View online edition


OLMA Students Spread Sunshine Through Service

OLMA Sophomore Kaitlyn Fallon (Williamstown) presents a Smile Box to a resident of Cardinal Village in Washington Township.

As part of the Our Lady of Mercy Academy (OLMA) Compassion Quest Mini-Mester course, 38 students hit the road yesterday morning spreading a bit of sunshine wherever they went. Their day began at the Church of the Incarnation where they gathered for Mass and surprised some unsuspecting parishioners with Smile Boxes on the way out. They also made stops at Cardinal Village assisted living facility, Goodwill Store, and ShopRite where they filled the aisles with smiles.

Summer Rusciano (Newfield), an OLMA freshman, brightened this family’s day at the Goodwill Store in Sewell.

“Eight OLMA freshmen came together to plan this service project,” said Brooke Coyle, OLMA Head of school. “The idea behind it is to help students embrace and understand the importance of service, as well as to learn how to manage a project of this scope from start to finish. This was a major success on both fronts. This group of 38 girls have big hearts and are passionate about helping others without expecting anything in return.”

Compassion Quest is an example of one of the Mini-Mester Courses offered at OLMA. These courses represent experiential learning at its best and give students the opportunity to delve deeper into subject areas that intrigue and interest them. Along the way, students learn a variety of life lessons including managing their money, navigating tours and hikes, thinking on their feet, handling cultural and language differences, solving problems, following directions, being on time, as well as how to push themselves further than they ever thought they could. While most Mini-Mesters occur in June, there are a few, like Compassion Quest that span the regular school year.