BGA Family Welcomes Newest Ahr Stars at Annual Dinner
Posted on 10/05/2018
On Thursday, October 4, Bishop Ahr High School celebrated the 31st year of its Ahr Star program by hosting its annual Ahr Star Spaghetti Dinner. For the past 31 years, the BGA community has adopted two children that are chronically or terminally ill, spending the entire year providing love and support for the families. This year’s Ahr Star Spaghetti Dinner, now in its 21st year, raised over $11,000 for the Ahr Stars, all of which go directly to the families for them to spend as they choose. With over 600 students, parents, community members, alumni, Diocesan representatives, and many former Ahr Stars in attendance, the dinner showed the community what Bishop Ahr High School is truly all about. “The Ahr Star program is a 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 2018-19 school year would be Mikey Lucas and Ellona Graziano. Mikey is 9 years old and has multiple disabilities. He lives in South River with his siblings, Tommy, Ryan and Kylie, and his mom and dad. Mikey is very good friends with BGA Alumni Jude Roche’18, former Ahr Star Chair. Ellona is 6 years old and has a rare genetic condition that leaves her unable to speak and with several other health complications. She lives in Barnegat with her mom and dad. Her mom is very good friends with BGA alumna Michelle Mondi Pender ’00.

At the dinner, Mikey and Ellona were also presented with many gifts, but their favorite was a football autographed by the Varsity Football team that was personally presented to the Ahr Stars. The Ahr Stars were also named honorary captains of the Varsity Boys Basketball team and were invited by Coach Bob Turco to lead the team onto the court before each game.

The Ahr Star program at Bishop Ahr is the most popular service activity for students and faculty. This year, over 170 students and 50 teachers and administrators devoted their time to volunteering at the dinner. When asked about the Ahr Star program, Ahr Star Co-Representative Joe Dunn ‘20 said, “The Ahr Star Spaghetti Dinner was a great success. It was a great way to welcome our Ahr Stars, Mikey and Ellona into AHR family and celebrate with them. Giving them gifts and spending time with them was the highlight of the evening. Thank you to everyone who came and volunteered!" Former Ahr Star and now-Ahr Star Co-Representative Bethany Ciccarelli ‘20 said, “Being a former Ahr Star, I always wanted to give back. Tonight, everything came full circle and I was able to pay it forward. This was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had and it’s something I’ll always remember and be forever grateful for.” Two-time Ahr Star Co-Representative Jude Roche ’18 was also in attendance and he added that “it was a great night! I love Ahr star because it’s so great to see our community come together.”

It was wonderful to have Bishop James Checchio attend the dinner. He not only blessed Mikey and Ellona but he circulated around the cafeteria greeting parents, students, and visitors. Having Bishop Checchio at the dinner made the event even more special for the families.

Bishop Ahr High School is also indebted to the members of the local community who 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 McCarthy families all donated food or money 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 Mikey, Ellona, and their families.

Visit the Ahr Star Spaghetti Dinner 2018 album to see more photos!