During this hard time in our world, Cardinal O’Hara students, teachers and administration have had to adapt to their new virtual learning system. As Director of Student Achievement, Mrs. Bauer tries to make sure every student at Cardinal O’Hara succeeds both academically and socially. Here are some questions I asked her to learn more about her time during this quarantine:
What is it like working from home?
It has been different because I can’t talk to students face to face. I’ve been able to reach out via email to students and families, and even talk to some people on the phone. Zoom has been helpful in communicating with faculty, staff, and administration. I also have to monitor the learning of my own 3 children…including teaching 3rd grade ELA and math 🙂
How have you been making sure the students at O’Hara maintain “success” in all their classes?
The teachers have been great in letting us know if they have students who are struggling. I, along with Mrs. Graney, Mrs. Wert, Mrs. Kelly, and Mrs. Vice, are monitoring student attendance and work completion. We know that this is not an easy situation for anyone and most students would rather be at O’Hara. We want all students to be successful so we follow up with students and families to insure this happens.
What advice do you have for students during this time?
Make a plan! I think the new school “schedule” is a great way to help the students to be successful while learning from home. Be sure to get your work in on time! Your teachers want you to succeed, so if you put effort into your work and submit it by the due dates, you will achieve! Take breaks! Get outside, listen to music, FaceTime with friends, talk to your parents. We are all in this together and every day we are one step closer to getting “back to normal”!
Mrs. Bauer is always available by email if you have any questions or concerns email@example.com.
Written By: Keira Bauer ’22
In this season of Lent, we prepare ourselves for the coming of Easter, but with how hectic things have been in the last several weeks, it has been difficult to focus our attention and time on God. Ash Wednesday seems like a distant memory. Now, Easter is right around the corner. There were many times during this Lent that I forgot it was even Lent. Life took a turn when the pandemic struck. However, I have made a conscious effort to have an active prayer life. Although it can be difficult to sit down and pray, it is especially necessary. Thankfully, I have found ways to make it a lot easier.
- Establish a routine.
Oftentimes, life can seem so stressful, busy, or overwhelming that we don’t find the time to pray. Most of the things we do on a daily basis are simply a routine. 40% of your everyday activities are habits. If you can establish specific times and places to pray, it will work its way into your daily life. You can even dedicate a particular place in your house or room to prayer!
- Recognize the different forms of prayer.
Prayer should never feel like a chore. It does not have to be kneeling on your floor praying the rosary. Prayer can be listening to music and thinking about how it connects to God. It doesn’t even have to be Christian music. It can also be listening to a podcast, watching a video, looking up Bible verses, and so much more. There are thousands of ways to pray, and you don’t need to limit yourself to just one.
- Try the 60-second rule.
I have found this trick to be especially helpful in my daily life. Randomly throughout the day, I will think about praying but my inclination is to “do it later.” Recently, I’ve started asking myself, “Do I have 60 seconds to spare?” More often than not, the answer is yes. I’ll say a prayer and while it may be short, it’s still a prayer. Also, if I want to pray for more than 60 seconds, I do. This rule helps me to stop pushing prayer to the side and communicate with God throughout my day.
- Have physical reminders.
People might not pray simply because they don’t think or remember to do so. A great way to fix this issue is with physical reminders. They can be a great tool for anything, including prayer. Put a physical reminder of God in a place you often look. For example, your lock screen can be a Bible verse or your wall can have a cross on it. Seeing these physical reminders will make you more conscious of praying throughout your day. Hopefully, it will then be easier for you.
I hope that at least one of these tips was helpful for someone. Remember, you have six days off for a break. Take some time to remember why. God bless.
Written By: Rachael Switliski ’20
I can’t believe it is the third week of virtual learning! Two weeks of virtual learning have already been completed. Both students and teachers have been making a great effort. Teachers have been using virtual learning in a variety of ways, such as live classes through Zoom or the use of Google Classroom for assignments. Even though we are not in school, teachers have been trying their best to really create a school environment for the students. Teachers have been taking advantage of this virtual learning, even though it was hard at first. While teachers have been working hard for the students, students have been working to the best of their abilities as well. Students have been cooperating with the teachers and taking their online learning in a serious manner. Overall, virtual learning has been continuing to be successful for both students and teachers!
For me, virtual learning was difficult at first. It was really hard to get used to the new environment. I really missed being at school and seeing my friends every day. I think that feeling is similar for most people. However, I took advantage of this virtual learning. I started being positive and looking on the bright side of things. While I was completing assignments for all of my classes, I still had fun moments. I spent time with my family. I played games with my sister and my brothers. I also called my friends through either Skype, Zoom, or Facetime and chatted with them. I really made the most of my time at home! Even though being at home most of the time can be frustrating, it can still be fun and exciting! Just be positive!
Even though virtual learning can be difficult at times, I encourage everyone to think positively! Don’t let this change make your life miserable. Be positive and live your life to the fullest! There are many fun activities you can do at home. You can take time to focus on your family. There’s nothing better than spending time with your family. You can also spend time with your friends too. You can call your friends using Zoom, Skype, or Facetime. You can also take this time to develop your faith and become closer to God. You can watch live Masses online. Once you start thinking and living life positively, your life will change. Nothing can stop you from being positive everyday. Only you can do it! I hope you all really try to be positive and look on the bright side of things!
Written By: – Casandra Nguyen ’20
Ten Ways to Power Through Virtual Learning
It’s the third week of virtual learning at COHS and the start of the fourth quarter! It may be a relief that those papers that you waited to do are done, but there’s no stopping now! Energy may be low and boredom may be a reality, but we have only one more quarter left before seniors graduate and new freshmen fill the halls. How can students stay motivated, be on top of school work, and get good grades? Check out these tips that have helped me stay motivated during this transition to online learning!
- Create a schedule.
Even though school doesn’t “start” until 9:00am, maintaining a routine similar to your regular one is beneficial. Make sure to get plenty of sleep, eat meals, and have some time to relax. This will keep you energized throughout the day and allow you to get your work done efficiently.
- Use a planner.
With six or seven classes worth of work, assignments, papers, and other deadlines can easily be forgotten. Using a planner ensures that there are no surprises in PowerSchool regarding missing assignments. It also allows you to plan ahead and be on top of your schoolwork!
- Find your own workspace (other than your bed).
Having all of your books consistently in the same place is another easy way to stay organized and prevents the panic of a missing book. While our beds are great, it is better to sit up while working. Find a desk or table, claim it as yours, and keep on working!
- Take breaks!
The fastest and most productive way to finishing your schoolwork for the day is by taking breaks in between subjects! This is something that I struggled with at the beginning of virtual learning, but once I started walking outside or reading a book not related to school, I noticed I was in a better mood and got work done hours before I used to. Whether you FaceTime with your friends or get fresh air from a reasonable distance, this tip is certainly going to brighten your mood for the day.
- Ask for help if needed.
Not being able to talk face-to-face with your teachers when you need help is difficult. Utilize the gift of email or Zoom to ask any questions if you’re not understanding the material or are confused about an assignment’s due date. Remember, teachers are eager to see their students achieve.
- Stay hydrated.
Now that every aspect of school is digital, hours of staring at technology is inevitable. Make sure you’re drinking enough water and making healthy choices to power you throughout the day.
- Spend time with your family.
Spending time with the other people in your house is another way to brighten your mood. Watching a movie, playing board games, or just talking to your family members is a great way to alleviate the never-ending boredom that comes with the quarantine.
- Make time for God.
It’s okay to be scared or afraid of what the future holds. By talking to God through prayer and watching Mass on Sundays not only are we passing time, but we are growing stronger in our relationship with Him. Whether it’s a simple thank you or a deep conversation, God hears our prayers and worries.
- Have hope that this too shall pass.
Staying positive is vital during this time! Looking forward to and planning for the rest of 2020 can help you stay motivated! Check out new movies, TV shows, books, etc. that will be coming out later this year and focus on the future!
- Wash your hands and stay safe!
Make sure to keep washing your hands frequently and staying homebound! Stay safe. God bless you and your families!
-Written By: Katie Tuberosa ’21
I was homeschooled before coming to O’Hara, so the idea of waking up later, having freedom with schoolwork, and being home most of the day isn’t new to me. However, the transition from 8-hour schooldays to virtual learning certainly took some time to get used to.
After a few missed alarms and being late to some early morning zoom meetings (sorry Mr. Brac!), I’ve been able to get into a routine of schoolwork, activity (inside of course), and family time. With week 2 of virtual learning coming to an end, life is starting to get back to normal, mostly thanks to my teachers. I’d especially like to give a shoutout to Mrs. Rowitt, who has done a great job since the beginning of communicating clearly with us and making at-home learning interesting!
One thing I’ve learned to appreciate about the new system is the flexibility I now have to learn in ways that work best for me- I can pause videos to take notes, privately zoom with teachers to discuss issues, and even arrange my homework schedule to fit my needs for the day. Another perk of being outside the classroom is that I can now FaceTime my friends if I need help with homework, or just need a fun break from working. Although it’s definitely way different from what we all expected for this school year, I’m learning to appreciate virtual learning in new ways every day… but I’m counting down the days until I get to see all my friends and teachers at O’Hara again!
Written By: Haley Garecht ’22
It is currently the second week of virtual learning! The first week went very well. I was a bit worried since I didn’t know what to expect, but in all of my classes, we continued with the lessons as if we were physically in class at O’Hara. All of the teachers did a great job of moving their lessons online in such a short time frame. They’ve given us assignments on Google Classroom, Uploaded pre-recorded lessons, and some even have their classes live on Zoom. It isn’t the same as being in a classroom where you can raise your hand, and the teacher can immediately answer your question, but the teachers have worked hard to try to get back to us.
The thing I miss the most by now just staying at home is the social aspect of being at school. I miss my friends so much, but luckily we’ve been texting and FaceTiming each other frequently. Mrs. Evert has done an amazing job with planning different activities for us to do at home, such as the March Madness Song Bracket or the Virtual Talent Contest. Since I am at home, I have the chance to be with my family more. The other day my twin brother, Chase, and I made pizzas from scratch, which came out surprisingly good. We also got to celebrate our birthday, which was on the 18th. Even though our parties are postponed, we still made the most out of it and had a little party with homemade cake. It was nice spending time with him since we are normally seen bickering in the hallways.
Everything has been a bit crazy lately, but I encourage everyone to make the most of it! Since we have a lot more free time than usual, pick up a new hobby or binge watch some shows on Netflix that you haven’t gotten around to. Text and FaceTime your friends to see how they’re doing. Make sure you spend time with your family. Sometimes it may be hard to find the time since we all have busy schedules, but now is the perfect opportunity! Also, make sure you stay safe, stay at home, and wash your hands!
-Written By: Melanie Jackson
For almost two weeks now, I along with the rest of the O’Hara community have been staying inside to remain safe and healthy during this crazy time. I for one am glad that I go to a school like Cardinal O’Hara where just because we don’t all get to go to school everyday doesn’t mean we lose our school spirit.
When it comes to academics, everyone has been on the ball and getting things going in no time! I think it’s really cool how both the teachers and students adjusted so well so quickly and successfully. Through the guidance of my teachers I have been able to use all kinds of interactive learning sites such as Google Classroom, Flipgrid, and NoRedInk to continue my Cardinal O’Hara education. I have also had the opportunity to experience Zoom classes with my Vocal, Spanish, and English classes. It is scary to think that the 3rd quarter comes to a close just this Friday, but with a daily routine and a good mindset, I am finding it easy to complete all my work on time and still have fun with the whole virtual aspect of it. Also, there is more to our virtual adjustment that keeps me motivated and encouraged besides academics.
Everyday there are new things to dive into to stay connected. Social media has also been a big help in keeping me engaged with the O’Hara community like March Madness song brackets, coffee breaks, Instagram shoutouts, morning prayer, and even Lenten Reflections given by my fellow peers on the O’Hara Instagram. I am overall loving my virtual learning experience and it’s all because of the O’Hara Community not letting go of that Lion Pride!
-Written by Gavin Lewis ’21
Recently, Roy DeCaro ’67 was named Philadelphia’s 2018 Plaintiffs’ Personal Injury Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers of America. This is a repeat of his 2014 designation. “Lawyer of the Year” recognition is awarded to individual attorneys with the highest overall peer feedback in their practice area.
A. Roy DeCaro has tried more than 200 jury trials during his legal career, first as a prosecutor and now as a civil attorney. As a prosecutor, he persuaded juries to convict murderers, drug dealers, motorcycle gang members, organized crime figures, corrupt police officers and corrupt public officials. As a civil trial lawyer, Roy has represented those who have been seriously injured or killed by others’ negligence, including those injured due to medical error, unsafe products, negligent drivers and the like. He often is asked to mediate and arbitrate cases by plaintiff and defense lawyers. He has been called upon to serve on several Blue Ribbon Panels including panels to recommend institutional changes in the Philadelphia Police Department and the Philadelphia Criminal Court System. He is an adjunct Law Professor at Villanova Law School teaching Evidence.
Mr. DeCaro has consistently been named a “Super Lawyer” in Philadelphia Magazine, and has been ranked as one of the top 10 lawyers in Pennsylvania on two occasions. He was named by “Lawdragon” Magazine as one of the 500 best lawyers in the United States.
Recently, Mr. DeCaro sat down to answer some questions for our Legacy of the Lion series.
1. What elementary school did you go to?
St. Callistus in West Philadelphia. Now closed.
2. Who were your closest friends at O’Hara?
I was lucky enough to have several close friends. Jim Quigley, Mick McGinnis, Mark Simpson, Ray Van Haute, Fran Van Kirk, Ray DiGuiseppi, Ray Offenheiser, Linda Rocci, Fran Arpa, to name a few.
3. What activities were you involved in during high school (at O’Hara and outside of school–a job, volunteering, etc.)?
Varsity tennis, one year of football (broke my hand), participated in the production of “Oliver,” worked at Sears, Roebuck at 69th Street (no longer there) as a soda jerk, basically.
4. Which teacher/administrator/coach at O’Hara had the greatest impact on your life and why?
Monsignor Louis D’Addezio. He was our tennis coach and demanded that I try out for a part in the production of Oliver during my senior year. To this day, I love drama because of that. Also, his passion and sincerity is something that I believe I latched onto and which helped me throughout my life.
5. What were your favorite classes?
Fr. McBride and Mr. Grillo’s English classes.
6. What is your greatest memory from your days at O’Hara?
Playing Bill Sikes in “Oliver.” Being the number one guy on the varsity tennis team, which won Cardinal O’Hara’s first city championship in 1967. Beating Overbrook’s number one player to win the championship for Cardinal O’Hara is still the highlight of my sports career.
7. If you could go back to your high school self and give some advice, what would it be?
I regret not being more active in preventing bullying, which I observed. If I had to do it over again, I just wouldn’t allow that to occur in my presence.
8. What advice do you have for our many students who plan to pursue a career as an attorney or in the legal field?
Take courses that will improve your writing and speaking. Think about your motives for entering into the legal field. If your motive is to help people, you’ll love it. If your motive is just to make a lot of money, you probably won’t love it.
9. Do you keep in touch with any of your O’Hara classmates or teachers? Anyone you want to send a shout out to?
I keep in touch with Monsignor D’Addezio. Jim Quigley and I remain very close.
10. You were recently named “Lawyer of the Year.” That’s a tremendous honor. What would you attribute this and your many other successes to?
I think my Catholic education at Cardinal O’Hara and Villanova set the stage for the rest of my life. Plus, my wife Mary is the wise one in our family and whenever I’m about to do something idiotic, she always steers me in the right direction.
Photo and biography courtesy of Raynes McCarty Trial and Appellate Lawyers.