” You have practice today, right? You have piano today, right? You have the musical after school, right,” Ms. O’Reilly says as she looks at each of her advisees. Ms. O’Reilly has reached the point where she has memorized our after school schedules. This is not because she has to, but because she cares. Ms. O’Reilly has one of those classrooms where students want to come in early to hang out. Students appreciate how thoughtful and understanding Ms. O’Reilly is.
Even though Ms. O’Reilly has fit in at Sacred Heart Greenwich since her first day, she says there have been some challenges. She explained, “adjusting to a new school and learning a new curriculum” has been difficult at times. It was August 12th when she found out that she would be teaching at Sacred Heart Greenwich in September. She did not have much time to prepare for classes. Before becoming a member of the Sacred Heart Greenwich community, she taught at Staten Island Academy, a co-educational K-12 school. Even with the challenges she has faced, I am sure that all members of the SHG community can agree that Ms. O’Reilly has adjusted extremely well.
In addition to finding her in the English classroom students can also find her on the lacrosse field. Ms. O’Reilly has been playing lacrosse ever since seventh grade and it is still a big part of her life because she is the upper school lacrosse coach. When I asked Ms. O’Reilly, “Do you think that being a lacrosse coach has helped you relate to young people?” Ms. O’Reilly immediately responded, “Absolutely! While coaching I got to know a different side of my students.” This is just another way that Ms. O’Reilly connects with her students and makes an impact at Sacred Heart.
Ms. O’Reilly wouldn’t be the person she is today if it weren’t for her past. Ms. O’Reilly grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she went to an all-girls school, Spring Side High School. After high school she attended and graduated from Georgetown University. Then she got her master’s degree in English Education at Columbia Teachers College, which made her ready to teach us today. When I asked Ms. O’Reilly if she always wanted to be an English teacher, she responded, “Yes, ever since I was in middle school.” Then I asked her to make a tough decision for an English teacher, “Do you prefer reading or writing?” She said that she prefers writing, but she enjoys reading because it can transport you to a different world. Her favorite book is, The Sound and the Fury, by William Faulkner. This is just a bit about the life of Ms. O’Reilly.
As Ms. O’Reilly teaches the sixth graders everyday, she reminds us that we are more talented than we think we are. This is important for us to hear because we have to think positively about ourselves and not get discouraged when we do not know what to do, inside or outside of school. She explained that her most important goal for the sixth graders this year is to become “observant readers and confident writers.” This goal is important because it helps us trust our instincts. Finally, I asked Ms. O’Reilly what she likes most about teaching at Sacred Heart Greenwich. She replied, “the girls!” Everyone who has her as a teacher or as a lacrosse coach knows she really cares about our education and our well being.