By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Associate Editor
KANSAS CITY — In Sept. 1965, the first freshman class of 225 began attending the brand new Archbishop O’Hara High School, named for Kansas City’s third bishop, Edwin V. O’Hara. Located in the southeast part of the city, the new school was taught by Christian Brothers, Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and several lay teachers. It was originally co-instructional, with boys and girls in separate classrooms; it became co-ed in the late 1970s.
O’Hara was accredited by the University of Missouri in 1969, and by North Central Accrediting Agency in the 1970s. Today the diocesan high school is fully accredited by AdvanceEd, as are all Kansas City-St. Joseph diocesan grade and high schools.
The Celtics (again honoring the Irish heritage of Archbishop O’Hara) became known throughout Kansas City for their prowess in football and other sports. Over the years, many students achieved high academic honors and college scholarships.
O’Hara has a proud heritage. When St. Michael the Archangel High School opens in 2017, O’Hara will close. Its legacy and many pieces of memorabilia will be housed at St. Michael’s.
For one final year, the school year proceeds as usual. Classes, sporting events and special events. One event, the annual school auction, has helped fund operating costs and emergency scholarships since 2005. For the past decade, the auction was titled Celtic Pride. Now for its finale, to be held Nov. 19, the Celtic Pride auction bears the theme, Celticopoly.
Laurie Taylor, who has been involved with the auction annually both as a parent and staffer, has chaired the event for the last four years. She said auction donations have been arriving (the room where they are stored resembles a shopper’s dream) and will continue arriving, mailed, delivered by parents and organizational representatives, even carried in by students.
Invitations have been sent to alumni living within 25 miles of the school. Celticopoly, dinner and auction will be at the school, 9001 James A. Reed Road, Kansas City. Tickets are $35. The auction will contain not only professional sporting event tickets and trips, but also a handmade quilt, made of Archbishop O’Hara school t-shirts and an old uniform skirt. Lockers, yes actual lockers, will be auctioned off, as will district and conference plaques and other sports and school memorabilia not slated to move next year to St. Michael’s.
Jane Schaffer, principal during this transitional year, has served in several capacities over the last 30 years. In the invitation, she wrote that the O’Hara community became her second family. “We have cried together, laughed together, celebrated together and prayed together … I hope that many of you will come back one more time to not only support O’Hara but also to reminisce and strengthen connections or reconnect. … Walk the hallways, browse the commons … I would love to see you there – one last time in the hallways at O’Hara!”
For more information, or if you are an alum and did not receive an invitation but would love to attend, contact Laurie Taylor, (816) 763-4800, ext. 220 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. RSVP’s must be received by Nov. 11. To register online visit www.oharahs.org.