JUNE 2018
Jennifer Crusco
Communications Assistant

Newly-minted Holy Angels Alumna Earns Gold Award

Demarest, NJ: In the space of a few weeks, Sara Zilvetti graduated from the Academy of the Holy Angels and entered an exclusive sorority when she received her Girl Scout Gold Award. Zilvetti, a member of Glen Rock Girl Scout Troop 60284, is now among the 5.4% of eligible Girl Scouts who receive this top honor.

For her service project, she created the HuSKY Health and Wellness Program for children, and donated her curriculum to several local elementary schools and the Glen Rock Board of Education. Her goal is to encourage students to develop healthy habits at an early age.

“I loved doing this project because it combined my passion for health and fitness with my love for working with children,” she explained. “It also gave me the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to the overall well-being of my community.”

HuSKY, short for Healthy living Study for Kids and Youth, was designed for students in grades three through five, but can be adapted for younger children. Zilvetti aligned her curriculum with the New Jersey State Education Standards for Health in grades K through 5.

“This program includes 10 lessons that teach the students about how to live healthy lives starting at a young age. The curriculum covers healthy eating, drinking, and overall health such as relaxation, fitness, and hygiene,” Zilvetti said. “Not only did I develop the curriculum, but I piloted the lessons and activities with students at my former elementary school (Alexander Hamilton Elementary School in Glen Rock). This allowed me to refine the lessons before they were finalized. In total, the project involved over 120 hours in the course of one-and-a-half years.”

Hamilton School Principal Irene Pierides, who was Zilvetti’s adviser, provided guidance regarding child development.

Zilvetti was inspired to develop this program when she realized that students in her hometown did not formally learn about health until sixth grade.

“By this point, many students have already developed many bad or unhealthy habits simply because they were uneducated on this matter,” she said. “Therefore, I decided to create a comprehensive curriculum for third through fifth graders, which can be easily modified for younger students, so that elementary students can be exposed to this information. My curriculum includes both classroom activities as well as a take-home component, which requires students to incorporate the lessons into their lives for two weeks after they have learned it. This encourages them to think about the choices that they make every day and gives them the option to make better ones.”

Zilvetti has been a Girl Scout since she was in the first grade. She earned her Silver Award in 2015 and her Bronze Award in 2010. Working on the projects that led to both of these honors allowed her to sharpen her organizational, time management, and team leadership skills, and ultimately receive the Gold Award this spring.

In 2017, she was inducted into the Regina Angelorum Chapter of the National Honor Society at the Academy of the Holy Angels. NHS accepts students who demonstrate excellent scholarship, service, leadership, and character. NHS members must demonstrate honesty, reliability, concern and respect for others, resourcefulness, and leadership qualities including willingness to share ideas and the ability to solve problems. Members are also required to assist the school and the greater community through individual and chapter-run service projects.

This fall, Zilvetti will study athletic training at Purdue University.

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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