Meet the 2021/2022 Student Council Executive Board

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!

Student Testimonials 

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. 

Meet the 2021/2022 National Honor Society Officers

Recently Advancement Intern Erin Donovan ‘20 had the opportunity to sit down with the newly inducted National Honor Society (NHS) officers as well as National Honor Society Moderator Mr. McNulty to ask some questions. Here are their responses: 

Mr McNulty’s Testimonial:

1. History of NHS at O’Hara.

O’Hara has been a member in good standing with the NHS since 1964. I had the honor of being  granted the position by Sister Lucy who, as far as I can tell, had the moderator position since she came to O’Hara in the mid 1980’s.  The NHS is comprised of the academically top 25 students of the junior and senior class. 

2. Your opinion of the NHS and why it is important at O’Hara.

Ideals are important in any institution, but ideals without action are simply wishes. NHS recognizes, promotes and celebrates not only academic achievement but the qualities of an  ideal O’Hara student by instilling and requiring members to live out the four pillars of NHS service, character, scholarship and citizenship. Our members are selected based on proof of living up to the four pillars. 

3. What qualities make a good NHS officer?

Officers are chosen not on their popularity but are nominated by their fellow members  based on their  demonstration of  living out the four pillars of NHS:  service, character, scholarship and citizenship. Beyond the pillars, an NHS officer must demonstrate great compassion and interpersonal skills in order to help their fellow members and the students of O’Hara through service. 

4. How will you work with the NHS officers to continue to make the NHS a great club?

The strength of the NHS is its members.  NHS commitment to service through peer tutoring and service around O’Hara via serving on event committees and the annual Lenten Food Drive allow NHS to give back to the O’Hara community and beyond. We would like to continue to work with the Guidance and Counseling Center  to locate as many grant and scholarship opportunities for our graduating seniors as possible.

5. Any messages or advice to our NHS officers as they get ready to be leaders and role models for their fellow NHS members.

NHS officers are already ideal role models of leadership based on their qualifications of NHS membership which was further cemented by their appointment as NHS Officers.  I feel the words of our departing NHS president Patrick Burns will suffice as inspiration:  “If this year has taught us anything, it is to always be ready, and a person with values rooted in scholarship, always willing to learn, will be the most prepared in the future.”

Student Testimonials

1. What made you want to run for an officer position?

President: Erin Lynch: I have seen the wonderful impact that leaders can have on our school community. The National Honor Society has a great mission of scholarship, service, leadership, and character. I wanted to take an active role in helping grow and strengthen these ideas into O’Hara’s NHS and community. 

Vice-President: Christopher Crognale:  I chose to run for an NHS officer position because I remembered seeing the newly-elected officers be “inaugurated” on stage every year I went to the O’Hara Honors Convocation, whether it had been to support my sisters at O’Hara while I was still in grade school or when I was an O’Hara student, and I wanted to be like them. 

Secretary: Haley Garecht:  I wanted to run for the NHS officer board because I was looking to do more in the O’Hara community, and because it seemed like a fun opportunity for senior year. 

Projects Chairperson: Kaia Grant: I ran for an officer position because I felt that I could be an asset to the NHS. I love working with people and gathering new ideas so I knew an NHS officer position would be a wonderful opportunity. 

2. Did any former students or teachers influence your decision to run as an officer?

President: Erin Lynch:  I have been blessed with wonderful examples of leaders in my teachers and peers at O’Hara. Seeing these positive examples of leadership, inspired me to want to take an active leadership role in the National Honor Society and be able to make a difference at O’Hara.   

Vice-President: Christopher Crognale: Ms. McDermott, whether she knows it or not, influenced my decision to run for an officer position because whenever I see her and ask for advice, she always tells me to do what I believe I can handle and succeed in. This led me to believe I could succeed as an officer. 

Secretary: Haley Garecht: I had Mr. McNulty, the moderator, for freshman year history, and I loved his class so much that I thought working with him through NHS would be a great experience. My dad was also an NHS officer in high school, so he encouraged me to participate. 

Projects Chairperson: Kaia Grant: The leadership of our former NHS officers, teachers and my peers influenced me greatly to run for officer. Seeing their leadership and how they worked together inspired me to put myself out there and run for an NHS officer position.

3. How did it feel when you heard you were chosen to be a NHS officer?

President: Erin Lynch: When I was chosen to be the NHS President for 2021-2022 school year, I was surprised and grateful that my fellow members elected me. I was excited thinking of all the possibilities, events, and opportunities we will have next year as an organization. 

Vice-President: Christopher Crognale:  Being chosen to be an NHS officer felt amazing. It made me truly feel as though my hard work is paying off and that I can achieve what I put my mind to. 

Secretary: Haley Garecht: When Patrick first told me I was on the board, I was surprised and really excited. I hadn’t gotten my hopes up so it was a great surprise and made me look forward to next year even more!

Projects Chairperson: Kaia Grant: When I heard that I was chosen to be a NHS officer I was ecstatic! I was very proud and grateful to be chosen as an officer. I can not wait to get started with the rest of the NHS officer team to make next year great!

4. How does it feel to know your fellow NHS members trust you to be a leader and role model for the club?

President: Erin Lynch:  I am honored, privileged, and humbled that my fellow NHS members trust me to be a leader and role model for the club. I hope to lead a positive example for the NHS and the O’Hara community. 

Vice-President: Christopher Crognale:  It is a great feeling to have to know that my fellow NHS members trust me to be a leader. I do my best to lead by example, so I am grateful that they have noticed that. 

Secretary: Haley Garecht: I feel so honored to have been chosen by my peers, and I hope I can make everyone happy with their decision to vote for me! 

Projects Chairperson: Kaia Grant: It feels amazing that my fellow NHS members trust me to be a leader for them. I am honored that they view me as someone who can be a leader and role model for the NHS. I thank them for believing in me and my ability to help serve them and assist my fellow officers efficiently and effectively. 

5. What does your role entail?

President: Erin Lynch:  As the president of NHS, I am responsible to work with Mr. McNulty and my fellow officers to plan and preside over meetings, help organize events and activities and effectively communicate with members. 

Vice-President: Christopher Crognale: My role includes being present for all NHS meetings and participating in them fully, rallying support for NHS sponsored events, and supporting our president Erin Lynch, of course. 

Secretary: Haley Garecht:  As Secretary, I will be in charge of taking attendance and notes at our meetings as well as communicating with other members of the NHS, the administration, and handling any other official NHS correspondence.

Projects Chairperson: Kaia Grant: I am the Project Chairperson of the NHS, and my role is to oversee, organize and record any service opportunities available to participate in. I also organize the tutoring program, keeping record of tutoring hours among the NHS members.  

6. What are you looking forward to most next year as an officer?

President: Erin Lynch:  I am looking forward to working with my fellow NHS officers and members to help make it a successful year! I want to get more people more involved in the activities and projects that the NHS organizes and bring new ideas to the NHS. 

Vice-President: Christopher Crognale:  I am most looking forward to presenting my ideas for next year to the members of NHS to make next year great for the students of O’Hara. 

Secretary: Haley Garecht: Next year, I am looking forward to working with my fellow officers and getting to know them better. I also can’t wait to start planning projects for next year.

Projects Chairperson: Kaia Grant: I am looking forward to working with my fellow NHS officers and members to make the year great! I am excited to organize and present new service projects/opportunities to the NHS so everyone can get the best out of their time as members. 

7. How will you work with your fellow officers as well as Mr. McNulty to continue to make the NHS great?

President: Erin Lynch: My fellow officers and I will work together and communicate often to develop new ideas and help make our NHS events and projects great. 

Vice-President: Christopher Crognale: By meeting with my fellow officers and Mr. McNulty regularly, we can stay updated on our roles and what we have to carry out to keep the NHS great. We can also pool our ideas together to create new, fun ways to participate in the NHS and truly get the most out of this great experience as members of this group. 

Secretary: Haley Garecht:  I hope that my fellow officers and I can work with Mr. McNulty to increase NHS’ involvement around the school. I have a few ideas for service projects and events, and I’m sure that the other members of the board do as well. I would also love to give the entire NHS student body opportunities to suggest their ideas for what we can do to keep NHS great!

Projects Chairperson: Kaia Grant: I will work with my fellow officers and Mr. McNulty in that I will present new ideas that we as members can participate in. I will also work to collaborate with them on service project ideas so everyone can participate and learn from those projects.

8. Any messages or advice for your fellow NHS officers and NHS members? 

President: Erin Lynch: I am looking forward to working with all of you next year! Continue to work hard and bring your ideas so we can have a great year together! 

Vice-President: Christopher Crognale:   Keep working hard, no matter what hardships may come your way. Maintain your focus on what you want to achieve and never stop until you achieve it. Also, know that your hard work is realized by myself and the rest of the officers. Stay awesome!

Secretary: Haley Garecht: To everyone in the NHS, I am so excited to get to know all of you better and thank you for this opportunity!

Projects Chairperson: Kaia Grant: I want to express my excitement to be project chairperson for the 2021-2022 school year and my gratitude to all of my fellow members for believing in my ability to help lead them next year. I am very proud to be a part of the National Honor Society and a part of an amazing group of students. I am also very proud of my fellow officers and members for achieving the honor of being a part of the NHS. I know that together we can continue to make the NHS a fulfilling experience. 

We are so proud of our new NHS officers and wish them the best of luck next year! 

All About Merit Scholars Haley Garecht and Dora Tomko

The SAT is no easy task, it takes a lot of preparation, determination, and hard work to perform well. Juniors Haley Garecht and Dora Tomko understand the effort it takes to succeed on the SAT as they each met the requirements to enter the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program. Haley and Dora are among the 50,000 highest scoring participants who will be recognized as either Semifinalist or Commended Students in the fall. Recently Advancement Intern Erin Donovan ‘20 was able to sit down with the girls to discuss advice for others preparing for the SAT, life at O’Hara, and their future plans. Here are their responses:

1. Advice for students taking the PSAT and SAT/ best way to prepare for PSAT and SAT? 

Haley:  My advice to anyone looking to do well on the PSAT and SAT is to go easy on the content review and focus on practicing HOW to take the test. Although the math and writing content is important, I felt so much better overall once I practiced questions and felt like I understood the structure of the test(s) before taking them.

Dora:  Don’t stress out about it! Study beforehand to get a good idea of the material you’ll be looking at, and use Khan Academy to figure out your strengths and weaknesses. But also remember to get a good night’s sleep beforehand, and remember it’s just a test, and you can take it again as many times as you need to.

2. What are your plans for college- what colleges are you looking at, what majors are you interested in, do you plan to do any activities/sports in college?

 Haley: The main colleges I’m interested in are University of Pennsylvania, Boston College, and William & Mary. As of right now, I’m looking into majoring in Psychology or Political Science with a pre-law focus, but that could change any time! During college I’m hoping to play club volleyball and do theater in some capacity. 

Dora: At the moment, I’m interested in Villanova, Notre Dame, William and Mary, Princeton, and a few others. I plan to major in history, and I hope to be involved in dance in college as well.

3. What activities/ sports are you involved in at O’Hara? 

Haley: This year at O’Hara, I am involved in: Volleyball, Show, DHDM, Lion Ambassadors, Students for Life Club, CSC, Choir, Lion Connection, and Golden Touch. 

Dora:  I am in show, choir, Lion Ambassadors, Lion Connection, Students for Life, CSC, and Tri-M.

4. What are your classes this year/ next year? 

Haley: This year I took Honors Latin, RCA Theology/Philosophy, Vocal, Honors Chemistry, Honors Pre-Calc, AP Lang & Comp, and AP U.S. History. Next year, I am hoping to take RCA Theology/Philosophy, AP Lit, AP Calc AB, AP Psychology, AP Environmental Science, Honors Latin, and Vocal. 

Dora: This year, I’m taking Latin, RCA Theology, Vocal, Chemistry, Pre-Calc, AP Lang, and APUSH. Next year I’m taking Latin, RCA Theology, RCA Literature, AP Psych, AP Stat, AP Environmental, and Vocal.

5. What is the best part about O’Hara? 

Haley:  I think the best part about O’Hara is the spirit of involvement among the students. Everyone is a part of something, whether it is sports, show, or other clubs, and I think you would be hard pressed to find an O’Hara student who isn’t at school 3+ days a week after school for activities. Since freshman year, the kids and teachers have encouraged me to get involved, which makes the community so vibrant and fun to be a part of. 

Dora: I think the best part about O’Hara is the Regina Chesterton program. It has been so much fun being able to access in-depth, classical texts throughout high school and has given me a much better understanding of theology, literature, and philosophy.

6. What is your favorite O’Hara memory? 

Haley:  My favorite O’Hara memory is probably doing Music Man this year. It was so much fun to be onstage again after the pandemic, and we all became very close as a cast because everyone was so happy to be together. 

Dora: My favorite O’Hara memory is this year’s show, The Music Man. It was so much fun to be back on a stage again after so long and I was so grateful to be there with all of my friends again.

We are so proud of Haley and Dora for all of their accomplishments and are happy to call them both Lions for Life! 

NYU School of Dentistry New Student: Emma Sharrets

Recently Advancement Intern Erin Donovan ‘20 sat down with Senior Emma Sharrets to discuss her acceptance into the NYU School of Dentistry, what she plans to do with a dental hygiene degree, and how she became interested in the profession of dental hygiene. Here are Emma’s responses:

1. How did you become interested in dental hygiene?

  • I have always loved science, so going into a science related field was something that interested me. What really drew me into dental hygiene specifically was seeing just how much of a difference hygienists make. Being able to help multiple patients each day is something I’m so excited for and I can’t wait to be uplifted every day knowing I am having a positive impact on people’s health and lives!

2. What route do you plan to take with a dental hygiene degree?

  • As an incoming member of NYU’s dental hygiene program, I will be working towards earning a bachelor of science degree in dental hygiene. My main goal after getting my degree is to work in a clinical setting as a registered dental hygienist!

3. What fascinates you most about dentistry?

  • As an aspiring hygienist, one of the most fascinating aspects of dentistry and overall oral health is how important preventative care is. This includes brushing twice a day, flossing consistently, and going in for routine cleanings / checkups every 6 months. I think it’s so cool that as a hygienist I’ll be able to help patients with preventative care in the clinic, as well as give them the advice and resources needed to maintain a proper oral health routine at home!

4. Out of all the schools you applied to what stood out to you about NYU’s School of Dentistry?

  • Of course there’s the excitement of moving to the big city, but that’s not all that made NYU stand out. At other schools, most dental hygiene programs are not located within an actual dental school. NYU’s program being located within the college of dentistry gives me so many great opportunities. I’ll be able to work hand in hand with aspiring dentists, just like in a real clinical setting. Not to mention, community service is at the heart of NYUCD. Especially within the healthcare field, it is important to me that the school I attend puts serving the community as a top priority. 

5. How did it feel when you heard you were accepted to NYU’s School of Dentistry?

  • I was so shocked when I found out I was accepted, especially because of how I was told! Part of the admissions process includes a phone interview. Right after the interview wrapped up, I was told over the phone that I had been accepted! I was delighted and especially surprised because I didn’t expect an admissions decision right then and there! I was shocked not only at the timing of everything, but also that I had gotten in in the first place! NYU had always seemed like an out of reach dream, so I still can’t believe I’ll actually be going there in the fall!

6. As NYU’s School of Dentistry is pretty tough to get accepted into, how did you prepare throughout high school to reach your goals?

  • I’ve known since early on in my high school career that I wanted to go into dental hygiene or at least something involving science. With this in mind, I opted to take as many science classes as possible to help prepare me for my career and to build a solid foundation before starting dental hygiene school. 

7. Have you been able to have any hands-on experience or been able to observe dentistry up close in your lifetime?

  • I am very fortunate that my dentist gave me the opportunity to shadow at his office. I was able to see firsthand what hygienists do every day as well as observe other procedures. This was fairly early on in the process of making a definite decision of what to study in college. I can say that it absolutely helped me come to the conclusion that dental hygiene was for me!

8. Did any of your own dentists inspire you to want to be a member of the profession?

  • Yes absolutely! At the heart of the field of dentistry, or any medical profession for that matter, is the desire to help people. This shines through in every dentist visit I’ve experienced and is definitely an inspiration to me. I have special insight of sorts, as my mom works at a dentist office. From this, I know that everyone works as a team to make sure each patient is brought into a welcoming environment. The hygienists get to know each patient on a personal level, which is something I hope to embody as I enter the field.

9. What are you most excited for as you start your next endeavor?

  • One of the things I’m most excited for is moving to NYC! The city has so much to offer and I can’t wait to experience it all with the new people I’ll meet! NYU has such a large student body, so I have the incredible opportunity to meet and make new friends with people from all over the world! All these people coming together in one of the greatest cities in the world is so beautiful to me and I can not wait to be a part of it all!

10. Is there anything you are nervous about going forward?

  • As exciting as moving to New York is, I’m nervous about leaving home and my friends from this area. It’s hard to wrap my head around not being able to see my friends every day, so that will definitely take some getting used to. I’ve been reminding myself that even though it feels far away, I’m only a train ride away from home. I’m optimistic, and despite any nervousness I know that this will be a great experience for me!

Congratulations to Emma on this wonderful accomplishment and we wish her the best of luck next fall as she begins this exciting new chapter of her life! 

Meet O’Hara Valedictorian Katie Tuberosa

Recently, Erin Donovan ‘20, Advancement Intern, sat down with Class of 2021  Valedictorian Katie Tuberosa to discuss her time at O’Hara, her future plans, and any advice she would like to pass on to future lions. Here’s a recap of their discussion: 

  1. Where did you go to elementary school and what is your Parish? I have attended Saint Pius X School in Broomall since preschool.
  2. What activities did you participate in here at O’Hara? Did you hold any Leadership positions for any of these activities? At O’Hara, I participated in several activities. I am a CSC President, a Lion Ambassador President, a Tri-M Vice President, on the Lion Connection Executive Board, the Lead Cappies Critic, and the Communications Coordinator for DHDM. I am also part of the shows, Choir, Operation Santa Claus, and the National Honor Society. 
  3. Do you have any advice for the class of 2025? Join everything that piques your interest! Whether it’s trying out for a new sport, attending a DHDM fundraiser, or auditioning for the show, I promise you that you will not regret it. Extracurriculars are how you will meet your lifelong friends, so don’t be afraid to try something new.
  4. What is your favorite quote? “Nothing worth having comes easy.” – Teddy Roosevelt
  5. What is your greatest O’Hara Memory? There have been so many memories that I’ve made at O’Hara that I will cherish forever but my favorite one would have to be when I was nominated as Outstanding Underclassman Critic as a freshman for O’Hara’s Cappies program. Ever since I started coming to the O’Hara shows in middle school, I wanted to be a Cappies Critic and write about theater. Being acknowledged for something that I’ve loved doing each year in the Cappies program was an honor.
  6. Are there any people or classes that have had an impact on you? All of the departments at Cardinal O’Hara have taught me valuable lessons, but the English and Theology departments and teachers hold a special place in my heart. English has helped me discover my career path and Theology has allowed me to grow stronger in my faith and relationship with God. I cannot thank the amazing teachers that I’ve had in these departments and every department during my time at O’Hara.
  7. College Plans: What colleges did you get accepted to? What is your college destination and major/minor? Honors program? Anticipated activities? I was accepted to Syracuse, American, Loyola Maryland, Pepperdine, Drexel, St. Joe’s, Neumann, Immaculata, and Villanova. I will attend Villanova University majoring in Public Relations and Advertising, minoring in both theater and criminology, and will be part of the honors program. I plan on participating in the Blue Key Society, theater, Special Olympics, and NOVAdance.

Congratulations to Katie on all of her achievements here at O’Hara and for all that she has contributed as a leader in the school. We are proud to call her a Lion for life! 

Meet O’Hara Salutatorian Declan Pennese

Recently Erin Donovan ‘20, Advancement Intern, sat down with Class of 2021 Salutatorian Declan Pennese to discuss his time at O’Hara, his future plans, and any advice he would like to pass on to future lions. Here’s a recap of their discussion.

  1. Where did you go to elementary school and what is your Parish? I attended Saint Francis of Assisi in Springfield. 
  2. What activities did you participate in here at O’Hara? Did you hold any Leadership positions for any of these activities? I am a Co-Captain of the Ultimate frisbee team, as well as a member of swimming, theater, choir, Lion Connections, Community Service Corps, National Honor Society, and Lion Ambassadors. 
  3. Do you have any advice for the class of 2025? My advice for the class of 2025 would be to make a calendar for yourself and break big projects into pieces. 
  4. What is your favorite quote? “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.”-Marie Curie
  5. What is your greatest O’Hara Memory? My greatest O’Hara memory is raising 100 thousand dollars for our Danny Hammond Dance Marathon.
  6. Are there any people or classes that have had an impact on you? Mr Youngblood’s Philosophy/Theology class had an impact on me.
  7. College Plans: What colleges did you get accepted to? What is your college destination and major/minor? Honors program? Anticipated activities? I was accepted to College of Charleston, Dickinson College, Lafayette College, Loyola University Maryland, Marymount University, Neumann University, The Catholic University of America, University of Pittsburgh, and William & Mary. I will attend The Catholic University of America majoring in Biochemistry and as a member of the honors program. I plan to participate in intramural frisbee, swimming and possibly Crew. 

Congratulations to Declan on all of his achievements here at O’Hara and for all that he has contributed as a leader in the school. We are proud to call him a Lion for life! 

All About the Cappies!

Recently Erin Donovan ’20, Advancement Intern, sat down with Cappies moderator David Kelly to discuss the history of the Cappies at O’Hara, what the O’Hara’s Cappies program has accomplished, and how the Seniors this year kept the program alive. Here’s a recap of their discussion:

  1. What is the history of the Cappies program at O’Hara? Cardinal O’Hara joined the Greater Philadelphia Area Critics Awards Program (Cappies) in the fall of 2013, when Mr. Jeff Dietzler took over as director of the school shows. I was already a member of the Cappies Steering Committee, and volunteered to become the moderator of the new O’Hara Cappies team. O’Hara then joined with the 30 plus member schools in the Philadelphia area, and in the time since then, has been the only diocesan to maintain continuous membership.  Each school is only allowed to have six student critics, and I held writing auditions each school year to select the most promising critics. To “audition”, each student writes a review of a short video of a show from a Cappies member school. The first O’Hara Critics’ Team consisted of Isobel McCravy (Lead Critic), Molly Kilker, Fiona Magnini, Colette Nolan, Liz Bradley, and Mary Anna Gatta.  Every critic commits to attending at least 5 shows, (drama or musical) at member schools during the year, and write reviews of these shows. In early May, critics then vote on their choices for the prestigious “CAPPIES” Award. The winners of the awards are presented at a Gala in May.

2. What are some of the highlights of the Cappies Program over the year? From the very beginning, O’Hara earned many honors in the program. Many of our critics had their reviews selected for publication in both the print and online editions of The Philadelphia Inquirer, as well as local papers in the area of the reviewed school. O’Hara’s entry in the 2014-2015 season, The Drowsy Chaperone, saw nominations for the Cappies Award  for Stage Crew, Song: “I am Aldolfo!”, show, Comic Actress: Jackie Rooney, Comic Actor:Billy Issertell, Supporting Actor: Dan Szkudlapski,  Lead Actor: Adam Landolfi, Vocalist : Katelyn Hayes. The O’Hara critics team also was nominated for top team, and Molly Kilker was nominated for upperclass critic. More recent winners include Thomas Dempsey as the Cat in the Hat in Zeussical, and Billy Issertell as Aldolfo in The Drowsy Chaperone. O’Hara twice hosted the training day for the 200 student critics from member schools, and also provided computer labs for secure on-line voting sessions. 

3. What is your perspective on theater and the role of the Cappies? Theater in general provides so much for high school students in so many areas. They learn to work under tight deadlines when preparing for opening night, memorization of lines, songs and dances, and teamwork with the entire cast and crew. Students on stage crew learn skills to design, build, and paint sets, as well as keeping a show fluid during scene changes. At O’Hara, students run the sound and light cues, as well as being the stage managers to keep the show going. Marketing is another area where students generate interest in the show through creating lobby displays, photos for press releases, and videos for social media posts. The quality of shows at O’Hara gives all participants pride in creating a quality production on stage twice a year. I have been involved with high school theater since 1985 when I worked with former O’Hara teacher Harry Dietzler to revive the theater program at the former St. James High School in Chester, and directed shows at Lansdale Catholic High School. Cappies allows students the opportunity to learn critical writing skills to promote high school theater. The reviews accentuate the positive efforts of students at member schools. Critics also work with students from other schools to learn listening skills during discussions at intermission and after the shows when voting on selections for awards. The lead critic works with the team to insure that our critics attend and review their required shows. All students are also invited to help with show marketing efforts, whether or not they are in the theater program.

4. What happened with Cappies due to Covid? The Cappies Steering Committee hoped to have critic training in January of 2021. However, no training was held as the pandemic worsened. But in the fall of 2020, I had decided to use the available time to train new critics, and keep the O’Hara Cappies team sharp. The team used Zoom meetings to watch, discuss, and review older O’Hara shows.  In December, the team voted on their choices for each Cappies category, and I created a video for YouTube to share their results. The critics continued this Zoom effort for the second semester once they learned that there would be no in-person shows this year. By May, the team has “Zoomed” 9 shows for review this year. 

5. How have the three seniors being featured made an impact on the program during their four years at O’Hara? Our three senior critics have kept the Cappies spirit alive. Haley Begany and Theresa Haas are both second year critics, and drew on their training to write new reviews and lead discussions with new members during Zoom meetings. Lead Critic Katie Tuberosa insured that the whole team knew when Zoom meetings could be held for maximum participation.  She has been an award-winning critic her entire four years at O’Hara.  Katie had also been nominated for top critic in underclass and upperclass categories before the shutdown in the spring of 2020. She wrote a wonderful article“The Show Must Go On” for COHS social media.

Members of the first Cappies Team at O’Hara: Isobel McGreavy, Ceary McGreavy, Colette Nolan, Liz Bradley, Molly Kilker.

Nominated for Comic Actress in 2015: Jakie Rooney as Kitty in The Drowsy Chaperone.
Cappie Award nominees from the 2015 production of The Drowsy Chaperone, with director Mr. Jeff Dietzler at the Cappies Gala celebration that year.

The 2021 Archdiocese of Philadelphia Golf Regular Season Champion Thomas Larkin

Famous golfer Arnold Palmer once said, “Success in this game depends less on strength of body than strength of mind and character.” Senior Thomas Larkin proved this quote true this season on the golf course. Head Coach Caramanico stated, “Thomas has the perfect attitude and demeanor to play great golf. Always a smile, never too upset at a missed fairway or a putt that doesn’t drop. It’s hard to tell if he is two under or two over par.”

Thomas started playing golf in fifth grade thanks to his dad who introduced him to the game. From that day forward, Thomas was interested in the sport. As a senior, Thomas had many obligations this year and while many times it was hard for him to squeeze practice into his schedule he always made sure to make time for golf. Coach Caramanico said, “He is dedicated to the game, a hard worker who is always practicing or playing.” Thomas consistently went to the range at night and found this made a big difference in his performance.  

Going into the championship Thomas had a good mindset, he felt prepared and was confident in his game. He mentioned that he was at the point where he could trust himself and that is always his main goal. At the same time, this match was bittersweet since it was Thomas’s last high school championship, but Thomas was able to use that thought as motivation to fuel him to play well. Thomas can credit that confident mindset and feeling of preparedness to Coach Caramanico. Thomas reflected, “Coach Caramanico is awesome. He is hands down one of the nicest people I have ever met. He always reminds us to go out and enjoy playing the match. I think that’s really important not to take things too seriously. Coach understands that and reminds us before every match.” 

Thomas’s character also shined through on the course. Coach Caramanico added, “He is not only a great golfer but a wonderful person and teammate. He is always talking to his teammates, seniors to freshman, good players to average players, complimenting them and encouraging them to be their best.” Thomas is a true team leader. While he played the championship round, he explained that he was always thinking about his teammates, wondering how they were performing, and hoping they were doing well. 

After all of Thomas’s hardwork and determination, he was able to accomplish his best achievement in his O’Hara Golf Career, becoming the 2021 Archdiocese of Philadelphia Golf Regular Season Champion. Thomas won the title with a score of 15.45. When Thomas found out that he won, he felt ecstatic as it was a goal he had been working towards since he started playing for O’Hara. Coach Caramanico called Thomas right after he found out about the win and this made Thomas feel great. Congratulations to Thomas on a successful senior season and we wish him the best of luck with his golf career in the future as he plans to continue to play for the University of the Sciences.  

By Erin Donovan ’20

I will always and forever be proud to call myself a Lion!

Earlier last week I was asked along with four of my classmates to represent Cardinal O’Hara on Fox 29 News. We were asked to model prom dresses and talk about how different prom would be this year due to the pandemic. I was thrilled and excited to be a part of this experience and it made me reflect on how well Cardinal O’Hara has handled the pandemic in relation to major senior year events. Before the school year started, I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to experience all of the quintessential senior experiences that many teenagers look forward to during their high school career. Would I get to go to prom with my friends? Would I get to go to graduation? Would I get to walk across the stage in my cap and gown? These were some of my major worries, but now I know that I no longer have to stress about missing out on these things, and that is all thanks to Cardinal O’Hara’s dedication to handling the pandemic in a responsible way, while still acknowledging the student’s concerns. 

I am beyond grateful for our administration and all of the work they have done to ensure that our seniors have the best year possible. They have worked so incredibly hard to provide us with all of these events. I am ecstatic to be able to wear my prom dress and have a prom experience during such a difficult time. 

Being asked to represent the Cardinal O’Hara fashion show on Fox 29 News helped me to realize just how lucky I am to be a Cardinal O’Hara student. Showing up and picking out a dress to wear reminded me of how excited I was for the junior prom I never got to have, but it also boosted my spirits because it reassured me that I don’t need to worry about that happening again. When I walked in front of the camera in a gorgeous gold sequin gown, and Jen Fredericks told me I looked like a model, it gave me a rush of joy and a taste of the excitement I know I will feel when I attend my real senior prom. All of the girls invited to model the gowns looked gorgeous and I can guarantee that they felt that same rush of excitement as I did. 

Katie Menta, one of the other senior girls who was asked to be on the news, wore a stunning hot-pink dress and can attest to the previous sentiments I felt towards O’Hara saying: “After losing hope of being able to experience a true senior year with the people I’ve grown to know these past four years, O’Hara definitely outshined themselves with providing us with a fashion show, prom, baccalaureate, and graduation to look forward to in the near future. Speaking for my class, I can definitely say these events are what we all have been awaiting for and are appreciative of the fact that it is even possible.”

I can confidently say that the whole of the class of ‘21 is incredibly grateful for how much time, energy, and care our administration has put into ensuring us seniors that we experience every senior staple, and we can’t wait to see what else O’Hara has in store for us in our final months as Lions. And for these reasons, and so many more, I will always and forever be proud to call myself a Lion!

Written By: Olivia Wick ’21