Meet Our 2016 Graduates

Gabriella B. '16

Gabby B. photo

I have had an amazing experience at O’Connell. Especially love being able to spend every day with my best friends. Also love my cross country team and the family that we have become.

College Choice - United States Naval Academy

Field of Study – Political Science

Goals - Take advantage of the many opportunities the Navy has to offer. Really would love to travel the world. Learn as many languages as possible.

Favorite Teachers/Classes - All my teachers are great. I have really learned a lot from Mrs. Cunningham (Latin), Mrs. Jester (English), Father Benetti (Physics), Mrs. Cerniglia (English) and many more.

Involvement at O’Connell
Cross Country Team

Christian Service
Mission trip to the Dominican Republic

Philip K. '16

Phil K. photo

Bishop O'Connell is so much more than just a name of a school, it the students and the faculty that make the school an exceptional place. I have been taught by some of the best life coaches and made my best friends over these past four years and have made memories that will last forever.

College Choice - Savannah College of Art and Design

Field of Study - Film and Video Production

Goals - Travel the world and visit exotic places, learn to speak German and Italian fluently, start a family, and film stuff.

Favorite Teacher(s) / Classes - I could not pick just one favorite teacher so a list of my favorite teachers are; AP Art with Mr. Crivella, German 4 Honors with Frau Stabile, English with Mr. Sullivan, Mr. Meehan, and Mrs. O'Reilly, Strength with Coach Hayes, Economics with Sister Maureen Christopher and Theology with Ms. Funk.

Involvement at O’Connell - Young Men's Executive Club officer, German Honors Society officer, Ice Hockey team, Superdance, Kairos II and Mount 2000 retreats.

Christian Service – Serving Thanksgiving meals to those in need with the Knights of Columbus, Superdance volunteer, delivering groceries at Thanksgiving to the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Alexandra R. '16

Alexandra R. photo

My past four years at O'Connell have been truly memorable. I have made amazing friends, been inspired by great teachers and mentors, and had the opportunity to discover my passions and talents. As I transition from high school to college, I know that I am more than prepared to face any challenges my future brings.

College Choice - Stanford University

Field of Study - Chemical Engineering

Goals - Earn a degree in medicine and conduct research in order to find a cure for HIV.

Favorite Teacher(s) / Classes - Honors and AP Chemistry with Mr. Mahoney, Debate with Mrs. Mihalich, Public Speaking with Mrs. Wentzel, AP Calculus AB with Mr. Bernhard, AP Spanish Language with Sra. Rubio and college counseling services from Dr. Stabile,

Involvement at O’Connell – Global studies, National Honor Society president, Spanish Honor Society president, National English Honor Society Vice President, Athletic trainer, Keyettes.

Christian Service – Service trip to Piura, Peru, St. James food distribution; Tuckahoe Elementary School Tutoring

Jay-Jay M. '16

Jay-Jay photo

The people and resources at O’Connell have helped me make and achieve short term goals that will help me achieve my ultimate dream of becoming an educator.

College Choice – University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Field of Study - Secondary Education

Goals - Becoming a high school teacher and helping my students reach the goals they have set for themselves.

Favorite Teacher(s) / Classes – English with Mr. Murray and History and football with Mr. Corona.

Involvement at O’Connell – Football, soup drive

Christian Service – Coaching youth football and volunteering at KEEN exercise program for youth with disabilities.

Marissa L. '16

Marissa L. photo

Bishop O'Connell means faith, friends, and family to me. I did not expect to experience so much personal growth in high school, but O'Connell has provided me with so many tools that I needed to experience a positive growth into the person I am today.

College Choice - Stanford University

Field of Study – Business/Economics and Medicine/Human Biology

Goals - Become the CEO of a company, establish a hospital, make a difference in peoples' lives with my career path.

Favorite Teacher(s) / Classes: Mrs. Curtin (Biology), Mrs. Graif (Math), Mrs. Cerniglia (English), Mr. Betthauser (Economics), Señora Rubio (Spanish)

Involvement at O’Connell - Student Council president, National Honor Society, Tuckahoe tutoring, peer tutoring, St. James food distributions, Teens Against Cancer, Operation Smile, Young Women’s Executive Council, Students Against Destructive Decisions

Christian Service - Vacation Bible School volunteer, volunteer youth volleyball coach, clothes drive for the Philippines, Superdance Chair, volunteer tutoring, St. James food distributions, Co-founder of We2You (founded with one of my brothers)...nonprofit meant to encourage children to lead and learn within their school/community and reward them for their efforts.

Named one of Arlington Magazine’s 2016 extraordinary teen.

Michael M. '16

Michael M. photo

Bishop O'Connell has provided me with so much more than a top notch education. It has provided me with lifelong friends, and mentors. I am extremely grateful for everything O'Connell has done for me, and the young man it has shaped me into.

College Choice - Virginia Commonwealth University

Field of Study - Elementary Education

Goals - I would like to become an elementary school teacher, and maybe one day get involved in education administration. I would also like to stay involved in basketball, and will be a basketball manager at VCU next year.

Favorite Teacher(s) / Classes – World Geography with Mr. Blaser; World Geography, AP Biology with Mr. O'Connor; Theology with Coach Owens.

Involvement at O’Connell - Boys varsity basketball manager, transfer and new student mentor.

Christian Service - Missionaries of Charity, helped with free basketball clinics in underserved areas and served as an after-school tutor at a local elementary school.

Hannah D.

Hannah D. photo

“This could ONLY happen at O'Connell” is a phrase I say weekly, and it's true. There is no other school like O'Connell; in values, community, and experience. I have made many memories I will cherish forever.

College Choice - Shenandoah University

Field of Study - Biology and Respiratory Care

Goals - I plan to attend Physician Assistant (PA) school after college with the goal of working as a PA in the pediatric emergency room of a trauma center.

Favorite Teacher(s) / Classes – AP Statistics with Ms. McDonald. She brings statistics to life by sharing her unique experiences in the field and teaching teaches us how to apply statistics to our everyday lives. I never expected to enjoy statistics as much as I do.

Involvement at O’Connell – Fiat Young Women’s Group and varsity volleyball. Fiat was created to deepen a relationship with Christ through fellowship with other young women. I have met most of my closest friends through Fiat. As a group we go to brunch after Sunday Mass, have afternoon tea, and my most favorite, go on our annual hike. Fiat has played a key role in my experience at O'Connell and I highly recommend to younger students to join this group. Also recognized by Catholic Athletes for Christ, and am a member of English, History, Latin, Math, and Science National Honor Societies.

Christian Service - Volunteer Emergency Medical Technician with the Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad. I attended EMT school at age 17 and became a fully authorized attended in charge shortly after my eighteenth birthday, making me the main provider on the ambulance as well as the person in charge of the crew on my unit. The opportunity to give back to my community in a way that follows my passion for medicine and service is a blessing. No matter the challenges and obstacles faced while on calls, I am proud to be a provider who can make a difference.

Jake V. '16

Jake V. photo

I have developed not only as a student, but as an artist, thinker, and professional. The environment present at O'Connell is unparalleled in its conduciveness to individual development and I would have neither the ambition nor the knowledge to pursue what I now do.

College Choice - University of Virginia

Field of Study - Business and Chemistry

Goals - I hope to own and operate a live music venue in either New York or Boston that specializes in Jazz. In addition to this, I hope to work in the audio technology industry developing new cable and connection techniques.

Favorite Teacher(s) / Classes – Jazz Band with Mr. Shirey, AP Chemistry with Mr. Mahoney, AP U.S. History with Dr. LeBlanc, AP Music Theory with Mr. Isaacson and AP Computer Science with Mr. Andrews.
Mr. Shirey - Jazz Band
Mr. Mahoney - Chem Honors, AP Chem
Dr. LeBlanc - AP US History
Mr. Isaacson - AP Music Theory
Mr. Andrews - AP Computer Science

Involvement at O’Connell - Lead alto saxophone in jazz, symphonic, and pep bands. Participated in 11 theatre productions. Tri-M music honor society (president) and captain of the varsity sailing team.

Christian Service - Powhatan Nursing Home, GIVE tutoring, and LINK food drive organizations. Provided musical entertainment to senior centers during the holidays. Participated in mission trip to Piura, Peru, and later planned and executed an instrument drive for a school in Piura.

Virginia S. '16

Virginia S. photo

Choosing to attend O'Connell was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I largely owe my success to the consistent support and dedication of my teachers and counselors, as well as the numerous opportunities O'Connell has afforded me. During my time at O'Connell, I have grown intellectually and spiritually, I have been challenged, and I have been part of a happy and spirited community.

College Choice - Brown University

Field of Study - Human Biology and/or Public Policy

Goals - Conduct research in a genomics lab, go to graduate school (maybe in a MD/PhD program), do service abroad, work for political activism organizations.

Favorite Teacher(s) / Classes - Mrs. Cerniglia (AP Literature), Mrs. Jester (AP English Language), Ms. Funk (Theology 3), Mr. Mahoney (Chemistry), and French with Mlle. Webb and M. Hobson.

Involvement/Achievements - Independent Research, Interact Club, student council, Math League, Superdance, French Honor Society officer, and member of National, Math, Social Studies, and English Honor Societies.

Christian Service - Tutoring underserved students in Anacostia through the non-profit Horton's Kids.

Walter W. '16

Walter W. photo

I feel incredibly fortunate to have been a part of the O'Connell community over these past four years. The support that the faculty, administration, and my classmates has given me has had a truly significant impact on my life. I know that O'Connell has prepared me for all of the exciting opportunities that lie ahead and I will always be proud to call myself a Knight.

College Choice - Harvard University

Field of Study - Economics

Goals - I would really like to stay as healthy as possible so that I can graduate from college, continue my work with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in Boston, and maybe find time to restore an old 1970s CJ-5 Jeep while I am at it.

Favorite Teacher(s) / Classes - All of my classes have been amazing! In particular, I really enjoyed AP European History with Mr. Borgiasz, Pre-Calc Honors with Mr. Connor, AP English Language with Mrs. Jester, and AP Economics with Mr. Betthauser.

Involvement at O’Connell - I really loved working on Superdance for the past two years, especially with this year's committee. I have also really enjoyed serving as president of the Young Republicans Club.

Christian Service - Speaking at events on behalf of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (including before Congress and at Johns Hopkins University); Newseum volunteer.

Maddy C. '16

Maddy photo

I am so happy that I chose to come to O'Connell after middle school. I have never felt more connected and loved by a community before.

College Choice - New York University

Field of Study - Music Theatre

Goals - To be able to make a living doing what I love most, performing.

Favorite Classes/Teachers – O’Connell Singers with Mr. Kadeli and AP History with Dr. Le Blanc.

Involvement – Drama, chorus (O'Connell Singers), Tri-M music honorary, transfer student ambassador, retreat leader.

Christian Service – peer ministry (retreat leader)

Daniel C. '16

Daniel C. photo

O'Connell has gifted me with the resources which provided the gateway for my educational and spiritual growth. I also had a lot of fun with the people I met.

College Choice - Virginia Tech

Field of Study - Engineering

Goals - I want to have a family and be able to worry about how I will use my time and money to benefit others. Ever since I was little I have just wanted to be happy, and I know I will be the happiest sacrificing myself for those I love.

Favorite Teacher(s) / Classes - My favorite teacher is Father Benetti. He pushed me to question the world around me and the superficial inner-workings of today's society. I stepped out of my comfort zone junior year and joined his School Of Community Club with reservations. This was where I discovered a deeper purpose in every seemingly pointless event in my life and was able to understand how I could use my gifts and talents to positively affect others.

Involvement at O’Connell
Boys soccer captain
Superdance food committee and #DoItForWalter video producer
School of Community Club
National Honor Society

Christian Service
I have participated in four diocesan work camps. Beginning as a 14 year old kid, I found this to be an incredibly humbling experience to serve someone who may have less materials means, but has just as much, if not more, spiritually. I learned some essential things about myself that I can now use to help others. I also supported the Missionaries of Charity in Washington with Father Benetti.

Kristina C. '16

Kristina C. photo

My time at O'Connell has truly been a period of growth in my academic interests and spiritual life. This is mostly because of friends and the amazing faculty at O'Connell, who have always believed in my interests and stopped to get to know me as a student and person. These are connections I will not forget!

College Attending in the Fall – The University of Virginia

Field of Study - Systems engineering with a minor in business

Goals - Spend time in developing countries, working in the government; run a marathon, and visit every national park.

Favorite Teacher(s) / Classes – AP Literature with Mrs. Cerniglia, Theology with Ms. Funk, and Christian Service with Ms. Hogan.

Involvement at O’Connell – Varsity crew (captain), Fiat Young Women’s Group (service chair), Expanded Services Peer Mentor, Kairos 2 leader (rector).

Christian Service - Haiti Lifeline Ministries, Sisters of Life house, Missionaries of Charity

Read more about Kristina …LINK TO OUR STORY- Catholic Business Network's YES (Youth Exemplifying Service) Award

Briana B. '16

Briana B. photo

My time at O'Connell has shaped me into the person I am today. The guidance that all my teachers have given me is a gift that I will always be grateful for.

College Choice - United States Merchant Marine Academy

Field of Study - Marine Logistics and Intermodal Transportation

Goals - Travel the world and learn to tap dance.

Favorite Classes/Teachers - Mrs. Graif (Math) because she is the most organized teacher I know. Mr. Dwyer (Religion) because he always takes the time to say hello.

Involvement at O’Connell
Cross Country Team
National Honor Society

Christian Service
Jill's House Weekend Adventure

Olivia G. '16

Olivia photo

In my four year at O’Connell, there were plenty of ups and plenty of downs. However, what is so special about O'Connell is that I had the chance to be a part of a community where everyone had each other's back. We were and always will be a family.

College Choice - Harvard University

Field of Study - Engineering

Goals - To graduate from college with a degree that I can apply to the real world in order to make some sort of positive impact.

Favorite Teacher - Mrs. Cerniglia - She pushes each and every one of her students to look beyond the words and learn from the deeper messages and life lessons within the great works of literature. She works hard every day to ensure that we are prepared to leave O'Connell, not only as better readers and writers, but also as better people.

Involvement at O’Connell - Superdance, softball, volleyball, Health Services Club

Christian Service - My service projects included tutoring at the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy in D.C., chairing a Superdance committee, and organizing blood drives at school.

Ako A. '16

Ako A. photo

Bishop O’Connell helped me mature as a person and opened doors to great opportunities for higher education.

College Choice - Rice University

Field of Study - Sports Management

Goals – I hope that I have the opportunity to play professional basketball. If not, I’d like to work in a field related to sports, possibly building my own agency one day.

Favorite Teacher(s) / Classes - Criminal justice with Mr. Herbst, graphic design with Mr. Jones.

Involvement/Achievements at O’Connell - Varsity basketball, student leadership team.

Christian Service – Food service at homeless shelter, volunteer coaching at neighborhood basketball clinics.

Maureen D. '16

Maureen D. photo

O’Connell has given me so many wonderful opportunities to explore every aspect of myself. My friends have pushed me to try new things while always staying true to myself. The faculty and staff have created a supportive educational environment, which has allowed me to pursue my highest potential.

College Choice - University of Virginia

Field of Study - Mathematics/Education (majors), Music (minor)

Goals - I would like to be a statistician/analyst for a few years followed by becoming a high school math teacher. I also hope to continue songwriting.

Favorite Teachers/Classes - All of the teachers at O’Connell have inspired me to follow my dreams. My classes, especially in my junior and senior years, have laid a foundation and prepared me for what lies ahead both in college and in the real world.

Involvement at O’Connell - National English Honor Society (President), Keyettes (Treasurer), Spanish Honor Society (Secretary), Math Honor Society, Rho Kappa Social Studies Honor Society, Science Honor Society, National Honor Society, Varsity Swimming, Yearbook.

Christian Service - St. James food distribution, Tuckahoe E.S. tutoring, peer tutoring, helping at underclass retreats, Swim for Health (swim-a-thon).

Diego G. '16

Diego G. photo

When I wake up to get ready for school, I might feel exhausted, stressed, or unprepared, but I have never wished that I could just stay home, and that's because I know that no matter how difficult a day I'm having, there will be some interaction with a teacher or classmate that will make it all worthwhile.

I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to go to a school as special as Bishop O'Connell, and I want to say thank you to all the many people who have had an impact on me during my time here.

College Choice - Harvard College

Field of Study - Government

Goals - After I finish my graduate studies, I would like to return to the Washington area to begin a career either at a law firm or in the federal government, possibly in the State Department as an aspiring diplomat. My only definite life goal is to someday be invited to appear on CNN for some reason or another.

Favorite Teacher(s) / Classes - AP English Literature with Mrs. Cerniglia; also AP Modern European History with Mr. Borgiasz and AP United States History with Dr. LeBlanc.

Involvement/Achievements at O’Connell - Student Council, Global Studies Certificate Program, Spanish Honor Society, Inspire Virginia Youth Civic Engagement Voter Registration Initiative, The Visor newspaper, Stock and Finance Club.

Christian Service - Superdance. Tuckahoe Elementary School S.T.A.R. Homework Club Mentoring Program. Food Distribution at Saint James Parish.

One More Thought - Admittedly, I do love being involved in all the different groups and events at Bishop O'Connell, but the real driving force behind my participation is a sense of obligation to give back to the school.

Phoebe R. '16

Phoebe R. photo

My time at O'Connell has allowed me to grow as both a student and a person. I have been influenced by so many amazing people who have shaped the person that I am today.

College Choice - Virginia Commonwealth University

Field of Study - Nursing

Goals - To become a pediatric nurse and possibly spend some time as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Favorite Teacher(s) / Classes at DJO - I would single out three social studies teachers (Mr. Blaser, Ms. Krista and Ms. Moynihan). I can always count on them for a good laugh along with some great advice.

Involvement at O’Connell - Best Buddies (President),Young Women's Executive Club (President), S.A.D.D. Club (Treasurer), Superdance (co-chair), Knight2Knight Mentor, Varsity Tennis

Christian Service – Jill’s House, Powhatan Nursing Home, Best Buddies, Superdance.

Michael F. '16

Michael F. photo

My family transferred into the area for my senior year, so my time at O’Connell was short. I learned a lot, and now wish I could have spent more time here.

College Choice - United States Air Force Academy

Field of Study - Engineering

Goals - I would like to become a fighter pilot, go on to design new aerospace technology, and eventually become an astronaut.

Favorite Teachers / Classes – AP Physics 2 with Father Benetti, AP U.S. Government with Mr. Haas, English 4 Honors with Mrs. O’Reilly, Church in the Modern World with Coach Owens, Engineering and Architecture with Dr. Gerton.

Involvement – Varsity swim team, varsity track.

Christian Service - My senior service project consisted of service to the elderly. I built ramps for a nursing home to make it more accessible for wheelchairs and also spent time helping out at the nursing home.

Jasmine T. '16

Janiya C. photo

O’Connell has been a true atmosphere of family ever since I walked in the door in the middle of my sophomore year.

College Choice - Boston College

Field of Study - Business Law

Goals – To become an attorney.

Favorite Teachers - Mr.Connor (Calculus), Coach Owens (Religion), Father Benetti (Physics and Religion)

Involvement at O’Connell
Varsity Basketball

Christian Service
Wounded Warriors Project