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November 15, 2021

Angel Showcase Day Was Active, Engaging AHA Experience

Nearly 160 eighth grade applicants to the Academy of the Holy Angels eagerly participated in Angel Showcase Day (November 4). The AHA Admissions Team organized the event so future ninth graders could spend a day exploring their individual interests at the Academy in a COVID-safe environment.


Admissions Director Michèle McGovern and Assistant Admissions Director Jennifer Bullis reserved the school building for the entire day. This format allowed visitors to receive personalized attention from their assigned Angel Ambassadors, and the faculty and staff who were on campus that day.

Based on post Showcase surveys, visitors had a positive experience. Guests said they received warm greetings, and most gave their Angel Ambassadors the highest rating possible. Many said AHA is their first choice high school, and most said they are now more excited about spending their high school years at the Academy.


“I enjoyed every moment,” one prospective Angel wrote. Another shared, “I love it!”


A parent commented, “I just want to let you know (my daughter) just came home from Angel for the day and I haven’t seen her this happy before. She had an amazing time and said everyone was so nice and helpful. She absolutely loved it. Thank you again to you and the school for putting on a wonderful day for my daughter.”


Faculty members prepared engaging, hands-on lessons to give visitors a better idea of life at AHA. Showcase participants chose from classes such as environmental science, psychology, engineering, art, religion, journalism, creative writing, math, world languages, and more.


Visitors who worked with AHA Science Department Chair Patricia Prucnel and Nadine Behrens learned about beach erosion by creating “mini-beaches” in plastic containers and observing the effects of water on the terrain. Students in this class also put together take home versions of the beach by selecting natural ocean treasures and adding them to jars of sand.

Students in Jing Loo’s engineering course experimented with light-emitting diodes, commonly known as LEDs. Angels and their guests put together basic circuit boards that lit small LEDs.


Vanesa Formosa’s students made quicksand by combining baking soda and water. This lab allowed future Angels to explore the phases of matter and become familiar with some equipment and techniques. Teachers Andrew Sanchez and Chris Paladino also guided this experiment in their classrooms. The lesson was inspired by the Dr. Seuss book “Bartholomew and the Oobleck.”


Theater arts teacher Katie Collins’ improv exercise had everyone generating outlandish stories, gesticulating, and laughing out loud.

Students also explored their connections to various saints in religious studies teacher Kathleen Walsh’s class. Her guests also engaged in a brief research project and shared highlights of the lives of selected saints.


Highlights of Angel Showcase Day included a special performance by the award-winning AHA Dance Team and a greeting from AHA Head Dance Coach Jenny Sweet. The Academy’s varsity dancers have earned five national championships. The JV team won its first national title this year.


Prospective students also won prizes in an AHA-forward trivia contest, and enjoyed lunch in the Student Commons.


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.