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Former Holy Angels students settle in at Mount St. Mary

WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

A large group of students from the former Holy Angels Academy in North Buffalo is adjusting to a new school. Mount St. Mary Academy in Tonawanda is welcoming about 80 new students from Holy Angels Academy, which closed at the end of the last school year.

Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley
Mount St. Mary Academy opening school year Mass.

Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley
Bishop Richard Malone celebrated Mass at Mount St. Mary Academy.

Students joyously sang catholic songs that carried a theme of unity as Bishop Richard Malone celebrated Mass to open the 87th academic year the school.

Many Holy Angels students were heartbroken to leave their school behind, but now say they are starting to feel a new school spirit.

"It's a little weird starting over again, but since I was a freshman last year, I know what I have to do," said
Maeve Christ, a sophomore and a student council member. 

Mount St. Mary Senior Hailey Rose Gattuso said it important for the new students to retain their leadership roles.

"I can only imagine what they were feeling because I'm on student council and it means a lot when you are like the head of the school and you have a good reputation," said Gattuso.

The loss of Holy Angels is certainly a new benefit to Mount Saint Mary, boosting its enrollment to over 300 students.  

But Principal Dawn Riggie said it was important to honor what the former HAA students achieved at their school.

"The girls came  up with the idea of, over the summer, doing events per class, where the could invite in all the transfer students.  They each took a mentor or mentee," said Riggie.

Elise Walsh is a senior at Mount St. Mary.

"We had this program called the 'Mounty Mentoring Program' which was introducing the Holy Angels girls to the Mount. So I think they are all really part of the Mount family now," said Walsh.

Former HAA student Carolyn Sicurella is pleased with her new school.

"Well at first I was nervous, but as soon as I got in, everybody was so accepting, and they just welcomed us with open arms and they made the transition really easy," said Sicurella.

For former HAA upperclassmen students it was most difficult, but Ann Hoodmaker, now a junior, is adjusting in her new surroundings.

"It's definitely different, but the girls in my class have just made me feel so welcomed, so part of the family already that it has made an easy transition for me," said Hoodmaker.

The biggest challenge is getting familiar with a new building.

Despite a great deal of anxiety during the summer months,  these HAA students say they are now relieved to be so welcomed into a new school community.