Jennifer Crusco
Communications Assistant

School Community Commits to 'Kick the Water Bottle'

Demarest, NJ: Responding to Pope Francis’ challenge to be caretakers of creation, the Academy of the Holy Angels has formally banned the sale of single-use plastic water bottles on campus and the purchase of these bottles with school funds. The Academy’s new policy furthers the “Kick the Water Bottle” campaign that was established to foster the school’s commitment to the responsible consumption of natural resources.

“Two million people die each year due to diseases carried through contaminated water,” said AHA Director of Mission and Ministry Joan Connelly. “The quest for clean water consumes the time, energy, and resources of many of the world’s poorest people. Children and women spend time and energy searching for and carrying water rather than going to school and participating in the community. Water is becoming big business in the developing world, as entrepreneurs seek ways to privatize already limited water supplies.”

Water was a critical issue for AHA Foundress Sister Nonna Dunphy. When she purchased the Academy’s first campus in Fort Lee, there was no municipal water supply. During times when there was not enough rainfall, the sisters were obligated to send a mule-drawn wagon to Edgewater, where they paid up to $5 a barrel for water. After S. Nonna prayed to Moses for help, a spring was struck on the school property.

Connelly pointed out that, while some plastic bottles are recycled, many end up in the trash, and others are down-cycled, which means the products made from those bottles eventually break down and then end up in the trash.

As a Catholic school sponsored by the School Sisters of Notre Dame and grounded in the gospel message, Connelly said AHA is committed to sustainability and the integrity of creation. She added that the consumption of water through single-use plastic bottles entails environmental and social costs, and announced that the sale of plastic water bottles on campus, including the sale of bottled water in vending machines, and the purchase of individual plastic water bottles with school funds are now prohibited.


Reusable water bottles will be permitted. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to bring their reusable bottles to school, and refill those containers at one of the school’s drinking fountains, which double as water bottle filling stations.


AHA launched its Kick the Water Bottle campaign shortly after a 2016 student trip to Nazareth Farm, where leaders emphasize community service and the conservation of natural resources, including water.

Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in New Jersey. 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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