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2021 Service Awards Presented

While service at Immaculate Heart Academy looked different this year, we are proud to announce that our students continued to go above and beyond for their communities, even amid the pandemic.

Mrs. Sarah Shutrop, director of formation, explained that service is “not about fuzzy feelings or achievements, and certainly not about resume building or getting into college. It’s about presence…to suffer with the others as Christ suffers and shares in our sin with us.”

“In this year,” she continued, “even if it put you at risk, required you to be uncomfortable in a mask, or to really think outside the box—you girls did it! If this is how present you are to the needs of others at sixteen, imagine how present you’ll be as bosses, as doctors at the bedsides of patients, as teachers, as nurses, as wives, as moms. The world will be better because of you.”

Service at Immaculate Heart isn’t just something that is required; it’s a main part of who we are. Our students have earned two hundred four thousand, four hundred ninety-two service hours in the last five years and, this year served fifty percent more hours than what is required of them. IHA students have accumulated a total of six hundred seventy-four President’s Volunteer Service Awards and forty-three alone in this unprecedented year. Over the last twelve months, thirty-six students were selected to serve as mentors for ninety-four freshman students, more than three hundred Christmas gifts and two hundred Easter baskets were given to children in need, and IHA students created an “interview closet” with new interview outfits for women in crisis.

The Spirit of Service Award is presented annually to one student per grade who demonstrates a spirit of service, a dedication to helping others that is core to who she is as a person. There have been forty-one students honored with the Spirit of Service Award since its inception at IHA. Congratulations to this year’s recipients:

Ana Cantarella’21
Erin Burke’22
Riley Ypelaar’22
Layla Libanan’23
Samantha Raia’24
Madeline Heinimann’24

The Servant Leadership Award, the largest service award given at IHA, is presented annually to a senior whose commitment to service has transformed the culture of IHA. Past winners include Elizabeth Encke’20, Elizabeth Croci’20, Victoria Bertussi’19, Regina Garvey’19, Emily Ash’19, Tess Szydlik’18, Isabella Somera’17. Congratulations to this year’s Servant Leadership Award recipient, Kaylee McKay’21.

When speaking about Kaylee’s four years of service at IHA, Mrs. Shutrop noted that Kaylee never thought she was doing service—she thought she was showing up because she loved someone. “Kaylee has showed our community the value of doing the right thing just because of humility and of pure motivation,” she said. “More than anything else, she’s shown our community that sometimes being a servant leader doesn't look like championing a particular cause. Sometimes, most times, it looks like showing up to love someone.”

The President’s Volunteer Service Award was founded in 2003 by the United States President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation to recognize the important role of volunteers in America’s strength and national identity. This award honors individuals whose service positively impacts communities in every corner of the nation and inspires those around them to take action too. We honored twenty-six students for achieving the President’s Volunteer Service Award at the Bronze level (100-174 hours per year), four at the Silver level (175-249 hours per year), and six at the Gold level (250 and more hours per year). Recipients receive a pin, and a certificate signed by the President of the United States. Big congratulations to the top service hour earner, Taylor DiLisi’21, who earned 402.25 hours. Below is the listing of all President’s Volunteer Service Award recipients, in order of hours earned.

Taylor DiLisi’21
Ashley Brombauer’21
Olivia Raia’22
Alexa Aranias’22
Ana Cantarella’21
Lily Valentin’22 

Margot Kapusinski’22
Margaret Bizub’21
Camryn King’22
Jessica Boyd’22

Ariana Contes’21
Brooke Muller’22
Isabella Garzon’21
Hayley DiLisi’22
Jessica Kielur’22
Emily Burke’21
Aniela Sanders'22
Caroline Joel’23
Marisa Arone’24
Hanna Martin’21
Ava Previzi’24
Samantha Landolfi’23
Katherine Webb’22
Ellie May White’24
Isabella Vaughn’22
Sherry McCarthy’21
Catriona Caputo’22
Carson Bielen’24
Samantha Raia’24
Madeline Heinimann’24
Anna Salewycz’21
Kaylee McKay’21
Livia Iuliano’24
Valerie Vivas’22
Gianna Niece’21
Catherine Goldstein’23 

Students who achieved one hundred or more service hours from the time stay-at-home orders were lifted last spring through September 2020 were also recognized with President’s Volunteer Service Awards. Congratulations to:

Lily Valentin'22

Ariana Contes'21
Ana Cantarella'21
Kyra Whiteman'21
Lauren Grae'23
Keara Skae'21
Brooke Muller'22
Emily Burke'21
Kate Sposa'22
Jae Yeon Lee'22

Due to modified service requirements for the 2020-21 school year, IHA sophomores, juniors, and seniors were responsible for planning and executing a Valor Project. This project allowed our students to use their specific gifts and talents to leave the world better than they found it. One thing that has not changed over the last year is IHA’s commitment to helping its young women grow as “Women of Valor.” Women who, in the spirit of Proverbs 31, recognize the gifts and passions God has given them, take the reigns of leadership, and use them to make the world a better place. Our students ran two hundred forty-nine Valor Projects for the 2020-21 school year.

Those interested could then submit their Valor Projects for a chance to win The Dorothy Day Valor Project of the Year Contest. Thirty submissions were narrowed down to five by a panel of faculty judges, and the student body then voted for their top three. Congratulations to The Dorothy Day Valor Project of the Year Contest winners: 

First Place
Samantha Raia’24
Worked with Hackensack University Medical Center to provide gift bags and presents to patients.

Second Place
Kaitlyn LeSuer’24
Collected and provided Christmas gifts for children at St. Jude's Children’s Hospital.

Third Place
Emma Burgess’23 and Kristen Cali’23
Raised money to purchase supplies and made meals for those in need in conjunction with Healing Meals, Hawthorne.

Thank you to Mrs. Sarah Shutrop for leading the girls in their passion to serve and to the IHA administration, especially Mr. Jason Schlereth, principal, for presenting at the Service Awards Assembly. Congratulations to all of IHA’s generous, compassionate, and kind-hearted students!

Click here for the full photo album, courtesy of Mike Hamlett Photography.