Each month, the Lions Club of Marple Newtown honors an O’Hara student at their meeting at Charlotte’s Restaurant on West Chester Pike. Schola Eburuoh ’17 was the February Student of the Month. Learn more about Schola. We are proud to call her a lion!
Schola Eburuoh is currently a senior at Cardinal O’Hara High School. She enjoys being involved in her school community through extracurricular activities and sports. She is currently the president of the Lion Ambassadors Organization at Cardinal O’Hara High School. Within this organization she leads over 100 students in fundraising for the school, organizing appreciation events for administration, and holding tours for alumni. She is also one of the senior presidents of her high school’s Community Service Corps and is a captain of the family relations committee for Cardinal O’Hara’s mini-THON which raises awareness and funds for pediatric cancer research. She has won the logo contest for mini-THON two years in a row with her own artistic designs.
Also within her school community, Schola is a Link Leader and acts a a “big sister” to a group of eight freshman in her school. She is Captain of the varsity cheerleading team which recently flew to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida for the High School National Cheerleading Championship. She also participated in outdoor track & field her junior year and is a high jumper for indoor track this year. During her first year of track & field, Schola was part of the school record breaking 4-by-4 relay team and helped her team win the Philadelphia Catholic League (PCL) championship. She was also district 12 champion of the 400 meter dash in the outdoor track season in 2016.
Schola is a member of the National Honor Society, and is academically ranked within the top ten of her graduating class. She is also involved in her campus ministry and volunteer programs. During her junior year she attended the National Catholic Youth Conference and served as an ambassador to the youth. She also worked as a youth ambassador for the Catholic retreat entitled Generation Phaith and during her Junior year she received the Philadelphia Union League Good Citizenship Award.
In her free time Schola enjoys sewing, drawing and crafting. During the spring of 2016 she made her own junior prom dress and she currently owns her own Etsy shop in which she sells some of her homecrafted and sewn creations. She greatly enjoys this hobby and has recently had many of her clothing designs modeled in her school’s annual fashion show this year.
Schola plans on continuing her involvement in these activities and making the most of her final year at Cardinal O’Hara High School.
When I first started the Boy Scouts, it was back in 5th grade; at that time, I became a webelo. Normally you start at a younger age, the Cub Scouts, but because of my age I started higher than that. A few years later I crossed over into the Boy Scouts. This is where I met people that I’ve made lasting friendships with and learned so many things to help me better myself. Scouting isn’t just knots and merit badges as most people think. My troop participates in so many activities and fundraisers, aside from a camping trip every month and summer camp. The Boy Scouts isn’t just a place for kids to go and have fun and make friends, it’s a place for them to learn life skills and mature into responsible members of our communities.
The rank of Eagle Scout is the highest that you can earn in scouting. It takes the most effort and hard work to achieve. The first requirement is to obtain and hold the “life Scout” rank for six months, then comes the paperwork and planning. At this point your Scoutmaster and fellow leaders will prepare you for your work ahead, applications, having all your merit badges completed, and scheduling your project. Your Eagle project is a huge portion of your journey to Eagle. Before working on your project a scout must propose their plan to their troop in order to get approval and start. An Eagle project is not only meant to help the company or people. It’s about improving the Scout’s leadership skills. And once a Scout has completed his project, application, and binder describing everything about his project and himself, he sends it off to counsel and they will select a date to hold his board of review. An Eagle board of review is one of the scariest things I have had to prepare for, but once I sat down and went through it I realized that it wasn’t as bad as I thought. This was only made possible by the help and support of my troop and fellow Eagle Scouts. As I mentioned before the goal of becoming an Eagle Scout is meant to make a scout a better leader, and through this process I am certain that I have become not just a better leader, but a better person as well.
As an O’Hara student, my favorite part of the year was Christmas-time. Maybe it was because of that incredible feeling walking to my next class, hearing Christmas music over the PA system. Maybe it was because I could just hardly contain my excitement for the upcoming Christmas break. Or maybe it was just because of the overwhelming sense of joy and merriment that came from the faculty and students that time of year.
While these are all good possibilities, I think deep down I’ll always know why that time of year was my favorite: the annual production of O’Hara’s 12 Days of Christmas – a video short that took the popular Christmas song and themed it around O’Hara. As an introverted student who wasn’t involved in any additional clubs or sports, the annual production of this short Christmas video was always my chance to shine. What began as something fun started by WCOH Studios, would become an O’Hara tradition. The earliest example available on YouTube is from 2009, but I can remember finding copies that dated as far back as 2006. (WCOH studios still produces a new video each year).
I don’t know what it was about working on this video that was so special to me. I think it was because it was a chance for teachers, faculty, and students to all come together and act silly for this one time each year. My junior year (the 2009 video) was so fun to work on, that I vowed when I would take over the production as a senior, I would do something completely different.
That “something different” would come in the form of the very first “O’Hara movie” as they’ve become known. It was November of my senior year when I said to my Media Production teacher, “Mr. Cook, instead of once again adapting the Twelve Days of Christmas, why don’t we adapt another Christmas story?” “What did you have in mind?”, Cook asked – and even though I pretended to think for a minute, I already had known the answer for months. “Why don’t we adapt Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol?”, I replied. Mr. Cook heard out my pitch, about a miserable-Scrooge of a teacher who gets visited by three ghosts to convince him to change his ways.
Over the course of the next couple of weeks we had a full-teacher cast that included Mr. Wills, Mrs. Borusiewicz, and the ever so great Mr. Hahn playing a satirized version of himself. It would be the largest undertaking we had ever done for a video production at the school with a script topping 20 pages. But Mr. Cook agreed to let me lead the whole production and even helped me build an awesome team of co-directors (special shout to to Nicole DiCrecchio, Nick Vasek, Brittany DeMara, and Regina Wilkinson).
Long story short, the video would go on to become the highlight of my senior year. It was a difficult, straining production process that lasted weeks, but the end result was well worth it. To make things even better, we were allowed to screen the 20 minute film for the entire student body. At the end, my team and I were pushed on-stage for a standing ovation. As I looked out at the sea of students and faculty applauding, something became very clear to me – this is what I wanted to do with my life.
I followed up the Cardinal O’Hara Christmas Carol with an O’Hara adaption of the Wizard of Oz that Spring and I used both productions to get me accepted into film school. It was an important moment in my life, and I knew I had started a new tradition at O’Hara that would hopefully continue for years to come.
The year after I graduated, students produced an O’Hara adaptation of Elf in 2012 and things looked bright for the future of the O’Hara movies – but then the unthinkable happened. The teachers who helped guide me during my film productions (Mr. Cook and Mr. Konecki) left O’Hara that year and with their departure, no one was left to guide students. What was supposed to be a new O’Hara tradition seemingly died out. Until 2015 that is.
Last year, through a twist of fate and a little luck, I found myself back at Cardinal O’Hara as something I never thought I would be – a moderator. A moderator whose main role was to guide students in the filmmaking process I once went through way back in 2010 – making the first O’Hara movie. From my first meeting with members of what would become the O’Hara Film Club, I could instantly tell the creative energy that existed amongst these great students. They were hungry to do something different, something new, much like I had once been.
They conceived an idea for an O’Hara adaptation of The Grinch. They came up with the idea, learned how to write a script, and then got to go through the entire production process. These were students who had been greatly interested in filmmaking, yet had never been given the chance or guidance to actually make films. And with just a simple amount of guidance on my part, these students picked up the pieces and produced a film that rivaled any video that I, or any other O’Hara student had ever done before.
When I was a senior, there were about five of us who were genuinely interested in filmmaking. The O’Hara Film Club currently surpasses 25+ members today. I think that is a testament to the evolution of students’ creative interests. My hope is that our very own Film Club encourages other high schools in the area and around the country to invest in student filmmaking. It is a powerful medium and a tool for expression that, in my opinion, is drastically underutilized in secondary education. For the past 50 years, high school theatre/drama has been the go-to for creative expression. We’re getting to a point now where technology has evolved, as have students’ interests and passions and I think it’s time we start placing as much emphasis and backing on student film productions as we have on student stage productions.
Since that the initial success of the students’ Grinch adaptation, our club has gone on to produce several more short film pieces including an incredible O’Hara adaptation of Back to the Future and they are currently working on many other films as I write this post. Several Film Club students have used their work in the club to get accepted into film school – much like I did way back when. To date, the “O’Hara movies” through the years have surpassed over 150,000 combined views on YouTube. There are students who come to open house who specifically state they want to come to O’Hara “to make movies” which to me is incredible.
Every time we premiere one of our videos and my students take the spotlight, I get to see that same look in their eyes – that look I once had that says “This is what I want to do with my life”. And it is through them that I’m reminded of the same exact thing – helping students realize their full potential through the art of film has been my renewed purpose in life and I hope it continues for years to come.
In 1999, I was a freshman at O’Hara and I was obsessed with all things comedy – particularly stand-up. I was a huge Monty Python fan, I had every line of Wayne’s World 1 & 2 memorized (still do!) and I loved everything about Saturday Night Live, but nothing grabbed me the way stand-up comedy did. Just one person with a microphone – I loved it.
At some point during freshman year, the same notebook I used for English class inadvertently became my first comedy notebook. Any ridiculous thought, idea or observation I had was jotted down in that blue notebook. At the time, I had no idea what I planned to do with these random, scribbled notes, but for the next four years, I had that notebook with me everyday in high school.
After O’Hara, I went to Temple University, where I saw my first live stand-up shows. If a comedian was performing on campus, I was there. One night, after one of the shows, I introduced myself to one of the comics (who also happened to be from the Philly area), and said I wanted to try an open-mic. We talked comedy for a while, but most importantly, he told me where to go to try things out for myself. The following Wednesday, I took that infamous notebook to the Laff House on South Street.
I waited in line in the cold with a bunch of other aspiring comics, put my name on the list and was picked to go on fourth – and that was it. I was hooked. All it took was four minutes alone on stage for the addiction to begin. Getting that first big laugh in a comedy club is something I can’t even describe. It was a rush I never felt before. A rush I never even knew existed. For the next few years, I was getting on stage anywhere from five to ten times a week. Comedy clubs, bars, coffee shops – you name it; I couldn’t get on stage enough.
While it’s the greatest decision I’ve ever made, there have been plenty of rough nights along the way. When someone first starts out, for every good show, there are four bad ones and it’s easy to get discouraged. Most people are terrified of public speaking in the first place, so imagine being on stage in front of a room full of strangers. You’re supposed to make them laugh, but it’s just not happening. Your cheeks turn red, you start to sweat. The crowd can sense you’re nervous and you forget what you’re about to say next. The room gets awkward and everyone can feel it. It’s embarrassing, and not only that – a rough set can linger on your mind for days. The only remedy? Get on stage again! I’ve always been taught that you learn a lot from mistakes, and that has been exceptionally true in stand-up.
Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to make stand-up a career. In 2013, I recorded my first album right here in Philly (at Helium) and since then I’ve been busier than ever performing in comedy clubs, theaters and casinos all over the country.
I still have that notebook that I wrote my first jokes in, and it’s still in pretty good condition. Every time I flip through it, I’m reminded of being 14, sitting in O’Hara, wondering what I was going to do with those random, scribbled notes.
Pat House ’03 is headlining Helium Comedy Club on Wednesday, Dec. 21. Other comics on the show include Peggy O’Leary, Christian Alsis, Sergio Santana and Jake Mattera, who are all also O’Hara grads.
Cardinal O’Hara CAPPIES critic Anna Sherman had her review of the Dock Mennonite Academy’s show, “Curtains!” selected for publication in the online Philadelphia Inquirer. Anna’s review was the top from the 20 critics attending the show. The CAPPIES is a national organization that celebrates high school theater, and O’Hara is the only diocesan school to participate in this amazing program. Congratulations, Anna Sherman ’19!
SHOW PEOPLE EXCEL AT DOCK
Submitted by Anna Sherman of Cardinal O’Hara High School in GPC:
Appalling reviews from The Boston Globe and the death of the lead actress all in the same day? When you are at the bottom, the only place to go is up. Dock Mennonite Academy proved exactly that in their captivating production of the musical, “Curtains!”.
“Curtains!” is a whodunit murder mystery created by award winning Peter Stone. After his death in 2003, Rupert Holmes completed the script. Fredd Ebb wrote the lyrics, which were put to music by John Kander. Set in the late 1950s, Liutenant Cioffi leads us on a captivating journey of twists and turns as suspicions heighten in the pursuit of a murderer hiding amongst the cast. Along the way, a friendship is healed and true love is found.
The stand-out number is this show was undeniably “The Woman’s Dead.” The whole cast comes together to honor deceased Jessica Cranshaw (Mindy Marinko). Rather than being emotionally distraught, this number was emotionally joyous as they theatrically celebrate the fact that their cast is minus one.
Tying together the lively characters was Liutenant Cioffi, played by Levi Longacre. Longacre morphed between a detective and a stage struck romantic as he pursued the case. He was a lively gentleman, radiant with charm. It is more than understandable how Natalie Frank, as Nikki Harris, falls for him. The genuine, organic chemistry between Longacre and Frank was tantalizing and especially notable in their duet “Coffee Shop Nights.”
Additionally, there were two oversized personalities depicted. Christopher Belling (Isaac Longacre) enhanced the show with vociferous one liners. Longacre wholly encompassed the role of cynical and flamboyant Christoper Belling. With silver hair and spunk, Danica Moyer as Carmen Bernstein was a doyenne and mother to Bambi Bernet (Olivia Messina). She was a powerhouse in “It’s A Business,” educating on the business side of theater.
The cast excelled with their constant costume changes, as they were all executed with ease. Each character looked put together for their duration on stage. At times, microphone complications made lines inaudible, but this was not too large of a flaw.
Dock Mennonite Academy’s production of “Curtains!” was undoubtedly a dazzling performance proving that the cast undoubtedly were “show people.”
NOTE: Steve McAlee ’14 joined Andrew Pham ’15, Matthew Popo ’12 and Sean McDonald ’04 on this College Radio Day White House visit. Steve recalls the experience for Lion Tales in our first alumnus-authored blog post.
Of all places to be when I received an invitation to the White House as a delegate with the College Radio Day Foundation, I was ironically in the WZBC AM studio, finishing up my weekly sports radio show. Sean McDonald, the president of College Radio Day, had just offered me the chance of a lifetime! Sean has helped me tremendously in expanding the optionality of WZBC Sports Radio, the student-run sports radio club at Boston College, and was calling to formally invite me to join him and 17 other college students and faculty members from universities across the country on a trip to the nation’s capital on October 27th. To say I was honored and ecstatic about the opportunity would not do a justice to what I was feeling as a walked back to my dorm that night. Despite the hectic nature of October and November in college, this was a phenomenal opportunity that I could not pass up, a memory I would carry with me forever.
College radio is a very unique medium of expression that rightfully deserves the day of celebration that it receives through the College Radio Day Foundation. I have been involved with WZBC Sports Radio since early in my freshman year. I have worked to give this club these outlets of expression that college radio promises. Not only is a private trip to the White House an unbelievably cool opportunity, it also enabled me to bring my personal experiences from college radio and combine them with those of other students from around the country.
The group and I talked with several key people within the Obama Administration about college affordability, climate change, and the general importance of the press. It was fascinating to see each student’s own take on the issues and what they were passionate about in relation to the big decisions facing the country. I asked John King, Jr., the Secretary of Education, if he thought the traditional model of college was becoming outdated. He answered by explaining that colleges need to continue to innovate and this gave me a new perspective on the world in which I am living at college. I was also able to ask about the changing landscape of the automotive industry in relation to the environment with Brian Deese, a Senior Presidential Advisor. We discussed how the future of mobility could drastically alter urban spaces and the larger economy. It was just so cool to see the conversation come full circle with all of the other students and the perspectives of the experts to whom we spoke.
Visiting the White House with the College Radio Day team was an ever better trip than I could have anticipated, and I will take all that I learned from that incredible day back to BC to continue fostering the medium of college radio. My journey to a roundtable with top governmental advisors, however, did not start when I signed up for the sports radio club two years ago. It began years earlier when I worked in the WCOH TV Studio at O’Hara as both a control room operator and later as the director. I loved every second of my time in WCOH, especially how the daily TV show was a platform to allow my voice to come through to the whole school. WCOH was the start of my passion for broadcasting, and although I am a business major at BC, I treasure the chances to get behind the mic and speak about what matters to me. I owe those opportunities to people like Sean, and to all the great people I met through WCOH, to the O’Hara community, and to the friends and advisors at Boston College.
Are you an alum or do you know of an alum with an interesting career or story to tell? Willing to write about it or be interviewed by a student about it? Email Jen Tuberosa, Vice President of Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org
“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.
Mrs. Tsakiris just began teaching ELA I and ELA II here at O’Hara and she loves it! Her favorite 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!
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.