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Teacher Spotlight: Featuring Mr. O'Connor

By: Emma Callahan and Ella Garbarsky

Before teaching, Mr. O'Connor envisioned himself in a suit and tie walking along the southern end of Manhattan on Wall Street. He has always had a fascination with stocks and the banking industry. This knowledge is probably not surprising if you are a past student of his or a current one. Indeed, Mr. O'Connor is known for his in-depth lectures in his AP history classes, which include the economics of the Great Depression. Such insight on this topic makes Mr. O'Connor's lectures all the more engaging and enriching. I, along with many other students, am often in awe of the knowledge he brings to every class. I like to think I get a little smarter every single time I leave his room. However, after my friend Ella Garbarksy and I sat down with Mr. O'Connor, we learned that there was more to him than just his brains. He was also a phenomenal athlete who swam in college. A huge accomplishment he mentioned ever so casually. It is this humble spirit that Mr. O'Connor exhibits daily.

After learning that Mr. O'Connor has taught at Conard since 1999, there is no doubt that teaching is what he was destined to do. It is quite evident that Mr. O'Connor receives as much joy from spreading his knowledge as his students do from obtaining it. He claims that the most rewarding part of teaching is the connections he makes with students; from the notes of departing seniors to the simple nods in the hallways, Mr. O'Connor deeply appreciates these moments of acknowledgment, signifying the bonds he formed through teaching. 

When asked if he could have dinner with anyone dead or alive, he answered with that of a true scholar: Mark Twain. Perhaps to discuss his novel “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and the sequel “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." His desire to look upon the minds of the past is why I found it quite surprising that Mr. O'Connor wished to be able to look into the future if given a superpower. Ahh, perhaps it does add up; it would surely give him an edge in playing the stock market! 

Thank you so much, Mr. O'Connor, for your time; Ella and I deeply appreciate it!

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