(Left to right) Pauline Hartman, Alexa Mervine and Barbara Nather, all 2018 graduates of archdiocesan elementary schools, raised more than $150,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, drawing on their education and personal experience. (Archdiocese of Philadelphia)

Three 2018 graduates of archdiocesan elementary schools have put their education to work in the fight against deadly diseases.

Pauline Hartman, Alexa Mervine and Barbara Nather were recently recognized by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) as “Students of the Year 2021” for raising $153,336.96 for the Delaware chapter of LLS. Founded in 1949, the organization provides advocacy and research funding for leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and other blood cancers.

Back in January, the students launched a seven-week campaign on behalf of LLS, with their team “Fight With All Your Might” writing letters to hundreds of contacts and soliciting business donations. In addition, they hosted numerous events, and joined in a live three-day auction that concluded with a virtual gala of all the participating teams.

For the teens, currently juniors at Archmere Academy in Delaware County, the collaboration was a natural outgrowth of a long friendship – and painful personal experience with such diseases.


Hartman and Mervine met in second grade while attending St. Thomas the Apostle School in Glen Mills, and connected with Nather – an alumna of Holy Family Regional Catholic School in Aston – through archdiocesan CYO activities.

As a child, Mervine spent weeks in the hospital with a blood disorder, and during her stay met many children with leukemia. Hartman recently lost her godfather to blood cancer.

Amid such tragedies, the teens drew strength from what they’d learned in their grade school years, and enrolled in the LLS “Students of the Year” campaign.

“Our 12 years of Catholic education ingrained in us the importance of service to others,” they said in a joint statement. “We knew it would be a chance to do something bigger than ourselves.”

Out of 13 teams, the teens raised 28.6% of LLS Delaware County chapter’s $536,116 total, an amount they “pray … will give some relief and hope to people suffering from leukemia and other blood cancers.”

Congratulating the three alumnae, Dr. Andrew McLaughlin, archdiocesan Secretary for Elementary Education, said that sense of mission is “a clear reflection of the values taught in our schools each day throughout the five-county region.”