Jessica O’Neill is always trying to find a way to make people smile through her devotion to helping the community. As the current Vice President of Key Club and an officer for the Lehigh Valley Youth Volunteer Council, a program to encourage teenagers to go out and volunteer in their communities, O’Neill is constantly finding ways to volunteer to help those in need.
O’Neill dedicates her time to volunteer work in many ways, and plans to attend LCCC for the next two years to explore different college options.
Stinger: Who was your mentor in high school?
O’Neill: Well, I’d say Mrs. Bradley, she’s the president of Cops N Kids who we obviously work with for Key Club, because she just… I think she has really kept me motivated throughout high school and really pushed me to like always, like, look after kids and take care of them and work to put a smile on other people’s faces.
Stinger: What made you decide to get involved in Key Club?
O’Neill: I’d say, I really wanted to help out my community and get involved in school activities and clubs like that, so I think Key Club was the best way to do that.
Stinger: How many years have you been involved with Key Club?
O’Neill: I’ve been in Key Club since freshman year, and I’ve been an officer since freshman year also. I went from treasurer to Vice President. I was a treasurer freshman and sophomore year.
Stinger: What is your favorite memory from Key Club?
O’Neill: We volunteer at so many places it’s so hard to choose one, but I’d say my favorite is– every year we go to, we pick an elementary school in Allentown to donate the books to, and I think my favorite school that we’ve donated books to was Sheridan Elementary School. The kids are just so grateful, and it’s so good to put a smile on their face.
Stinger: What excites you the most for life after high school?
O’Neill: I’d say I’m excited to be even more independent than what high school has made me, and be able to feel and do things on my own. I think sometimes the classes maybe held me back. I feel like I could push myself even more outside of high school.
Stinger: What clubs were you involved in at Emmaus?
O’Neill: I’m a member of Kid to Kid club, and I have been for three years now. Outside of school I am the high school outreach leader for the Lehigh Valley Volunteer Youth Council, and I’m a Girl Scout working to get my Gold Award.
Stinger: What do you do with the Volunteer Youth Council?
O’Neill: So, the Youth Volunteer Council is all of the high schools in the Lehigh Valley, they come together and we talk about how we can help our community and events that we can volunteer at. So, I mean, it depends on the meeting, but normally we discuss where we’re going to volunteer next and then we just do it.
Stinger: Any advice for underclassmen?
O’Neill: I’d say definitely get your work done diligently and try your best. High school is not that hard if you’re trying. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to teachers, counselors, whoever it may be, and make connections with everybody, because that’s going to take you the farthest in life.
Stinger: Any regrets?
O’Neill: Um, I wish I would have taken my sleep more seriously. I would stay up so late at night like studying for tests. And I just want people to realize, like that one test, if you get a bad grade, it’s not going to hurt you and it’s not going to affect your entire high school grades. It’s not that bad, and I just wish I was a little bit less stressed.