By Cam Moynihan (’24) and Mila Morgan (’24)
Over the past couple of years, J-D has seen the addition of a few new teachers, despite the nationwide teacher shortage and COVID-19 pandemic. One of these new teachers – who just started her second year at the high school – is Stephanie O’Rourke. O’Rourke teaches history courses here at J-D, as well as some electives including Current Events and American Women in History.
As such a new teacher, some may wonder why she chose J-D. O’Rourke said that “It’s very diverse as far as student population…I think J-D is pretty good about trying to hear student voices or at least when they’re not, they do stuff about it.” Additionally, she commented that she really enjoys seeing how many options students have to find things they like, and that J-D provides a lot of opportunities for students to do so.
Despite her short time here at J-D, O’Rourke recalls one memory from last year that she says is her favorite at the school so far. “Mr. Gasparini was walking around with a baseball and he like threw it at me while I was holding all of these things in my hands and he was like ‘Heads up Ms. O!’… I actually have the baseball on my desk ‘cause he signed it.”
However, O’Rourke doesn’t spend all of her time at J-D. There are a plethora of things she enjoys doing outside of teaching. She enjoys hiking, watching sports like lacrosse and hockey – the latter of which she coaches – and reading. She can’t choose a favorite book, but she enjoys reading books by Ken Follett and Fredrik Backman in addition to the Harry Potter series. And lastly, she can always count on her black cat, Ned, to keep her company.
O’Rourke may be new to J-D, but she has already made some great memories at a school she clearly enjoys. New teachers often have a hard time adjusting to their new schools, but she believes that J-D is a great school and seems to be comfortable here.