Interview with Mr. O’Beirne

Ethan Bump

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Since my last story was on the new staff here at GNGHS for the 17-18 school year, I figured my next story should be about a long-serving educator. I interviewed Mr. Kevin O’Beirne, the current Latin teacher at GNGHS. As the second-longest serving teacher at GNGHS, I figured he wouldn’t mind being interviewed for the paper. I even managed to get a short history of the high school!

 

Patriot Voice: How long have you been teaching at Gray-New Gloucester High School?

Mr. O’Beirne: This is my 44th year teaching at GNGHS.

 

Patriot Voice: What do you teach and why do you like it?

Mr. O’Beirne: I teach Latin, and I like to teach Latin because all roads lead to Rome, Italy…not Rome, New York.

 

Patriot Voice: What do you like to do outside of school?

Mr. O’Beirne: Outside of school, I like to draw, to paint, to sculpt, and to read, but most of all, I like to entertain my grandchildren with my cornball jokes “Did I ever tell you the one about…?”

 

Patriot Voice: What are you most excited about for this school year?

Mr. O’Beirne: For this school year, I am excited to work with other teachers on all the electronic resources made available to us by the district.

 

Patriot Voice: What was your favorite subject back in high school?

Mr. O’Beirne: When I was in high school, my favorite subject was….Latin.

 

Patriot Voice: What was GNGHS like back in the 70s and 80s?

Mr. O’Beirne: Back in the early 70s, GNGHS was a much smaller school. The high school’s main office at that time was located where today the copy machine resides in the east wing. The two small rooms on either side of the office were the teachers’ room and the principal’s office. The stage was in the gym, and there was no cafeteria: the students ate their lunches either on the bleachers in the gym or chairs where the entrance to the gym is today. The library was in a small room next to the gym, and the art room and the shops were in a separate building behind the school. There were two copy machines: a ditto machine in the main office (for office staff only) and a heat transfer copy machine in the library. Some people will remember it as the “blueberry machine,” because all of the copies came out in deep blue letters. Occasionally, when the bell system did not work, the office secretary would go into the hallway and ring a bell for change-of-class. In the early 70s, the glass hallway and the west wing did not exist, and the spot where the west wing is now was a forest area. By the 80s, the high school expanded with the addition of the two-story west wing, glass hallway, cafetorium/stage, teacher’s room, library, and main office. Throughout the 80s, enrollment began to grow and class size increased. More courses were offered, and the size of the faculty doubled. The dawn of the computer age resulted in students relying on their electronic devices even more than they relied on their teachers. Fortunately, students began to accept the fact that one cannot always rely on the internet for factual information.

 

Patriot Voice: Is it sad seeing colleagues leave the school?

Mr. O’Beirne: It’s very sad for me to see fellow teachers leave SAD 15. Most of the faculty that have left over the years were well-known and highly respected teachers who enjoyed what they were doing. Their efforts certainly made GNGHS a better place.

 

I would like to thank Mr. O’Beirne for his time and willingness to contribute to the school paper! I figured my second story should be a polar opposite of my first, to kind of make them both connected in a way, with a central theme. We all appreciate you, Mr. O’Beirne, keep doing what you’re doing to contribute to GNGHS!

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Interview with Mr. O’Beirne