O’Hara Family Christmas- Reflection

O’Hara Family Christmas Essay

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

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

Written By: Kaia Grant

Achieving a Sense of Normalcy through the Hybrid Learning Model

Saying that my senior year at Cardinal O’Hara High School wasn’t what I thought it was going to be is an understatement. However, I am so thankful that the hybrid learning model allows me to have some sense of normalcy during this unprecedented time. Being able to connect with my teachers and fellow students in the classroom and partaking in various activities after school has made this year one that I will never forget.

One thing I have realized throughout the pandemic is how much I have taken going to school for granted. I can confidently say that each one of my teachers has thought outside of the box this year in order to accommodate their lesson plans for all students and have readily adapted to the technology. One of my favorite parts of the hybrid learning model is that teachers have utilized a multitude of online resources to benefit all students, regardless of whether they are in school, learning from home, or completely virtual. 

Another highlight of the hybrid learning model is that we have been able to continue after school extracurriculars through Zoom since Mrs. Evert, our Assistant Principal of Student Affairs, has been working with moderators so that every club is up and running. This is especially important to me because the extracurricular activities at O’Hara make my O’Hara experience so special. Whether it’s prepping for the year ahead in Lion Ambassadors or connecting with the incoming freshmen through Lion Connection, O’Hara has managed to maintain one of the most crucial parts of every Lion’s experience. In Cappies, the returning members of the critic team, along with our moderator, Mr. Kelly, are continuing to hone our writing skills by viewing previous O’Hara shows, holding our own discussions about them, and writing reviews. Although the Greater Philadelphia Cappies season has been postponed until January, we have utilized Zoom to strengthen our observing and writing skills. Just this past week, we watched and reviewed Disney’s Beauty and the Beast! The collective ensemble brought much energy and passion to their performance and made me reminisce about how much I miss watching live theater!

As a senior, I have the difficult task of juggling my classes with the college process. However, for me, this has all taken place online. Although my college search has been limited to various webinars, these interactive, virtual information sessions have been informative and have allowed me to condense my list of colleges. While I may not have visited all of my top prospects, these webinars have given me enough background on each college. Although navigating the college application process virtually is challenging, I have been able to connect with admissions counselors at my potential colleges to answer my questions. Shoutout to Mrs. Graney and her team of counselors for working round-the-clock to help all of us seniors navigate through this complex process as well! Even though I went into the college process feeling overwhelmed, I can confidently say that, as I near the conclusion, each college successfully adapted to this unprecedented situation and made me feel like I was on their campus even though I was often thousands of miles away. 

To quote a line from Frozen 2, right now I feel as if I am going “into the unknown” during this anything but typical senior year. However, O’Hara’s response allowed me to achieve a sense of normalcy and ground me in my faith during these challenging times. In times of uncertainty, sometimes our faith is all we have.

Written By: Katie Tuberosa ’21

Mary’s profound “Yes” led me to service

By: Jessica McCarthy ‘17

Hello, my name is Jessica McCarthy and I was a part of the 2017 graduating class at Cardinal O’Hara High School. The foundation of my Catholic school education sparked my interest and led me to explore opportunities within service. During my sophomore year at The Catholic University of America I said “yes” to spending my spring break in Kingston, Jamaica on a mission trip.

Not only did we practice ministry of presence and tutor kids, we learned about the poor and marginalized casted away by society. In returning to the United States I made an effort to seek more opportunities to serve and learn about the populations around me. I became a part of the community service team at my university and had the opportunity to make serving food to those experiencing homelessness a weekly practice. God started to invite me to take on opportunities that were outside of my comfort zone. I started a faith and service club at The Busch School of Business and right before the pandemic, I was in the works of creating and leading a business school mission trip to El Salvador.

Saying “yes” to going to a third world country almost two years ago was very scary but it was so rewarding and life changing. Before moving to Washington, DC to attend college, I lived in Springfield, PA my whole life. I had little exposure to different types of populations and I was not appreciative of the fact that I would not have to worry about if I would have a roof over my head, if I would have a meal for dinner, or if I was getting a good education. I encourage anyone reading this to start small, God will meet you where you are. Service is so broad. It could be asking someone on the streets how their day is going or asking what their name is. Gandhi once said, “ The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. ” I feel the most connected with Jesus when I am serving and I propose to you, no matter where you are in life to have courage to serve your brothers and sisters in Christ.

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

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

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

Written By:
Paul Giacomucci ’24

The Impact of Virtual Meetings

“Virtual meetings allow our student’s applications to truly come to life!”

~Owen Logue, Director of Enrollment Management

As just about everyone has had to make changes to their daily routine in the crazy past month and a half we have all been living in, our Cardinal O’Hara admissions office has also had to make changes. With no access to the physical building that we are trying to bring prospective students into, one would think that it is impossible to get families excited about Cardinal O’Hara in this time. You would be sorely mistaken, thanks to the amazing opportunities that we have taken to begin to interact with families virtually.

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We are now offering virtual meeting appointments with our enrollment team for our incoming families! Now again, one might think, …it is hard enough to get anyone to answer the phone or an email now, why would anyone sign up to meet face-to-face over a computer? And you may be right. It may seem awkward or uncomfortable to have a conversation about the school, or the application process, or financial aid, that can very well happen over the phone without having to see what style of the inside of each other’s homes are. What I came to realize shortly after my hosting my first virtual meeting, was the opportunities offered in a virtual meeting opened up new doors that I had not originally anticipated:

Human Interaction

Although most of us would prefer to converse and ask questions over a text, email, or phone, there is something different about sitting down with someone and having a conversation face-to-face, especially when it comes to choosing your child’s next academic adventure. Offering this type of meeting platform gives families the semblance that they are walking right into O’Hara and sitting down with me personally, talking about their questions or issues, which they have not been able to do for some time.

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

One key aspect to the virtual meeting that I have found extremely beneficial so far, especially while using Zoom Meeting as an option, is the functionality of sharing my screen. When having a conversation about steps to complete the application for admission or what is needed to fill out the financial aid application, I can not only tell families the steps to take, but I can show them! Through using screen sharing, families follow along with me in completing the necessary steps, or finding specific items on our website, which has been extremely helpful to both myself and the families that I have worked with.

Getting to Know Our Families

Virtual meetings allow our student’s applications to truly come to life! Being able to see my students and their families virtually allows me to not only be able to put a face to a student’s application file, but also interact with them as who they really are; active, real life individuals that are eager to enter the Cardinal O’Hara community!

Of course, at the end of this all I, and the rest of our Cardinal O’Hara enrollment team, cannot wait to get back into our building and once again interact with all of our amazing students and families in person. In the meantime, I will continue to use this opportunity as an option to more effectively serve our incoming student population, and preach the good news that Cardinal O’Hara has to offer to so many students around the greater Philadelphia area! If this has piqued your interest in setting up a virtual meeting with me, feel free to click here! I’ll see you on Zoom!


by Owen Logue, Director of Enrollment Management


Your Tax Dollars Can Help Students Afford an O’Hara Education

“This is the only program where you can literally provide thousands of dollars to O’Hara to award in financial aid to families in need, while only costing you pennies to participate.”      ~ Paul Boston, Cardinal O’Hara Board member and current parent

Cardinal O’Hara prides itself on providing a rigorous and comprehensive education rooted in our Catholic faith. We also work tirelessly to provide financial aid for students, which in today’s world is vital to ensuring that every student who desires an O’Hara education can afford one.

the financial aid paradigm-1O’Hara provides $2.6 million in tuition assistance annually. This financial aid is funded through the tax credit program and through our O’Hara Fund. We are grateful to the donors who make gifts to support our students and our school.

You can help O’Hara students who need financial assistance by participating in the EITC/OSTC program. The Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) programs provide businesses and individuals that pay PA taxes with a tax credit. These individuals and businesses receive a Pennsylvania tax credit equal to 90% of the contribution. Most donors will also receive federal benefit equal to approximately 4%. The process to participate in this program is simple and we have professionals who can walk you through the process step-by-step.

“The EITC/OSTC tax credit program provided by the state and administered by BLOCS, was a program that I found, to be the easiest way to help O’Hara and their families,” reflects Paul Boston. “As a CPA, who helps clients with preparing and planning for their taxes, I reviewed the program years ago to make sure that the benefits to the person contributing to the program and the benefits to the school were as good as it sounded. I found that this program is the single best way for my clients and me to help the families in our area send their child to the school that is best for him or her. The BLOCS organization makes the process of contributing to the school of your choice and receiving the tax credit provided by the State of PA, the easiest and most transparent. This is the only program where you can literally provide thousands of dollars to O’Hara to award in financial aid to families in need, while only costing you pennies to participate. I wholeheartedly endorse the tax credit program, personally and professionally.”

To learn more about how you can help O’Hara through the tax credit program, contact Jen Tuberosa at jtuberosa@cohs.com or 610.544.5679. To make a contribution to support our students through our O’Hara Fund visit http://www.cohs.com/donate/.

We thank the corporations and individuals who support O’Hara through the tax credit program:

  • Active Image Media, LLC
  • Bill and Barbra Adolph
  • B & E Sportswear, LP
  • Paul and Christina Boston
  • Bryn Mawr Trust Company
  • Bill and Lynn Caramanico
  • John and Erin Caramanico
  • Alvin and Kathy Clay
  • Joe and Mary Crawford
  • Chuck and Peggy Creighton
  • DAS Companies
  • Bill Daggett, Jr.
  • Charles DeFeo
  • Robert Deitz
  • Stephen Donahue
  • Derrick and Kristen Dougherty
  • Bob and Chris Dumont
  • Harold Earley
  • Essent Guaranty, Inc.
  • Marty and Susan Farrell
  • Mike and Donna Farrell
  • J & T Building Company, LP
  • Joseph and Anna Finley
  • Mike Frost
  • John and Joan Gallagher
  • Joseph and Joanne Garvey
  • Larry Giacchino
  • Thomas and Joanne Goldsmith
  • Joseph Grande
  • Gerard and Mary Griesser
  • The Griesser Group
  • Ed and Ellen Hanway
  • Jerry and Christine Haftmann
  • Tony and Mary Kate Hayden
  • Tom and Rose Ingelsby
  • Anthony Latini
  • Chuck Lawson
  • Living Assistance Services
  • Colleen and Paul Martin
  • Larry and Michele McAlee
  • Bill McDevitt
  • William and Lisa McGinnis
  • Clyde McKee
  • Edward and Cheryl Morris
  • Peter and Kathe Morris
  • Jim and Sharon O’Brien
  • Mike and Mary Kay O’Rourke
  • Ricky Palladino
  • The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.
  • Joe and Karin Purcell
  • Patrick and Jean Reger
  • Republic Bank
  • Cary and Maryann Toner
  • Stephen and Betsy Wellman
  • Robert and Mary Gene Woods


written by Jennifer Tuberosa, Vice President of Development

We Are All in This Together!

Hi fellow Lions!
Going through this experience of witnessing and being apart of a pandemic has not just an huge impact on our lives, but also our school year. There has been many questions we have been asking our students and teachers.
Some of Mr. Langley’s favorite things during this time of a new way of school for us is “all the different methods of virtual learning.”
According to our Salutatorian Casandra Nguyen she stated “The biggest struggle I’ve experienced during this time is not being able to finish out my senior year at O’Hara. It came to an end really quickly for me. I miss seeing my friends in class and going through my entire roster at school. It’s hard doing work without seeing your friends’ faces every day. The environment is very different for me at home.”
Although there have been some rough patches we are all experiencing during this time, our Student Council President John Caponi shared some words of wisdom saying “Enjoy the time you have with your family. We will get through this and be stronger than ever.”
Dear the O’Hara family and community. Like Mr. Caponi said, we will get through this. We are all in this together and the best thing we can do now is stay inside, stay safe, stay healthy and pray.
Written By: Rosemary Paquette

Interviewing Mrs. Bauer


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 abauer@cohs.com.

Written By: Keira Bauer ’22

Holy Week Reminders

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.

  1. 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!

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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