May 19, 2022

AHA’s Upper & Middle School Scientists Try a Chem Lab Collaboration

Students from Sharon Jureller’s Advanced Placement Chemistry class at the Academy of the Holy Angels recently spent time working on double-replacement reaction activities with Linda Payonzeck’s seventh grade science students from AHA Middle School. Both classes met in the upper school’s chemistry lab, where middle schoolers discovered how positive and negative ions from two ionic compounds trade places and form new compounds.


AHA Science Department Chair Patricia Prucnel initiated the collaboration by contacting the Academy’s AP science teachers to determine if any upper school students would be available to work with the middle school science classes at some point. The mid-May session was perfect, since the AP Chemistry students had already completed their AP exams. AP mentors included Caterina Cardamone, Mia Chang, Allison Chung, Isabella Dail, Dominique Rose Dela Gente, Katherine Amanda Donohue, Caroline Dupas, Celine Hong, Anna Jang, Katherine Merriam, Rachel Mina, and Gabriella Rigoli.


“I think it is a great opportunity for the middle school students to be able to go into the chemistry lab and learn from the high school students,” Payonzeck said. “It was wonderful to see the cooperation, encouragement, and sisterly bond. The conversations were not just about the activities they were doing, but also about high school and the things they have to look forward to in the next few years.”
Jureller added, “The AP class was enthusiastic about the idea as soon as I mentioned it to them. We discussed options for the lab and decided on the double-replacement reactions after the AP class conducted it themselves. They thought it was straightforward and would be interesting for middle schoolers.
“The AP class was eager to share knowledge with the seventh graders and get to know them better. We also thought it was a good idea to have them come to the chem lab and see where they will be taking classes sophomore year.
“I’m looking forward to more collaborations next year, opening it up to the middle school and the sophomore class.”
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 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.