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February 07, 2024

Time Shifts Backward at AHA

Clockwise from bottom left: Charlie Chaplin, Louis Armstrong, Zora Neale Hurston, and Aaron Douglas played the Real Estate Game.

Time slid backward about 100 years so famous figures from the 1920s and ‘30s could attend a series of parties at the Academy of the Holy Angels.


The first soiree was held February 5. A-list stars chatted about their exciting careers and played dominoes and Monopoly (then called the Real Estate Game). AHA social studies teacher Jennifer Cucchisi sent the invitations, and greeted each guest.


“We learn about so much historical figures through discussion and lecture, but having the students research a historical figure from the 1920s and 1930s, write a paper, and create a presentation on that person, as well as dressing like them and talking to other ‘historical figures’ from the time, gets across their significance in a different and more personal way,” Cucchisi said.


Guests introduced themselves and mentioned the names of those they would most like to meet before they began to mingle. Attendees included Coco Chanel (Sophia Rigoli), Albert Einstein (Angelina Kim), Ella Fitzgerald (Amanda Garcia), Colleen Moore (Alexandra Darmanin), Zora Neale Hurston (Shannon Oliver), Esther Jones (Claire Lee), F. Scott Fitzgerald (Skylar Toddings) Katharine Hepburn (Lily Cossio), Louis Armstrong (Genevieve Tuohy), Pearl Buck (Francesca Rizzo), Aaron Douglas (Gabrielle Ross), Helen Wills (Taylor Glynn) Amelia Earhart (Anna Rakowski), Charlie Chaplin (Carolynn Manniello), Georgia O’Keeffe (Emily Neumann), Babe Ruth (Inha Jun), Greta Garbo (Isabella Zahirudin), Clara Bow (Sirahn Toufayan), and Duke Ellington (Elizabeth Choe). Zelda Fitzgerald (Caroline Kartman) and Dorothy Arzner (Sophia Burkards) sent regrets.



AHA Social Studies Department Chair Gail Fair, who launched these parties several years ago, hosted two red carpet gatherings on February 28.

Josephine Baker and Albert Einstein talk with Al Capone.


Several guests made repeat appearances, including Babe Ruth (Sienna Morreale and Sophia Karamanoukian), Clara Bow (Franki Casagrande and Sienna Pacione), F. Scott Fitzgerald (Zoe Tarnowski and Ava McAdams), and Coco Chanel (Lilianna Garber and Isabella Wisniewski), all of whom attended all three parties.


Ms. Fair gently reminded each guest that Prohibition was in effect, so only non-alcoholic beverages would be available.


One by one, she welcomed the brightest stars of the era, including music icons Josephine Baker (Eva Cho and Angie Jefferson), Lena Horne (Gabrielle Fontana), Coleman Hawkins (Catherine Raimondi), Annette Hanshaw (Eva Zazzali), Joe “King” Oliver (Xenaya Medina), and Cliff Edwards (Katie McLoughlin).


Those spotted on the red carpet also included Marie Curie (Audrey Collins), Albert Einstein (Sharanya Agarwal), Lou Gehrig (Reese Wilson and Alexandra Fontana), Helen Wills (Eva Jurcevic), Jack Dempsey (Katarina Kondratowicz), and Edith Cummings (Ella Buoncuore).


Industrialist Henry Ford (Alessandra Boncaldo) was seen chatting with Amelia Earhart (Evelyn Coleman), Charles Lindbergh (Julianna Dail), and Anna Pavlova (Annika Castillo). Animator Walt Disney (Bella Perillo) also made an appearance.


Members of the art community discussed their latest achievements, including Augusta Savage (Alana Jones), Marc Chagall (Amalia Ferolie), and Pablo Picasso (Allie Manning and Cara Boyce). Actors Colleen Moore (Sophia Lee), Greta Garbo (Rachel Stanbury), Anita Page (Madeline Sung), Charlie Chaplin (Stephanie Park), and Mary Pickford (Alexa Ferrara) gathered for photos with Ernest Hemingway (Molly Doherty), and Zelda Fitzgerald (Caroline Ko). Notorious gangster Al Capone (Sofia Petriello) threaded his way through the crowd, but no incidents ensued.


Friends missed Louis Armstrong (Rafaela Zorea) and Langston Hughes (Meni Drossos), who were unable to attend.


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 many cultural and religious backgrounds. Visit to learn more.