Ash O’Brien has completed high school with a Graduate Equivalency Degree (G.E.D.) with a strong vision for the future. They (preferred pronoun) are preparing for college with the goal of becoming a music therapist.

“It’s a way of helping people and I would love to be at Tufts or Children’s Hospital using music as a way to help kids or adults through hard times,” said Ash. “I’m going to UMass Boston with a major in Music Therapy and minor in Psychology which I think is the right combination, and really look forward to it.”

Ash knows something about challenge and how to think about paths that allow for greater growth and less stress. Initially, a student at the Boston Latin School from grade 7 until 2022, there were opportunities Ash recognized and appreciated, but addressing mental health issues became the priority.

“I was hospitalized in 10th grade, and it made me feel really set back. It was stressful and difficult. I had felt that I should stay there because I was admitted to begin with, but eventually my mom asked if I wanted to stay there two additional years and it was then that I said, ‘I can’t do this.’ The options offered for completion just weren’t specific enough to what I needed,” they said. “BLS just wasn’t the place for me to do what I wanted to do. I took the GED and passed right away with a score of 86 out of 100.”

“I feel much better now. I have something to put out to the world now and I am excited to do it.”

Ash spent time taking general education courses at Quincy College and working at American Provisions and will now be starting the UMass Boston. The future looks promising with the strong academic ability and a capacity to self-reflect and evolution Ash has experienced.

The first to recognize that growth doesn’t come easily or alone, Ash O’Brien recognizes his parents, grandparents, siblings, therapist, and partner for support to take an alternate and meaningful course.

Ash plays Piano, Basse and Guitar in an impressive development that began with piano lessons at Fourth Presbyterian Church “I will be playing in a show and worked with Burns Stanfield. Though not a Presbyterian, I really appreciate the opportunities and learn a lot there. We are doing Frozen this year” Ash said happily.

Ash is also clear about his sense of lifelong home in South Boston. “I like the vibe,” they said. “It’s like a small town in a big city, and I know a lot of people and family, and I can walk and bike and it’s near the water. It is a good place to be. I’m happy to live here.” In addition, Ash attended the Neighborhood House where he did an internship and then started working at American Provisions in a job he values and plans to continue.

Ash O’Brien considered his options and is committed to making a difference. Music, community, and a sense of self-confidence may have been hard earned but now seem a well-established combination of talents, support, and effort.

Congratulations on your degree, Ash! We are proud of you and your accomplishments!

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