• D Day

A College-Prep, Independent Day
School for Grades 8-12


Sean O'Rourke '92
Posted 03/05/2014 10:00AM


GRADUATE DEGREE/UNIVERSITY: Educational Administration/Cal State Northridge

CURRENTLY: Math Teacher at Rosemont High School

"Had I gone to another school, I might not have excelled because of the pressure to fit in."

While at York, I felt safe and empowered to participate in lots of sports and activities. I also took a variety of fascinating classes, like Latin classes with Mr. Sturch, a Shakespeare class with Mr. Rainer, and a whole suite of classes from Mr. and Mrs. Arnold.  York has an amazing culture of achievement and risk-taking; my classmates and I supported each other academically and socially. Had I gone to another school, I might not have excelled because of the pressure to fit in.  As a teacher I can tell you that social pressures trump all others in many cases, so a positive school climate like York's is invaluable. 

After graduating, I went to the Air Force Academy which has a similar culture of high achievement, but with more yelling and push-ups. My York experience prepared me for the academic overload at the Academy and also provided me with the social skills to deal with the variety of  people I encountered. Remembering the emergency procedures for parachuting out of an airplane is nothing compared to listing the Roman emperors in order for Mr. Hall or the stages of mitosis for Mr. Arnold. 

While at the Academy I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I was able to graduate, but I couldn't serve in the Air Force because of the rule stating all officers must be "worldwide-deployable," which is difficult for diabetics (it's challenging to keep insulin cool in the desert). I shifted my course and became a math teacher, which has been my career since 1997. I constantly use the math I learned from Mrs. Arnold and Sue Linder. In 1999 my classmate from York, Sharon Lu, introduced me to my wife.  As you can see, York prepared me for life at the Air Force Academy, a career completely unrelated to my training at the academy, and also helped me personally to meet my wonderful wife with whom I have two beautiful kids.

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