By Jessica Bogie
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Atco resident and Camden County College student 19-year-old Dontai O’Brien hopes to attend Rowan University in the fall of 2012 for music education. Previously a mathematics major, O’Brien is now an education major and plans to become a music teacher for high school students after college.
“I want to teach music; however, if given the opportunity, I’d like to also teach high school algebra,” says O’Brien.
Although O’Brien has scouted Rowan University as his main choice, other colleges have reached out to O’Brien in the hopes that he will change his mind. O’Brien has received scholarship opportunities from Drexel University, Concordia College and Oklahoma University. However, O’Brien holds true to Rowan, stating, “Rowan’s the best choice for me. It’s close to home, a lot of my friends will be there, and it has a great music education program.”
O’Brien holds a grade point average of 3.7. He has made the dean’s list three times and has been on the president’s list twice. O’Brien is also a member of the Honors Program, Phi Theta Kappa, and the Kappa Delta Pi for education majors.
O’Brien is holding a job with the Hillman’s Bus Company as an aide, helping transport disabled children to Bancroft School in Cherry Hill.
O’Brien is the oldest of four brothers. He was born on July 19, 1992 in Galloway. He has moved 13 times in his short lifetime, not spending more than a year in one place until he permanently moved to Atco in the sixth grade.
O’Brien attended Hammonton High School, where he showed off his thespian skills performing in all of his high school’s musicals. O’Brien was also a part of the high school choir for four years and was the only male student from his school to be accepted into the All South Jersey Choir.
At the end of his high school career, O’Brien won the performing arts award for “Best of the Class” and received the “Student of the Month” award.
No longer in high school, O’Brien still sings in his community choir group and has performed at the Eagle Theatre and the tree lighting ceremony in Hammonton.
When asked how best to describe O’Brien, his close childhood friend Kerra Cooper says, “Dontai is sweet, talented and the hardest working teenager you’ll ever meet, and of course he’s a great friend too.”