The OLMA Overview -- September 6, 2019
On Tuesday morning, OLMA opened its doors for the 57th year and welcomed aboard 57 members in the Class of 2023 (pictured above). We also welcomed 10 transfer students and five new faculty/staff members. Our new educators include Stephanie Callahan (Math), Rocio Gomez (Spanish), Bethany Malench (American Sign Language), Jennifer Bifulco (Business and Administrative), and Tina Bartleson (Attendance Officer and Admissions).

I could not be more excited to get this school year underway, especially with so many new facility improvements and additions to our curriculum.

Last year we secured a Model Classroom grant from OceanFirst Foundation to create what is now the OLMA Center for Business and Collaboration . It's located on the third floor of our main academic building. It is gorgeous and has a glass wall that opens into the hallway. It would not have been possible without the help of so many people including Dana and Carmine Catalana who generously added to the grant funding to complete the room. Countless volunteers, led by OLMA parent extraordinaire, Carl Auwarter, also had a hand in bringing the new center to life.

Just down the hall from the Business Center is the new Room 200. Renovations on this space began last spring and finished up just a few weeks ago. It's now our largest classroom and where our L2T program courses will be held. Donations from the Ryan and Falasca families, as well as countless hours of work by parent volunteers, Mr. Auwarter and Steve Anderson, as well as our very own Gareth Howells, made this new space possible. By the way, this room is home to two of the seven big-screen monitors donated this summer by the Meduri family.

Alumnae parent, Leslie Barretta, surprised faculty and staff by giving the second floor faculty room a complete face lift. It looks fantastic and is now an incredibly welcoming room in addition to being functional. She outdid herself!

While not brand new, the Chemistry lab received new ceiling tiles, lighting, and an overall sprucing up. On the athletic side of campus, the Carew Hall (gymnasium) foyer is unrecognizable -- in a good way! The Bifulco Family and the Salerno Society completely renovated the entire area. Come and take a look. You will not believe it.

On the curriculum front, our L2T program has expanded once again. All sophomores will now benefit from an Introduction to Computer Science course. This is the result of a grant we received from Amazon's Future Engineers program. New for upperclassmen is AP Computer Science, bringing our total AP offerings to seven. Also new for juniors and seniors is the opportunity to take American Sign Language, taught by one of our new faculty members, Bethany Malench. At last, we've expanded our foreign language program to include a variety of online options.

When I met with students on Tuesday morning, I presented our theme for the year: See the Good . I challenged them to look beyond themselves and their daily trials and tribulations and find the silver lining -- or make it. It's easy to see the good all around OLMA and in the faces of every one of our students. I am so blessed to be here and look forward to another great year. Welcome back and have a fantastic weekend. -- Mrs. Coyle

P.S. -- Check out a warm welcome from some of our freshmen and sophomore students below.
Student Spotlight: Isabella Burhanna
Class of 2021
This young woman is one to watch. While junior, Isabella Burhanna presents as shy, she's really not. Rather, she is quietly processing everything that's happening around her -- and loving every minute of her time at OLMA. A home school student until Grade 8, Isabella adjusted much more quickly than she expected. "Coming to OLMA was one of those things that my parents said would be good for me," said Isabella. "As kids we hear that a lot, but they were right. I met my two best friends at the Big-Little Sleepover and things have only gotten better. I can't believe that I'm already in my junior year." 

Isabella says she's most excited about her AP Chemistry class this year. "I absolutely love Math and Science," she said. "I'm a little nervous about it, but know it will build my confidence in this area and help prepare me for college." 

While college is still two years away, Isabella is wasting no time getting ready. She knows what she wants and isn't afraid to go after it. In fact, she spent an entire month this summer (seven hours a day, five days a week) in MEDacademy, run by Cooper Medical School at Rowan University. "It was an awesome experience," said Isabella. "We worked in groups and were assigned to a second-year medical student who gave us an honest look at what life is like in the field of medicine. We participated in lectures, tackled case studies, worked as part of active learning groups and were exposed to all sorts of specialty fields." 

Isabella competed for her spot at MEDacademy and was among some of the best of the best of high school students from all across New Jersey. The biggest take-away for me was learning the importance of supporting and respecting each other, as well as our patients. Medicine is a very competitive field, but my facilitator constantly reminded us that in life, not just in medicine, we have to meet people halfway. That's an important lesson that will stick with me."

That lesson already serves Isabella well on the soccer field where she plays on the varsity team for OLMA. She is an asset to the team and says that she's having a great time so far this season.

A little-known fact about Isabella is that she loves cats. "My friends will attest to the fact that I love them so much, really all animals, but especially cats," she said. "I have no problem at all being referred to as the crazy cat lady!" Good to know! Great job, this summer, Isabella. We can't wait to see what you do next. 
Attention Senior Families! It's  FAFSA  time. Join us for an information session on September 24, from 5:30-6:30 PM. For more information, email mrs.szawlewicz@olmanj.org.
Green & Gold Club Presents DUELING PIANOS
Join us for an evening of Dueling Pianos on Saturday, November 2, 2019 from 7-11 PM. There will be music by The Philly Keys, the tri-state area's best dueling pianos band. The even will also feature auction items and raffle baskets. Ice, dessert, water, and coffee will be provided. BYOEE -- Bring Your Own Everything Else! Event is sponsored by the Green & Gold Club in support of OLMA Athletics. Click here on the flyer below to get tickets!
Clubs Begin Next Week
First semester club options were on display at yesterday's annual Club Fair. Students filled the gym, sampled treats, claimed some give-away items and got all the information they need to select their clubs of choice. Students may choose up to two clubs each semester. All clubs meet on Thursdays. The current club lineup includes Art, Student Government, Board Games, OLMA Ambassadors, Interact, Chorus Angelorum, Archery, Debate, Stock Market, Forensics, Green Girls, Spanish, and Bake.
Three Cheers IV Spanish
Our Spanish IV course recently worked with Mrs. Coia on creating their class bulletin board. Have a great year, girls. Awesome job!
Upcoming Events
School Photos/IDs -- September 18

Junior Ring Measurements -- September 20

College Fair at Prep -- September 24

Back-to-School Night and Senior Parent Meeting -- September 26

Daughters of Mercy 100th Anniversary Mass and Celebreation -- September 28

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