O'Fallon Progress

OTHS honors February students of the month

Kathleen Halwachs
Kathleen Halwachs Provided

O’Fallon Township High School senior Kathleen “Katie” Halwachs, one of the OTHS February students of the month, stays busy as a bee. And she knows a thing or two about bees.

For Cameron Bopp, a fellow senior and the other student of the month, the world is a stage.

Katie has her own business, Hotwax Honey. She sells her products at local shops, including Sweet Katie Bee’s Organic Cupcake and Coffee Bar, the Happy Hop Homebrew & Gourmet, Local Lucy’s and Crain Tree Farm.

In addition to the honey, she also processes the wax from her five-hive operation.

“Last year, I made a solar oven out of a cooler, plexiglass and aluminum foil and started refining the wax,” Katie said.

She hopes to use the wax to expand her product line.

“I plan on trying to create lip balm or hand cream out of this wax,” Katie said.

Academically, Katie is a member of the National Honors Society and the National Spanish Honor Society, too, with her 4.2 grade point average.

HANDS Club, FOR Club, Saturday Scholars and Future Science Professionals are among some of the extracurricular activities that Katie is involved in.

Leadership is another strength of Katie’s, as she holds the role of secretary for the HANDS Club and is the National Honor Society Project coordinator.

When she’s not busy with bees and books, Katie is on the court earning points for the OTHS Panther varsity tennis team, where she is the team captain.

This year she was awarded with Youth Salute and won the Conference Award for Most Improved Player; and, last year she was a scholar athlete.

“I was a state qualifier for tennis in singles 2016,” said Katie, who is also an OTHS Activity Leadership Team member.

She has also been a Polar Plunge participant for multiple years to benefit Special Olympics, and helps coach middle school tennis. She also continues to volunteer as a peer model one day a week in her advisory period.

Cameron Bopp

Cameron is involved in many extracurricular activities. He was the 2016 Madrigal King, a role in chamber choir program; the dance captain for Great Expectations show choir performance; and was selected for 24-hour theater camp at Indiana University.

He is also involved in Panther Beat, FOR Club, HANDS Club, fall and spring plays and musicals, Blue Note Jazz Choir, Frisbee Club, February Frolics, SADD and OTHS Leadership Council.

Inducted into the National Honors Society, Cameron has maintained a 3.7 GPA.

Cameron’s sophomore year, he was granted a $2,000 scholarship to McKendree University for performance.

Throughout the course of his tenure at OTHS, he has been a major player in Thespian Society, as he was the first person in his class of 2017, as a sophomore, inducted into the society.

As a junior, he starred in a lead role in the spring musical “Mary Poppins” playing Bert, as well as facilitating auditions at Carriel Junior High School for the production of “Joseph and The Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

Last year, Cameron was inducted into the German Honor Society, also referred to as Delta Epsilon Phi and won first place at the St. Louis Washington University German Day poem recitation.

“I aspire to go into education after high school, either, music or literature education,” Cameron shared.

Teaching is nothing new to him. He works as a summer theater camp counselor, helping students to sing, dance and act at Blessed Savior Lutheran Church.

Since he was a sophomore, Cameron said he’s been apart of many community service efforts, like O’Fallon Rotary Club, teacher banquets, the Colonnade Senior Living and Lebanon Renaissance Parade, with a small group of choir members “to bring choral music to places it isn’t often found.”

Selected for the Scott Credit Union’s youth advisory council, Cameron said he’s enjoyed the one day-long volunteer opportunity a month with the group, not only for personal experience, but also because he was able to take money earned from his involvement in the group to make a substantial donation to help other youth.

“I personally donated $250 to Scholarship America Charity,” he said.

When Cameron isn’t bopping to a beat, he is working at Plato’s Closet Resale store in Fairview Heights, and prior to that worked at Bella Milano in O’Fallon.

“I also know how to do my own laundry and proficiently navigate Aldi’s for groceries. I’m currently trying to master parallel parking, though, all jokes aside, I truly do appreciate this nomination, and I look forward to the rest of the school year,” he said.

If you have school board news, an education tip or photo submissions email reporter Robyn L. Kirsh at rkirsch@bnd.com