing every day for nine days. I also introduced them to a new artist each day that they learned about through video." 

Mrs. Helms said the challenge idea came from a blog she follows that's written by an artist who created one new painting every day for a year. "If she could do it every day for a year, we could do it for nine days," said Mrs. Helms. "The girls went for it right away and enjoyed the work. Plus, they were able to learn from a variety of artists, which helped broaden their thinking." 

For her Graphic Design class, Mrs. Helms is utilizing a drawing program called Sketch Pad. "The girls just finished creating underwater scenes using only shape-based images," she said. "They did a great job." 

While making the switch to online teaching so quickly has presented some challenges, Mrs. Helms also sees many positives. "Working in a completely different way and without a studio full of tools forces us to be more resourceful and to think outside the box when it comes to educating our students," she said. "I've found some wonderful resources that I will continue using even when we're back in the classroom. This experience is helping us all realize just how much we are capable of doing. I think that's a good thing."

See below for samples of some of the artwork recently completed online: 
FIND ONLINE LEARNING AND COVID-19 RESOURCES ON OLMANJ.ORG
Online Learning Program and Covid-19 resources are available on the OLMA website. It is our central location for academic information, response plans, and links to important resources and tips. You can access it from the OLMA.ORG homepage (top toolbar) or under the NEWS tab. CLICK HERE to take a look. Please check back often as we add updates almost daily. Thanks.
TWENTY WEEKS OF WINS!
The one and only fundraiser run by the Daughters of Mercy each year is their 20-week Calendar Raffle. Tickets are $20 each and include more than 20 chances to win, as well as a seat at the annual Pasta Dinner where the grand prize drawing takes place. Please show your support to the founders of our school by purchasing at least one ticket per family. For tickets, email Sister Margaret at sr.margaret@olmanj.org.
NEW EVENT DATES

DESIGNER
BAG BINGO -- OCTOBER 3, 2020

OLMA GREEN & GOLD GOLF OUTING -- OCTOBER 16

We hope you enjoy the OLMA Overview. If you have questions or suggestions, please contact Mrs. Kinkade at 856.697.2008, ext. 140, or email her at: mrs.kinkade@olmanj.org