of the HOLY
to AHA established in 1879
The Academy of the Holy Angels, founded in 1879 by the School Sisters of Notre Dame, is a private, Catholic college-preparatory school dedicated to academic excellence in the education of young women.
Education means enabling persons to reach the fullness of their potential as individuals created in Godâ€™s image and assisting them to direct their gifts toward building the earth. â€“You are Sent, Constitution of the School Sisters of Notre Dame
Our Mission Grounded in the gospel message and in the tradition and charism of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, the Academy welcomes students from many different communities, ethnic backgrounds and religious affiliations, appreciating the uniqueness of each individual while working towards the fulfillment of Jesus Christ’s prayer “that all may be one.” Rooted in the conviction of the School Sisters of Notre Dame that “the world can be changed through the transformation of persons,” education at the Academy empowers each young woman to reach the fullness of her potential spiritually, morally, intellectually, socially and physically, so that she, in turn, may share her gifts with others.
Accreditation In 1933, the Academy of the Holy Angels was first accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and has retained membership through all subsequent evaluations. The Academy is a member of the College Entrance Examination Board and the National Catholic Educational Association.
Blue Ribbon Holy Angels is a U.S. Department of Education National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. In the year that Holy Angels was awarded this distinction, it was one of only 80 high schools and one of twelve Catholic high schools in the nation to receive the honor. The Blue Ribbon, the most prestigious education award in the country, distinguishes the Academy for its excellence in leadership, teaching, curriculum, student achievement, parent involvement and community support.
service learning More than just community service, service learning teaches students about the causes and remedies for many of the problems affecting society today. The Corporation for National Service twice selected Holy Angels as a National Service Learning Leader School.
PEACE SITE Holy Angels is a member of the SSND International Shalom Network for Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation, and has been recognized by The Peace Site Network as a place where students study peace and work to build community.
Course of Study The Academy’s rigorous course of study prepares young women for successful college careers. Course criteria, goals and objectives and qualifying exams ensure proper placement of students in the College Preparatory, Honors and High Honors courses each year. A wide variety of elective courses complement a solid foundation of required courses. Every effort is made to place each student in courses best suited for her. Whether her future lies in mathematics and science or humanities and the arts, Holy Angels’ 8-day modified block schedule gives each Angel the opportunity to explore her intellectual interests.
“AHA molded me to be a strong woman
for others, and also inspired and allowed me to reflect on one of my most favorite lessons – to understand and learn with
one’s head and one’s heart.
–Megan Emmich ’06 (BA College of the Holy Cross ’10)
History The Academy of the Holy Angels, the oldest private school in Bergen County, was established as a boarding and day school for girls in 1879. What began in a simple frame house in Fort Lee purchased by Sister Mary Nonna Dunphy, SSND, has grown into a premier college-preparatory school. Known originally as Holy Angels’ Collegiate Institute for Young Ladies and Preparatory School for Little Girls, the Academy attracted students from all over the world, who came there to study subjects ranging from Christian Doctrine and German to Drawing and Music. The school’s enrollment increased steadily and the facilities were expanded accordingly. The cross-surmounted dome of the new school building, erected in 1910, remained a landmark in Fort Lee until the Academy moved to a new facility in Demarest in 1965. The location of the school has changed, but the Academy’s vision, global curriculum and empowerment of young women have grown even stronger in the new millennium.
Unity alone makes us strong within and without; unity makes us invincible.
–Blessed Theresa of Jesus
Academy of the Holy Angels, a Catholic college-preparatory school for young women, is guided by the charism and educational philosophy of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. The Academy is part of the global network of SSND schools in the United States and throughout the world.
“One Mind, One Heart, One Spirit”
The School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) was founded by Blessed Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger in 1833 in Bavaria, Germany, to educate young women. The SSNDs developed an educational philosophy that fosters each student’s individual gifts within a strong and vibrant community. One student explains, “at Holy Angels, uniqueness is appreciated, but oneness is crucial.” The SSND charism permeates every aspect of life at Holy Angels.
The SSND Mission Ideals: Education Women and Leadership Inclusivity Mutuality and Collaboration Development of Faith Communities Global Perspective and World Vision Systemic Change
A unique collaborative model adopted by the school nurtures a strong sense of community that has become the heart of the Holy Angels experience.
environment allows girls to enhance the gifts that women naturally possess, such as relationship building, interpersonal skills and empathy. These are all important elements in leadership today. â€“Jennifer Moran, Principal
“Educational programs at Holy Angels address all dimensions of a young woman’s formation: intellectual, physical, social, moral, and spiritual.” –Sister Mary V. Maher ’68, SSND Superior General
the CLASSROOM Dedicated Faculty As one walks through the hallways of the Academy, it is evident that there is a love of learning by both teachers and students. Whether students are engaged in a discussion, conducting a hands-on experiment, or absorbed in their computer tablets, each classroom is filled with excitement. Class size is small, giving teachers the opportunity to offer individualized attention to each girl. Holy Angels is privileged to have a staff of religious and lay personnel who actively seek to foster the academic, spiritual and social growth of each student. The faculty hold degrees ranging from the B.A. to the Ph.D. and a large majority have, or are pursuing, advanced degrees and have an average of 10 years of experience at Holy Angels. Their foremost goal continues to be the successful futures of the students they teach. Professional growth, through workshops and seminars (particularly in technology), strengthens the teachers’ mastery of subject content and keeps them current with ideas and issues relative to their field. Teachers also moderate activities, participate in service projects and retreats, and coach athletic teams, allowing them to interact with the students outside of the classroom.
MULTIMEDIA CLASSROOMS The classroom experience at AHA is enhanced through the use of multimedia lessons and activities. Video clips, presentations, and digital images elevate the material visually, while audio clips and music can provide further clarity of the lessonâ€™s content. Students utilize the internet to connect with the global community through video conferencing. Recently, students video-chatted with a class in Scotland to discuss the American presidential election process. This level of technology also enables foreign language students to truly develop as citizens of the world. Whether in French, Italian or Spanish class, the Language Lab enables students to practice their foreign language speaking and listening skills, while receiving individualized feedback from language programs.
Haiku Using the Tablet PC in a wireless environment, Holy Angelsâ€™ students learn to think critically and communicate effectively. Students access and analyze information in order to make educated and informed decisions, while working independently and with others to solve problems. In 2004, Holy Angels was one of the first schools in the nation to incorporate tablet PCs in the classroom, and has been leading the technology charge ever since.
Haiku is AHAâ€™s web-based Learning Management System and is used numerous times daily by students, teachers and parents. Through this system, a student can access all of her classes, assignments, and upcoming projects, tests and quizzes. Teachers create individual pages for each of their classes that allow them to post reference materials, study guides and links to educational resources. Haiku also allows students to have online discussions and wikipages with teachers and classmates to enhance the educational experience. Assignments can be electronically submitted, graded and returned with comments, using a dropbox. Parents receive their own access to Haiku, allowing them to view each syllabus, see when assignments were completed, and review grades earned. Teachers publish individual grades and running class averages, so that at any time a student knows where she stands in the class.
Mac lab The summer of 2012 saw a major renovation to the Holy Angels campus, transforming the computer room into the Mac Lab, which houses 18 state-of-the-art Apple desktop computers. The Mac Lab is used by 10th through 12th graders enrolled in digital design, graphic arts and photography courses, all of which can be applied toward their two year art requirement. Students are provided with the same tools and software used by professional graphic designers, video editors and photographers. The Mac Lab epitomizes holistic learning, linking art and technology while encouraging boundless creativity.
TECHNOLOGY AHAâ€™s Technology Center provides
students and faculty with a friendly, knowledgeable technical support staff. At the Tech Center, students and teachers can find help troubleshooting problems with their tablet PCs or have their machines repaired. The tech staff teaches members of the school community how to use technology and a wide variety of programs to accomplish their educational and project goals.
the COLLEGE COUNSELING College Counselors mentor and support students academically and guide them through every aspect of the college search and selection process. Together, counselors and students aim for each Angels’ best results, including acceptance into top tier colleges and universities. Counselors connect with students individually as well as in small group sessions, and during special programs and workshops held after the school day ends.
Three full-time professional College Counselors, a College Coordinator and a licensed Social Worker are available to help students profit from their educational and personal experiences and plan realistically for the future. College Counselors guide students through academic course selection, test interpretation, and career and college advisement. The guide How to Get Good Grades is an excellent tool provided to incoming freshmen.
E-Portfolio All AHA students graduate with an electronic portfolio. This portfolio, initiated freshman year, is a mix of required information and student selected artifacts that present each Angel in her best light as she goes through the college admissions process. In addition to a resumé and an introduction of themselves, students also select their favorite works created over their four years at Holy Angels, including research materials, presentations, slideshows, artwork, videos of live performances, language dissertations, speeches and more. Students are then able to create a link to their portfolio for submission to college admissions counselors in support of their college application.
The Road to College Applying to college is a process that requires a great deal of energy, time and thought! Students and their parents work closely with Holy Angels staff to select colleges that are the best fit for each Angel. Each year, more than 200 colleges and universities visit AHA’s campus. Special on-campus programs include senior college conferences with over 50 colleges and universities, college immediate decision days, college and university interviews, financial aid workshops, application essay writing workshops, alumnae receptions, parent and student application Q&As, Fall College Night, and our notable AHA Spring College Fair which attracts over 100 institutions annually. Sophomores and juniors can attend fall and spring college tours to top area institutions. Juniors and seniors can partake in AHA’s program with Fairleigh Dickinson University which offers seven courses on-campus, in which students can earn both high school and college credits simultaneously. Students can earn up to 15 college credits before graduation.
THE ANGELS EDGE The CCO Haiku site contains monthly news and supplements the comprehensive AHA College Planning Guide. The Haiku page also highlights summer programs, scholarships, awards, college fairs, college open houses and college financial aid.
Standardized Testing and Preparation To help maximize individual standardized tests scores, national tests are administered on campus, including the PSAT and 14 AP tests for upperclassmen. Optional after-school SAT/ACT Prep programs, as well as weekend practice tests, are offered. Exclusively available for our Angels is a 24/7 personal online ACT/SAT prep program.
Success Every year, 100% of AHA seniors attend 4-year colleges and universities and receive millions of dollars in scholarships and grants as they continue to be admitted to top tier institutions.
ADDITIONAL special programs offered Peer Tutoring, which supports faculty extra-help by connecting students with volunteer tutors HOBY Leadership for sophomores NJ Governorâ€™s School nominations for juniors Presidentâ€™s Award for Academic Excellence The Book Awards & Medals Program is offered junior year in collaboration with more than 20 top colleges and universities
Growing in Faith The Religious Studies curriculum emphasizes the development of a personal relationship with God and an active prayer life. The curriculum is approached on three levels: information, formation and transformation. Scripture is central to every course in the curriculum. Campus Ministry serves to reinforce the identity of the Academy as a school community in the Roman Catholic tradition while respecting and celebrating the richness of the diverse religious backgrounds of all its members. The Campus Ministers work closely with students, parents, administration and faculty to create an atmosphere for growth in the Christian life and to provide opportunities for development as a faith community. All grade levels participate in annual retreats to deepen their faith. The vision of a new global community based on gospel values permeates life at the Academy, impelling each young woman to embrace generous leadership. Students engage in service missions locally, across the United States, and around the world.
“Like Blessed Theresa
of Jesus, it is our job to
follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, who thought of others before himself. As God’s children, we now carry on his message and
mission of love.
–Anna Kohli ’13 (Quinnipiac University Class of ’17)
More than a third of the student body participates on one or more of AHAâ€™s 21 athletic teams. While competition is intense, so too is the desire for fair play and integrity. In addition to receiving awards for athletic accomplishments, scholar athletes have been recognized for their sportsmanship on and off the field of play. Recent graduates have been awarded athletic scholarships to some of the finest colleges in the nation. Athletic facilities include The Field of Angel Dreams Athletic Complex, the Angel gymnasium, a computerized fitness center, five outdoor tennis courts and even a putting green. Caring coaches and a commitment to the ideals of sportsmanship and teamwork enable scholar athletes to grow in spirit and fitness.
team spirit Holy Angels offers a strong and varied sports program that is conducted at one of the best athletic facilities for young women in the county. In addition to general physical education classes, each season brings a new complement of sports, providing students with a broad spectrum of events in which to participate.
Varsity Basketball JV Basketball Freshmen Basketball Bowling Cross-Country Bergen Catholic Varsity Cheer Team AHA Cheer Team Fencing Golf Varsity Lacrosse JV Lacrosse Varsity Softball JV Softball Varsity Soccer JV Soccer Varsity Tennis JV Tennis Spring Track Winter Track Varsity Volleyball JV Volleyball
I’m part of more than just a team!
THRIVING ARTISTS Serious and disciplined study of Fine Arts results in a competitive portfolio of work after four years. By participating in the Visual Arts at AHA, students find the confidence to create beauty in the world and celebrate their individuality. AHA graduates are consistently accepted into some of the finest art schools in the country, and many go on to enjoy art as a prestigious career in the areas of architecture, fine arts, art direction, graphic design and museum professions.
FINE ARTS The Fine Arts Department offers courses of study that enrich, enhance, and fulfill students’ creative aspirations. These programs guide the student toward deeper self knowledge and global awareness, and reflect AHA’s philosophy of educating the whole person. Students also have the opportunity to be accepted into the National Art Honor Society. Through the practice of making art, students develop essential skills in the formal elements of art and design and begin to understand the relationships of contemporary culture to the art of the past. All studio classes incorporate research, discussion and reflection on the historical influences and aesthetics of various works of art. For students who wish to conduct serious college-level study, Holy Angels offers rigorous and highly rewarding courses of study in AP Art History, AP Studio Art and AP Studio Art 2-D Design. The Mac lab takes student artwork to a new level, as they learn design tricks and techniques, create 3-D landscapes and architectural renderings, and edit their own photography and video creations.
Awards & Recognition In recent years, Holy Angels students began submitting work competitively, most notably to The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is the longest-running, most prestigious recognition program for creative teens in the U.S., and the nation’s largest source of scholarships for creative young artists and writers. Past winners include Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Stephen King, and many more. Holy Angels has already added many names to this impressive list, winning an increasing number of Gold Key Awards, Silver Key Awards and Honorable Mentions each year.
AHAâ€™s co-curricular Performing Arts program is exciting, extensive and comprehensive. It includes two honor societies: International Thespian Society and Tri-M Music Honor Society. The Academy Chorus, Orchestra, Vocal Ensemble, Handbell Choir and Jazz Ensemble (the first all-girl jazz band in the state!) provide a creative outlet for more than 25% of the student body. The annual talent show, drama and musical productions, ably supported by a versatile stage crew, draw enthusiastic audiences and have received awards from organizations like Paper Mill Playhouse and the Helen Hayes Youth Theatre (Metropolitan High School Theater Awards).
DANCE team The award-winning and nationally recognized Holy Angels Dance Team offers a comprehensive dance study in a variety of genres including Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz, Pom, and Hip Hop. The Angels have won countless State Championships as well as the National Title in 2008 at the National Dance Team Championship in Orlando, Florida. The team has been recognized as a top all-around dance program in the country, exemplifying community service, outstanding academic achievement, and spirit raising activities.
The AHA Family THE PARENTS’ GUILD
The Holy Angels’ community is truly blessed to have a committed and loyal Parents’ Guild. The Guild sponsors many events and programs throughout the year, both social occasions and fundraisers. Angelic Evening, Holy Angels’ annual auction, is the largest Parents’ Guild event of the year. Other annual favorites are the Mother/Daughter Fashion Show and the Father/Daughter Mass and Dinner.
ANGELS IN THE ARTS Angels in the Arts is an association of parents who actively support the Fine & Performing Arts Programs at Holy Angels. They are involved in many aspects of the artistic community, including plays, concerts and art shows. A special scholarship recognizes graduating seniors for their outstanding contribution to the arts at Holy Angels. At the Arts Appreciation Dinner, all seniors involved in the arts are honored as they take their final bows.
PARENTS’ ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION The athletic program is enthusiastically supported by the Parents’ Athletic Association. Their efforts bolster the teams as well as the athletic program overall and provide a forum for recognition above and beyond that of awards and trophies. Each year, the PAA hosts the AHA Athletic Hall of Fame Beefsteak Dinner, as well as three sports banquets to honor the achievements of student athletes.
There are many opportunities for parents to become involved on campus. Angel parents are active partners/participants in school life, as well as devoted and energetic supporters of the Academyâ€™s philosophy. They are involved in coordinating events, assisting in fundraising efforts and serving as volunteers on over twenty committees within the various parent organizations, where they lend their time, talents and expertise.
ALUMNAE A Forever Bond
Since 1879, the Academy has graduated young women who have gone on to make a difference in the world. Holy Angels proudly recognizes this precious resource and invites them to engage with one another and inspire todayâ€™s students. Many come to share their stories, whether formally at an all-school assembly, informally in an intimate classroom setting, or as a mentor in the Angels Advantage Program. Alumnae of Holy Angels and the current student body share a unique bond, a sisterhood, which knows no age and is linked to the tradition and education that they have experienced as Angels. The Office of Alumnae Relations continues to expand the network of alumnae by keeping in close contact through effective communication such as social media and the alumnae magazine Tidings. Events, reunions and educational programs ensure a lifelong association, as the Academy enters its third century of excellence in education of women leaders.
Alumnae Association The Alumnae Association bridges the campuses of Fort Lee and Demarest and represents more than 6,500 graduates. The mission of the Association is to promote and maintain alumnae interest in support of the Academy by working cooperatively with the Office of Alumnae Relations. This group sponsors educational programs, provides support for special projects of the Academy, participates in fundraising campaigns for the benefit of the Academy, coordinates regional groups throughout the United States and recognizes alumnae contributions to Holy Angels and the community.
Hall of Fame AHA recognizes individuals who have enhanced programs in both the areas of Athletics and Fine & Performing Arts. The Athletic Hall of Fame and the Fine & Performing Arts Hall of Fame recognizes athletes, coaches, artists, performers and contributors. Honorees for both must exemplify the highest standards of ethical conduct and moral character.
Angel Network The Angel Network is a subcommittee of the Alumnae Association and is open to all AHA Alumnae. The group focuses on networking events, professional development and most importantly provides mentoring and internship opportunities for Angels of all ages. Involvement can be in the New Jersey area or as far away as Asia!
the Angels Advantage Program
The Ellen and Ralph Merz Scholarship
The best way to gain insight into a career choice is through hands-on experience. The Angels Advantage Program affords students the opportunity to shadow or work alongside Angel alumnae mentors in a variety of career settings within the New York metropolitan area. Students explore and cultivate their vision of the future through these one to two day externships. It is through this networking experience that students can gain confidence in their career path, attain valuable practical knowledge, get an insider’s view and add value to their resumé.
Holy Angels’ commitment to excellence in education does not end on graduation day. The Ellen and Ralph Merz Scholarships were established by the 1916 graduate Ellen Reilly Merz, a ward of the foundress, Sister Mary Nonna Dunphy, SSND. The scholarships are awarded annually to graduates of Holy Angels, and cover partial tuition for one year in an undergraduate or graduate program. All graduates who are currently enrolled in a college or university, or graduates who are planning to return to formal study in the next school year, are eligible. The scholarship is intended for those pursuing a degree in education or a field where education plays a significant (or important) role.
The beauty and serenity of the Academy’s 25-acre campus in Demarest, New Jersey contribute to its college-like atmosphere and support the educational mission. The Academy’s proximity to metropolitan New York provides convenient access to the area’s many cultural and educational resources.
All roads lead to Holy Angels... A transportation coordinator will assist AHA families in finding the most efficient, cost-effective means of getting to Holy Angels. Holy Angels is accessible from Bergen, Hudson and Passaic Counties in NJ, Rockland and Orange Counties in NY, as well as NYC. Students use the bus ride for study, relaxation or even catching up on sleep. All agree it’s worth the trip.
traditions Throughout the history of the Academy, students have come together to celebrate the many traditions that form a rich tapestry of memories for graduates of Holy Angels.
Angel for the Day Angelic Evening Arts Appreciation Dinner Art Shows Awareness Day Baccalaureate Liturgy and Awards Big Sister/Little Sister Program Catholic Schools Week Concerts Father/Daughter Mass & Dinner Field Day Graduation Grandparentsâ€™ Day Holy Angels Day Honor Society Inductions International Night Junior Prom Junior Ring Ceremony Liturgies Mother/Daughter Fashion Show Pep Rallies Retreats Senior Halloween Party Senior Prom Service Day Sophomore Semi-Formal Spirit Week Sports Banquets SSND Foundation Day Theatre Productions
“ We should push
ourselves to do the things that we wouldn’t have had the courage to do before. If AHA has taught us one thing throughout these four years, it’s that our potential is one of our greatest assets, and that we will never live to ‘the fullness of our potential’ unless we’re unafraid to
take some risks. –Sarah Owens ’11
(University of Notre Dame Class of ’15)
315 Hillside Avenue Demarest, New Jersey 07627
www.holyangels.org sponsored by the school sisters of notre dame
Academy of the Holy Angels in Demarest, NJ.