Spring Greetings from Academy of Holy Angels
As I write this letter, I am anxiously awaiting the expected gift of the transition from winter to spring. It certainly is time! There is such a beautiful coincidence that occurs as Lent, just like spring, signals new beginnings in the resurrection at Easter. The 2017-18 school year begins to wind down as well, but it has provided so many exciting and wonderful experiences for our students and faculty both inside the classroom and on the field, stage and other venues. Many of those accomplishments are highlighted in this issue of the Communiqué. A popular saying around campus these days is, “It’s a great time to be a Star!”
It is difficult to be part of a school community these days without being sensitive to the violence that has seeped into our nation’s schools. This heightened sense of concern causes education communities to self-examine the safety of our students, faculty and staff. Academy of Holy Angels is no different. We too have gone to great measures to prepare our faculty, students and staff in the best and most effective procedures in responding to an event at our school. Under the guidance of assistant principal, Mark Melhorn, and with resources provided by the Richfield Police Department, we have engaged in extensive procedures to train our students and staff in appropriate measures should Holy Angels be faced with an incident. In addition, we have continued to upgrade our facilities with excellent monitoring and building access equipment. We feel that preparedness is of utmost importance as we take every effort to create the safest environment for the AHA family.
In closing, I thank you for your continued support of our great school. I ask that you continue our efforts in school safety by your prayers for our students and staff. I encourage you to join the national conversation established by the brave students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida to help support efforts to make schools a place where all feel safe to learn.
With God's Blessings,
Thomas E. Shipley
AHA's STEM evolution
These are exciting times at Holy Angels. It’s early spring and already we are actively preparing and practicing for graduation. The timeless tradition of processing through the front doors of Academy of Holy Angels, dressed in white with red roses, is a rite of passage for our students and one of nostalgia for alumni. This formal ceremony marks the end of a student’s high school academic career and the commencement of college. As I hand diplomas to AHA graduates, I can say with confidence that they have completed the requirements of a rigorous college preparatory curriculum.
One area of our curriculum we continue to focus on is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (stem). We are expanding our stem program to provide more sophisticated experiences for students. We are in the planning phase of initiatives that will upgrade and acquire more technology, equipment, and training that make today’s coursework more engaging.
We intend to remodel and repurpose existing space for greater classroom functionality and build a practical and safe chemical storage center. AHA will identify and design smart, costeffective remodeling projects that upgrade our existing science classrooms and convert existing spaces into high-quality areas for robotics and other stem-related activities. For example, buying new sinks and extending existing plumbing to one of our current general science classrooms will transform it into an excellent AP biology classroom.
We plan to enhance the safety features and square footage of the robotics program, which is a growing interest for high school students nationwide. Robotics offers the opportunity to teach important science and technology concepts and programming, as well as team work, problem-solving, and collaboration.
Plans also include a new state-of-the art, multi-functional research lab. Holy Angels will build a large, flexible, collegiate-level STEM lab with adjoining breakout classroom space. STEM-related classes will be able to rotate through the space throughout the day, conducting real-world, applied research in conjunction with an expanded network of business, collegiate, and government partners. The space would have enough equipment to meet the different needs of each discipline area and would also have the size and space for more advanced, student-led, real-world research projects.
Envisioning the future and the evolution of an AHA education takes many minds. Our faculty deeply supports the success of our students and academic programs. Each day, I am thankful for their commitment to our school’s mission, and I am blessed to work alongside such intelligent educators who dedicate their time and talent to our students of today and tomorrow.
Heidi J. Foley