Jul 29, 2014

MCHS Student Working to Address Inequalities

Mill Creek's Ronan O'Brien is an outstanding scholar and a human rights advocate.

MCHS Student Working to Address Inequalities

Ronan O'Brien

Senior, Mill Creek High School  

Accomplishment: High academic achievement and advocate for social equality.

During the last school year, O'Brien was honored as the third highest ranking member of the junior class. He received scores of 2310 and 35 on the SAT and ACT, respectively.

"However, that is not all that makes Ronan stand out," wrote Charles OrgBon who nominated O'Brien as this week's outstanding youth. "He served as a member of the National English Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, and also as president of Mill Creek's Gay-Straight Alliance. For the GSA, he helped to raise membership and club participation. Additionally, he coordinated Mill Creek's GSA presence in the Atlanta Pride Festival alongside PFLAG Atlanta. Ronan worked with the GSA to organize the Day of Silence for Mill Creek. With the support of Mill Creek's administration, dozens of youth pledged silence for contemporary social inequalities and injustices."

According to O'Brien, he and other members of the Mill Creek GSA enjoy a supportive environment at school.

"My experience at Mill Creek, as well as that of the other members of GSA, has in fact been quite positive," wrote O'Brien in an emailed response to questions. "I have no real conquering-of-adversity stories to tell, and I have not encountered nor heard of any significant harassment or bullying toward GSA members. The administration has been very supportive, especially our principal, Dr. Jim Markham. All in all, I'd say we are extremely fortunate to attend a school with such an environment."

In addition to his involvement with the GSA, O'Brien is bilingual and on occasion works as a volunteer English-Spanish interpreter for Gwinnett County Public Schools.

According to OrgBon, "[O'Brien] is an active volunteer for the Latin American Association of Atlanta. Academically, Ronan was awarded the Top Foreign Language Student award for Mill Creek. He plans to pursue a degree in Translation and Interpretation at the Autonomous University of Madrid (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)."

O'Brien said he is currently in the "slightly tricky" process necessary for an American student to gain entry to a Spanish university. O'Brien plans to spend the next school year preparing for the Spanish university entrance exam in his directed studies class.

Do you know of an outstanding child, teen, team or club? Submit your nomination in our comment box below or e-mail the information to Kristi.Reed@Patch.com. Be sure to include all of the following information:

  • Name of child, teen, team or club
  • Age or grade level
  • School
  • Child, teen, team or club accomplishment
  • Key to success
  • Photo of the nominated person, team or club.

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