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June 10, 2024

Onward & Upward!

The Academy of the Holy Angels Middle School celebrated its third eighth grade commencement on June 7, 2024. This year’s graduation exercises and Baccalaureate Mass were held at Saint Thérèse of Lisieux Church in Cresskill with Father Michael Joyce, O. Carm. presiding.


AHA President Melinda Hanlon welcomed everyone to the event, noting that some of this year’s graduates were among the first students to enter the sixth grade when the middle school opened in 2021. The middle school represents the renewal of the School Sisters of Notre Dame’s tradition of educating young women in Grades 6-8.


Middle School Dean Traci Koval, who built the middle school from the ground up, expressed her admiration for the Angels and their many achievements.


In his homily, Fr. Joyce recognized the girls’ accomplishments, but observed, “Life is a journey, but it’s not a journey of accomplishments. It’s a journey of the heart.”


Members of the AHA Middle School Class of 2024 are Chloe Burkards*, Kiera Burke, Avery Chang, Ashley Choi, Allison Chong*, Ava Cifelli*, Charlotte Conover, Erin Dempsey*, Sophia Garzon*, Hannah George*, Lizbeth George*, Eftihia Giannikos*, Hannah Kim*, Kaci Li*, Cristyn Lindsday*, Kaelyn Malig*, Ella Menapace*, Valentina Mendoza*, Reina Mercado*, Daphne Mura, Caroline Nam*, Maria Petrou, Isabel Raymond, Suzanna Shayakhmetova, Jillian Sheridan, Rebeccah Shippie, Hailey Smith*, Sparrow Smith*, Vivianne Van Ost, and Chloe Zaladonis*. (An asterisk denotes a three-year Angel. Bold type denotes Junior National Honor Society members.)

The AHA Middle School Class of 2024 with AHA’s faculty, staff, and administration.

Angels who received the President’s Award for Educational Excellence include Chloe Burkards, Kiera Burke, Ashley Choi, Allison Chong, Ava Cifelli, Charlotte Conover, Hannah George, Lizbeth George, Eftihia Giannikos, Hannah Kim, Kaci Li, Cristyn Lindsay, Kaelyn Malig, Reina Mercado, Caroline Nam, Maria Petro, Suzanna Shayakhmetova, Vivianne Van Ost, and Chloe Zaladonis.


Sparrow Smith received the American Citizenship Award for her appreciation of civic responsibility, strength of character, courage to do the right thing, and willingness to promote citizenship.


This year’s Congressional Community Service Award went to Lizbeth George.


Departmental honorees include: Ella Menapace, religious studies; Rebbecah Shippie, reading; Lizbeth George, writing; Ashley Choi, art; Sophia Garzon, math; Kaelyn Malig, algebra; Lizbeth George, geometry; Maria Petrou, science; Charlotte Conover, French; Maria Petrou, Latin; Hannah George, Spanish; Rebeccah Shippie, social studies; Kaci Li, music; and Vivianne Van Ost, physical education.


Theater awards went to Erin Dempsey, Sparrow Smith, Maria Petrou, Charlotte Conover, Hannah George, Eftihia Giannikos, Allison Chong, Cristyn Lindsay, Hailey Smith, Suzanna Shayakhmetova, Reina Mercado, Ava Cifelli, Valentina Mendoza, Chloe Zaladonis, Sophia Garzon, Vivianne Van Ost, Rebeccah Shippie, Kiera Burke, Kaci Li, Hannah Kim, and Ella Menapace.


The founding members of Angels Ink, the middle school newspaper, include Kiera Burke, Ava Cifelli, Charlotte Conover, Sophia Garzon, Lizbeth George, Eftihia Giannikos, Cristyn Lindsay, Jillian Sheridan, Rebeccah Shippe, Hailey Smith, Sparrow Smith, Vivianne Van Ost, and Chloe Zaladonis.


Several Angels were honored for their membership in Women in Science and Engineering. Those students include Isabel Raymond, Hailey Smith, Kiera Burke, Ashley Choi, Avery Chang, Chloe Zaladonis, Ava Cifelli, Ella Menapace, Allison Chong, Hannah George, Lizbeth George, Charlotte Conover, Vivianne Van Ost, Cristyn Lindsay, Valentina Mendoza, Reina Mercado, Sophia Garzon, and Maria Petrou.


Kaci Li, Allison Chong, Kaelyn Malig, Valentina Mendoza, Ava Cifelli, Reina Mercado, Hailey Smith, Vivianne Van Ost, Charlotte Conover, Sophia Garzon, Sparrow Smith, Chloe Zaladonis, Eftihia Giannikos, Hannah George, Lizbeth George, and Suzanna Shayakhmetova were honored for their contributions to the handbell ensemble. Hailey Smith, Hannah George, Lizbeth George, Kaci Li, Sparrow Smith, Chloe Zaladonis, Cristyn Lindsay, Kaelyn Malig, Allison Chong, Ava Cifelli, Valentina Mendoza, Eftihia Giannikos, and Sophia Garzon were recognized for their work with the choir. Musicians Hannah George, Lizbeth George, Allison Chong, Daphne Mura, and Kaci Li earned recognition for their participation in the orchestra.


Athletic shout-outs went to volleyball players Chloe Burkards, Charlotte Conover, Lizbeth George, Jillian Sheridan, Hannah George, Rebeccah Shippie, Eftihia Giannikos, Ashley Choi, Valentina Mendoza, Suzanna Shayakhmetova, Hannah Kim, Caroline Nam, and Kaelyn Malig. Basketball players Sparrow Smith, Eftihia Giannikos, Valentina Mendoza, Allison Chong, and Rebeccah Shippie earned kudos for their contributions to their team.


Dancers Cristyn Lindsay, Ava Cifelli, Vivianne Van Ost, and Sophia Garzon were recognized for their work with the middle school dance team – New Jersey’s 2024 champions.


AHA thanked Student Council leaders Rebeccah Shippie, president; Reina Mercado, secretary; and Chloe Burkards and Eftihia Giannikos, class representatives.


The rising ninth graders presented their parents with roses in recognition of their love and support, turned the tassels on their caps, and posed for photos before they moved onward and upward.