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November 29, 2022

Five Teens Chosen to Represent Holy Angels at HOBY Conference

A select group of Holy Angels sophomores will represent the Academy at the 2023 Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Seminar. AHA’s delegates are Cara Boyce of Old Tappan; Margaret “Molly” Doherty of New City, New York; Isabella Kim of Cresskill; Xenaya Medina of Clifton; and Gina Certo of Wyckoff (alternate).

“Thank you to all of the sophomores who applied for the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Seminar,” AHA College Counselor Jennifer Trubac wrote in her announcement. “This year we received many applications and the selection process was extremely competitive.”


Cara Boyce is a Girl Scout Gold Award candidate. Her service project involves teaching American Sign Language classes, and sharing recorded lessons with her community. Before her sophomore year, Boyce participated in the Columbia Summer Immersion Course. She discussed psychological theories and studies, and researched and presented on topics such as prejudice, conformity, empathy, and the development of personality.


Boyce has been interested in gymnastics since the age of four. She is a member of the AHA Varsity Gymnastics Team and studies at USA Gymnastics, Paragon School of Artistic Gymnastics, where she is team captain (Level 7). At USAG Level 6, she finished second in the state for bars, fourth in the state for vault, and finished fifth all-around. She earned two varsity letters, Second Team All-County Bars, and All-League Honorable Mention.


This Angel’s volunteer work included growing vegetables and using them to cook meals for local families. She is also a dedicated Meals on Wheels chef and delivery person. Boyce is a member of her church youth group, and advocates for underprivileged children. She has addressed elementary school students about the need for girls to pursue dreams. Boyce is involved with American Sign Language Club, Logic Club, stage crew, AHA Voice (newspaper), Model United Nations, Fiesta4Hope, and Red Cross Club. She creates birthday and holiday cards for kids in foster care, and sings for Joining Young and Old, a group that performs at senior residences.


This Angel is a Mother Caroline Scholarship recipient and an Angel Ambassador. She is a member of the Junior National Honor Society, and has earned the Volunteer Award, Science Award, and Student Involvement Award.


Molly Doherty is a Mother Caroline Scholar and Sister Mary Nonna Dunphy Scholarship recipient who maintains a GPA of 95 or better in all subjects. She is STEM editor for the AHA Voice, a member of the Writer’s Society, an Angel Ambassador, and a member of the American Sign Language Club. She is also a board member for Bridges, AHA’s club for inclusion. Doherty is also active with the theater program’s sound crew, Model United Nations, Psychology Club, Red Cross Club, and Fiesta4Hope, which raises funds for post-storm rebuilding efforts in Puerto Rico.

Doherty enjoys performing ballet, jazz, tap, hop-hop, contemporary, lyrical, and modern dance. She serves the greater community as a volunteer for Soup Angels; Special Olympics New York; and as a banner bearer at liturgies and prayer services at AHA. Doherty is also a server at a local eatery.


Isabella Kim recently worked with a mentor from Harvard. She conducted research into the origins and evolution of cognitive dissonance, and explored approaches for further studies in this area. Her research paper, “The Evolution of Cognitive Dissonance,” was published in the Sixth International Conference on Modern Research in Social Studies.

Her poetry, short stories, and creative essays have appeared in numerous publications, including Teenink, a national online magazine. She is involved with Crochet Club, American Sign Language Club, and Girls Who Code. Kim speaks English, Korean, and French, and is a member of the French Honor Society. She is also a flutist.


Kim is active with the Red Cross Club, and recently organized and distributed resources for those affected by Hurricane Ian. She also spearheaded a Dress Down Day fundraiser to benefit Operation Smile surgeries. When COVID-19 hit the tristate area, Kim organized her friends to make masks for senior citizens at a local church.


Kim is a varsity volleyball player and Do It Garden State Volleyball Team member. She is a teacher’s assistant and coach at Little Spikes, a DIGS program where children learn volleyball fundamentals.


Xenaya Medina is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars, and president of her sophomore class. She participated in AHA’s outreach for the children from Saint Peter the Apostle School by distributing digital advent calendars and recordings of Student Council members reading Christmas stories. A member of the AHA Varsity Soccer Team, Medina helped lead her team to State Sectional Quarterfinals and Bergen County Invitational Semifinals. She was named Big North Conference Second Team All-Division. highlighted Medina in the “Big North Conference Girls Soccer Midfielders to Watch in 2022” feature.

She explores her interest in technology through Robotics Club and honed her skills in web development and data science as a Kode with Klossy Scholar. She plays Club Soccer and Olympic Development Program Soccer (NJ State Team), and serves as a youth soccer referee. As a member of the AHA Black and Hispanic Cultural Society, Medina was instrumental in her club’s contributions to International Night 2022. Medina has been featured in Northern Valley Press with AHA’s Anjoules Robotics Team.

Gina Certo is an award-winning runner who broke AHA’s varsity school record in the 100 Meters with a time of 12.3 seconds. She received the AHA Winter Track Most Improved Runner Award, and the AHA Spring Track Most Valuable Runner Award. She also earned Second Team All-Bergen County Outdoor Track & Field – 200 Meters, First Team All-Big North Conference Outdoor Track & Field – 4 x 400 Meters, and Second Team All-Big North Conference Outdoor Track & Field – 200 Meters. She finished first at the Bergen County Frosh Girls Championships 200 Meters, the Bergen County Novice Meet – 100 Meters, the Metropolitan Invitational Frosh Girls – 55 Meters, and the Spike Shoe Holiday Festival Frosh Girls – 55 Meters. Certo regularly places in the Top 10 at competitive meets.


Certo coaches track for The Lakeland Area Special Olympics, and volunteers for Families for Families, Oasis, and Bridges. Certo is an altar server, and has donated sports equipment to children in need, and contributed gift cards to Texas families who are rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey. This spring, she received AHA’s Kindness Award.