Our Senior Spotlight series continues with a profile on Nolan O'Rear, a senior at Naperville Central, from the Class of 2014. Like Daniel Phillipp who was featured two weeks ago, and his classmates whom you will read about in upcoming editions of the 'e' Blue and Gold, Nolan continues to make us proud by his achievements and accomplishments since his graduation from Saints Peter and Paul School.
Extra Curricular Activities:
Wrestling team (3 years), Rotary Club, and Karate outside of school.
Volunteer gardener at Saints Peter and Paul Church; teach karate to disabled students at Karate Can Do in Glenview; Rotary Club.
Awards or Accomplishments:
Honor Roll every semester, Spanish National Honor Society, Illinois State Scholar; five time National Karate Junior USA team member; five time National karate champion in five different age and weight categories, bronze winner at 2013 Pan American games; gold medal winner for Team Kumite at USA Open in 2013.
Since the age of 8 I have competed in national championships in Las Vegas, Texas, Florida, South Carolina, New York, Indiana, and Ohio as well as in Poland, Columbia, Ecuador, Argentina, Peru, and Spain.
I finished 5th in the World ShotoKan Karate-Do Championships in Bielsko-Biala Poland in 2015.
I have been accepted at DePaul, Pitt, St. John's (New York), Fordham, Barry University, Elmhurst, and Northern Illinois. I intend to major in Accounting.
I am hopeful of representing the United States karate team at the 2024 Olympics in Paris and/or the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.
When I'm finished competing in karate, my dream job is to be a forensic accountant to help fight white-collar crime.
What I learned at SSPP that helped me in high school:
With all of my extra-curricular interests, I am grateful for being taught the skill and importance of time management and solid study habits. The other trait which has helped me at Central, and in sports, is perseverance in working through challenges and setbacks and not giving up when things aren't going as planned.
How my Catholic faith resonates with me as a teenager:
I became an altar server in my junior year and am grateful that my faith has become a moral compass for me when facing temptation and peer pressure. Daily prayer is a big part of my life even in a public school setting. It was also ingrained in me, at home and in school, to treat others with respect and to realize my responsibility to give back to the community.
A teacher at SSPP that had a big influence on me:
Ms. Mahoney was my teacher in the Lit Plus program. She made reading interesting and fun and fostered my love of reading by giving me a strong foundation in terms of creativity and grammatical structure.
Best SSPP experience which I will always cherish:
Our class trip to Washington DC. We were so well-prepared by Mrs. Skroch for the many sites we visited and it was thrilling to witness firsthand so many of the iconic sites we heard about and often see on television. My favorite sports memory was playing on coach Weidenbach's championship football team in 8th grade.
My advice for current eighth grade students
Take chances and embrace the unknown even if it is scary at first. Take chances and don't be afraid to fail because it will motivate you and become a stepping stone to success down the road.
Finally, cherish your friends, family, and faith. Other people and other things will come and go but this is all you have in the end.