BGA Welcomes Newest Members of Ahr Star Family
Posted on 10/08/2017
On Thursday, October 5th, Bishop Ahr High School celebrated the 30th year of its Ahr Star program by hosting its annual Ahr Star Spaghetti Dinner. For the past 30 years, the Bishop Ahr community has adopted two children that are chronically or terminally ill, spending the entire year providing love and support for the families.  This year, the Ahr Star Spaghetti Dinner, now in its 20th year, raised over $9,000 for this year’s Ahr Stars, with approximately 800 people attending, including students, parents, community members, alumni, and many former Ahr Stars.  “The Ahr Star program is a true representation of the heart and generosity of the BGA community.  It is truly love in action,” said Sister Cynthia Babyak, Campus Minister and leader of the Ahr Star Program.

In July, the Bishop Ahr High School Ahr Star Committee proudly announced that the Ahr Stars for the 2017 - 2018 school year would be David Santos and Sadie Ally.

David is almost 1 year old.  His mom is Jacquelyn Hegedus Santos and his dad is Jeremy Santos, both 2005 BGA alumni. “We feel so blessed by the overwhelming support of the Bishop age community,” said the parents. Their son David was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and while there is no cure, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has provided hope with an innovative surgical approach to this type of heart disease. He has already undergone 2 open heart surgeries and more is to come.

Sadie Ally, the cousin of BGA alumnae Megan ’16, Emily ’16, and Elizabeth ’13 Colagrande, is 4 years old and has a Wilms tumor and spots on her lung.  She had one of her kidneys removed and continues to undergo treatment.  Her brother Connor is 6 years old and her parents are Katie and Craig Ally. “It’s an amazing program and we feel so blessed to be a part of it,” said Katie Ally.
All of the proceeds from the dinner are given to the Ahr Star’s families to be used as they would like.  At the dinner, David and Sadie were also presented with many gifts, but perhaps their favorite was a football autographed by the varsity boy’s football team that was personally presented to the Ahr Stars.

The Ahr Star program at Bishop Ahr is perhaps the most popular service activity for students and faculty. This year, over 250 students and 50 teachers and administrators devoted their time to volunteering at the dinner. When asked about the Ahr Star program, Senior Kelly Harmon said, “It’s a wonderful tradition and I’m proud to be a part of it every year. I’ll really miss it when I go to college next year.” Freshman Anna Caruso remarked that, “It was a phenomenal experience that I’ll never forget.” Ahr Star co-chairpersons Alexa Romanella ‘18 and Jude Roche ‘18 both stated that being able to run this program means the world to them. “It was the best night of my life and seeing them smile made everything worth it!” said Alexa.  “It was a great night, I love Ahr star because it’s so great to see our community come together,” added Jude.

Members of the local community also got involved, with volunteers from the Woodbridge Knights of Columbus helping to cook the meals as they do every year. Also, past and present members of the BGA community donated their services to the dinner; the Roche, Penny, Dama, and Smith families all donated food to the dinner, which was in addition to the donations made by the student body.  In fact, the donations were so great that the surplus spaghetti was donated to the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, where many BGA students volunteer their time.

The Ahr Star committee would like to thank everyone who volunteered their time, donated, and helped to make the evening a wonderful experience for all, especially for David, Sadie, and their families.

Welcoming Sadie AllySr. Cyndi, Jude Roche, Alexa Romanella present gifts to Ahr StarsDavid Santos opens gifts with parentsVolunteer Joo Eun Lim serves meals to guests

You can view more photos in our Flickr album!