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Academy of the Holy Angels Middle School Fencers Show Their Skill at Home and Abroad


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Demarest NJ,  Teen fencers Rebecca Cho, Lavender Lee, and Jane Yu are demonstrating their skill in state, national, and international competition. This fall, these Academy of the Holy Angels Middle School eighth graders successfully competed at several events with the Top Fencing Club, where they work with Coaches Seoung-Woo Lee and Hwanhee (James) Lee.

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Top Fencing Club’s athletes, including Lavender and Rebecca, finished ninth out of approximately 40 during the mid-November Designated Cadet competition in Nuremberg, Germany. As an individual, Lavender finished 76th out of 270 participating fencers. The weekend after Thanksgiving, she placed first out of 103 athletes who competed in a statewide event.


Lavender developed her interest in fencing after sampling several other activities. She started the program at age 7 and took to it right away. Now, she is involved in her first year of international competition.

“I like how the sport is both mentally and physically challenging,” she explained. 

In April 2022, Lavender participated in the high school through college-level division at the national tournament. She finished in the top 32 for Juniors (college division), and placed 31st out of 204 fencers.

“My goal for the future is making the U.S. Olympic Team and going to the Olympics,” she shared. 

Rebecca placed 34th out of 270 competitors at the event in Germany.  She also finished 24th out of 270 in competition in Budapest, Hungary.

During the mid-December North American Cup held in Utah, Lavender placed 30th and Rebecca finished 76th out of 182 fencers from the United States and Canada.

“I appreciate how fencing is a sport that not only makes you physically stronger, but is also a sport of mental strength and focus,” Rebecca said. “One of the great advantages of being a fencer is going to tournaments and traveling to different places.”


The tournaments in Germany and Hungary were Rebecca’s first and second international events.

Her recent successes also include a first place finish at the Fairfax Challenge and a 13th  place finish at the US Nationals North American Cup.

“I plan to improve my skills and compete in more international competitions in the future,” Rebecca added.

Jane Yu said her brother sparked her interest in fencing.

“Initially, my brother was a fencer. He tried many sports and ended up choosing fencing, so I just ended up following his path. I have also tried many sports, however fencing seemed to be the most fun and engaging in my opinion,” Yu said. “I think that the most enjoyable part of fencing is that not only is the community very close-knit, but that it is a sport where it is a game of wits and thinking rather than full on athletic ability.” 

Yu has earned a third place finish in the Super Youth Circuit and received her D rating. Ratings for fencers start at U, or unrated, and rise to A, which is the highest rating.

Eventually, she would like to be recruited by a college and compete in the Fédération Internationale d’Escrime Fencing World Cup.

Next year, these three athletes will have the opportunity to try out for the AHA Fencing Team that is open to students in Grades 9-12.

Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County. The Academy’s current leaders continue to further the SSND mission to provide each student with the tools she needs to reach the fullness of her potential—spiritually, intellectually, socially, and physically, by offering a first-rate education in a nurturing environment where equal importance is placed on academic excellence, character development, moral integrity, and service to others.


201.768.7822 HOLYANGELS.ORG

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