Bergen County School Celebrates 140 Years Educating Students

Sister Nonna Dunphy, SSND, signed the deed for the original campus in Fort Lee on the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels in 1879, and the Academy borrowed its name from the occasion.

AHA remained in Fort Lee until 1965, when additional construction on the George Washington Bridge necessitated the move to the school’s present location in Demarest.

As the school community gathered for Mass, AHA President Melinda Hanlon recalled that, when S. Nonna and S. Cyrilla Geifel signed the contract for the Fort Lee property, S. Nonna had just $20 in her pocket.

President Hanlon added that it took much more to establish AHA, including the courage and strength of character of the School Sisters of Notre Dame.

Celebrant Rev. James Heuser, head of Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, observed that AHA was built by women who were listening to the voices of angels.
In his homily, Rev. Heuser spoke of a friend in the Secret Service who was responsible for protecting President Barack Obama.

Rev. Heuser learned from his friend that this mission was about guarding, protecting, and guiding the president as anonymously as possible.

“I think of angels as the secret service of God,” Rev. Heuser said, noting there is a whole world of angels we do not see. He asked those present to pay attention to daily life, let God in more, and allow God’s angels to guard and guide them.

In keeping with AHA’s Feast Day traditions, several members of the senior class who successfully completed their training became Eucharistic Ministers.

Rev. Heuser commissioned Kristin Anderson, Angelina Busetto, Baylee-Rose Cooper, Diana Esoldi, Julia Farah, Colleen Farrell, Grace Flynn, Sarah Folk, Gianna Maria Guido, Sofie Miles, Morgan Morrissey, Maris Rodriguez, Jacqueline Rubino, Hannah Shultz, and Nicole Tasca.

Lectors at this milestone celebration included Czarina Alfonso, Emily LeHane, and Gabriela Sandoval.

Members of the Music Makers were Mariel Bacolod, Myra Bocage, Catherine Callahan, Cara Chang, Juliana Dominguez, Valeria Gonzalez, Nora Jacobi, Maureen Murray, Caitlin Neville, Kayla Pringle, Mary Quimbo, Leah Sanchez, and Valentina Zazzali.

Handbell Choir members included Annabel Hazrati, Elizabeth Kim, Lizelle Bacalod, Mariel Bacalod, Arielle Maravilla, Josephine Noble, Emma Yale, Gabriella Borges, Myra Bocage, Meredith Cruz, and Raphaela Cardenas.

Banner bearers and altar servers were Isabella Darmanin, Emma DeMarco, Dylan Vonderhorst, Zeida Ben-Fredj, Jackie Arbogast, and Juliana Camporeale.