Being a member of the student council is a great honor. It shows the school community that you are responsible and a role model for other students to exemplify. Our Executive Board along with the club moderators Mr. Morgan and Mrs. Basharr work together to serve the O’Hara community and to give back to the student body. Recently Advancement Intern Erin Donovan ‘20 had the opportunity to sit down with the newly elected Student Council Executive Board as well as one of the moderators Mr. Morgan to ask some questions. Here are their responses:
Mr. Morgan Testimonial:
1. Your opinion on Student Government and why you think Student Government is an important component at O’Hara?
Student Government is vital to any constructive and healthy academic campus or setting. By giving the students a say in day to day functions, activities, and events, it affords them the opportunity to feel connected to the school community on a much more substantial level. This connection allows them to grow a deeper sense of pride in the positive school environment they help usher in and promote. By giving them a voice, and a platform to voice their opinions, they can grow into the leaders of tomorrow through leading by example.
2. What qualities make a good Student Council representative?
A common misconception is that ‘good’ Student Council representatives need to have loud personalities, be extremely outgoing, and extroverts. While these qualities do have their upsides, there is much still to be gained from some of our more timid or introverted students. It is in my experience that some of the quitest members have some of the strongest ideas, motivation, and opinions. I guess what I am saying is there is no one specific type or character list that is ideal. Simply those that want to do good should step up, and do some good to the best of their God-given ability.
3. How will you work with the Executive Board and Student Council members next year to continue to make O’Hara a great place?
If we are invited back next year to serve as moderators I would like to continue the progress we have made this year. We worked extremely hard this year on redefining the value and role of the Student Council. Many changes were made, such as the creation of the committees and respective committee head positions. The role of these committees was to speed up the process of proposal submissions as well as improve the line of communication between representatives and the Executive Board. I would like to continue our current successes while acknowledging where we came up short. It’s important for the members and executives to hear the moderators acknowledge those things that work, and those things not so much so.
4. Any messages or advice to our Executive Board members and Student Council members as they get ready to be leaders and role models for O’Hara next year?
Student Council is a commitment. A commitment of time, energy, and frankly will power at times. Stay engaged, and stay hungry. Never settle for the minimum and always aim high. Not every swing of a proposal is a hit, and you will strike out from time to time. But true leaders don’t get discouraged, dust themselves off and get back in the game. They show everyone else that trying is always the better alternative to giving up. Lastly, most importantly, have fun while you do it!
1. What made you want to become a member of the Student Council?
Kellie McCarthy: Through peers in sports I have played, they encouraged me to join the Student Council because it is a great way to help represent our school.
Melanie Jackson: I wanted to become a member of the Student Council to serve the O’Hara community. I love the O’Hara community so much and giving back through Student Council is the perfect opportunity to do that.
Rudy Bonfini: I wanted to become a member of the Student Council because I thought it was a really great and respected position to apply for and I wanted to get more involved at O’Hara.
Josh Yassin: I wanted to become a member of the Student Council because I always believed that I have leadership qualities. I served on the Student Council in middle school, so having the chance to continue to do so in high school was exciting.
Julia Volk: I wanted to become a member of the Student Council because I wanted to make an impact on O’Hara and to make it a greater place from when I started here.
Onyi Okoro: I always enjoy having my voice heard and including my standpoints in any event. Being on Student Council allows me to do that, to have my voice heard and to be a voice in the O’Hara Community.
2. Have you been a member of the Student Council all 4 years?
Kellie McCarthy: Yes I have been on Student Council all 4 years, my freshman and junior year I was one of the class representatives.
Melanie Jackson: This year has been my first year on the Student Council. I’ve run each year since freshman year, but the 2020-2021 election was my first time winning. I was so excited last year when I found out I had won.
Rudy Bonfini: Yes I have been a member all 4 years.
Josh Yassin: Yes, I have served on the Student Council all four years of high school.
Julia Volk: I have been a member of the Student Council all 4 years of my time here at O’Hara.
Onyi Okoro: No, I have not been on the Student Council for all 4 years.
3. Did any former students or teachers influence your decision to be a member?
Kellie McCarthy: Yes, alumni who had played soccer with me my freshman year encouraged me to join.
Melanie Jackson: Since running my freshman year, I’ve always wanted to be a member. After losing the freshman year election and running for sophomore year, Mrs. Mushrush encouraged me to keep trying. She even helped me out a bit by telling my classmates to vote for me. I owe a lot of thanks to her because I kept trying after that!
Rudy Bonfini: Many of my friends thought that I would be a great candidate for the position so they influenced me to run.
Josh Yassin: During my time on the Student Council, many people have had an influence on my decision to be a member. People who had a major influence on my decision are my friends, who supported me throughout my time on student council.
Julia Volk: Gina Troilo, who graduated a few years ago, was a senior when I was a freshman here at O’Hara. She influenced me to run for Student Council freshman year.
Onyi Okoro: My friend Laura Shaughnessy, a 2021 graduate was one former student who influenced my decision to become a student council member.
4. Why did you decide to run for the Executive Board?
Kellie McCarthy: I decided to run for Executive Board because I like to come up with new ways to better our school and so that I am hopefully a friendly face the student body can look up to.
Melanie Jackson: I decided to run for Executive Board because I really enjoyed being on Student Council this past year helping with different events. I knew I wanted to play a bigger role next year, which is why I ran.
Rudy Bonfini: I wanted to run for the Executive Board because I thought that I would be well suited for the position and that I could be able to do more for the school.
Josh Yassin: Raynetta was a big influence on me because seeing a person of color serving on the Executive Board was a big confidence booster for me. Her leadership and school spirit made me jump at the chance to serve on the Executive Board.
Julia Volk: I decided to run for Executive Board because I wanted to help be a leader of our school and make this next school year the best one yet.
Onyi Okoro: I actually did not run for Executive Board. I was appointed a new position by Mrs.Vice.
5. What does your certain role entail?
Kellie McCarthy: I am the newly elected President for O’Hara.
Melanie Jackson: I am thankful to be serving as the Vice President of the Executive Board. I will be presiding over meetings if Kellie, our President, can’t make it. I also will be organizing and planning events, and just helping to oversee the entire Student Council.
Rudy Bonfini: My role entails looking over all of our Student Council and student body and informing them of events and things happening within O’Hara and making sure everyone has a good experience at our school.
Josh Yassin: I’m not really sure what my role as chief of staff includes, but I’m looking forward to getting to know what my responsibilities include this school year.
Julia Volk: My role is communications director. In this role, I communicate information between the Student Council members as well as helping communicate to the whole student body and administration.
Onyi Okoro: My role entails unity and equity in the school as well as pricing for school events.
6.What do you plan to do next year to continue to make O’Hara a great place?
Kellie McCarthy: I plan on collaborating with my team to come up with and create new school events that our student body will enjoy.
Melanie Jackson: It may be a bit repetitive since I’ve mentioned it in my other answers and in my Executive Board video, but holding more events. It’s been a very crazy year with having our classes split in two. There are some students who still haven’t seen their classmates since the pandemic hit, and other students like the freshman and transfers may only know half of their class. Since COVID restrictions are more flexible than a year ago, I would love to have more events so we can come together as a community. I would also like to work on communication between the students and Student Council. I feel like there are students out there who have ideas but don’t really share them. I want my fellow students to know that if you have an idea or concern, please share it with us! We want to make sure you are heard!
Rudy Bonfini: Next year, I plan on getting more students to attend our out of school events while also coming up with more different out of school events.
Josh Yassin: My top priority this upcoming year is to have everyone feel normal again after going through a year of hybrid learning. This year we are all going to be in school together so I want to make sure everyone takes advantage of this and has a good time.
Julia Volk: Next year, I plan to work as hard as I can to make this school year one to remember and to try to bring back the normalcy we unfortunately lost this year due to COVID.
Onyi Okoro: I plan to be an amazing advocate in the O’Hara community and to embrace unity and diversity within our school community.
7. How did it feel to hear your name announced stating you will be a member of the Executive Board?
Kellie McCarthy: When I heard my name announced I was excited, and knowing all my classmates were cheering and excited was very welcoming.
Melanie Jackson: I was honestly a bit surprised but very happy. We had a larger group than usual of people running for the Exec Board, and I felt that all of them would do great if elected. As for hearing the role I got, I went on Kairos during the final day of voting, so I wasn’t in school and didn’t have my phone to hear what I got when it was announced in school the next day. Upon getting my phone back that Sunday at Kairos, my student leader Maria McNicholas told me that I won Vice President. When I turned on my phone I saw many texts and emails congratulating me. I was so happy and thankful to make it through the primary election, but seeing that my fellow students elected me to a high position was amazing. Hearing the results right when Kairos ended definitely made an amazing weekend end on a good note!
Rudy Bonfini: It felt great. I was very relieved and proud to hear my name called.
Josh Yassin: When I heard my name being announced on the speaker I couldn’t stop smiling. I was filled with shock and I couldn’t believe that I was chosen by my school to serve on the Executive Board.
Julia Volk: I was excited and it made me feel really good to know my classmates had chosen me to be a part of the Exec Board.
Onyi Okoro: When Mrs.Vice announced my name that I would be a part of the 2021- 2022 Executive Board I was incredibly happy. It is a blessing to be a part of a board that has the opportunity to have a say in the school community.
8. How does it feel to know that your fellow students trust you with the responsibility to be a leader and role model for O’Hara?
Kellie McCarthy: Knowing that my fellow students trust me to be not only a member but be their President is something that is more encouraging. It gives you an excitement and responsibility that they know you can handle and do well with.
Melanie Jackson: I am honored to know that my fellow students trust me to lead O’Hara. It’s really important to me that I be a good role model and leader to my peers since they have put their trust in me. I will work my hardest to make next year the best school year ever and make them proud!
Rudy Bonfini: It feels very reassuring to know that they trust me.
Josh Yassin: To know that my fellow students chose me to be a role model for O’Hara is very meaningful to me. It shows that they entrust me with a big responsibility and they have faith in me.
Julia Volk: It feels amazing that I was chosen to be a leader and role model for O’Hara and I am excited to take on the new role.
Onyi Okoro: It feels honorable to be trusted with the responsibility to lead and be a role model for the O’Hara community.
9. Why do you think the Student Council is an important component of O’Hara?
Kellie McCarthy: The Student Council is an important component to O’Hara because it is growing and becoming a big part of our school. We help speak out for our fellow students that have ideas that may not be heard.
Melanie Jackson: Student Council is very important because we help bring student’s concerns, questions, and ideas to the administration. Our job is to represent the students of O’Hara and make sure that they are heard. We will make sure we carry out this duty this upcoming school year.
Rudy Bonfini: I think it is important because it brings a leadership role into the school of someone who actually attends O’Hara classes and understands what it is like to be a student.
Josh Yassin: I think that the Student Council is an important component of O’Hara because we are the voice of the whole student body. Everyone has elected us to make their voice heard and it is our duty to improve the school by using our voice.
Julia Volk: Student Council is an important component of O’Hara because we lead our school to the best of our abilities and are able to take up ideas and opinions of the student body and relay the messages to the administration.
Onyi Okoro: Student Council is an important component to O’Hara because it is an opportunity for students to communicate ideas, visions, and problems to both staff, administrators, and students.
10. Any final messages or advice to your fellow Executive Board members as well as the rest of the Student Council members.
Kellie McCarthy: Advice that I would give to our executive members and the rest of the Student Council is to just try to be happy and be nice to others because it really does bring a positive attitude towards yourself and others knowing you are there if they need reassurance.
Melanie Jackson: I am so excited to be your Vice President and to be working with all of you! I can’t wait for next school year!
Rudy Bonfini: My message is to try your best and keep being a leader.
Josh Yassin: I can’t wait to get through this school year and I’m looking forward to everything we accomplish!
Julia Volk: I am excited to work with everyone this year and to make O”Hara even better.
Onyi Okoro: I am so grateful to be on an executive board with amazing people and I am more than excited to work together for the 2021- 2022 school year.