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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 2019
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Jennifer Crusco
Communications Assistant
jcrusco@holyangels.org

Leadership Expert Presents Seminar for Teens at Holy Angels

Demarest, NJ: Sister Kathleen Cornell, a School Sister of Notre Dame, has spent a lifetime leading others as a teacher, principal, college administrator and faculty member, and as provincial leader of the SSND’s Atlantic-Midwest Province. This fall, S. Kathleen is sharing her expertise with students from the Academy of the Holy Angels through her eight-week seminar, “Invitation to Leadership as Gift.”

“Leaders recognize the uniqueness each one brings to the table, including their own gifts,” S. Kathleen said, adding, “We each have the call to be a leader in some way.”

Successful seminar applicants include Carmela Alessio of Belleville; Hanga Antal of River Edge; Caitlin Brannigan of Hillsdale; Darynne Madison Della Gente of Oakland; Julia Fernandez, Daniella Nahan, and Janella Osbourne of Teaneck; Mary Flahive of Harrington Park; Kaitlyn Grifonetti of Old Tappan; Brooke Hess of Cedar Grove; Ria Jani of Haworth; Cameryn Lindsay of Englewood; Zeida Ben-Fredj of Bergenfield; Antonia Mysliwiec of Cliffside Park; Danielle Patti of Englewood Cliffs; and Julie Rubino of Nutley. The seminar is presented once a week during community time, a 70-minute flexible period that is part of AHA’s new schedule.

In her classroom, the SSND Heritage Room in AHA’s Kelleher Hall, S. Kathleen encourages her students to discover who they are and what they want to accomplish as they explore power, the importance of listening, vision, collaboration, decision-making, and belief systems. Students learn to set goals, develop a meeting agenda, encourage dialogue, and assess progress.

S. Kathleen describes leadership as both an art and a science. Leaders, she noted, must be aware of their personal values and remain willing to listen carefully to what others have to say. Ultimately, leaders create pathways for others to contribute to accomplishing common goals.

For Ria Jani, a member of the Class of 2022, the seminar is an opportunity to become a better leader and share her gifts with others.

“I believe it is so important to be a leader in one’s community because the only way we can make change happen is if we push for it ourselves,” Jani said.

After the first few weeks of the seminar, Jani realized how much she values trustworthiness.

“I think that trust is so important when being a leader as our peers must trust us to hear out their opinions,” she said. “The leadership seminar involves setting goals for ourselves as to how to achieve our values. From the beginning of the school year, I have seen my leadership skills grow under the guidance of Sister Kathleen Cornell and I have strengthened my value of trustworthiness.”

Jani also emphasized the importance of the “circle of control,” one of the concepts being discussed in the seminar.

“On the outside of the circle, we put all of the things we can’t control; for example, another person’s actions. On the inside of the circle, we wrote all of the things we can control; for example, our actions and, more specifically, our reactions. It is so important not to stress about what we cannot control, but rather continue to improve upon our circle of control. Once you acknowledge the things you have no control over, you can move on and better yourself. It is truly one of the most important lessons for any leader,” Jani explained.

Zeida Ben-Fredj, who is also a member of the Class of 2022, opted to apply for the seminar to strengthen her ability to stand up for what is right, and lead others to do the same. Since the seminar began, she has learned the importance of listening to other people’s opinions.

“The most surprising lesson I learned was that when people talk to someone, they want that person to listen, and not give advice back. They want to feel heard and they do not want to be ridiculed…they need someone to just listen,” she said. “I also learned that I can lead if I just put my mind to it and disregard people's judgments about me.”

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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