My Journey as a Lion

Schola is one of the members of the Class of 2017. Her journey was made possible thanks to generous donations from alumni, parents, family, and friends. Please consider making a donation to The O’Hara Fund so that more students can experience an O’Hara journey. Gifts may be made by visiting http://www.cohs.com/donate or by mailing a check to Office of Institutional Advancement, 1701 S. Sproul Road, Springfield, PA 19064. Checks postmarked by June 30, 2017 will be included in our annual report of donors for 2016-17.

By Schola Eburuoh ’17

My name is Schola Eburuoh and I am a part of Cardinal O’Hara’s graduating Class of 2017. My four years at O’Hara have certainly been memorable. As a freshman, I came into Cardinal O’Hara High School excited to learn new things, not just about my future academic career but about myself, my abilities, and my spirituality. Now, reaching the end of my high school career, I realize that I have learned much more than I ever thought possible as a nervous 9th grader. At this point, I would like to take you on a trip through my four years as a student at Cardinal O’Hara High School.

The first words I remember hearing as a freshman at Cardinal O’Hara were “get involved.” These two words have definitely stuck with me all four years. Since the beginning of my high school career, my education has always been important to me, yet I never thought much about getting involved. This all changed once I came to O’Hara, where getting involved simply was and is “the thing to do.” To say the least, I was determined to begin to get involved. I joined the competitive cheerleading team and participated in the Golden Touch Club which organizes bi-weekly visits to the Riddle Village Retirement Home. During my sophomore year I expanded my list of activities and responsibilities. I became captain of the JV cheerleading team, joined the Sandwich Club and Newspaper Club at O’Hara and became more involved in ministry as well as the Pro-Life club. After attending the March for Life in January of 2015 my affinity towards helping those in need through my faith as a Catholic began to cultivate.

In this respect, Junior year was a year of immense change for me. I attended a Catholic retreat entitled The National Catholic Youth Conference and truly discovered my faith. This trip was sponsored by O’Hara and I could not be anymore grateful that I took part as a student ambassador. The entirety of the conference was themed “Here I am Lord” taken from the book of Samuel. The Lord calls upon Samuel and each time Samuel answers His call. This simple response is how I strive to encounter God and, through this retreat, I acknowledged that He calls upon me, as well as all people, to make an impact.

After this amazing experience I truly sought to encompass the pride, excellence and tradition which our school in indisputably known for.  I strived to push myself academically as I signed up for the more challenging advanced placement and honors courses available here at O’Hara. The added support from my teachers truly compelled me to go above and beyond what I believed I could ever accomplish. Through such support, I knew I had the resources to simultaneously organize my classes and be an active member of my school community. I participated in Cardinal O’Hara’s Mini-THON, which raises money for pediatric cancer research and support for families.  I was a member of the Family Relations Committee and won the first ever logo contest for the event. The following year, as a senior, I became a Committee Captain and again won the contest and took a greater role during the day of the event. Watching students come together for an amazing cause was astonishing and I know that Mini-THON is definitely one of the many activities I will miss participating in next year. I will also miss being a part of the Lion Ambassadors organization which allows students to act as representatives of the school and organize alumni events and fundraisers. As president of the organization this year I will truly miss coordinating these great activities.

My junior year took an unexpected turn as I decided to try something completely new by joining the track & field team at Cardinal O’Hara. I quickly bonded with my teammates and learned a great deal from each of them. As a newbie I was apart of the Philadelphia Catholic League (PCL) winning outdoor season, was a district 12 champion in the 400 and high jump events, and am a part of the school’s record holding 4×400 relay at Cardinal O’Hara. It was such an incredible season that this year, as a senior, I decided I could not get enough of the sport and participated in both the indoor and outdoor seasons. Our team won the PCL for both seasons, and I became district 12 champion in three events this year: the triple jump, long jump and high jump, breaking the school record in the triple jump and the meet record in the long jump as well as moving onto the PIAA State Championships and being one of the few in Cardinal O’Hara’s history to medal in States by coming 6th in the triple jump-all after only one season of practice. Being a part of such an amazing team has taught me that, individually we can each be great, but together we can conquer much greater feats. I never thought I would get to know so many great people in such a short amount of time, but I truly have formed a second family from my two short years on the team.

It is true what they say, senior year goes by in an instant, but it also holds the most memories. Throughout my years at O’Hara I have not only been given the opportunity to showcase my athletic abilities, but my creativity as well. At this year’s “Luck of the Stylish” Senior Fashion Show, I became the first student in O’Hara’s history to have my own line of clothing walk down the runway! This was a dream come true and I have the administration of Cardinal O’Hara to thank for this opportunity as well as my friends who helped name my line, “SE Originals.” The five girls walked the runway in outfits I made throughout my years at O’Hara: my homecoming dress, snowball dress and prom dress were a few of the featured outfits. The amount of support I received after the fashion show encouraged me to make my senior prom dress and my baccalaureate dress as well. Just four years ago I would never have imagined this simple hobby to allow me countless opportunities in a few short years. In fact, the same can be said about much of what I have done throughout my four years participating in community service, sports and academics at Cardinal O’Hara.

I now end my high school academic career as being ranked within the top 10 of my graduating class of over 250 students, as well as being an active member of the National Honors Society. I am also a recipient of the Union League Good Citizenship award and am a distinguished 2017 Archdiocese of Philadelphia Academic Scholar. Not to mention the plethora of personal accomplishments such as the fashion show, ministry and sports which I will always remember. All of these honors would not have been possible without the guidance of my school community, friends, faculty and family. Because of these people I will always be a lion at heart, even as I attend The Catholic University of America next year, at which I will further my academic, athletic and spiritual careers.

As I walk through the halls as a student for the last time, I believe I have made my impact on Cardinal O’Hara High School. And although I am sad to leave an institution which has instilled in me a vast amount of knowledge and skills, I know I will be a lion for life and am excited to start a new journey in which I will showcase what I have been taught here. I will forever be grateful and take pride in being a student at Cardinal O’Hara High School.