STA Honors 2024 Mother Evelyn O’Neill Awardees

March 21, 2024

At a ceremony held this morning in Goppert Gymnasium, the STA community honored the student and community recipients of the Mother Evelyn O’Neill Award. This award recognizes excellence in leadership, community service or educational reform.

Out of 27 nominees, six students were named finalists. Congratulations to senior Tierney F., who was named the 2023 student recipient. Tierney uses her gift of communication to serve the STA community and beyond. As editor in chief of the school’s newspaper, The Dart, Tierney exercises her leadership skills while collaborating with other students to continually produce outstanding work. She is a lifelong volunteer with the Red Bag Project and is highly involved with the global community via UNICEF

This year’s community award recipient, Donna (Pearce, ‘66) O’Malley, Ph.D., R.N. is dedicated to improving health equity for underserved and marginalized families. O’Malley holds Ph.D., M.S.N. and B.S.N. degrees from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She has spent her entire career at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, beginning as a Staff Nurse in the Emergency Department in 1999. Dr. O’Malley serves multiple roles at Children’s Mercy Kansas City as Director of Trauma Informed Care, Director of Community Programs, and Co-Director of Partnership for Resilient Families.

2024 Mother Evelyn O’Neill Nominees
(l to r): Millie L.; Amara K.; Tierney F., student award recipient; Donna (Pearce, ‘66) O’Malley, Ph.D., R.N., community award recipient; Chelley Y.; Clara D.; and Nora R.

In the community, Dr. O’Malley has served on numerous boards and committees focused on improving the health of youth and families. Over the past 30 years, she has led 15 different initiatives to improve health equity and she also promotes positive infant/caregiver relationships as the foundation for optimal child health and development.

“I had the opportunity to co-lead the Partnership for Resilient Families with Dr. O’Malley,” says Mary Esselman, President & CEO of Operation Breakthrough. “This partnership that she founded helped create policies and programming to interrupt the intergenerational transmission of adversity and trauma to future generations through cross-agency partnerships,” continues Esselman. “Dr. O’Malley exemplifies the attributes of Mother Evelyn O’Neill, and I could not be more proud to nominate her.”

Congratulations to Dr. O’Malley and Tierney on this prestigious honor.

“Life unfolds in mysterious ways. Give it your best. I can’t wait to see what all of you do!”

Dr. Donna (Pearce, ’66) O’Malley, Community Recipient of 2024 Mother Evelyn O’Neill Award

Congratulations to all students who were nominated for this year’s Mother Evelyn O’Neill Award. Please join us in congratulating them on their commitment to excellence and service.

Clara D., Class of 2024

Clara enjoys serving both her school and the Kansas City communities. She serves the local community by volunteering at outreach centers that provide food and clothing to the needy. On campus, Clara assists in the school’s front office and the Math Hub. She also works with the STEAM club and serves as a student ambassador for the Admissions Department.

Amara K., Class of 2024

Amara uses her leadership skills to inspire others to volunteer. She is the president of G.I.V.E (Get Involved Value Everyone) at STA and enjoyed working with STA’s newest students during their STArt week summer camp. A Girl Scout for over 12 years, Amara now serves on the Teen Leadership Circle assisting other Girl Scouts earning their Gold Award.

Millie L., Class of 2024

Millie enjoys volunteering at Camp Encourage where she works with children on the autism spectrum. She is a leader at STA and at her church, Jacob’s Well. Whether she’s working with STA IT team to prepare computers, in the Star Shop sorting uniforms or serving as president of STA’s choir, Millie is giving back with a positive impact.

Nora R., Class of 2025

Nora enjoys serving at her church with her family, especially at the Metro Lutheran Ministry Christmas Store. She loves to read and wants all kids to have access to good books. Nora works with the STA Book Club to raise money for Reach Out and Read KC. Sports have provided her with opportunities to demonstrate leadership and share her overall positive attitude. She is a team captain for Camp WIN and serves on Win for KC’s Teen Leadership Council, THRIVE.

Chelley Y., Class of 2024

Chelley volunteers in a wide variety of organizations. Preserving human dignity is of the utmost importance to Chelley. She works with Giving Hope and Help, a group that combats period poverty, as well as Total Man, Inc. She enjoys being a leader at STA via athletics (lacrosse) and in the Campus Ministry Department. Chelley is a student ambassador for the Admissions Department as well as president of the Black Student Coalition.