An Insider’s Look at Ms. O’Reilly

Aisha Bhoori, Co-News Editor

While you may not see Ms. O’Reilly in the classroom, you’re sure to find her in the guidance office, where she assists sophomores, juniors, and seniors as they attempt to balance the difficult workload that high school inevitably yields. A proud South alumni, Ms. O’Reilly has an esoteric knowledge of class expectations, and teachers’ quirks.

Q) Is this your first time working at a school district?

A) No, I worked at Clifton Ave. Grade School in Lakewood last year as a guidance counselor for grades kindergarten through sixth. I came here in February.

Q)Which do you like better? Elementary or High School?

A) They’re both drastically different. I didn’t think I would like elementary when I first started; initially, I didn’t want to work with little kids at all. After I got the job I decided to try it; much to my surprise, the job was a lot of fun. For little kids, my primary concern is teaching them social skills (i.e. dealing with “he hit me” and “he pushed me”). At South, however, it’s nice because I can have a real conversation with a high school student; the college process is also a lot of fun.

Q) What is your favorite thing about South?

A) I like South because I went to school here, so I know a lot of the teachers; therefore, I can give students insight on the classes because I’ve taken a lot of them. I really love this aspect of helping students who are in the position I once was. I love coaching cheerleading here and taking part in the school spirit.

Q) Is it weird being back at South?

A) At first when I came back here, I couldn’t call any of the teachers by their first names. For example, Mr. Resnick will always be Mr. Resnick; I will never call him by his first name. It was ironic when Ms. Grimm came up to me during my first day as a guidance counselor and said, “Hello former student who is now a colleague” because I had her when I was a freshman. However, the fact that there’s a different principal than when I was a student is nice. So although, working here was awkward at first, it’s a lot better now.

Q) Who was your favorite teacher when you were at South?

A) My favorite teacher, Mrs. Calangelo, actually left; however, my favorite teachers who are currently here are Mrs. Clifton and Madame Finkelstein. I had Mrs. Clifton during her first year teaching child development, and the class was awesome. Madame was the only teacher that had both me and my sister. I had her for French VI and she was fantastic because she genuinely cares for each of her students. She always checks up on her students after they graduate; she used to send me emails when I was in college. But I had many amazing teachers while at South. Mr. Brennan and Mr. Lightbody were also exceptional.

Q) What was your worst memory at South while you were a student?

A) Mr. Erbig would love my reply! My dad knows Mr. Erbig personally, so I’ve known him for a long time. When my phys. ed. class was learning how to climb the ropes, Mr. Erbig always picked me to demonstrate. He would always exclaim, “O’Reilly, get up here!” That was awful for me because I’ve never like to demonstrate in front of people.

Q) What was your best memory at South while you were a student?

A) My best memory was cheerleading for South and attending the homecoming game during my senior year. Initially unaccustomed to her new role of assisting students who were once in her position, Ms. O’Reilly has found her niche once again at South. She is both eager to help students survive the difficult college process, and aid cheerleaders in boosting school spirit.