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Alum Spotlight: Norah O'Donnell

Alum Spotlight – CBS Evening News Anchor Norah O’Donnell reflects on good times and even fonder memories at NEISD.

Norah O’Donnell has interviewed presidents, princes and prime ministers. As the anchor of the CBS Evening News, she has covered stories and reported live from around the country and the world. Of all the places she’s traveled to and visited, San Antonio is one of her favorites. The lifelong friendships she made growing up in North East ISD are a big part of why her connection to the Alamo City is stronger than ever.

“I’m grateful to have almost had my whole primary and secondary education at North East Independent School District,” said O’Donnell. “I went to Serna Elementary, Garner Middle School and Douglas MacArthur High School. Go Brahmas! My father was a doctor in the Army, so I did miss part of middle school when my dad was stationed abroad in Seoul, South Korea, and I went to school there. But otherwise, I spent most of my time going to school in San Antonio and nurturing lifelong friendships.”

Some of O’Donnell’s favorite memories and friendships came together at MacArthur, where she graduated in 1991. She was part of the Latin Club, National Honor Society and Executive Student Council. She also ran track and cross country and was the Head Cheerleader her senior year. She still remembers the impact Brahma Cheer Coach, Yvette Bruno, and Spanish teacher Barbara Dielmann had on her as a teenager.

“Ivette Bruno was our cheerleading coach and she was just both so kind and also competitive. She was a great mentor to myself and others on the team. She brought the best out in everyone. And Barbara Dielmann, who was a Spanish teacher and head of student council. We all love Barbara Dielmann. She’s so great.”

O’Donnell was part of the first MacArthur cheerleading team to compete at nationals, where the team placed 10th in the nation. To this day, she vacations with her tight-knit group of friends from MacArthur. When they can’t get together in person, they stay in touch through a text chain called “Texas Peeps.”

When considering what advice to give current NEISD students, two things came to mind for O’Donnell.

“I think my best advice would be something that I talk about often which is the quality of your life is built on the quality of your relationships,” said O’Donnell. “The other thing I’ve picked up on lately, and I heard it from someone we interviewed, and that was believing in yourself is the ultimate superpower. I think it’s important to tell young people to believe in the power of their ideas, believe in their skills and nurture them. Believe that what they can do actually matters and that their voice can be their superpower and maybe that’s the best advice I can give to my friends there in San Antonio.”

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Posted by Lila Stanley
Posted on 2-17-22