Get Started

April 07, 2022

Empowered with Kindness: Academy Honors Inspirational Students

Ria Jani, Annalise Olsen, Karina Small, and Gina Certo are empowered, not only with strength and confidence, but with the gift of inspirational kindness. This month, all four students received AHA’s Sister Catherine Green Kindness Award for exhibiting the warmth, kindness, and nurturing spirit for which AHA educator S. Catherine was known.


In order to be considered for this honor, Angels must demonstrate kindness that inspires others. AHA Dean of Students Andréa Beyer accepts nominations from the AHA community, and the administration selects an honoree from each grade (9-12) on a quarterly basis.



Ria Jani of Haworth, a member of the Class of 2022, was recognized for being a comforting presence whose helpful ways bring smiles and cheer to her friends when they need it most.


“She is always there for me, and is a truly wonderful friend,” a classmate said.


Another friend said Jani “makes our free periods so much fun and gives the best advice. She inspires me to work harder, and her kindness shines through in every conversation we have.”


This AHA senior is a recognized role model.


“Her positive attitude is contagious, and I know that the younger members of our team look up to her the way I do,” one person affirmed.

Jani supports her friends’ endeavors, provides thoughtful advice, and consistently speaks about others in a positive way.

Olsen, a junior from Stony Point, New York, was honored for being a supportive, caring, and trustworthy friend. A classmate said Olsen always makes herself available when someone needs to talk.


“She is never judgmental or negative. She listens and tries her best to help you work through whatever you’re going through,” one person wrote.


Another friend said Olsen is “very patient and helpful. She wants what is best for everyone without fault.”


Sophomore Karina Small of River Edge received the Kindness Award for having a positive impact on others and build up her friends. She is described as selfless, helpful, and funny.


“She is inclusive of all people and makes sure everyone knows they are welcome,” one person said.

Another classmate said, “She consistently tries to put a smile on people’s faces.”


Gina Certo of Wyckoff, the freshman honoree, is known for always coming to school with a smile, ready to make everyone’s day better. Friends say this uplifting, encouraging, funny, considerate, and kind Angel has the ability to light up any room.


“She is a great teammate and an amazing friend,” a peer said. “She makes me feel happy, and I enjoy being around her.”


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.