Aberdeen High School principal O'Brien presides over final commencement ceremony

Aberdeen High School principal Michael O’Brien presided over his final commencement ceremony Tuesday evening after eight years of leading AHS.

O’Brien, who later described the experience as “kind of bittersweet,” will start a new position as executive director of middle and high school instruction and performance with Harford County Public Schools on July 1.


“This class is amazing,” O’Brien said of the graduating seniors. “It just felt great.”

About 289 members of the Aberdeen High School Class of 2019 received their diplomas during AHS’ 111th annual commencement in the APG Federal Credit Union Arena on Harford Community College’s main Bel Air campus.

The seniors heard remarks from fellow graduates Arno Lam and Ogechukwu Obiajulu, and teacher and coach Stacy Liles, as well as elected officials such as state Sen. Robert Cassilly, state Del. Steve Johnson, Harford County Executive Barry Glassman and County Councilman Robert Wagner — Aberdeen is part of the districts represented by Cassilly, Johnson and Wagner.

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman signed into law Wednesday the county’s $903.6 million budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Kyle Torster, public works director for the City of Aberdeen, was on hand to see his twin son and daughter, Aaron and Amelia Torster, get their diplomas. His oldest daughter, Kara, graduated from Aberdeen High in 2016 and has completed her junior year at Towson University.

His younger children plan to attend Harford Community College next year, Torster said after the ceremony.

“I think they got a solid foundation,” Torster, who has worked for the city since 2014, said of his three children’s time in Aberdeen schools. “They were able to try different things, and each identified something that was unique to them that they were able to take forward [into the future].”

Graduate Chase Riley, 18, of Havre de Grace, completed the Project Lead the Way pre-engineering program while at AHS.

“It was pretty fun, and I learned a lot from the teachers that I had,” Riley said after the commencement.


The program includes a requirement that seniors must develop a “capstone” project and present it to a board of professional engineers, according to Riley. He said he plans to attend HCC next year, and while he has not yet decided on a major, he is considering a career in computer or mechanical engineering.

Riley said the rigorous coursework he experienced at Aberdeen High “will definitely help me be prepared for the amount of work I’m going to have to do in college.”