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February 24, 2021

AHA Teens Honored for Carrying on SSND’s Legacy of Kindness

 Holy Angels students who carry on School Sister of Notre Dame Catherine Green’s legacy of kindness regularly receive the award named for this veteran educator. S. Catherine was a member of the AHA Religious Studies Department from 1982 to 2014. She is warmly remembered for her ready smile, her willingness to listen, and her words of support and encouragement.


This month, AHA presented the Sister Catherine Green Kindness Award to seniors Kaya Simmons of West Orange and Georgina Paredes of Bergenfield, juniors Alina Keshishian of Englewood Cliffs and Adriana Santos of Ridgefield, sophomores Raphaela Cardenas of Clifton and Shivani Sahu of Paramus, and freshmen Ava Tripodi of Emerson and Graicen Van Blarcom of Glen Rock.


Van Blarcom, a member of the Class of 2024, is described as an open-minded, kindhearted friend, and a positive influence on many students. Friends describe this Angel as a selfless, generous, compassionate, and trustworthy person who always makes others feel welcome.


Tripodi is known for being kind, generous, and inclusive. She makes sure others have someone to sit with at lunch, and checks to see that her classmates understand the material being taught in their courses.

Cardenas, a sophomore, is dedicated to raising others up through encouragement, support, and respect. Friends say Cardenas inspires kindness by being herself. One person said this award recipient’s actions impact the AHA community in a positive way.


Sahu, who is also a member of the Class of 2023, always chooses to see the good in people. A classmate describes her as a genuine, compassionate, and helpful person. Sahu is known for showing compassion and kindness in everything she does. She is welcoming, and her positivity and smile are sincere.


Keshishian was honored for going out of her way to bring people into conversations when she sees them alone. This member of the junior class is described as caring, empathetic, dedicated, and humble.


“You can’t help but smile when you are around her,” a friend wrote of Keshishian.


Santos is known for her kind, compassionate, and positive outlook. Friends say this junior is constantly trying to bring unity to her class. Another friend wrote that Santos gives everything she has to help others succeed. A classmate wrote that Santos “embodies this award.”


Paredes, a senior recipient of the Kindness Award, is described as a positive light in the lives of many people in the AHA community. She encourages others to keep going and work hard, and finds the positive in every situation. Paredes brightens everyone’s day with her wit and kind spirit, and genuinely cares about others.


Simmons, who is also a member of the Class of 2021, does whatever she can to make the people around her feel loved, accepted, and wanted. She constantly goes the extra mile to help people and boost others’ self-esteem. One person described Simmons as someone who will be a friend long after high school. Simmons is described as the perfect candidate for this award because her kindhearted, sincere nature is contagious.


AHA Dean of Students Andréa Beyer accepts Kindness Award nominations from members of the school community.

The administration selects one honoree from each grade level on a regular basis.


Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County. While AHA is steeped in Catholic tradition, this prestigious high school serves young women from a broad spectrum of cultural and religious backgrounds. Over time, thousands of women have passed through AHA’s portals. Many go on to study at some of the nation’s best universities, earning high-ranking positions in medicine, government, law, education, public service, business, arts, and athletics. The Academy’s current leaders continue to further the SSND mission to provide each student with the tools she needs to reach the fullness of her potential—spiritually, intellectually, socially, and physically, by offering a first-rate education in a nurturing environment where equal importance is placed on academic excellence, character development, moral integrity, and service to others.