October 17, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Lincoln Middle School’s Mr. Obie

50+ years of dedication to students.

By Keldine Hull

John Obusek has been a teacher for 56 years, 49 of which he’s spent at Lincoln Middle School shaping the young minds of students who fondly refer to him as Mr. Obie. He retired in 2002 but was asked to continue teaching the woodshop class as well as organize the 8th-grade end of the year activities that include a beach party, promotion and dance.

“Being around kids makes me think young and feel young, even though the body isn’t young,” Obusek said. “The one thing I promised myself when I retired in 2002 was that I would remain doing what I’m doing until I was no longer having fun or I felt like I was cheating the kids.”

Obusek’s dedication to the students who walk in and out of his classroom go beyond academics; he arms students with the life lessons they need to live happy and successful lives.

“I teach them pride in what you do, respect to all around you and yourself, and staying with it; don’t give up on anything. I think my rapport with the kids helps transmit that, and I think they see the love I have for them. Even though at times it’s frustrating when they disappoint you, that love is always there,” Obusek said.

Long after their time at Lincoln Middle School, the bonds Obusek forms with his students remain.

“Twice a year, I get together for a golf weekend with about 15 kids from my first class at Lincoln, and they are now 62 and 63 years old. I do keep in touch. I’ve been to their weddings. I’ve been to funerals. I’ve been to bar mitzvah’s, christenings, you name it. There’s a lot of respect between myself and the kids that I’ve taught over the years,” Obusek said.

John “Mr. Obie: Obusek. Photo: Courtesy.

The respect he teaches and receives goes beyond the students and impacts faculty as well. After losing his Woodland Hills home in a fire a few years back, teachers at Lincoln started the Obie Fire Fund and raised $19,000 in donations.

“You don’t learn things like that in a book. Feelings, how you treat and respect people, you can’t learn in a book. Something inside a person brings out what they are, and I’ve been blessed with that and consider myself quite fortunate,” Obusek said.

Despite the hardships he’s faced, Obusek maintains a positive attitude and wants nothing more than to share that positivity with the students he serves and the faculty he works alongside.

“It’s easy to wake up and be negative, but all that does is create more negativity in you. I have honestly tried to stay positive no matter what I do. There’s times when you get down but I try to not stay down. One of the counselors in the school, when I see her each morning says, ‘Obie, you’re always smiling.’ And I say, ‘I can cry if I want, but I always smile.’ It’s daily that I try to come in with that positive attitude,” Obusek said.

With nearly five decades of his life spent within the hallways, classrooms and playgrounds at Lincoln Middle School, Obusek is often asked why he’s remained there for so long.

“The kids first of all, and second of all, I’ve been blessed with a lot of parents’ support and the PTA, now PTSA. The support they give our schools is so appreciated, and I see that support when I run the functions at the end of the year,” Obusek said. “When the parents get involved, that makes the school. If you don’t have parent involvement, it’s not a fun place to be. They’ve got their own jobs and stress, but still, the parents’ support has been fantastic as well as people in the community.”

Through his compassion, selfless dedication and genuine concern for students that extends well beyond lesson plans and class assignments, Obusek reminds us all of the significant role that teachers have in their students’ lives.

“You’ll never get rich being a teacher, but you could never replace what it does to your heart. It’s something that touches you, and it stays there. When I get an email or phone call from somebody saying what they’re doing and how they’re doing, I appreciate that so much. I really do. I would like to think I’ve touched lives and helped make students better people,” Obusek said.

Related Posts

Santa Monica’s 100 Homes Initiative Moves Forward

October 16, 2021

October 16, 2021

City seeks public participation in new HUD-funded program By Dolores Quintana The City of Santa Monica is moving forward with...

Former Mesa PD Chief to Lead Santa Monica Police Department

October 15, 2021

October 15, 2021

Ramon Batista selected as Santa Monica’s first Latino police chief By Sam Catanzaro Ramon Batista, Jr., the former police chief...

Closing Celebration for Hispanic Heritage Month Today

October 14, 2021

October 14, 2021

This Friday, October 15, the Santa Monica community is invited to a closing ceremony for Santa Monica’s first Hispanic Heritage...

Three SMC Professors Receive First-Ever Michelson Intellectual Property Educator of Excellence Award

October 13, 2021

October 13, 2021

The Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property (Michelson  IP) is proud to award three Santa Monica College faculty members with the...

Sneakertopia Brings the History and Culture of Sneakers to Life

October 12, 2021

October 12, 2021

Sneakertopia is the ultimate expression of art and culture for all things sneakers offering a massive in-person experience paired with...

An Interview with Zach Rash, CEO of Coco Food Robotic Delivery

October 11, 2021

October 11, 2021

Coco Delivery, is a completely contactless food delivery service that uses human piloted robots to deliver meals from the restaurant...

Message From Santa Monica’s New City Manager David White

October 11, 2021

October 11, 2021

To the Santa Monica Community – it is with tremendous excitement that today I begin my first day as your...

Three Santa Monica College Faculty Receive Michelson IP Educator Award: Santa Monica Beat – October 11, 2021

October 11, 2021

October 11, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * City Council Set To Approve Plan For 9 Thousand New Housing...

U.S Secretary of Veterans Affairs Visits Veterans Encampment Outside VA

October 11, 2021

October 11, 2021

On Wednesday, the Secretary of U.S. Veterans Affairs and Mark Takano visited the veterans homeless encampment along san vicente blvd....

Mid-Century Ocean Avenue Apartments Sell for $70 Million

October 9, 2021

October 9, 2021

Westside Real Estate Scene October 11, 2021 By Dolores Quintana As reported by the Santa Monica Lookout, a mid-century apartment...

Santa Monica Police Release Sketch of Suspects Wanted for Ocean Park Shooting

October 7, 2021

October 7, 2021

Santa Monica police have released sketches of two men wanted in connection to a recent shooting.  According to the Santa...

Hotels, Liquor Stores to be Allowed on Third Street Promenade

October 7, 2021

October 7, 2021

Santa Monica City Council approves temporary zoning changes for Promenade By Dolores Quintana and Sam Catanzaro Hotels and liquor stores...

Santa Monica Selects Joseph Lawrence as Interim City Attorney

October 7, 2021

October 7, 2021

Search for permanent City Attorney to begin soon By Sam Catanzaro At its meeting last week, the Santa Monica City...

Santa Monica Sues Real Estate Firm for Converting Rent-Controlled Units Into Vacation Rentals

October 7, 2021

October 7, 2021

City of Santa Monica files complaint against NMS Properties Corporation  By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica is suing a real estate...

Santa Monica College to Hold Glass Pumpkin Sales This Weekend

October 5, 2021

October 5, 2021

Help Support SMC Art Department, Santa Monica Public Library, Palisades-Malibu YMCA By Staff Writer Santa Monica College will hold two...