Remembering ETHS: Marybeth O’Mara

Avi Shapira, Staff Writer

For 12 years, Marybeth O’Mara has served as a history teacher for freshmen and juniors. Being at ETHS since 2008, she has loved the collaborative and diverse environment that ETHS offers every day and will miss that dearly upon her retirement, but the students are what O’Mara is going to miss the most.

“I really like the way teenagers think and move through the world, and I’ll miss them,” O’Mara said.

O’Mara has made an impact on hundreds of students over the course of her time at ETHS, many of whom share disappointed but congratulatory emotions on her departure from ETHS. 

“One of the things that makes her stand out is that her students really respect her,” junior Sofie Hletko, one of O’Mara’s current APUSH students, said. “I really do look forward to getting to talk to her in class and out of class, and I love talking with her about connecting past events with current-day issues.”

In the coming years, O’Mara plans to pursue various volunteer opportunities, such as with the Shorefront Legacy Center, an organization dedicated to educating people on African-American history in Chicago’s suburban North Shore. Additionally, O’Mara is seeking to help out with teacher education at universities such as Northwestern or DePaul.

In the vein of teacher education, O’Mara has a plethora of knowledge that she can impart to younger and newer teachers. 

“Teaching is not so much about the content than it is about the relationships you create,” O’Mara said.

To students, she said to always remember to be “open to change and be open to the fact that what’s always worked for you may not be enough sometimes.”

O’Mara’s passion for teaching and for her students is easily seen in her classroom each day. In turn, her passion motivates students to be passionate about what they’re learning.

“Each class has a different age and charm,” O’Mara said. “Seeing the growth of some of my students between freshman and junior year is really fun and rewarding. I really enjoy the process of adolescent development and I get to watch it all play out in my room every day.”