Willowbrook names August recipient of 88’s Best recognition

Sean O’Brochta (pictured at right, with Willowbrook Principal Dr. Daniel Krause) has been named as Willowbrook’s August recipient of 88’s Best recognition for his outstanding academic accomplishments.

O’Brochta, a senior, was recognized during the Aug. 28 District 88 Board of Education meeting. To watch his 88’s Best presentation, click on the video above.

O’Brochta is a visible member of the Willowbrook student body, leading by example through his unending work ethic and dedication to success. His participation in school activities and events further identifies O’Brochta’s commitment to extending beyond the norms of student expectations.

Academic and extracurricular achievements:

  • Completed 14 Advanced Placement (AP)/college-level courses, as well as multiple honors, college-credit earning and dual-credit courses
  • Recognized as an AP Scholar with Distinction
  • Inducted into the National Honor Society (NHS), serving as vice president
  • Earned Distinction Honor Roll status each semester of his high school career
  • President of the Thespian Honor Society
  • Inductee of the National English Honor Society, Math Honor Society, Civitas (Social Studies Honor Society), Tri-M (Modern Music Masters) Honor Society and World Language Honor Society
  • Received the Human Relations Award (Students who receive this award are recognized for their attention to cultural diversity and human dignity and for reinforcing that behavior in all they do for Willowbrook and surrounding communities.)
  • Named as an “Outstanding Student” by the social studies department

Involvement at Willowbrook:

  • New Beginnings Leader (a program where upperclassmen mentor freshmen and show them what it means to be a Willowbrook Warrior and assist them in adjusting to high school)
  • Member of the Principal and Superintendent leadership teams
  • Member of Key Club
  • Co-Captain of Speech Team
  • Cast member in nine theatre productions to date and received two Illinois High School Association (IHSA) All-State Drama Competition Cast honors
  • Member of Concert Choir and CenterStage (Willowbrook’s Vocal Jazz Ensemble)
  • Recognized as “Best in Room” during the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Solo & Ensemble Contest
  • Earned All-District recognition by the Illinois Music Education Association (ILMEA)

Community involvement:

  • Volunteer with Saint Genesius Productions
  • Volunteer with theatre camps for Willowbrook and Montini Catholic High School

Future plans:

O’Brochta plans to study engineering, and Purdue University and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are his top choices to continue his education.

Staff member comments:

“O’Brochta is talented both in and out of the classroom. I have been fortunate to work with O’Brochta since his sophomore year on our Individual Events Speech Team. Though a strong writer, he qualifies his talents in acting, excelling in comedy. His sly and wry wit exude from the different personas in which he presents, and his talent as an actor does seem limitless. My first introduction to O’Brochta was when he came in for the Speech Proficiency exam. Having his older sister was my only introduction to O’Brochta; however, he immediately stood out, and when he completed the proficiency, I made sure he was fully planning to join the Speech Team. Now, heading into his senior year, I so very much look forward to seeing his talent bloom into the capstone of this season. However, I am so very excited to also share class with him. His insight in the short time we have had class together shows his prowess as a student, and I look forward to all he has to offer. O’Brochta is a wonderful example of 88’s Best. Looking forward to the year’s accomplishments and beyond.”

- Brett Blair, Willowbrook English teacher

“I have known O’Brochta for a long time, since he was in grade school. He has been a piano student since then. During his high school career, I have seen him each day in choir and worked with him on all of the fall musicals. I have found O’Brochta to be very intelligent and in possession of a strong work ethic. In whatever project he is working on, he always gives it his best. He often steps up to help others. It has been great to have known him for all these years.”

- Linda Radtke, Willowbrook Music Department accompanist

“I taught O’Brochta last year in AP Physics 1 and am teaching him again this year in AP Physics C. I’m using the terms ‘teaching’ and ‘taught’ loosely with O’Brochta, as he has been pushing the class ahead at both levels. O’Brochta has a natural grasp of difficult content and an excellent conceptual understanding of the physics presented in class. He is able to identify personal misconceptions with ease and is comfortable abandoning them immediately. In addition to these attributes, O’Brochta’s background in mathematics is outstanding – and he is able to relate concepts learned in one environment to the other. It is impressive to watch this all happen in real time during class. Finally, O’Brochta is incredibly generous with these gifts and talents, as he is constantly working with his peers in class. His in-class explanations and justifications, during class discussions and small-group learning, are of benefit to everyone in class – including himself. During these times, one can actually see O’Brochta work through his understanding of a problem as he tries to articulate it to the class. By the end of his statement, O’Brochta is more confident in his own understanding and ability to express himself. O’Brochta is a wonderful young man, with an incredible amount of talent – in so many areas.”

- Jim Kedvesh, Willowbrook physics teacher

“I first really got to know O’Brochta years ago, when he was in fifth grade. O’Brochta played Michael Banks in our production of ‘Mary Poppins.’ I was so impressed with his acting talents and his prowess for a spot-on British dialect at that age – it came so naturally to him. I remember thinking, ‘I can’t wait for him to get here!’ And now, here he is, a senior! He has enjoyed success in the theatre program, as he was awarded All-State Cast honors two years in a row for his performances in ‘Good People’ and ‘Proof’ and has been the lead in the last two musicals. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to work with someone who is not only an accomplished performer and musician, but who is one of the hardest-working students I have ever encountered. He is diligent, organized, resourceful, clever and a role model for his peers. His time management skills also are topnotch!”

- Regina Wathier, Willowbrook English teacher and Theatre Director 

“O’Brochta brings enthusiasm for learning to class every day. His positive energy makes the classroom a supportive learning environment for all. The attention to detail in O’Brochta’s work is exceptional. He thinks deeply about every topic and seeks to challenge himself academically. We are fortunate to have O’Brochta as a Willowbrook Warrior.”

- Sara Phillips, Willowbrook science teacher

  • District 88 values the hard work and achievements of students and wants to make sure students are honored and recognized for their accomplishments. The District 88 Board of Education and administration created the 88’s Best award to highlight students’ success. That award recognizes nine Addison Trail and nine Willowbrook students each school year for reaching their personal best in various areas. Recipients are honored during a District 88 Board of Education meeting in one of the following areas: academics, highly improved performance, extracurricular activities, service work or performing arts/electives. They receive an 88’s Best glass sculpture and a certificate to a local restaurant.