CSC Continues to Serve

“Faith in action is love and love in action is service.” These words spoken by Saint Teresa of Calcutta are the cornerstone of everything that we do as part of the Community Service Corps at O’Hara. This year, a pandemic wasn’t going to stand in our way of doing what our hundreds of student members love to do: serve our community.

This past February a team of 50 students made Valentine’s Cards for the women of Divine Providence Village. We stayed after school making intricate designs with brightly colored paper, stickers, and, of course, love! We had so much fun coming together as a group to make these Valentine’s gifts for the people that we care about at DPV. As we drove on campus to leave the cards on the porch outside the Administrative Offices, the memories of all of the good times that my classmates and I have had all these years with the members of Divine Providence and Don Guanella came flooding back: softball games in the gym, St. Patrick’s Day parties, Masses together, Thanksgiving dinner, and so much more. These moments are some of the best memories that my fellow seniors and I have had during our O’Hara days. Spreading love and joy to everyone there and feeling their love and happiness was a feeling like no other.

This week, as Easter quickly approaches, we continued a wonderful tradition started by Mr. Charlie Wieners. A small group of CSC members assembled Easter baskets for City Team Ministries in Chester. Our A Day cohort met after school and we formed a mini assembly line to make 50 baskets. And our friends in the B Day cohort will match that and make 50 more! The generosity of our O’Hara community with donations of candy and Easter grass was overwhelming and a testament to the focus that our students have on service to others.

The Community Service Corps has been such an integral part of my life these last four years. Some of my best friends were made in this group—during early morning Ronald McDonald House breakfast preparations, at Wednesday evening softball games in our gym with the residents of Don Guanella, at the most festive Christmas party you will ever witness with the Spanish Apostolate, during preparations for our massive Thanksgiving dinner food drive, and as we spent time in “CSC homeroom” planning hundreds of events as our team focused on making a difference.

Saint Teresa sums up my four-year CSC experience, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Thank you, Cardinal O’Hara CSC, for allowing us to do many small, wonderful things with great love.

Written By: Katie Tuberosa ‘21

Four Years of Theatre at O’Hara

I have been involved in the O’Hara Theatre Program since my freshman year four years ago. It is where I have met most of my best friends, have spent countless hours of my time, and have made the absolute best memories. 

When the pandemic hit in March of last year, I was absolutely devastated. We were a week away from opening Godspell, and had worked so incredibly hard to make it the best show possible. Like most people this past year, I was overwhelmed with many emotions. I was angry, sad, and most of all frightened about the unknown. We didn’t know when or if we would ever be able to perform that show. Sadly, we never got to, and I still feel terribly for the seniors who did not get to perform their last show.

When it was announced last fall that we would be doing The Music Man, I frankly didn’t know how to feel. How could we possibly pull off doing a show in the middle of a global pandemic? Where would we do it? How would we hold rehearsals? Mr. Brac and Mrs. Mooney assured us that the show would not be the exact same as years past, but that they would do their very best to make it feel as normal as possible while following all safety precautions.

After auditions, I was given the absolute honor to play the role of Marian Paroo. Like Marian, I am not someone always open to change. I think it is something that a lot of us struggle with. We want things to “be like last year” and keep traditions that have been in place for so long. However, if I have learned one thing from this past year, it is that change can be good. Yes, there can be downsides, but sometimes it is for the better. In the show, Marian transforms from a stuck-up librarian to an appreciative young woman who is able to see the good in others. This show changed my perspective on this year. Instead of focusing on what I have lost and what “isn’t the same,” I am now looking forward to new opportunities being created and focusing on what I do have.

On opening night, I was so overwhelmed with love and nostalgia and just plain happiness. Hearing the sounds of an audience clapping and laughing is something that I did not know I could miss so much. Performing under the bright lights while hearing the orchestra playing, and being backstage alongside the people that I love most was probably the highlight of my senior year so far. It was so good to be back and it was the perfect way to end my time in the theatre program.

The Music Man was the first thing that has felt normal to me in this unprecedented year. I was able to spend time with my best friends and laugh and joke around at rehearsals. We were able to wear the most amazing costumes while telling such an incredible story. Most of all, we were able to do what show kids do best: dance, act, and sing our hearts out on that beautiful stage. 

And we did all of that safely and with masks on! It was truly amazing what we were able to accomplish despite the many obstacles we endured. I think this show was something that we all needed. It was a reassurance and a glimmer of hope for the future. We showed our O’Hara family, our community, and honestly, the world, that life is going to be okay, and we can still find joy in doing what we love. 

I cannot express enough gratitude for Mr. Brac and Mrs. Mooney for what they have done for us this year. They put their hearts and souls into this production. Even when it looked like the show may not happen, I had the utmost confidence that no matter what, it would happen in some way, shape, or form solely because of their dedication. I thank them for giving us all this incredible experience, and for defying the negativity that has been so prevalent this past year. My past four years in this program have been so special and memorable, and theatre is something I plan to continue in college because of the love for the arts that O’Hara has given me.

Written by: Maureen O’Reilly ’21

Swim Season Success!

Covid tried to take away the season, but the O’Hara Swim Team wouldn’t let that happen. We rallied and came back stronger than ever! It all started when our amazing coach, Cherie Walters, secured a pool for practices. For two months beginning in January, the team and I swam outside at night in below freezing temperatures. The pool was heated (thank goodness) and when you entered the pool parking lot, you could see the steam rising from the water. Once we got in and started to swim, it warmed up. Getting out of the water was a different story…it was beyond cold and, some nights, icy along the pool deck.

Despite having practices, meets were in question for almost the entire season. We had many meets canceled because of snow. There was limited pool availability to host meets because of covid guidelines. Virtual meets, when we were lucky to compete, did not have the same excitement and energy as a normal meet would have. All through this, Coach Cherie pushed us to work hard in practice and reminded us that a “strange” season was better than no season at all. With everything going on around us, the team became even closer than we were before. We were extremely lucky to have the opportunity to swim and do what we love! 

Leading up to Districts and PCLs was nerve racking. Districts felt electric. You could tell that every swimmer was excited to be racing other teams in person. The team did amazing! We were making best times in every event and many of our swimmers were on the podium! The girls’ team placed third overall and the boys’ team placed sixth overall in the district! 

The success at Districts led to an even more successful PCL weekend. Going into PCLs, Cherie gave us one goal: to leave everything in the pool no matter what. She told us that regardless of PCL results, we had already won because of all of our hard work and dedication. We were not just swimming for ourselves, but we were swimming for Cherie because she gave us all the hope and confidence we needed. She never gave up on us even when we wanted to give up on ourselves. At PCLs, everyone had fantastic swims! The team was radiating so much energy and positivity that the global pandemic was an afterthought. When all was said and done, the team earned fifteen All-Catholic honors, the boys finished sixth in the PCL and the girls took home the title…2020-2021 PCL Champs! We look forward to hitting the water again next year and working towards another title!

Written By: Katie O’Hanlon ’22

Xavier Thompson Receives Cheyney University Keystone Scholarship!

Senior Xavier Thompson was recently awarded the Cheyney University Keystone Scholarship, which is a full, four-year scholarship to the university. Xavier plans to major in psychology with the goal of one day becoming a child psychologist, “I’ve always been interested in the human mind and want to learn more about why people do certain things, and also why they react like they do. Being able to help someone who could be going through something traumatic would be rewarding.”

Xavier has been a member of the rugby team since his sophomore year and an Operation Santa Claus participant while at O’Hara and he hopes to be part of the Danny Hammond Dance Marathon this year as well. Rugby has provided him with some of his fondest O’Hara memories, “My best O’Hara memory would have to be winning the state championship for rugby my sophomore year. Our team didn’t expect to make it that far but all of our hard work paid off.”

A graduate of Holy Cross Elementary School in Springfield, Xavier is looking forward to his college experience at Cheyney, “I choose Cheyney because of the scholarship but also because of the culture. I know some people who graduated from Cheyney and they told me that the experience there would be different from other colleges. Cheyney is somewhat close to home but far enough away so that I also feel like I would be able to get the full college experience.”

Congratulations, Xavier! We are proud to call you a #lion4life!

O’Hara Family Christmas- Reflection

O’Hara Family Christmas Essay

O’Hara Family Christmas is one of my favorite Christmas activities that we have. It is a schoolwide tradition that resonates with students, faculty, and alumni every year. From a beautiful Mass to fun events afterward, O’Hara Family Christmas is a fun time for everyone. O’Hara Family Christmas includes many beautiful songs such as “On That Holy Mountain” and “Christmas Lullaby.” The stage brings joy to the event with decorations like poinsettias and Christmas lights. Singing these songs and looking at the decorations reminds me of the wonderful experiences I have here. It reminds me of how grateful I am for the people, events, and memories I have. It is not only a symbol of togetherness but a time of blessings for the Christmas season and the New Year. 

 Many of our annual events had to get postponed. O’Hara Family Christmas attracts a substantially large audience every year. However, social distancing during these times is crucial, causing us to change a few aspects of our Christmas Tradition. This year, we held a prayer service instead of a full Mass and activities. It was still a beautiful service to attend, and as a choir member, an inspirational event to sing in. The virtual tree lighting, the Prayer Service and the carolling afterwards was spectacular. This event represented how the O’Hara family comes together to bring light to the community in a joyous way. All in all, O’Hara Family Christmas in past years, this year, and in the years to come, is a beautiful tradition that everyone should see and experience.

Written By: Kaia Grant

Hybrid learning at O’Hara has been beyond my expectations.

Starting high school at Cardinal O’Hara as a freshman was an overwhelming but very exciting experience. I remember thinking about what high school would look like back in early March. I was excited to make new friends, go to different sports games and get involved in lots of activities. Little did I know what I envisioned would be completely different. 

When I first heard the term “hybrid”  I really didn’t understand what that meant. I soon learned that it meant that  I would only come in every other day. Specifically, there are two groups, A and B. Groups are in school every other day, and if you aren’t in school, you are virtual that day. As a virtual student, I login to all my classes over zoom. When on a zoom call, my teacher’s MacBook will act as a camera in class. This system is great and makes me feel like I am right there as a student. It didn’t make transitioning into high school any more difficult than it had to be, and the school has invested in HD cameras for each classroom so that transition will only become easier. Social distancing, desk wiping, and hand sanitizing are abundant throughout O’Hara. All of our desks are spaced out 6 feet and only two students are allowed at each lunch table.  As for making friends, I feel that this is not that difficult because we are in school half of the days and still have opportunities to socialize and get to know each other.  I feel that these regulations have struck a balance of keeping us safe and keeping our learning and social lives on track. In short, hybrid learning at O’Hara has been beyond my expectations.

Written By:
Paul Giacomucci ’24

Student Reflections on the National Pro- Life Summit

Student Cassandra Phillips ’20 submitted this vlog:

The National Pro-Life Summit was one of the most life-changing weekends of my life.  I had attended this conference last year with six other students and we came away from it with such a fire to start or revamp our own club.  One year later, and we brought home the award for the National High School Group of the Year! It’s amazing what one year can do, and how much we were able to grow!

This conference was such an eye-opening experience in so many ways.  It deeply impacted me by showing me the horrible truths of abortion and the abortion industry that are rarely talked about.  Another beautiful part of the experience was the feeling of camaraderie and unity among everyone there because we all understood that we were there for the same mission and reason.  With all the informative talks and keynotes given, I was given so much knowledge and “ammunition” to fight back against this horrific genocide. I have already used this information and these tactics to help spread love and truth, and I plan to continue doing so!  I am so blessed to have been given the opportunity to have this amazing experience!

 ~ David Saunders ’20

I had a great experience at the pro-life conference! The March for Life let me see the pro-life movement in action for the first time. It was my first time going and I really enjoyed marching for a great cause with many of my friends. After the march, we went to the hotel and it was beautiful. I also got a room with a couple of my closest friends. That night, we explored Washington D.C., which is a great city. Then, we got to know some of the kids from other schools and talk about the conference.

In the morning, my friends and I got breakfast in our hotel, then we got to go to the conference. I was able to get in pretty early, so I got to go around to some of the booths, with people from YAF and Live Action among others. Then I went into the big ballroom, where we got to see some keynote speakers, like Kay Coles James (President of the Heritage Foundation) and Matt Birk (Superbowl champion). Throughout the day, we had several options of talks that we could attend, including a talk about the role of men in abortion that I found very interesting. Another talk I enjoyed was about how true feminism opposes abortion. At the end of the conference, Charlotte Pence spoke and we learned that O’Hara won the award for best high school pro-life group! All in all, it was a successful day.

I am so thankful to get this opportunity to learn more about what I am fighting for. Now I know so much more about how to really help the movement, which is growing every year. I can’t wait to attend the March for Life next year and hopefully the summit as well. My goal is to eventually help the pro-life mission so much that I can speak myself at one of these conferences. I can truly say it was an eye-opening experience that I will always remember.

~ Ryan Garvey ’22

The Pro-Life Summit for me was an incredible experience. I was able not only to gain more information about the abortion controversy, but I also learned apologetics and how to respond to people with the opposite opinion with wisdom and compassion. The speakers were honest, straightforward and made it clear why abortion is so wrong. They articulated the true evil that abortion is and gave us the real facts and statistics of it.

The summit also allowed my classmates and I to meet fellow young Pro-Lifers. I believe that it is very important to know that you have others standing with you and that you are not alone in your fight. It was remarkable to meet so many other teens who were so passionate about being Pro-Life. I trust that this Pro-Life generation, together, can and will end abortion. I feel equipped with the knowledge I have attained, and I am eager and confident to go out and make a change.

~ Isabella Guerra ’23

A few weeks ago, I was given the incredible opportunity to represent Cardinal O’Hara at the National Pro-life Summit in DC. Even before his amazing weekend I knew that the Pro-life mission was vital to the protection of the basic human right to life. But I did not know how to defend and stand up for this cause. I knew what had to be done, but lacked the tools I needed to do it. Through every section of the summit, I was armed for the battle, prepared to defend this vital mission to save the lives of the most innocent and vulnerable people in our society; the unborn.

One specific speaker that resonated deeply with me was Mrs. Kay Coles James. Mrs. James described an encounter with a Pro-choice person who said someone in an extremely unfortunate living situation should abort their child on the way. Mrs. James then simply stated,

“That was me. I was that child.” This moment gave me chills. To think such an amazing person could not have been here because of her own mother’s choice just astonished me, and made me realize the true impact of abortion.

~ Anne Brown ’22

Last year, the seven people who attended the conference had no idea what to expect. This was the first year anyone from O’Hara had gone, and there were only seven of us. Our expectations were blown out of the water. The speeches were so inspiring that we vowed to commit ourselves to the pro-life movement. We set up our leadership board, and got to work. This work paid off, as our membership grew from twenty members to one-hundred members, and twenty-three of those members attended this year’s summit, which was even more incredible than the year before.

The National Pro-Life Summit was one of the most influential weekends of my life. Having experienced the National Conference the year before, I had high expectations. But the sheer magnitude and quality of this weekend were absolutely awe-inspiring. The number of people there was shocking, as every speaking hall was packed to the brim. This was immensely encouraging for the future of the pro-life movement, as many of these people were young. The speakers were crucial in helping prepare the attendees for every situation they could face in the real world, from workplace conflicts to sidewalk confrontations. Without this weekend, I doubt the pro-life movement in America would be where it is today. It has inspired so many young people to get involved in the pro-life movement, and winning the National Pro-Life High School of the Year is an immense honor that everyone involved should take pride in.

~ Brian Brown ’20


September “Lions of the Month” Roar!

Each month O’Hara students are selected by the faculty as “Lions of the Month.” Faculty and staff vote for students who make a difference here at O’Hara. The inaugural group of students to receive this distinguished honor are featured below. We are proud of our lions and congratulate them, as well as their families and elementary schools. God bless each of you!

Martin Meenan ’19
St Francis of Assisi (St Francis of Assisi)

Activities: Student Council, NHS, Operation Santa Claus, Soccer, Tennis, Basketball Manager, Link Crew, CSC, Mock Trial, Math Club, Special Olympics, Big Buddy

Leadership Positions: CSC Class Officer

Volunteer/Employment: CCC Stage Crew, Soccer, Tennis, Volleyball, Basketball

Favorite Thing About O’Hara: My favorite thing about O’Hara is the amount of sports and clubs we offer.

Izabella Cipresso ’20
Strath Haven Middle School (St. Johns)

Activities: Softball and Development Thon Committee

Volunteer/Employment: I run an Anti-Bully Walk.

Favorite Thing About O’Hara: Football games and fundraisers

Yaneana Leedie ’21
Saint Francis Xavier School (Acts of The Apostles )

Activities: Band, Lion Ambassador

Volunteer/Employment: Dance, Work

Favorite Thing About O’Hara: The people and how willing everyone is to talk to you or give you advice.

Jennifer Eburuoh ’19
Blessed Virgin Mary School (St. Anastasia)

Activities: Community Service Corps, Lion Ambassadors, Hi-Q, Link Crew, World Affairs, Golden Touch, Rosary Club, Soccer, NHS, Softball, Operation Santa Clause, Debate Club, Pro-Life Club, Dance Marathon Technology Committee

Leadership Positions: Officer for CSC, Officer for Lion Ambassadors, Captain for Dance Marathon Technology Committee

Volunteer/Employment: Divine Providence Village Volunteer, Tutor

Favorite Thing About O’Hara: My favorite thing about O’Hara is the character of the students. I love seeing my classmates support each other whether it is on the football field, on stage, or in the classroom.

Gavin Lewis ’21
Our Lady of Angels Regional Catholic School (Our Lady of Fatima )

Activities: Community Service Corps, Theatre Program, Choir, Robotics Club, Sandwich Club, and Lion Ambassadors.

Volunteer/Employment: Youth Group & Catholic Community Choir

Favorite Thing About O’Hara: My favorite thing at O’Hara is by far the Theatre program. The songs are so intense and great that it is a whole new experience! The dancing is great too! I have already met so many new friends and had so many cool and funny experiences that I will remember all my life. I am definitely going to be a part of the theatre program all four years of high school.

Jack Tuberosa ’19
St. Pius X School (St. Pius)

Activities: Community Service Corps, National Honor Society, WCOH, Lion Ambassadors, Link Crew, Broadcast Club, Soccer, Dance Marathon Tech Committee, Operation Santa Claus

Leadership Positions: Junior officer for Lion Ambassadors; Co-President of Broadcast Club

Volunteer/Employment: St. Pius summer camp counselor; sacristant for St. Pius Parish; KYW Newstudies Internship

Favorite Thing About O’Hara: The friends that I have made throughout my time here.

Emma Dunham ’18
Holy Saviour (k-6) Holy Family Regional Catholic School (7-8) (St. John Fisher)

Activities: Peer Leadership, Yearbook, Link Crew, National Honors Society (NHS), Dance Marathon, CSC (Don Guanella, Sandwich Club, Golden Touch, Special Olympics at Villanova, Philabundance, and Operation Santa Claus).

Leadership Positions: I am a leader in CSC and a leader in Peer Leadership which works to make other students, especially seniors become more aware of the harmful effects of alcohol and substance abuse.

Volunteer/Employment: During summer of 2017, I dedicated my time to helping serve St. Katherine Drexel’s Cupboard.

Favorite Thing About O’Hara: Without a doubt, my favorite thing is being a member of CSC. This club has sincerely shown me the true meaning of service. I am always recruiting more people, especially freshmen, to join CSC.

Kevin Osayi ’20
Sharon Hill Elementary (Saint George)

Activities: Regina Chesterton, Pro-Life, Big Buddy

Leadership Positions: Pro-Life

Volunteer/Employment: Tutoring younger kids from my grade school.

Favorite Thing About O’Hara: The stable and supportive learning environment.