LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Frank O'Brien

Position: Social Studies Professor
School: Westborough High School
School District: Westborough Public Schools
City, State: Westborough, MA

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Frank O'Brien was nominated by his student, Jessica Beliveau.

Mr. O’Brien has a particularly demanding course load and schedule. He routinely demonstrates his passion with the utmost grace, integrity, wisdom, and professionalism. Mr. O’Brien teaches several time-consuming, intense AP History courses for juniors. He is responsible for ensuring that his students test exceptionally well and are given credit for this course.

"There is no finer educator than Mr. Frank O’Brien," Beliveau said. "Westborough High School, and the hundreds, if not thousands of students Mr. O’Brien has taught over the course of his distinguished career, have been bettered as a result of his work."

Mr. O’Brien also teaches U.S. History courses for Honors and Level Two students. A Level Two course presents certain challenges, as these courses are designed for students with certain educational needs.

"The fact that Mr. O’Brien is routinely entrusted with teaching these different courses, and is in charge of educating Westborough’s students across the educational spectrum, speaks volumes to his skill and value as an educator," Beliveau said. "I can definitely say that he has a long-standing, consistent track record of success...All of his students have accomplished academic success to the absolute best of their ability, and have experienced great intellectual progress and personal growth as a result of his teaching and mentorship."

Mr. O’Brien not only shows his students their true potential, but he pushes them to fulfill their full potential. Students, as a result, gain great confidence in their abilities and strive for greatness in their futures.

"I can say with complete certainty that Mr. O’Brien’s students have an obvious rare and intense respect for him, both as their teacher, and as a human being. It's absolutely evident in the classroom and throughout the building," Beliveau said. "Mr. O’Brien is a trusted member of the Westborough High School community, and is seen as a mentor by many students, including myself."

Beliveau was fortunate enough to have Mr. O’Brien as her Honors U.S. History teacher during her junior year at Westborough High School, and again during her senior year. Following completion of her junior year, she was very eager to have him write her college letter of recommendation. Mr. O’Brien had already committed to writing thirty letters of recommendation for his students from the previous school year. The thoughtfulness, attention, and care put into each letter of recommendation he wrote, far exceeded what is standard, or required of an educator.

Upon being accepted to her first choice college, the Director of Admissions for the Northeast Region promptly told Beliveau that the letter of recommendation submitted on her behalf, effectively illustrated why she should be accepted.

"I knew that was Mr. O’Brien’s work, and that product would not be unique to just my application," Beliveau said.

Beliveau has a particular appreciation for Mr. O’Brien based on her own educational circumstances. While she excelled in his Honors courses, she struggled throughout her high school career in other areas. Despite the fact that she was an Honor Roll student, she had an intensive 504 Educational Plan, and has several learning disabilities.

"My circumstances really demanded a lot, not just from myself, but also of my educators," Beliveau said. "My success is just as much because of these educators, including Mr. O’Brien, who would commit themselves to providing extra help, after school, on a regular basis. I routinely sought out additional educational guidance after class, for which Mr. O’Brien was always available. I never felt as though my learning disabilities and extra needs were an inconvenience or burden for him to accommodate, even though, logistically, I know they were, as I demanded extra help and time, as did many of his other students. Mr. O’Brien never made any of his students feel as though they were alone or helpless in their educational pursuits. He always made my education, and the education of other students, appear to be a team effort. The product of a partnership between a teacher and student is based on a foundation of mutual respect, effort, and honesty."

The success that Mr. O’Brien’s students have had did not come easy. Mr. O’Brien is a caring, devoted, compassionate educator who is also very demanding, firm, and consistent when communicating his expectations with his students. His classroom runs like a well-oiled machine, where students are attentive, focused, and active participants. Mr. O’Brien holds his students to the highest moral and ethical guidelines, and is determined to make his students better in all areas. Students often come back to visit him after graduating high school and make it a point to keep in touch. 

"Mr. Frank O’Brien is the Gold Standard of Educators in America, Beliveau said. "Westborough High School is forever indebted to him. He is a LifeChanger in every sense of the word."

Frank O'Brien in the News:
WHS History teacher nominated for Life-changer award