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May 06, 2024

Sent on a Mission of Love

“I send you out on a mission of love.” The Academy of the Holy Angels Gospel Choir sang these words on Service Day (May 1) as students in Grades 6-12, faculty, staff, and administration prepared to clean the environment, assist the greater community, and engage in activities on campus.


Service, integrity, and character are encouraged in every member of the AHA community, and Service Day allows individuals to combine their strengths and talents to accomplish good works as one body. This annual event reflects AHA’s status as a National Service Learning School and a sponsored work of the School Sisters of Notre Dame.


Campus Minister Maryanne Miloscia organized the upper school’s activities with assistance from Campus Minister Nick Fallivene and Director of Mission & Ministry Joan Connelly. Students at the middle school participated in on-campus activities, working with AHA Middle School Dean Traci Koval and several teachers.


“Here at Holy Angels, we believe as the SSND wrote in their constitution, ‘You Are Sent,’ that ‘Education means enabling persons to reach the fullness of their potential as individuals created in God’s image and assisting them to direct their gifts toward building the earth.’ We hope that Service Day helps the students realize their full potential and look at the impact they can have on the world,” Miloscia said.

Angels packing food for Franciscan Charities Soup Kitchen.

This year, the ninth grade worked at the Food Brigade in Clifton. In keeping with tradition, the sophomores cleaned a section of Palisades Interstate Park. This year, the tenth grade tidied the Ross Dock Picnic Area at Bloomer Beach.


Other Angels lent a hand at New Jersey Audubon’s Lorrimer Sanctuary in Franklin Lakes, the Father English Food Pantry and Oasis: A Haven for Women and Children in Paterson, Saint Matthew’s Lunchtime Ministry in Hoboken, the Institute for Educational Advancement in New Milford, and more.


A group of 10 juniors shared their energy, smiles, and compassion at the Franciscan Charities Soup Kitchen in Newark along with social studies teacher Jennifer Cucchisi. This inspired team packed hot lunches, individually wrapped bagels and sweets, and bagged farm fresh lettuce for the kitchen’s weekly farmers market. At midday, the Angels were especially eager to meet the lunchtime crowd. The students joked and laughed as they distributed the lunches they had packed, asked for additional jobs, volunteered to vacuum and clean up, and were reluctant to leave when the bus arrived to take everyone back to Holy Angels.


AHA seniors, who are exempt from Service Day, have already amassed an aggregate of tens of thousands of service hours. Many continue their outreach in college and afterward.


Miss Koval arranged three Service Day sessions for Angels in Grades 6-8. Middle students began their day with workshop about service to each other; a closer look at friendships, group dynamics, and being kind. Angels explored intent versus impact in terms of their own actions and words, and learned to recognize and repair their mistakes.

Middle school Angels visited with service dogs.


During the second session, Michele and Tom Meli, founders of Mickey’s Kids, shared an overview of their organization. Mickey’s Kids is dedicated to raising funds to train and insure therapy and service animals, and assist in the placement process. The highlight of this session was a chance for students to meet Brooks and Maple, two of the dogs the Melis brought to AHA for the day.


Middle school Angels also made prayer cards for the School Sisters who live at the Ozanam and Watermark retirement communities. These students also made cards for their relatives who will be joining them at the middle school’s Grandparents’ Day celebration on May 7.