Tommy O’Brien named KDKA-TV Extra Effort Award Winner
Upper St. Clair High School senior Tommy O’Brien has been named a KDKA-TV Extra Effort Award winner for his success on the field and in the classroom. The segment will be filmed on Tuesday, Nov. 27 and is set to air during the 6 p.m. news on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018.
Doug Petrick, high school science teacher and cross country/track coach, nominated Tommy for the award.
“Tommy exemplifies what it is to be an ambassador for the Upper St. Clair School District,” Mr. Petrick said. “As a student, a performer and an athlete he is a great role model for students in the district. Additionally, through his community service work and summer work as a camp counselor, Tommy is inspiring the next generation of student-athletes at Upper St. Clair.”
Tommy, who has participated in varsity cross county for the last three years, was voted team captain by his peers this year. This past season, he led the team to a 7-1 overall record in AAA Section 6 play for the second consecutive year and fourth overall in the AAA WPIAL Championships – the school’s highest finish ever by the boys’ team. Individually, Tommy finished sixth at the 2018 AAA WPIAL Championships the highest finish by an individual male USC cross country athlete in more than 30 years. He finished 18th in the PIAA AAA Championship Race in Hershey, becoming the first male USC cross country athlete to earn a state medal in the past 30 years.
“Coach Chermak and I are blessed to have him as a part of the cross country team; he is a dynamic leader and outstanding young man,” Mr. Petrick said. “His positivity and work ethic is contagious.”
In addition to his success in athletics, Tommy is actively involved in the performing arts including choir and musical theater. He currently serves as president of the Pantheon Choir and vice-president of the Men’s Ensemble. He is a member of the school’s Chanteclairs chamber choir and has participated in Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District and Regional choirs. He was cast member in the last three high school musicals – including playing the role of Che in Evita last spring. Tommy continues to hone his craft beyond the school day at the Center for Theater Arts in Mt. Lebanon where he studies voice, dance and acting.
Volunteerism is also a big part of Tommy’s life. Last year, he served as a USC High School junior mentor, helping freshmen students with their transition from middle school to high school. He has also volunteered for the USC Mini-THON for the last two years – helping to raise $17,531 and $41,098 respectively. Beyond the school community, he sings with a contemporary group at St. Thomas More Church and has served as a summer camp counselor at Camp Ligonier.
“He is one of the kindest, most sincere and positive kids I have ever worked with,” Kristin Pardini, school counselor, said. “He is so deserving of this recognition.”