New Teacher Feature: Mr. Ken Kropp

by: Jessica McCarthy ’17


“The best thing about O’Hara is the friendly feeling of family among students, staff, administration and faculty” said O’Hara’s theology teacher Mr. Kropp. Mr. Kropp who is going into his 28th year of being an educator is teaching theology to freshmen. He joins the staff full time this year after teaching part time last year here at O’Hara. Kropp attended St. Joseph’s University and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary for graduate school. At these universities, Kropp earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Religious Studies.

Growing up in Drexel Hill, Mr. Kropp attended Monsignor Bonner High School. Kropp’s favorite subject in high school was theology because he loved discussing matters of faith. He also liked physical education because of the fun competitions. His favorite high school memory was scoring an impressive two eagles in one school golf match and attending his senior prom. 

Some of his hobbies include physical fitness activities (lifting, power walking/running), competing in Senior Level sports, golf, being a fan of all Philly teams, being a trivia fan, writing, and impersonations, especially of movie scenes. Kropp also volunteers, such as being a lector and a volunteer committee person at his local parish. Fun fact about our new theology teacher is that he is currently reading “Jesus, A New Understanding of God’s Son.”

When asked what the best advice he was ever given, he responded “be adventurous and that experience is the best teacher.” This advice was given to him by his father. Mr. Kropp  added that his mother said to him, “Trust in God, the Lord will show you the way.” With this advice in trusting God and the overwhelming care and support it has been incredibly transforming for Mr. Kropp who just recently celebrated being five years cancer-free as of 10/12/16. 

“With God, all things are truly possible and his presence is in every person,” Kropp reflected.                              

Married to a wonderful wife, Kropp has a son, a loyal dog and “large extended family.” Kropp’s advice to students is to develop a prayer life with Jesus Christ and get involved by helping others and using our God-given gifts.

New Teacher Feature: Mrs. Kate Tsakiris

By: Katelynn Miraglia, ‘19

Mrs. Tsakiris just began teaching ELA I and ELA II here at O’Hara and she loves it! Her tsakiris.pngfavorite thing about O’Hara so far is the students.

She has been teaching for the last 18 years and has a degree in music education, elementary and secondary education, she was a clarinet major, and has a master’s degree in teaching and learning with technology. Mrs. T. was born and raised in Cape May, New Jersey where she attended Lower Cape May Regional High School. Her favorite subject in school was reading, and her favorite book is Tuesdays with Morrie.  Her favorite high school memories include getting into the Temple Music School because it was her biggest challenge and when  girls were allowed to wear pants to middle school.

Mrs. Tsakiris said that the best advice she was ever given was that “You need to be able to accept change in order to be successful.” She would like her students to know that their success is going to be directly linked to their ability to adapt to change. Mrs. T. is married and has two children; her daughter is 24, and her son is 27. She also has homes in North Wildwood and Thessaloniki, Greece. Her hobbies include playing the clarinet and speaking Greek. She has owned and operated a restaurant on the Wildwood Boardwalk for 32 years. She volunteers with a heroin rehabilitation program, Respect for Life, and is an assistant moderator for CSC.

We are happy to welcome Mrs. Tsakiris to the Cardinal O’Hara family!

New Teacher Feature: Ms. Rae Beck

by: Schola Eburuoh ’17

One of our newest teachers here at Cardinal O’Hara is Ms. Beck! Originally from the Philadelphia area, she is definitely familiar with our Delco pride! When asked what her favorite part of Cardinal O’Hara was thus far she said, without a doubt, “It’s gotta be the kids.”



She obtained her masters degree in education as well as developmental biology and teratology which are the study of the development in species and the abnormalities among them. A few subjects she has taught throughout her career are physical science, embryology, chemistry, as well as anatomy labs. She has been teaching for about six years and truly enjoys her career and helping her students thrive within the classroom and in life in general! She is as passionate about teaching and educating young people as she is about promoting organizations that uphold the safety and respect of all human life. She constantly endeavors to support anti-human trafficking groups. One specific group called FREE (Freedom and Restorations for Everyone Enslaved) strives to raise awareness, advocate for those enslaved, shed a light on the issue at hand, and, of course, end human trafficking. She is also an advocate for the pro-life movement, which is a great and very important organization here at O’Hara.

On a more lighthearted note, Ms. Beck enjoys music and taking in her environment. “I play the guitar (self taught) and I enjoy painting.” She loves being outside, just breathing in the fresh air with possibly a book in hand. Although she led O’Hara’s summer reading book discussion with The Magic Strings of Freddy Presto by Mitch Albom, two of her favorite books are Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin and How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul by Jason and Crystalina Evert which are very insightful and eye-opening books.

It is no surprise that her favorite subject when she was in school was science. Ms. Beck’s “all time favorite class was one on field botany” partly because a majority of the class took place outside. In high school she was a transfer student her sophomore year and joined a school organization which allowed her to make many friends and feel welcome. One of her fondest memories was during her senior year of high school. She was voted May Queen—one girl is selected by her peers to crown the statue of the Blessed Mother during the month of May, a traditional month to honor the Virgin Mary. To top it off, she found out about the nomination the day of her senior prom! “It was an awesome day,” she said.

When asked what advice she would give to her students, she primarily said that they should be open to listening and not rash in what they decide to say or do if they hear or see something that they do not agree with or that may confuse them. Instead of being rude or violently expressing yourself, stay calm “so the valid things you have to say, can’t be detracted from the way you say them.” To conclude this great advice she said, “You’ve got good points, you’ll be heard!” Essentially the greatest advice she was given in high school was two simple yet powerful words: “You matter.” This was said to her by her ninth grade teacher and she hopes to spread that message to all the students here at Cardinal O’Hara.

New Teacher Feature: Meet Mr. Chris Rodzewich

By: Jack Tuberosa, ‘19

“If you want something, work as hard as you can to get it.” This was the best advice that dsc_0709Mr. Chris Rodzewich was ever given. Our newest PE/Health teacher can be found in the classroom teaching health, the gym teaching PE or on the field coaching our JV soccer team. In fact, you can find Mr. Rodzewich, or “coach” as he is often called, practicing with the JV soccer team—showing them different skills to help improve their game!

Originally from Schwenksville, Coach went to high school at Souderton. He attended college at Marywood University where he earned his bachelor of science degree in Health and Physical Education. He also has a national coaching license from the United States Soccer Federation (USSF).

Coach previously taught for four years—three as a paraprofessional and the other year as a Health and Physical Education instructor.

He recently finished reading “The Numbers Game” which is a book about how soccer is analyzed and watched focusing on what numbers and statistics really count during a soccer match. He has volunteered coaching soccer players with special needs at an organization called “Top Soccer.”

Rodzewich’s favorite subject in high school was Physical Education and his favorite high school memory was scoring a goal in overtime to win a soccer game in his junior year.

If he could give any advice to his students, Coach would tell them, “Take advantage of every situation and opportunity you are given.”img_2616

His favorite part about Cardinal O’Hara so far is the facilities because they are so much better than at all of the previous places he has worked.

We are glad to welcome Mr. Rodzewich to the O’Hara team!

New Teacher Feature: Mr. Charlie Wieners

By: Jess McCarthy, ‘17

“Community service is my passion.”

Those are the words of Cardinal O’Hara’s new history teacher and moderator for the Community Service Corps, Mr. Charlie Wieners. Mr. Wieners grew up in the Manayunk/Roxborough area where he attended Holy Family for grade school. Wieners continued his Catholic education at La Salle High School and then went on to St. Joseph’s University. Wieners attended SJU when it was an all male university.

Wieners was involved in a lot at St. Joseph’s. He was the famous Hawk mascot for basketball games. This opportunity gave him the distinction of being the fourth St. Joseph’s Hawk. To give you an idea of how elite this position is, today there has only been 35 other Hawk mascots. Talking about his experience as a hawk, Wieners said that the tradition was “once the suit is on, your arms never stop moving.” Mr. Wieners also had to work on his foul shots for the half time contests.
After his four years on the hill, one of his professors gave him the advice to branch out and go to a state school to broaden his horizons; so, he went to Miami University of Ohio for graduate school.

Ever since high school, Mr. Wieners had wanted to be a teacher and with an astounding 40 years of teaching under his belt, Mr. Wieners has covered a lot of aspects in the subject of history. This would include American history, International Politics, Russian History, Women in American History and, for the last several years, American Government. Mr. Wieners is currently teaching American Government to sophomores.

Aside from teaching history at O’Hara, Mr. Wieners is also the new Director of the Community Service Corps. Wieners has been serving the community since the 1970s. He was one of the founding members to jumpstart Operation Santa Claus which helps families in need during the Christmas season. Something that Mr. Wieners has been doing for a while is coaching Bonner & Prendie girls’ and boys’ tennis teams.

Sitting down with Mr. Wieners in the CSC office, he offered this advice for students, “Attitude is just as important as ability for success.” He truly believes that this is a key to achievement. He encourages his students to reflect about the lessons becoming taught each day.

With 40 years and counting in a successful career, he mentioned his wife and three children as his support system. His son is a master carpenter and contractor. His one daughter is an accountant. His other daughter is a teacher and director of special programs. Mr. Wieners is also supported by his five grandchildren. When asked, “What are your passions?” Wieners firmly replied “family, teaching, CSC and baseball.”

Mr. Wieners, on behalf of the students at Cardinal O’Hara thank you for your commitment to our CSC program. CSC is already off to a great start this year and is stronger than ever thanks to your dedication. Welcome to O’Hara and we wish you another successful year of teaching!

New Teacher Feature: Mr. Chris DiBello

Who is the New Teacher in Room 346?

by: Victoria Pappas, ’17

    It’s Mr. Chris DiBello’s first year of teaching and his first year at Cardinal O’Hara, and he dibelloalready likes it! The atmosphere is new, fresh, and welcoming.  “I am happy with how together the students are as a student body, it’s what holds a school together and brings the school meaning. It is what makes coming to school everyday a pleasure!” Mr. DiBello said. With a degree in chemistry, which he earned on the enormous campus that is Penn State University, Mr. DiBello brings his knowledge to the classroom in not only chemistry, but physics and algebra II as well. As a new member of the O’Hara lion family, Mr. DiBello is determined and hopeful to reach his goal in life: “to inspire others to teach or learn chemistry. I want to give someone that passion.”

Flashback to when Mr. DiBello went to The Haverford School, he remembers a lot of good memories he made. “I loved it there. It was the best experience. It challenged me to be better in school, as a person, as a friend, and as a son.” One of his favorites moments, DiBello remembered, was in his sophomore year on the football field. “We hadn’t beaten Malvern in nineteen years, and we beat them for the first time. It was crazy and it was awesome!” Mr. DiBello is a big football fan. “I played for years, I’m big sports guy in general.” However, DiBello has always thought of chemistry as his favorite subject because it was challenging, and enjoyed teaching his peers. “My high school chemistry teacher showed me that teachers are more than just the one sitting behind a desk, grading your papers. They care for you. Teaching is good for me, and fulfills what I thought teaching should be.”

The best advice Mr. DiBello was ever given, he notes, was, “‘when you get knocked down, get back up and keep trying.’ If you really like it keep doing it because it can become something bigger. It’s a reminder to not give up on yourself.” This is what motivates Mr. DiBello, but he also has advice for all of his students. DiBello advises, “don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes people may see it as a weakness, or a crutch, but in this world it’s not. You have so many resources, such as your teachers, so it’s good to ask for advice.” In the future, Mr. DiBello plans to do volunteer work either coaching football or wrestling, but for now, catch Mr. DiBello in room 346 doing the job he loves!