Congratulations on your retirement Mr. O’Rourke!!


Eli Bridges (Junior), Reporter

Our principal, Mr. Kevin O’Rourke has decided after his long-dedicated career to Lebanon High School (LHS) that he will be retiring.

Mr. O’Rourke started here at LHS in 1993 as a business teacher for 2-years. He then left for 4-years and was at 2 different schools in this time. He returned to LHS in 1999 as a math teacher. Became an Assistant Principal in 2002. In 2007, he became the Principal of LHS and has been in this position for the last 16 years. 26/30 of his years in education have been spent at LHS.

I asked Mr. O’Rourke if a goal of his was to change the culture of LHS when he was made Principal in 2007. He said, “When I started raising my kids, we (him and his family) intentionally came back here in 1999 because of our experience in 1993 to 1995, with the people, with the teachers, with the community… I have to say I thought our culture was really good then…. I just tried to build on what we already had.”

Mr. O’Rourke’s said his goal as Principal of LHS was to have kids leave LHS and come back years later to say, “I’m glad I went to LHS… I wouldn’t have wanted to go anywhere else.”

I started my interview with Mr. O’Rourke asking a tough question. The question was how did you know it was time to retire? Mr. O’Rourke said “I think you just know – you kind of know when it’s the right time… I’m ready to not have such a busy schedule.”

Some of the things in his busy schedule that he won’t miss were simple things like having to check his email 24/7, Mr. O’Rourke said, “I won’t miss that.” Or him being at home and hearing a siren. “I’m always wondering did somebody get hurt… I hope everyone’s okay,” said Mr. O’Rourke.

He still plans on staying involved in the school, like attending sporting events, plays, musicals, and academic competitions. “I will be as involved as is needed and asked. I don’t plan to impose or be a burden. I understand there needs to be a transition,” said Mr. O’Rourke.

With Mr. O’Rourke retiring from Principal, he has some personal goals in mind. “Personally, I’ve got a big goal that I want to get more physically fit. In my younger years I enjoyed sports a lot and worked out all the time,” said Mr. O’Rourke.

“I’d work even harder to have our students be better people,” said Mr. O’Rourke when asked what he would do different if he had another shot at principal.

“I don’t have any regrets. I’m a believer that you have to have difficult times, and you have to have challenges, and struggle to appreciate what you accomplish in the good times,” said Mr. O’Rourke when asked if he had any regrets.

I asked Mr. O’Rourke to give some advice to the incoming principal, teachers, and students at LHS.

His advice to the incoming Principal, Mr. Frank Meyer, who is pending board approval tonight (May 16) at the school board meeting was, “Be very visible, be part of the community, meet and see the kids where they are.” He offered some ideas to do this. If you’re in public and you see the kids at work stop and say hi. As well as create events for the students and staff to meet outside of school hours. He ended his answer to this question with “Be a servant leader.”

His advice to teachers of LHS was “Keep believing, our jobs are very important at times… you can get knocked down and you cannot let that detour you.” “Our why is about seeing kids be successful,” said Mr. O’Rourke.

When I asked him about advice for students, the first thing he said was “Oh boy there is a lot of advice I’d like to give students… one thing is truly be kind to one another… don’t be in a hurry to get involved with things that are not healthy for you.”

Mr. O’Rourke closed out the interview adding “I feel very blessed, very blessed to have been able to spend 26 out of my 30-year career at Lebanon High School and in this community, it has been a wonderful career. And I’m honored that I got to do it here. I wouldn’t have wanted to do it anywhere else. And I just wish our students and staff the very best and continue to make Lebanon a special place.”