Soup-er Success

By John Agtarap '23, Student Correspondent

Every September since 1975, Bishop O’Connell High School students have come together in a two-week Catholic Charities soup drive campaign to fill the empty pantries of soup kitchens across the Diocese of Arlington. This fall, from September 12 through September 22, O’Connell students, led by their Student Council team, achieved the impossible by providing over 14,000 cans of hearty soup to five local food banks: The St. Lucy Food Project in Manassas, Christ House in Alexandria, Healthy Harvest in the Northern Neck, East End Mobile Park in Manassas, and Alive! Food Program in Alexandria. Lori Sitka, Outreach Specialist of the St. Lucy Food Project for Catholic Charities, shared her gratitude, “Thank you again for all your support with the planning and execution of the soup drive.  The student’s generosity and love has impacted many within our Diocese over the years and we’re grateful for your partnership.”

To encourage the students’ love of generosity and to inspire a little competition among the student homerooms, the Student Council leaders, provide incentives. This year, the winning advisories (the homerooms with the most number of cans donated), received donut breakfasts. Mrs. Lianne Cottrell’s senior advisory alone brought in just under 2,000 cans of soup leading the way for the senior class whose contributions made up almost half of all the soup donations with nearly 7,000 cans. Jack Sague, SCA President, commented, “It was amazing to see the coming together of our student body,” and VP, Mia Young, also contributed, “Even more amazing, was watching the soup totals grow into the thousands on the very last day of the soup drive. It was an historical win by the senior class in an effort to feed so many.”

The Catholic Charities Soup Drive concluded with a Living Rosary on McMurtrie Field. All students, faculty, and administrators, gathered to form the beads of the rosary as O’Connell chaplain, Father Peter McShurley, led the student body in prayer. Student Council Moderator, Mr. Thomas Glynn, reflected, “Seeing all the students gathered in prayer symbolizes the good O’Connell students can do and are capable of as thoughtful members of our school and community.” Shelby Downer, SCA class treasurer and Olivia Mann, SCA secretary, agreed, “It was so great to see everyone working together and supporting each other for such a great event.”

Students pray during Living Rosary
Students kneel in prayer during Living Rosary.
School chaplain, Father Peter McShurley, leads the students body in prayer during the Living Rosary.
Seniors load soup cans to be delivered to Catholic Charities sites.
Seniors work together to load boxes of soup cans.