APRIL 2018
Jennifer Crusco
Communications Assistant

Angels from Three States Take Part in Fourth Annual Trout Release

Demarest, NJ: Students from New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut participated in this spring’s trout release at Saddle River’s Rindlaub Park. This year’s release of 125 fish was the final element of the Trout in the Classroom program at the Academy of the Holy Angels.

Environmental science students who took part in this year’s program included Shae Baker-Lobo of Waterbury, Connecticut; Julia Battaglia of Blauvelt, New York; Bethzabeth Concepcion of Spring Valley, New York; Rebecca Hazell of Airmont, New York; and New Jersey residents MaryElena Bafundo of River Vale; Teagan Bellito and Ryan Sargenti of Oradell; Caterina Bombarda and Emma McGowan of Rutherford; Analily Bozanian of Leonia; Teagan Cunningham of Saddle River; Colby DeBellis of Oakland; Kathleen Diverio of Ramsey; Veronica Gassib of Franklin Lakes; Julia Giampiccolo of Haworth; Margeaux Gould of Weehawken; Alexa Kim of Edgewater; Iris Knowles of Clifton; Hyobin Park and Samantha Sivulka of Englewood Cliffs; Isabella Pineda of Palisades Park; Rihannon Reilly of the Township of Washington; Caroline Sommers of Harrington Park; Stephanie Velez of Ridgefield Park; Abigail Williams of Glen Rock; and Ruiqi Zhang of Ridgefield.

Erica Pritchard, AHA’s environmental science teacher, advised the students as they worked in small groups to assess the water quality and determine what organisms are present in the river. This year, one group discovered crayfish, an indication of good water quality. Pritchard noted that some recent heavy rains had a positive impact on the river as the storm waters increased the flow rate, helping to freshen the overall environment.

This is the fourth consecutive year Pritchard’s students have raised and released fingerlings. In early October, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish & Wildlife provided the trout eggs to AHA. Volunteers from Trout Unlimited delivered the eggs to Holy Angels, where they were placed in a tank.

“The tank was in the biology classroom, so many students were able to see the growth and development of the fish,” Pritchard noted. “In November, students visited the Pequest Trout Hatchery to see where the trout had come from and learn more about the life cycle and habitat.”

The Angels care for the trout until the moment the fish swim free. The day of the release, the fingerlings are packed into water-filled coolers for transport. Once the group arrives in the park, the coolers are opened and Prichard slowly adds water from the river to help the fish become acclimated to the water temperature.

Once the students complete their bio-assessments of the river, they take turns capturing the fish in a plastic cup and gently depositing the trout into the river.

Pritchard noted that her students were able to release 125 trout, but the tally could have been higher. She explained that AHA agreed to donate 40 of their fish to a school in Brick Township that had experienced a trout die-off. 

Trout in the Classroom, also known as TIC, allows students to observe the lifecycle of a trout. Caring for the fish permits students to learn about fresh water habitats, water chemistry, and the critical importance of clean cold water in a healthy ecosystem that includes everything from microorganisms to humans. TIC is available to students at various grade levels. At AHA, the program is geared toward the scientific understanding of high school-age students.

This summer, the Angels U program will allow girls entering grades six through nine an opportunity to participate in similar forms of project-based learning. Participants will select “majors” that range from science and math, engineering and technology, and leadership skill building to performing arts, fine arts, and dance. Angels U will be held from July 9th through 20th on the AHA campus in Demarest. Visit for details.

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.


Academy of the Holy Angels

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Demarest, NJ 07627

Phone: 201.768.7822

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