APRIL 2019
Jennifer Crusco
Communications Assistant

International Week is Celebration of Diversity at AHA

Demarest, NJ: International Week, a five-day celebration of diversity at the Academy of the Holy Angels concluded with the annual International Night festivities. Senior Samantha Herrera from the AHA Diversity Council was the sparkplug who extended the one night event into a full week of activities, demonstrating that “all are welcome” at AHA.

Diversity Council members Kayla Pringle and Annabel Hazrati played key roles throughout the week with input from Asian Cultural Society President Lauren Kim and Black & Hispanic Cultural Society President Emilie Thomas.

Black, Hispanic, Asian, and Gaelic cultures were featured on specific days of International Week, and Friday was “Heritage Day.” During this inclusive event, students were encouraged to leave their thumbprints on a map of the world.

On International Night, festivities included an extensive buffet featuring foods from around the globe, with numerous vegetarian options for a Friday during Lent. Faculty advisers James Dykes and Christopher Petrozzo were on hand, with Dykes lending the student servers a hand as they dished out the eclectic fare.

This year, the students presented “Angels on Deck,” a program of music, dance, poetry readings, and historical and cultural notes from students from multiple parts of the world. All of the portions of the program were linked together by a cruise theme. Emcees Queen Smith and Sydney Morris played their parts well, directing the audience to different parts of the “ship.”

Karina Berberian opened the show by singing the national anthem, and Emilie Thomas and Lauren Kim offered a few words of welcome.

The ACS performed an exciting Tinikling routine. This form of dance originated in the Philippines, and includes some performers who tap long poles rhythmically on the ground while dancers step carefully between them. The traditional dance steps were intended to mimic the movements of local birds (specifically slaty-breasted, barred, and buff-banded rails). The ACS later returned to the stage to present an atmospheric, candlelight Pandanggo dance and two trendy K-pop (Korean pop) numbers.

Members of the BHCS performed three dances, including tribal, hip hop, and bachata numbers. Bachata is a musical style that originated in the Dominican Republic and incorporates indigenous, African, and European elements.

Natasha Dhanrajani gave a short speech about Sindhi culture, Paulina Yannitsadis expressed her Greek pride, and Ashanti DeLoach discussed the life of Malcolm X. Kayla Pringle spoke about her Haitian and African-American heritage, and Chaelin Park discussed Korean culture. Samantha Herrera spoke about Hispanic heritage, and Annabel Hazrati, who was dressed as a shark to enhance the program’s cruise-inspired theme, gave a humor-infused talk about north Indian culture.

Taliah Brisard, Jasmin Prophete, and Lauren Foster shared their evocative, original poetry. Selections included “An Ode to Haiti,” “On Self Love and Being Black,” and “Black and Proud,” respectively.

Musical performances included Erin Choi playing the gayageum, a zither-style stringed instrument. Sally Chung appeared in traditional dress as she played the danso, a vertical Korean flute.

Abigail Lovatt and Sister Mary Foley managed the lights and the sound for this entertaining “cruise.”

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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