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International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Farewell, Adieu and Adios Mr. O’Mara

O’Mara stands proudly in front of a selection of the PVAC banners won by WIS’s athletic teams hung in the AAA gym wall. (Matteo Caloia/International Dateline)

After 42 years as the Washington International School (WIS) Athletic Director, IB math teacher and former basketball coach, Thomas O’Mara, has decided to part ways from WIS as he felt the time was right for a change regarding his professional career. 

During his time at WIS, O’Mara oversaw the construction of the current astroturf field and gym. He coached the Boys Varsity and Junior Varsity basketball teams and won six league banners, all while teaching higher-level IB math.  

Prior to its Potomac Valley Athletic Conference (PVAC) successes, WIS participated in the Metropolitan International Basketball League (M.I.B.L.) in which coach O’Mara’s Boys Varsity basketball teams won four consecutive championships from 1990-1993. 

In search for a better fitting league, WIS, through then athletic director David Coutts’ efforts, decided to part ways with the M.I.B.L, joining the better fitting PVAC. O’Maras coaching success through the varsity basketball team carried over to the PVAC as he won the banner in his first season of participation, during the 1993-94 season. 

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To O’Mara, the 2009 PVAC final of the boys varsity basketball team was “the biggest sporting event in WIS Athletic history” as a double-overtime victory saw his underdog team defy expectations and take home the banner.

Coach O’ Mara hung up his playbook at the end of the 2010 season after 20 plus years full of titles.     

It was only after joining the PVAC that WIS welcomed its two main athletic facilities. The Athletics Arts and Academics building (AAA) and Ulysses G. Auger Field, were built in 2000 and 2007, respectively. For O’Mara the integration of the new facilities “was a real game-changer” as the school was finally able to host athletic events. O’Mara stated that seeing the construction process unfold was “very significant and exciting because it showed the seriousness of the school in growing its athletic program.” 

O’Mara stands in front of the AAA building raising a soccer ball and basketball. (Matteo, Caloia/International Dateline).

O’Mara was just as much a mentor on the court as he was in the classroom, teaching all levels of mathematics and serving as department head for various years. 

For him, teaching “has always been a generator of enormous satisfaction, in particular having the opportunity and privilege of working with a very creative and talented group that populates WIS.” 

Peter Laursen, senior at the Washington International School, described his IB higher-level math teacher as “a motivational teacher with a humorous personality, who pushes you to your limits”. 

Lauren’s portrayal of O’Mara was supported by two other of his classmates, Timothee Maret and William Ranieri, who added that “WIS will never get another Mr. O’Mara as he is the most rational and wise individual we have ever met.”  

Having worked with O’Mara for over a decade, James Martin, current Economics teacher and head coach of the boys varsity soccer team felt necessary to state that one of O’Maras strengths lied in his unfiltered and honest statements.

Martin, described him as a person who “will never be appointed to a diplomatic post.”. 

Although he currently has no future plans to share publicly, he did say that whatever they may be, they would require more time and dedication being both intellectually and physically challenging. 

As for WIS’ future, he would love to see positive growth and change which could be the transition into another athletic conference such as the MAC or ISL. According to O’Mara the leagues “currently contain schools who geographically, athletically and academically are closer to our current level”. The transition could lead to a better fit than the PVAC as it could allow WIS to grow both athletically and academically.  

Through his love for the school, dedication, and ability to put a smile on everyone’s face O’Mara will go down in WIStory. 

By Matteo Caloia  

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  • C

    Crispin Ovenden class of 95Dec 4, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    “Having worked with Mr O’Mara for over a decade…”

    What do the millennials say?