Meet Salutatorian Dora Tomko

Advancement Intern Erin Donovan ’20 had the opportunity to sit down with Salutatorian Dora Tomko to ask some questions about her past four years at O’Hara as well as her potential future plans. Here are Dora’s responses:

What is your Parish?

St. Denis

What college will you be attending?


What will your major be?

History and Philosophy

If you will be involved in any clubs or activities at your college?

Undecided–but hopefully, I’ll get to continue with dance!

What activities did you participate in here at O’Hara? Did you hold any Leadership positions for any of these activities?

Lion Ambassadors—co-President, Theater—Dance Captain, NHS, Lion Connection, the Respect Life Club, and CSC.

Do you have any advice for the class of 2026? 

Make the most of your four years! Behave as the young ladies and gentlemen that you are—treat everyone around you with the respect you wish for yourself, don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself, be inquisitive, be thoughtful. Get involved in everything you want to, and don’t be afraid to step up and out of your comfort zone. Be yourself, and be an example to others. And most importantly, have fun!

What is your favorite quote? 

I have a new favorite quote! As I was filling out this survey, a little girl whom I was babysitting was sitting next to me, because she couldn’t sleep. I asked her what her favorite thing to say was, since she is too little to know what a quote is, and she replied: “My favorite thing to say is ‘I love you.’” So that is my new favorite quote.

What is your greatest O’Hara Memory?

My favorite O’Hara memory is either Kairos, or our Greco-Roman burial ceremony of Vince during freshman RCA literature.

Are there any people or classes that have had an impact on you?

Ms. Parker and Mr. Youngblood, in particular, have played a huge role in my formation as a person the last few years. What I’ve learned from my RCA classes, the Latin class conversations, those are some of my most formative and cherished memories from Cardinal O’Hara. 

I also have got to mention Mr. Imburgia, who was a great mentor to me as an underclassman and really challenged and shaped me as a student, when Haley and I took AP Bio sophomore year.

College Plans: What colleges did you get accepted to? What is your college destination and major/minor? Honors program? Anticipated activities? 

So far, I’ve been accepted to Baylor University, University of Dallas, Catholic University of America, University of Notre Dame, and Villanova University. I’m still undecided on my final destination, but I plan to major in History, with a possible double major or minor in Philosophy or Humanities. I’ve so far been accepted into the Honors Programs at Catholic, Villanova, and Baylor, all of which are exciting options! I plan to continue to dance and to be involved in theater.

Meet Valedictorian Haley Garecht

Advancement Intern Erin Donovan ’20 had the opportunity to sit down with Valedictorian Haley Garecht to ask some questions about her past four years at O’Hara as well as her potential future plans. Here are Haley’s responses:

What is your Parish?

Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Overbrook.

What college will you be attending?

I haven’t committed to a college yet, but hopefully I’ll know soon!

What will your major be?

I’m still deciding on a major, but right now I’m thinking either Political Science or Philosophy. 

If you will be involved in any clubs or activities at your college?

I’m hoping to stay involved in pro-life clubs and play club volleyball, but other than that I’ll probably just join whatever looks like fun- maybe student council or the college’s version of DHDM? I’m also planning on going to either medical or law school, so I would love to join any pre-med or pre-law programs wherever I go. 

What activities did you participate in here at O’Hara? Did you hold any Leadership positions for any of these activities?

Over the last four years I have been a part of DHDM, the Pro-Life Club, NHS, Lion Connection, Tri-M, theater, choir, volleyball, Lion Ambassadors, CSC, Golden Touch, Big Buddies, Operation Santa Claus, and track. I had the opportunity to serve as NHS secretary, DHDM’s Communication Coordinator, Co-President of the Pro-Life Club, and Lion Ambassador officer. 

Do you have any advice for the class of 2026? 

Don’t be afraid to take charge. Some of the best activities and events I’ve been a part of here were completely student-run, so I would definitely encourage the freshmen to take initiative while they are in high school and work to make things happen themselves. 

What is your favorite quote? 

“The robbed that smiles steals something from the thief.” (Othello, Act I, scene III)

What is your greatest O’Hara Memory?

My greatest O’Hara memory is when the volleyball team won the PCL. Hearing the student section, rushing the court, and getting to hold the plaque was an amazing experience and I was so proud of all the work our team put in leading up to the game. Another contender is junior prom- everyone had such a fun time at the dance and it was the first event we had last year that felt fully “normal.” Hopefully senior prom will be even better! 

Are there any people or classes that have had an impact on you?

Mrs. Bauer and Mrs. Rowitt are both teachers who had a huge impact on my time at O’Hara. I loved both Geometry and APUSH as classes, but the most significant thing about both of those periods was how much Mrs. Bauer and Mrs. Rowitt truly cared about the students and our education. I’ve gotten to know and work with Mrs. Bauer a lot over the last two years, and she has always been an advocate for us students and our events. I also have to give a shoutout to the friends I’ve made here, especially through volleyball and show, who made my last four years so fun and are the reason I stayed at O’Hara after freshman year. 

College Plans: What colleges did you get accepted to? What is your college destination and major/minor? Honors program?

I’ve been accepted to Notre Dame, Villanova, Catholic, University of Dallas, Eastern University, Hillsdale, and Franciscan. Like I said before, I haven’t decided on a school yet, but I’ve been accepted to both the Catholic and Villanova Honors Programs.

Welcome New Faculty!

We are excited to welcome some new teachers to our team! They are sure to be a great addition and we look forward to see all that they will accomplish. Advancement Intern Erin Donovan ’20 had the opportunity to sit down with our new faculty and ask them how they became interested in teaching, what they are looking forward to this school year, and so much more! Below are their responses.

Bill Keenan: LTS Math

1. Where are you from? I was born and raised in Blue Bell, PA.

2. Where did you attend college? I attended the University of Scranton for my undergraduate degree in Finance.  I decided to continue my educational path at La Salle University for my graduate studies in Secondary Education.

3. What got you interested in LTS Math/teaching? After graduating from the University of Scranton, I worked in the world of finance, where I then decided to pursue my calling to become a teacher.  I have always had a passion for learning, especially in the field of Mathematics.  Therefore, teaching has allowed me to share this passion while simultaneously making a difference, in children and young adults’ lives, by inspiring them to be better, push harder, and go further.  

4. How did you find out about O’Hara? I have worked in the Philadelphia Archdiocese for close to 2 years now and I was looking to continue working in the Archdiocese.  After hearing nothing but great things about the Cardinal O’Hara community, I jumped at the opportunity to become a part of it. 

5. What are you most looking forward to this upcoming school year? I am looking forward to meeting everyone that is involved at Cardinal O’Hara – faculty, students, and their families.  I cannot wait for the school year to begin so I can build relationships with everyone involved in the Cardinal O’Hara community!

What are your favorite interests/hobbies outside of LTS Math and teaching?My favorite interests and hobbies include playing sports, coaching, going to the beach, and reading.  

Ashley Jones: Social Studies

1. Where are you from? I am from Northeast Philadelphia. I attended Archbishop Ryan High School. 

2. Where did you attend college? I attended Temple University. 

3. What got you interested in social studies/teaching?  I always knew I wanted to be a teacher from an early age. I never knew exactly which subject or grade level I wanted to teach until I got a little older. I had a teacher in 8th grade, Mrs. Taylor, who taught Social Studies in a way that made it exciting! I didn’t feel like I was just learning about the past; I felt like she was telling a story that directly impacted the way my life is today. I remember being so interested in history and I wanted to teach it in a way that got students excited like I was and still am. 

4. How did you find out about O’Hara? I graduated from a Catholic High School and I believe the sense of community and education from Catholic schools is very important. O’Hara is in a neighborhood where my aunt lived and I grew up visiting her often. So, when Ms. Vice reached out with an opportunity to teach there this upcoming year, I was very interested. 

5. What are you most looking forward to this upcoming school year?  I am most looking forward to getting to know my students, of course. It has been a very difficult and trying time in education. I am looking forward to being able to teach in person and build those relationships with my students. I am also excited to be a part of the O’Hara community! 

6. What are your favorite interests/hobbies outside of social studies and teaching? Outside of teaching and social studies, I am a mom to 7. My favorite thing to do is to watch them play in their sports/go to their activities. We like to spend time down the shore and have movie nights with a lot of candy. I am also a huge Broadway fan. I’m looking forward to seeing live shows again soon!  

Matt Slutz: ELA

1.     Where are you from? I am from Upper Merion, although I attended grade school in Bridgeport and high school in Norristown. I am a proud graduate of Kennedy Kenrick Catholic High School.

2.     Where did you attend college? I didn’t go too far away for college. I went to Cabrini College, now Cabrini University. There, I met lifelong friends and mentors who would help shape my approach to life, and teaching and learning in the fields of English and religious studies.

3.     What got you interested in ELA/teaching? It all started, of course, with my parents’ emphasis on reading and conversation. They encouraged me to read stories that I enjoyed as well as stories that I might not have totally liked but provided valuable lessons. Additionally, I paid attention to the news, sitcoms, and classic movies which helped with vocabulary and reading society. During my junior year of high school, my English teacher helped to facilitate an understanding of literature beyond the test or the expected responses. Later, three faculty at Cabrini would transform my writing process. I was challenged to synthesize many complex texts and ideas through blue book exams and detailed research papers. In my early professional life, I was fortunate to encounter two colleagues who have led rich lives as readers and writers. They taught me the value of using inquiry to get to the heart of an idea and how to express it clearly. Altogether, this helped me form a commitment to learning and helping others see the world more broadly through storytelling and writing. 

4.     How did you find out about O’Hara? Cardinal O’Hara High School is a familiar name. My parents worked in Delaware County, not too far from the school. O’Hara was a PCL rival in high school. Lastly, many of my fantastic student workers at Cabrini were graduates of Cardinal O’Hara High School. I have been aware of its commitment to a well-rounded Catholic education.

5.     What are you most looking forward to this upcoming school year? I am excited to have a fresh start at O’Hara whose reputation is well known. I am looking forward to meeting my new colleagues and students.  

6.     What are your favorite interests/hobbies outside of ELA and teaching?        When my nose isn’t buried in a book, I love playing golf and basketball. I hope to play in a rec league (basketball) this fall or winter. I am looking forward to attending concerts again this fall. I like going to new restaurants, so if y’all have any recommendations, please share them with me. Traveling is high on my list of hobbies as well. Seeing new places and meeting new people is fun and interesting. Last but not least, I value spending time with my family. Oh, and I can’t forget going on adventures or vegging out with my dog Vinny.

Exciting New Classes Being Offered Next Year!

As we get ready for a new school year we are excited for all that is ahead. We are happy to announce that next year we will be offering three new courses to our curriculum. Students will have the opportunity to take AP Environmental Science, AP Computer Science Principles, and Cultural Studies. Below we share a description of each course and what students are to expect if they decide to enroll.

The AP Environmental Science course is designed to be the equivalent of a one-semester, introductory college course in environmental science, through which students engage with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships within the natural world. The course requires that students identify and analyze natural and human-made environmental problems, evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them. Environmental science is interdisciplinary, embracing topics from geology, biology, environmental studies, environmental science, chemistry, and geography.


Students should have completed two years of high school laboratory science—one year of life science and one year of physical science (e.g., a year of biology and a year of chemistry). Due to the quantitative analysis required in the course, students should also have taken at least one year of algebra. Also desirable (but not necessary) is a course in earth science.


Although there are no specific AP Environmental Science labs or field investigations required for the course, it is required that students have the opportunity to spend a minimum of 25% of instructional time engaged in hands-on, inquiry-based laboratory and/or fieldwork investigations.

The course content is organized into nine commonly taught units, which have been arranged in the following suggested, logical sequence:

  • Unit 1: The Living World: Ecosystems
  • Unit 2: The Living World: Biodiversity
  • Unit 3: Populations
  • Unit 4: Earth Systems and Resources
  • Unit 5: Land and Water Use
  • Unit 6: Energy Resources and Consumption
  • Unit 7: Atmospheric Pollution
  • Unit 8: Aquatic and Terrestrial Pollution
  • Unit 9: Global Change

In addition, the following big ideas serve as the foundation of the course, enabling students to create meaningful connections among concepts and develop deeper conceptual understanding:

■ Energy Transfer: Energy conversions underlie all ecological processes. Energy cannot be created; it must come from somewhere. As energy flows through systems, at each step, more of it becomes unusable.

■ Interactions Between Earth Systems: The Earth is one interconnected system. Natural systems change over time and space. Biogeochemical systems vary in ability to recover from disturbances.

■ Interactions Between Different Species and the Environment: Humans alter natural systems and have had an impact on the environment for millions of years. Technology and population growth have enabled humans to increase both the rate and scale of their impact on the environment.

■ Sustainability: Human survival depends on developing practices that will achieve sustainable systems. A suitable combination of conservation and development is required. The management of resources is essential. Understanding the role of cultural, social, and economic factors is vital to the development of solutions.

AP Environmental Science Practices

■ Concept Explanation: Explain environmental concepts, processes, and models presented in written format.

■ Visual Representations: Analyze visual representations of environmental concepts and processes.

■ Text Analysis: Analyze sources of information about environmental issues.

■ Scientific Experiments: Analyze research studies that test environmental principles.

■ Data Analysis: Analyze and interpret quantitative data represented in tables, charts, and graphs.

■ Mathematical Routines: Apply quantitative methods to address environmental concepts.

■ Environmental Solutions: Propose and justify solutions to environmental problems.

AP Computer Science Principles introduces students to the breadth of the field of computer science. In this course, students will learn to design and evaluate solutions and to apply computer science to solve problems through the development of algorithms and programs. They will incorporate abstraction into programs and use data to discover new knowledge. Students will also explain how computing innovations and computing systems, including the Internet, work, explore their potential impacts, and contribute to a computing culture that is collaborative and ethical.

PREREQUISITESIt is recommended that students in the AP Computer Science Principles course have successfully completed a first-year high school algebra course with a strong foundation of basic linear functions, composition of functions, and problem-solving strategies that require multiple approaches and collaborative efforts. In addition, students should be able to use a Cartesian (x, y) coordinate system to represent points on a plane. It is important that students and their advisers understand that any significant computer science course builds upon a foundation of mathematical reasoning that should be acquired before attempting such a course.Prior computer science experience is not required to take this course.

The following are the major areas of study, or big ideas, that serve as the foundation of the course, enabling students to create meaningful connections among concepts and develop deeper conceptual understanding:

■ Creative Development: When developing computing innovations, developers can use a formal, iterative design process or a less rigid process of experimentation, and will encounter phases of investigating and reflecting, designing, prototyping, and testing. Collaboration is an important tool at any phase of development.

■ Data: Data are central to computing innovations because they communicate initial conditions to programs and represent new knowledge.

■ Algorithms and Programming: Programmers integrate algorithms and abstraction to create programs for creative purposes and to solve problems.

■ Computing Systems and Networks: Computer systems and networks are used to transfer data.

■ Impact of Computing: Computers and computing have revolutionized our lives. To use computing safely and responsibly, we need to be aware of privacy, security, and ethical issues.

Each big idea is broken down into teachable segments called topics.

The following computational thinking practices describe what skills students should develop during the course:

■ Computational Solution Design: Design and evaluate computational solutions for a purpose.

■ Algorithms and Program Development: Develop and implement algorithms.

■ Abstraction in Program Development: Develop programs that incorporate abstractions.

■ Code Analysis: Evaluate and test algorithms and programs.

■ Computing Innovations: Investigate computing innovations.

■ Responsible Computing: Contribute to an inclusive, safe, collaborative, and ethical computing culture.

 Cultural Studies will address the critical need to explore how traditional and non-traditional forms of culture impact and shape our learning and lives.  Cultural studies will expand and broaden student concepts of what culture is and what it means. The course will address the many facets of culture, how it is formed, and the impact it has on our learning and how we perceive the world.  We will delve deeper into the aspects of various cultures exploring traditions, political and religious beliefs, music, literature, and more. The critical issues of bias, prejudice, racism, sexism and classism will also be investigated, focusing on how we as a society can equitably integrate and appreciate a variety of cultures.

Erin Donovan 20′

O’Hara Grad Makes the Most of Opportunities

Meet Liz Tosto, a 2017 O’Hara alum and 2021 Sacred Heart University grad, who is pursuing her dream and interning with the United States Secret Service (USSS) this summer.

“At my internship, I help investigate different fraud and counterfeit crimes. I also help conduct background investigations on individuals who apply to the USSS. What I love at my internship is that I get to tag along with different protection details that may be going on in the Connecticut area. This includes current and former presidents/vice presidents.”

Liz’s career goal is to work for the agency and the way she learned about this career and became connected is a great lesson to all of our recent graduates pursuing internships, co-ops, and their first post-college job. “My professor on the first day of class during my junior year in the spring semester had a Secret Service Agent come into class and speak about the profession and career one may have as an agent. After class, I was fortunate enough to gain his contact information and we have been in contact ever since.”

This opportunity has been eye opening for Liz and has afforded her many life lessons, “I am learning how to work as a team in this internship. It may sound corny, but teamwork is significantly important in this profession. Everyone needs to be on the same page and know what is always going on, especially during a protective detail. Communication and knowing everything about the assignment is imperative because if one person is off, it throws everyone off. I am also learning how the Secret Service operates. I enjoy seeing both sides of the job—from being able to go from investigation to protection is interesting and a fun change of scenery.”

As Liz reflects on her summer so far, she offers these insights to her fellow young alumni: “Do not be afraid to start making connections and networking early. Go to career fairs that your college or university may be holding. It is important to start networking your way through different professions, especially careers that you are interested in. Agencies love new faces and enjoy seeing your interests. I started making connections with different departments my freshman year. It may be hard and a long process, but it is worth it.” She continues, “Take every opportunity that is given to you; even if it is not something you may want to pursue. It is always good to experience what the organization can offer to show you. And GET GOOD GRADES.”

Liz received her undergrad degree from Sacred Heart University in 2021 with a major in Criminal Justice and minor in Political Science and Human Rights/Social Justice. She played field hockey for the university. She is currently in a graduate program at Sacred Heart and will receive her master’s degree in Criminal Justice in 2022.

When asked how O’Hara has prepared her for college and for this opportunity Liz said, “O’Hara showed me how to build connections between people. I learned how to connect with people by being involved with different clubs the school had to offer. This helped me build my self-confidence for public speaking and communicating with new people.”

“O’Hara showed me how to build connections between people. I learned how to connect with people by being involved with different clubs the school had to offer. This helped me build my self-confidence for public speaking and communicating with new people.”

Liz Tosto ’17

Liz’s last words of advice to lions contemplating careers is helpful, “If you are considering this or any career path, do not feel intimidated or discouraged by anyone who may not believe you would be right for the job. You are your own person and if you want something, you will get it if you put in the effort and work. Do not let anyone tell you that you are not good enough for this job because you are capable of anything. It may seem impossible now, but you show them who you are and if you put in the hard work, you will achieve your dream job.”

Liz, we are proud of you and of your accomplishments and we cannot wait to watch you continue to roar. Proud to call you a “lion for life!”

written by: Jennifer Tuberosa, Vice President/Development

Technology Club Creates Helpful MacBook Shortcuts Project

Over the school year the Technology Club decided to create a Macbook shortcuts project. They worked on a Powerpoint which displayed each Macbook shortcut as well as demonstrated how to use each shortcut. This project is sure to help make work quicker and more efficient. The O’Hara community would like to thank Ryan McLean, Royce Ogujiofor, and club moderator Ms. Shields for their diligent work. We are so proud of the final product! Advancement Intern Erin Donovan ‘20 was lucky enough to sit down with Ryan and Royce to ask some questions. Here are their responses:


1. Why did you decide to do this project?

Ryan: Royce and I decided to do this project because we felt like it was something worthwhile to do for the school. We wanted to contribute something that would last. Since there are many students and teachers out there that use MacBooks, we figured they would want to know some simple shortcuts to make their lives easier, especially if they were new to using MacBooks.

Royce: We [Technology Club] decided early on we wanted to compile information via Youtube video, PDF, PowerPoint, etc. This information would be sent to the student body to use as a reference during the school year.

2. Who else participated (students and staff)

Ryan: For the most part, the project was done mainly by Royce and I. Of course, Ms. Shields was there to supervise and offer her advice here and there, but other than that it was mostly Royce and I. 

Royce: It was primarily Ryan and I that worked on the slides, alongside Ms. Shields’ supervision.  

3. How long did it take to create this project?

Ryan: I would say that this project took about two and a half weeks to complete. In the beginning phases, Royce and I would be on the phone outside of the club meetings trying to figure out what we wanted to do and how we would make the project come about. The one positive thing about this particular project was that once we were able to visualize and create the first few slides, the rest was simply copied and pasted with some tweaks here and there. 

Royce: It took us about ten days in total, spread over around three and a half weeks. Each week we would usually meet on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Sometimes on other days, Ryan and I would spend a couple of hours working on the slides.


4. How did you learn about all the information involved in the slides?

Ryan: At first, Royce and I listed all the shortcuts we knew on a separate document until we couldn’t think of anything else. Since we felt like it wasn’t enough, we started researching using websites and some Youtube videos. After the shortcuts, I went and researched the touchpad shortcuts while Royce found the shortcuts for various symbols.

Royce: The first few slides were ones we had prior knowledge of, while the vast majority were from scouring numerous websites. And a few of them were ones that we found accidentally. 

5. What is your favorite Macbook shortcut to use?

Ryan: Personally, my favorite shortcut to use is “Command-F” which is the finding words in a document shortcut. I like this shortcut because I think it is extremely useful for when you have a long passage or article in front of you and some questions. For example, if I have to go back in the passage for whatever reason to locate one sentence amidst the entire passage, I can simply use “Command-F” to locate it faster. This command is also useful when it comes to doing heavy research. 

Royce:  My favorite shortcut to use is Command + F. It is very handy when it comes to finding information quickly on a website or document. 

6. What’s up next for the club?

Ryan:  Royce and I have been working on another project for the school. We decided to make a troubleshooting guide for MacBooks. This project was much larger and more tedious than the shortcut project so we have dedicated many more hours to completing it. We aim to release this project early next year when MacBooks are distributed so that if students encounter a problem, they can refer to it and possibly fix it on their own instead of bringing it to the tech office for numerous days at a time. After we finish that project, we will hopefully start looking for more members for the tech club so it is not just Royce and I.  Also, since we will be in-person next year, we can do more physical projects. 

Royce: We have another slideshow in the works. It’s going to be bigger and better than the last!

Thank you again Tech Club for your hard work. We look forward to trying all of the different shortcuts. 

National African American Recognition Program Applicants

We are honored to announce that a number of our students were invited to apply for the College Board National African American Recognition Program, based on their PSAT10, PSAT/NMSQT, and/or AP test scores.

The College Board, which administers the PSAT and SAT among its activities, recognizes academic excellence through its National Recognition Programs. Students selected for this prestigious honor can cite it on their college and scholarship applications. In turn, colleges use the listing of this honor as a way of identifying students from underrepresented groups.  The College Board National Recognition Programs creates pathways to college for underrepresented students by awarding them academic honors and connecting them with universities across the country.

The students whom we congratulate for being invited the opportunity to apply include Bentu Bambara, Jason McClean, Iyabode Ojulari, Walid Thompson, and Joshua Yassin.

In order to be considered there are requirements that must be met. Juniors have three options: they can take the PSAT 10 in the spring of their Sophomore year and score in the top 10% by state, take the PSAT/NMSQT in the fall of their Junior year and score in the top 10% by state, or earn a score of three or higher on two or more AP exams by their Junior year (9th and 10th grade AP scores are considered).  Sophmores have two options: they can either take the PSAT/NMSQT in the fall of their Sophomore year and score in the top 10% by state or earn a score of three or higher on two or more AP exams by their sophomore year (9th grade AP scores are considered). Both Juniors and Sophomores are required to have a 3.5 GPA or higher. We are so proud of these students’ achievements and are happy to call them Lions for Life! 

Advancement Intern Erin Donovan ‘20

An Act of Kindness Can Go A Long Way!

Mrs. Tickman’s freshman seminar class was recently assigned a kindness project where they performed a random act of kindness for someone. The project required a slide with visual representation of the act of kindness including three pictures, graphics, clip art, and one slide explaining the act of kindness. Mrs. Tickman does this project every semester with her students. The project consists of two parts. The first part is creating a kindness card (modeled after the kindness rock philosophy) and the students create an inspirational, uplifting, motivational card with a kind, positive message and then leave it somewhere for someone to find or give it to someone they feel needs it.  The second part of the kindness project is performing an act of kindness. Mrs Tickman decided to start this project because she feels reinforcing kindness is a message all people need to hear. She believes in Lucius Annaeus Seneca’s quote, “Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.”   While her class promotes social, emotional, intellectual, and future college planning topics Mrs. Tickman has added her own flair by introducing some additional topics like the impact of music and the concept of kindness. 

Throughout the years students have done tremendous kind acts. Some examples include baking or cooking for elderly or sick neighbors, doing yard work or shoveling snow for family or neighbors, spending time with grandparents, doing Saturday chores for their parents, helping parents do household renovations, shopping and delivering groceries, or babysitting for free to give a break to parents. Mrs Tickman stated that she reminds her students the act of kindness need not be heroic and that kind acts are often small in nature but impactful in the heart of the recipient.  

One of Mrs Tickman’s students this year, Mariana Pagano, decided she wanted to give back to those who work in the profession she is hoping to pursue. Mariana decided to perform an act of kindness for the nurses at Riddle Memorial Hospital Labor and Delivery Unit. She was born at Riddle and her goal in life is to be a Labor and Delivery Nurse. Mariana, after much debate, decided for her act of kindness that she would deliver the nurses a sweet pick-me-up and she brought them cookies! The nurses were so excited and thankful for the kind gesture. Mariana mentioned that one nurse said the act of kindness made her day. Mariana stated, “I felt really happy to give back and it was almost like a glimpse of hopefully, my future. Plus it was cool to see where my life started.” 

We are so proud of Mariana as well of all of Mrs Tickman’s freshman seminar students for serving others and giving back. We commend Mrs. Tickman for this assignment as it shows our students that they can make a difference for others and help brighten people’s days and that an act of kindness can go a long way. 

Advancement Intern Erin Donovan ‘20 

Some of the Best Moments from the 2020/2021 School Year!

As the end of the school year approaches many people find themselves reflecting on all the memories they have made over the year. Whether it be in the classroom, cafeteria, theater, gym, track, or turf everyone has a moment from this school year that is special to them. Ms. Rowitt, one of our faculty, thought it would be uplifting to have her students submit their favorite memory from this year. She assigned the same project last year to her students. She got the idea due to Covid. She stated, “None of us has ever experienced anything like this before, and it’s HARD.  High School is demanding enough without a pandemic keeping you online all day and away from many things my students would rather be doing.  So this activity was meant as a fun break, plus I wanted to encourage my students to look for the good, even in all that this year has been.” She decided to assign it again this year for the same reason. It has been tough, but each day it is important to practice gratitude and this activity allowed the students to show appreciation to O’Hara for gifting them with an amazing faculty, wonderful teachers, great friends, awesome coaches, and memories that will last a lifetime. 

When I asked Ms. Rowitt her own favorite memory from this year she said K108.  It was special for her because she didn’t get to teach seniors this year, but in her time at O’Hara, she taught a good chunk of the class of 2021.  She mentioned, “Experiencing Karios with them, and the first one that Father Masson has been able to have since Covid started, was amazing! Seeing the faith and strength of my students is always amazing to witness!”

 After reading through her students’ responses she was reminded what a safe space high school can be. It showed her that her students want to be at O’Hara and — to see how much the days they were able to be together, albeit socially distanced, at school mattered to them made all the work this year worth it. This project was a great way to show that O’Hara is more than just a school, it is a family and that the lessons and memories made here are priceless. Here is a snapshot of just some of the student responses about their favorite memories:

“The best part of the 2020-21 school year would be gathering for events when it was permitted. Being able to have and participate in the fine arts night felt like a step closer to normalcy and it was amazing. From lunchtime to my regular classes, I am so grateful to my teachers and peers for making school the best experience possible even through the pandemic. My all time favorite thing would be anytime I get to sing with the choir. It is hard practicing with different cohorts, but when we come together it is beautiful and it is one of the best experiences ever. The best part of this year was our ability to come together successfully through a different type of year. I am so excited for next year!”

~ Kaia Grant ‘22

“My favorite part of the school year was winning the PCL swim meet with my team. I had a great time swimming and I made some great new friends. If I could go back in time and do the whole season again, I definitely would. I was very proud of our victory and this is something that I’ll treasure forever. I can’t wait for the next season to start again. I am grateful to the friends I made, my teammates and my coach for making the season super fun!” 

~ Haley Bray ‘24

“The best part of the school year for me was my art class with Ms. Johnson. We did a lot of fun and unique projects that I’ve never tried before and I learned a lot from it. She’s been a really fun teacher as well and came up with a lot of engaging activities. I enjoyed meeting some of the new teachers that I had, like Ms. Johnson, Ms. Alfano, and Señorita Becker who all worked very hard and came up with some pretty interesting activities and projects. Hopefully next school year things will start going back to normal, but this year wasn’t as draining as I thought it’d be.” ~ Sydney Scaramuzza ‘23

“My favorite memory from this school year was the flag football tournament.  This was one of the first in person events that the school allowed us to have and it was definitely the best. Last year, the flag football tournament was fun and I know that my friends and I were really hoping that they would continue it in this hybrid year. When they announced that we were going to be able to have the tournament outside, we were all excited and started making our team. We got our team together, picked out shirt colors, and were ready to go. The day of the tournament was exciting and our first game was so fun. I loved posing for pictures and being able to be with all of my friends in person at a school event for the first time all year. We won our first game and moved onto our second game where we played our friends. It was so funny playing against them and we ended up winning. So, then we moved onto the third game, which was the championship. Our friends we had beat last game stuck around to hang out and watch the last game. We ended up losing to the seniors in a close game. Even though my team got second, the flag football tournament is still my favorite memory from this school year because I was able to spend time with all of my friends at a school event. Many of my runner up best memories were made in your (Ms. Rowitt’s) class, I want to thank you also for being the great teacher that you are. I am always excited to come to your class because I know that I will smile and laugh. You made this year as fun as possible and really taught me a lot.”

~ Maddie Ellis ‘23

“Over the past year, I had many fun memories, but the best one was definitely lacrosse season. It was my first time playing high school lacrosse because of not being able to play due to covid last year. It felt like it had been so long since I actually got to have an actual sports season, and it was amazing getting back to playing what I love. O’Hara lacrosse is like no other team that I’ve been a part of. Although the running was definitely hard, it never took away from all the fun we had together as a team. Every single person on the team was so supportive and encouraging throughout the season. One of the things we did as a team was never let someone run alone. If everyone had finished the laps and a few girls were still running, at least one girl would go back to make sure they didn’t finish alone. This is what it means to be a team and work as a team. O’Hara lacrosse has taught me so many important things both about life, and the sport over the past couple of months. The most important thing I learned was hard work pays off, and it did. This was my favorite memory by far because I made friendships that I will keep for the rest of my life on this team. I’m sad it’s almost over, but I can’t wait for next year!”

~Lauren Hodlofski ‘23

“My favorite memory from the school year was the golf season. Even though the season got canceled in the fall, the spring season was still great. I was very happy to even have a season and the team worked really hard to improve. The hard work paid off because we got third place in the PCL tournament. Although we didn’t win the championship, it was still great to know we were pretty close. Overall it was great to have a season and I enjoyed every minute of it.”

~Anthony Carson ‘23

My favorite part about this school year was when our track team won PCL’s. Hearing our team get called to come receive the plaque was one of the best feelings ever. We’ve been working really hard all year for that moment and I’m so proud of our whole team for doing their best last weekend. I’ve met so many great people and made a lot of fun memories. Thanks to everyone on the team for making track so much fun. Winning PCL’s was definitely the highlight of this school year, but Mrs. Rowitt’s math class is a close second 🙂 ~Sarah Lorenz ‘24

This was my first year at O’Hara and even though it didn’t go exactly how I wanted it to, it was still so great. I was able to be a part of a lot of cool things and make many new friends. My favorite memory from this school year was probably being a part of the tennis team. Since covid cut our season short, the JV team never got to play other schools. Although it would have been fun to play actual games, the practices were so much fun. It was my first year playing tennis, and I learned a lot. There were a lot of people on JV so every practice was so much fun. I am so lucky to be a part of such a positive team and I can’t wait for next year!

~Maribel Haas ‘24

“One of my newest and most favorite memories this school year was getting to go outside for recess during third lunch with my table partner, Hayley Denne. We got to go outside and play spikeball which was really funny and entertaining for us. Every other day throughout the year Hayley and I have enjoyed making the most out of our lunch. We’ve created so many memories that will definitely stick with us throughout the rest of our time at O’Hara.”

~ Jordan Graney ‘23

“My favorite part of this school year was winning the basketball state championship! Considering we weren’t even sure if we would have a season, winning the championship was even better. The entire year we worked so hard and this year especially, sacrificed many things during the season. To be able to win the first one ever with the best people is something I will never forget. Everyone was so excited and so proud of us, it was such a fun time. The game was so exciting, the coaches were so happy, and we played together. It was even more fun because we were winning by so much, it wasn’t very stressful. Every season is special for different reasons but this one has definitely been the best!  I am so lucky to be a part of this team and will always remember this year.”  ~ Annie Welde ‘22

‘One of my fondest memories from the 2020-2021 school year was having the opportunity to be a part of O’Hara’s production of The Music Man as an orchestra member. In my grade school years, I often came to O’Hara to see their musicals, and I was always blown away by how spectacular they were from the talented actors, actresses, singers, and dancers on stage, to the dedicated Stage Crew members behind the scenes, and even to the gifted musicians in the pit. O’Hara’s theater program truly allows each student involved to shine the light of Christ to the O’Hara community through their God-given gift, whether that be singing, acting, dancing, playing a musical instrument, or visual art and/or set design. The program teaches its students that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and this aspect was especially recognizable this year due to a smaller cast size. O’Hara’s production of The Music Man this past March was so special because it was the first show that O’Hara students were able to perform since Back to the 80’s in December 2019, and better yet, it was able to happen amid COVID restrictions. Even as a freshman playing the flute in the pit, I saw actors, actresses, singers, dancers, Stage Crew members, and instrumentalists showcase their respective talents with JOY. I have never seen such happiness in such an uncertain time. Seeing the unity of the cast members and hearing senior speeches for the first time, particularly in a year of restrictions and uncertainties, reminded me of why I am so beyond grateful that I attend a school with outstanding people and opportunities because the people make them happen. Overall, I am so blessed to have experienced such an amazing O’Hara production, and I will cherish this memory for a lifetime.” ~ Theresa Stolarczyk ‘24

“The best part of this school year would have to be the Band Banquet we had. It was the first social event that the band was able to have all year and I was really excited for it. The drumlines, guard and Jazz Band performed and it was a special moment. This was the first performance we were able to do for our families. It was great just knowing that things are trying to go back to normal and that we were able to have this event this year!”

~ Natalie Doyle ‘22 

“This year has had its ups and downs in many ways. One of my top moments was being in school and playing the sports I love which are field hockey, lacrosse and basketball. This year I was lucky to be a part of the first ever state championship winning girls basketball team. It was such a cool stadium and experience with some of my best friends that I’ll never forget. Although we have gotten so much taken away from us this year, winning that game made everything have a sense of normalcy. Overall I will forever cherish these moments in my life and cannot wait for what next year brings!” 

~ Kristen Kutufaris ‘22