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A career from a car

"I can't even begin to count the number of students who come back to school, whether they are one year removed from the school or 40 years removed from the school, and recall Mrs. O'Brien and how much they learned from her," he said.

O'Brien has seen a lot of changes in her years in the classroom, including the introduction of computers, the Internet and changes in class sizes. When she first started teaching, it was not unusual to have classes of 60 students in schools all over. Now classes are much smaller and there are more than twice as many faculty at St. Thomas. But she said she's always enjoyed working with them.

"The one thing that has stayed constant at St. Thomas is the uniqueness of the faculty in the sense that we're an extended family," O'Brien said.

She said she's looking forward to reading more advanced books, relaxing on the porch at her Delmar home and spending more time with her children and grandchildren, all of whom still live in the area. O'Brien said she might also do some light traveling.

At St. Thomas, she will long be remember through a $750 scholarship to be awarded annually to a St. Thomas seventh-grader moving on to eighth grade who has shown exemplary effort or skill in writing.

Contributions to the scholarship may be sent to St. Thomas the Apostle School, 42 Adams Place, Delmar 12054.""

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