Dedication to Frank O'Shea (1941-)

My first coding teacher

Matryoshka is dedicated to the memory of Frank O'Shea, who was my first computer-science/coding teacher. Frank taught maths and physics at Marian College, in Dublin, Ireland during the 70's and 80's. Frank was an exemplary maths teacher who really went the extra mile to ensure that no student was left behind. I owe Frank a debt of gratitude for changing my self perception of myself from a teenager who thought he had no interest, let alone aptitude for mathematics, to a self-confident child who could take responsibility for his own education and started to enjoy maths as a subject. I think Frank would be pleased by the fact that Matryoshka has an educational value related to maths.

Frank was also one of the first teachers in the state to teach computer science at secondary school level and introduced his students to programming with Comal-80 and basic concepts of computer science. At that time it was an extra-curricular subject. (By a strange twist of fate, I later became a drinking buddy with the man that ported the Comal-80 compiler to the Apple II computer, namely Rody Ryan) As I made a career in software development, I owe Frank a debt of gratitude for introducing me to a life long fascination with the art of code.

Frank was famous for wearing a white lab-coat while teaching. If my memory serves me, he said it was to keep the chalk-dust off his clothes, but it cemented his reputation as the official math/physics and computer science geek at Marian college. I only wished he was wearing it in the photo of him that appeared in the Marian College silver jubilee book. A sweater is a bit boring compared to a lab coat, and besides, it suited him ;-)

Marian College Silver Jubilee Book (1979)
Sydney Morning Herald (2013)

Biography in a Nutshell

Frank O'Shea was a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin where he studied maths, physics and possibly computer science, and teaching of course. He taught at Marian College in Dublin, Ireland during the 70's and 80's before taking up a position at another Marist College in Canberra, Australia. During his retirement he became a newspaper columnist and book author and wrote for The Canberra Times, The Irish Echo and Eureka Street. His book Keeping Faith: 40 Years of Marist College Canberra was published in 2008.

Personal Message

As far as I know, Frank is still in the land of the living, and it is my hope that he will have an opportunity to read this dedication. As my personal message to him:

Thank you Frank for inspiring your students and sharing your knowledge and love of computer programming and maths. I wish you many more years of good health.

-- Finnian Reilly

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