December 2019
Jennifer Crusco
Communications Assistant

AHA Alumna, Long-time Coach Honored at YMCA Sports Banquet

Demarest, NJ: The Academy of the Holy Angels is pleased to announce that scholar-athlete Ashley Hess (AHA ’19) and AHA Cross-Country & Track Coach Howard Schuman were recognized at the YMCA of Bergen County’s 54th Annual Sports Banquet. Hess, who distinguished herself as one of the state’s top tennis players during her time at AHA, received the J. Barry Stanford Award. Schuman earned the Thomas L. Della Torre Special Achievement Award.

AHA Athletic Director Patti Gorsuch described the evening as “a celebration of college athletes, pro athletes, officials, and coaches who do so much to promote athletics in our area.”

She added, “Ashley Hess is undoubtedly the finest tennis player ever to represent Holy Angels, and Coach Schuman is a legend in Bergen County and has mentored so many track athletes over his many years of coaching. We are very lucky to have him at our school. We are proud that Ashley and Howard were honored.”

The J. Barry Stanford Award is presented to recent high school graduates who have received significant recognition in sports. Hess is a National Merit Scholarship Finalist who graduated Second in Merit from Holy Angels, and earned the Angel Award, the most prestigious honor the Academy can present to a varsity athlete. This celebrated tennis player was recognized for four years of success, exceptional dedication, leadership, and sportsmanship.

As a member of the AHA Varsity Tennis Team, Hess was named First Team All-County, Athlete of the Week, and Athlete of the Season. She earned a Bergen County Championship, and became a two-time state individual finalist.

She was a National High School Tennis All-American in 2018 and 2019, and her exceptional attitude earned her the Edith Martin Girls 18’s Sportsmanship Award from the Eastern Section of the United States Tennis Association. This is the highest honor presented by the USTF. Her AHA tennis uniform has been retired.

In her senior year at AHA, Hess served as president of the Student Council Executive Board. She is a member of the National Honor Society, the Société Honorarie De Français, Mu Alpha Theta (the National Math Honor Society), the Science National Honor Society, and Rho Kappa (the National Social Studies Honor Society).

“It was an honor for me to have learned that I was one of the recipients of the J. Barry Stanford Award for scholar-athletes in Bergen County,” said Hess, who was honored in absentia. She was unable to attend the banquet, as she was taking her last final exam of her first semester at Dartmouth. “I certainly want to thank Mrs. Gorsuch for accepting the award on my behalf and, of course, I would like to thank Holy Angels for supporting my academic and high school tennis career. I am forever grateful and have the best memories attending and competing for AHA!

“I have absolutely loved my first term at Dartmouth,” Hess added. “I had a great fall season and it was amazing competing for the Big Green for the first time. One of the highlights of my fall tennis season was making it to the Round of 16 in both singles and doubles of the ITA Northeast Regional Championship at West Point. I am looking forward to starting my second term at Dartmouth and the start of our winter tennis season.”

The Thomas L. Della Torre Special Achievement Award is presented to those who embody dedication to youth, sports, family, and the YMCA’s values of spirit, mind, and body.

“It was a great honor,” Schuman said. “I owe thanks to our wonderful AD Patty Gorsuch, all the wonderful athletes I have been fortunate enough to coach, all my assistant coaches, and my wife and children. For 54 years, it has been a great life to be a coach. I hope I have made a better life for those students and athletes whom I have taught and coached.”

Schuman has coached at the high school and college levels. He has been Bergen County Coach of the Year multiple times, was New Jersey and Northeast Coach of the Year in 2004, and was nominated for national-level Coach of the Year honors. He was inducted into the New Jersey Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002 and the AHA Athletic Hall of Fame in 2017.

Born in New York City, Schuman received his undergraduate degree in physical education and health from the City College of New York, and his master’s from the City University in New York. He also served in the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant in the infantry.

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 high school serves young women from a broad spectrum of cultural and religious backgrounds. Over time, thousands of women have passed through AHA’s portals. Many go on to study at some of the nation’s best universities, earning high-ranking positions in medicine, government, law, education, public service, business, arts, and athletics. The Academy’s current leaders continue to further the SSND mission to provide each student with the tools she needs to reach the fullness of her potential—spiritually, intellectually, socially, and physically, by offering a first-rate education in a nurturing environment where equal importance is placed on academic excellence, character development, moral integrity, and service to others.

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