Julie Billiart Schools Alumni Spotlight: Mary Jo O'Neill

Mary Jo O’Neill is no stranger to the JB Way and the mission of Julie Billiart Schools. Having gone full circle at JB, Mary Jo attended the Lyndhurst campus from third grade through eighth grade. Her passion for the school and its mission eventually brought Mary Jo back to teaching at JB for nearly ten years. She has so many incredible memories, stories, and life lessons that have truly shaped the person she is today.

Under the direction of Sister Barbara Klodt, Mary Jo became the first female student board president. Mary Jo, who never saw herself as a leader, embraced her new role as the first female to hold this position. She recalls feeling like her words mattered, and that she was impacting her classmates in a positive way. Sister Barbara would listen to Mary Jo’s ideas and suggestions. Mary Jo remembers watching her ideas blossom into projects that became successful. “Sister Barbara made me feel like I was on a pedestal,” said Mary Jo.  

Similarly, Mary Jo likes to run. Her gym teacher at JB, Mr. Hollingsworth, recognized that Mary Jo had a passion for running. He would let her lead the “pack” down Clubside Road during gym class! Mary Jo went on to Gilmour Academy to run. Her dad also began to take her running on road races. Mary Jo and her husband, John, currently participate in half marathons and 10K runs. Thanks to JB, Mr. Hollingsworth was the first person to help Mary Jo believe in herself that she could go far with running.

Mary Jo currently works at Hickman & Lowder Co. L.P.A. as a Special Education Advocate. She and John have three children – Josephine, Patricia, and Matthew. We are excited to announce that Mary Jo will be spearheading the Alumni Relations Program at Julie Billiart Schools. Mary Jo believes it’s important to be around the people who have guided her. She also believes it is important to bring colleagues and classmates together to keep spreading the good word. There will be more details coming soon about the Alumni Relations Program . . . so stay tuned!
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