O'Hara School photo
The graduates of 2012 from O'Hara School.
O'Hara School photo
The graduates of 2012 from O'Hara School.

EUGENE — This July, 32 soon-to-be graduates of O'Hara School here will be joining a contingency of high school students heading south to the Steubenville San Diego Youth Conference. This is the first year that an active effort has been made to recruit current O’Hara eighth graders to attend the conference, thanks to the dedication of religion coordinator Leslie Jones, who also serves as middle school youth group leader for the school and youth minister at St. Mary Church.

Since last fall, students have been participating in fundraisers to cover their $500 cost for attending the conference, traveling to and from San Diego by bus and spending a day at Disneyland. Fundraisers have included Christmas tree pick-up, tamale sales, spaghetti dinner and donation solicitation. Jones is helping students raise money by coordinating fundraisers. She says she's motivated to help because “this conference will have a huge impact on the rest of their spiritual lives."

When asked what they are most looking forward to about going to the event, this is what some of the students had to say:

“I’m looking forward to meeting peers who share my faith and have a similar interest in deepening their faith," said Ryan Helbling.

“I’m looking forward to seeing my friends for the last time, going to adoration and growing deeper in my faith because I’ve heard a lot of stories about how Steubenville has changed people’s lives," Grace Cummings said.

“I’m looking forward to growing in my faith and growing my friendships," explained Alessa Giansante.

Rachael Reiter put it this way: “I’m looking forward to adoration, the speakers and Disneyland.”

Teens, 127 of them, from Eugene and Springfield will join 4,000 others at the three-day event on the campus of San Diego State University. The first Steubenville Conference was held 30 years ago in Ohio and had 500 attendees. This summer, more than 40,000 teens will participate at 18 youth conferences all over North America.   

O'Hara's graduation ceremony is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 12 at St. Mary Church. Valedictorian is Caedyn Kimble and salutatorian is Kai Harper.

Here are the graduates: Mary Akers, Armaanbir Aulakh, Emily Bly, Harris Bosworth, Marcella Buser, Lindsey Chapman, Grace Cummings, Devon Daniel, Max Daniel, Gabriel Dayton, Tristan DuChateau, Anthony Fudge, Brendan Gescher, Alessandra Giansante, Taylor Gorham, Jordan Haggas, Joshua Haggas, Miranda Hallenbeck, Matthew Haney, Isabella Hardt, Kai Harper, Lily Heer, Chase Heitman, Ryan Helbling, Michael Henderson, Amy  Jones, Emily Kartub, Caedyn Kimble, Rylan Knepler, Kyan Louie, Patrick Martin, Ashley Meagher, Tori Murphy, Samuel Nelson, Colleen Peterson, Tosten Peterson, Kade Puls, Michael Quartararo, Henry Rear, Rachael Reiter, Katherine Seaver, Hope Simon, Christian Spears, Levi Spears, Nicole Spellman, Nichole Thompson, Davis Walter, Aspen Wells