By MIKE ZINN     1/12/2023

When St. John the Baptist eighth grade student Kevin O’Hara was asked what he would like to accomplish in his last five months at SJB, he paused to think through his response. Quietly he responded, “I want to read the Bible more.”

This single reflective answer summed up why O’Hara was chosen as a perfect candidate for the OC Catholic’s ongoing leadership series. Being a strong Catholic who uses his faith to guide his life and the lives of others, is one of the many traits that contribute to his leadership persona.

O’Hara started attending SJB as a kindergarten student, following the legacy of four older siblings and his mother.

While interviewing O’Hara, it quickly became evident how the SJB culture was engrained in him at a young age. During his time at SJB, O’Hara has been involved in a wide ranging, diverse group of activities. He is involved in the Red Team, a special group of altar servers who serve at school Masses and on Holy Days.

“Kevin O’Hara is a beautiful example of reverence on the altar,” said SJB principal Paula Viles.

To satisfy his creative interests, O’Hara is active with the Clover Choir. Here he is the only male voice and serves as narrator when the choir performs at various outside venues. O’Hara has also performed in school plays. His love of acting will continue this spring with another school production that has yet to be revealed.

Involvement in student council is a prime example of O’Hara’s school leadership mindset. Earlier this school year, elections were set to take place while the entire O’Hara family was in Scotland for the graduation of his sister from the University of St. Andrew. O’Hara took the initiative to make a video speech for his class, and ultimately, he was elected student council present.

Academics play a key role in O’Hara’s SJB life, with science and math being his favorite subjects. It is in his English class and specifically a program called Socratic Seminar, where both O’Hara’s academic
and leadership skills are on display.

Eighth grade teacher Janice Babcock described how O’Hara “naturally and organically” became the discussion leader and said he “facilitates and fosters communication and helps to bridge the gap from a class to a community”.

O’Hara is also an accomplished athlete, competing in football, basketball and track at SJB. He also plays recreational soccer outside the school.

Looking to the future, O’Hara hopes to follow in his sister Mary’s footsteps and attend JSerra Catholic High School. He would like to play soccer and volleyball there, and sing in the school’s choir.

At the present time, O’Hara has not thought ahead to a college choice, but he would ultimately like to attend medical school and become a pediatrician.

When asked who his biggest role models are, he replied without hesitation, “My parents and my sister Mary.”

O’Hara said he has also been positively influenced by Frater Jeremiah Steven Clark from St. Michael’s Abbey, where he has attended summer camp.

The entire SJB experience has positively shaped O’Hara into strong student leader.

When speaking about what he enjoyed most about the SJB experience O’Hara replied, “I feel I have a strong knowledge of Catholicism and can defend my faith.”

O’Hara achieved a 4.0 GPA last semester, of which he is immensely proud. He said he also enjoys in-depth conversations with classmates on a wide range of subjects, but most importantly, their Catholic faith and how this keeps them on the right path.

Look for O’Hara to continue with this easy going and natural leadership style in high school and beyond.