By Michelle Gladden

ASBURY PARK – The Our Lady of Mt. Carmel All Stars invited members of the community to a showcase of their talents, projects and a family dinner Thursday.

Created in 2012, the All Stars are participants of the First Avenue school’s afterschool program by the same name.

Students are provided a snack, homework assistance, mentoring, and enrichment classes that reinforce Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics [STEAM], Program Director Connie Isbell said.

“We look forward to our showcases because they give our families and guests an opportunity to experience what the students do here every day,” Isbell said in a written statement. “It was a thrill for us to have council members [Yvonne] Clayton and [Eileen] Chapman join us.”

Much of program’s success is based on collaborations and support with community partners like Lakehouse Music Academy, Second Life Bikes, Interfaith Neighbors, Wegmans, Kula Café, and Kula Farm, Isbell said.

Today, other businesses and organization partnerships continue to be added, Isbell said.

Recently, students participated in a new class on the history of Asbury Park by touring Convention Hall, the Asbury Park Public Library, and The Asbury, the city’s newest hotel of its size in more than
50 years, which transformed the long vacant Fifth Avenue Salvation Army building into a hotel and entertainment venue.

On Thursday night the students shared the behind the scenes thought process of their projects. On stage, there were performances from the All Stars Lakehouse Music Academy band, a bit of public speaking, beginner guitar, yoga, and songwriting. The evening’s grand finale was the second grader’s performance of a scene from The Lion King.

The All Stars afterschool program was created with the award of a 21st Century Community Learning Center from the U.S. Department of Education. Today, more than 160 students participate, thanks to the continual 21st Century grant award, funding from Friendship Train and other foundations, Isbell said.

More information about the program and about Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, email or visit

[photos courtesy of Mt. Carmel]


Share This