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May 17, 2023

‘Angelic Evening,’ AHA’s Spectacular Signature Celebration, Turns 25

Angelic Evening turned 25 this year, and the Holy Angels community celebrated with touches of silver decorations and gift bags. The Academy hosts this spectacular signature celebration each spring, demonstrating appreciation for AHA’s steadfast supporters while showing everyone a wonderful evening of prizes, dinner, and dancing. This year, everyone gathered at the Edgewood Country Club to pay tribute to Distinguished Alumna Award recipient Geraldine Wacker (AHA ’88) and Legacy Award honoree The Mario & Theresa Spola Family Foundation. 


AHA President Melinda Hanlon presented Geraldine Wacker with her award in recognized of Wacker’s extraordinary loyalty, commitment, dedication, and service to the advancement of Holy Angels.


“It is an incredible honor to stand here this evening as a recipient of this award. I am deeply grateful for this recognition and humbled to be here,” Wacker said from the podium.


“Much of that passion and enthusiasm that I have experienced in my life has been found through the gift of stewardship and sharing time, talent, and treasure. Meeting and volunteering with so many wonderful people over the years has been an incredible gift. 

“I consider myself to be blessed, not because of things but because of the amazing people I am surrounded by in my life.”


Wacker thanked her parents, Noel and Dymphna, for their endless love, tremendous work ethic, teamwork, and always giving back to their community. She also acknowledged her husband Keith, her children, siblings, aunts, cousins, fellow volunteers, and the members of the AHA community.


“My connection to this school runs deep,” she said. In fact, Wacker was the first of several nieces and cousins to become an Angel. Over the years, Wacker’s three daughters also chose the same path. “Holy Angels has played a significant role in shaping our lives and the women we have become. I am forever grateful for the friendships, education, and experiences it has provided to my family. We have 8 of our 10 family Angels here tonight.”


Wacker is the new president of the AHA Alumnae Association. She studied finance and organizational management at Nyack College, and later became an accounting manager, accounting analyst, procurement analyst, and award-winning Realtor. Since 2015, Wacker has served on various AHA committees, including the President’s Council, Alumnae Association, Angelic Evening, and the AHA Fashion Show. Wacker, an AHA Dance Team parent, was also the dance team/spirit wear coordinator. She also invested many years as a volunteer with the Saint Joseph School Parent Teacher Organization.

The Mario & Theresa Spola Family Foundation received the Legacy Award in honor of the organization’s contributions that reflect the charism of the School Sisters of Notre Dame and make a lasting impact on the Academy and the people it serves. Theresa Spola Doyle accepted the award on behalf of the foundation.


AHA President Melinda Hanlon noted the family’s deep commitment to Catholic education and ongoing loyalty to Holy Angels, including the new middle school.


Shivani Sahu (’23) also shared a few words about her experiences as an Angel. Sahu is involved in many facets of life at AHA. She is an award-winning member of DECA, an active participant in the theater program, and serves as an Angel Ambassador. She is active with Junior States of America, Asian American Cultural Club, and PowerBack (an organization that focuses on building healthy relationships). Sahu also shares her knowledge by teaching subjects that range from dance to calculus with other students. Before she began her senior year, Sahu represented AHA at BERGEN magazine’s annual teen forum.

This fall, she will attend Princeton. She plans to pursue a career that explores the intersection of the performing arts, business, and public policy.


When Angelic Evening was first organized, the celebration was held on the Demarest campus. Volunteers invested hours transforming the gym into a chic spot for dining and dancing.


Then and now, each Angelic Evening has involved many months of planning and coordination to ensure a successful event. Over time, many facets of the event have been facilitated by technology, and the gathering was moved off campus.

AHA Assistant Director of Advancement – Events Barbara Burklund (AHA ’77) has been the driving force behind Angelic Evening since 2013.


Proceeds from the “Silver Edition” of Angelic Evening are being dedicated to the stunning renovations to AHA’s auditorium and music wing. The bright, comfortably outfitted auditorium was unveiled April 19, as the upper school celebrated Grandparents’ Day. AHA President Melinda Hanlon and Principal Jean Miller each cut one of the two blue ribbons that cordoned off the main entrances. Bishop Michael Saporito blessed this section of the building, which had not been updated since 1965. The entire school community is benefitting from the renovations, as the auditorium is a focal point for many gatherings.