October 2018
Jennifer Crusco
Communications Assistant

Students Use World Smile Day to Promote Global Service Organization

Demarest, NJ: The Academy of the Holy Angels celebrated World Smile Day (October 5th) by hosting activities to promote Operation Smile, a non-profit organization that provides free corrective surgeries for individuals with cleft lip and palate.

World Smile Day was established in 1999 by graphic designer Harvey Bell, who created the iconic yellow smiley face in 1963. At Holy Angels, this first Friday in October was an opportunity to remember the people around the world who find it physically difficult to share a smile with others. Students shared their own smiles at a photo booth that was set up in the Student Commons during lunch.

AHA hosts an active Operation Smile club moderated by Laura Kraytem, an AHA alumna who teaches Italian at her alma mater.

“Last year, the students raised $9,000 by hosting events that included pizza and pancake fundraisers. The students also went on medical missions in Ghana and Malawi,” said Kraytem. Kraytem also participated in an Operation Smile mission to Mexico over the summer.

Before they can apply for a mission trip, students must attend an Operation Smile International Student Leadership Conference. Those who are ultimately chosen for missions find themselves working in one of several countries around the globe. Along with their peers, Operation Smile volunteers interact directly with the patients, many of whom are children. Volunteers are also charged with present the patients’ families with vital information about dental hygiene, CPR, tooth brushing, nutrition, oral rehydration therapy, proper hand washing, and burn care.

In some cases, volunteers help the doctors and nurses in the hospital, and sometimes have an opportunity to observe the surgeries.

Surgeries are funded by donations to Operation Smile, which was founded by Kathleen Magee, an AHA alumna, and her husband William. The organization provides surgeries to people who could not otherwise afford this type of corrective care.

“If you are passionate about helping change the lives of children by fundraising, or if you want to strengthen your leadership and presentation skills by attending international leadership conferences in order to attend a future mission, join our club!” Kraytem said, inviting students to get involved with Operation Smile.

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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