I sat down with a transfer student in May of 2019 at the end of his sophomore year to have a candid conversation about his experience coming to De Smet Jesuit later than many of his peers. This was days after losing our state title for Ultimate Frisbee and the week before finals.
DSJ: Tell me about yourself. When did you come here, and what grade are you?
Student: I came at the beginning of this year. I transferred over the summer to come into sophomore year.
Student: It was kind of a change of scenery. I learned a lot from my other high school, but it wasn't the right fit.
DSJ: What made you pick De Smet?
Student: I had a list of schools, I narrowed it down to two, and I picked De Smet. My best friend went here, and I had a Shadow day and it was really sweet. I enjoyed it, and I thought it was going to be the best option where I fit in best.
DSJ: So, you shadowed as a high school freshman?
Student: Yeah, I guess so.
DSJ: You didn’t shadow here before?
DSJ: When you were in 7th or 8th grade, were you looking around?
Student: My brother is a huge baseball player--that’s all he’s done his entire life--and he picked my former school; I always loved it because he went there, so I kind of naturally gravitated toward there because of him.
DSJ: So you didn’t really look around when you were in middle school?
DSJ: How was the transition to De Smet Jesuit?
Student: It was good. I knew a fair amount of kids coming in. I didn’t entirely know what to expect, but it worked out really, really well.
DSJ: Did you feel welcomed?
Student: Yeah, I did. It was really nice meeting new people, meeting teachers, and creating that new bond I needed so I could thrive and find success here.
DSJ: How has your success been? What would you say has been successful?
Student: Really good, actually. I got my grades up, I’m working hard, and doing the best I can pushing towards the end of the school year.
DSJ: Are you ready for finals?
Student: I am, yeah.
DSJ: Good! What about the teachers, can you describe how they have helped you?
Student: Yeah, I’ve had a few teachers like Mr. Farrell who is my sophomore theology teacher, and Mr. Dressler who’s my sophomore English teacher; they helped me a lot. Especially from the spiritual side. Mr. Farrell, he kind of helped me through the transition and feeling more comfortable, and Mr. Dressler making me feel at home. I really enjoyed his class; he does a really good job.
DSJ: He’s fantastic.
Student: He’s going to be something.
DSJ: He IS something! I agree. I’ve seen him give tours and explain his active learning classroom. He's wonderful. How about the students, how did the students welcome you?
Student: Great. I have a ton of friends now, more than I knew coming in. It’s great.
DSJ: Can you think of specific things that you felt helped welcome you in?
Student: Sporting events; football games are always the fun thing that all high school kids look forward to. I played sophomore soccer and then sophomore ultimate Frisbee this year.
Student: I’ve bonded with new people and made new friends through that.
DSJ: Did they win yesterday?
Student: They lost.
Student: It was...it was a really rough day.
DSJ: That’s the first time in 12 years, right?
Student: Yeah. The streak…
DSJ: Oh no… Was it close?
Student: It was close, and then Priory pulled away at the end. It was sad. It was hard to watch.
DSJ: I just assumed they won. Well, that’s a solid group of students then, if you’re playing soccer and Frisbee then you’re with an active team. Will you try out for the same sports again next year?
Student: Yeah, I sure will.
DSJ: How about clubs?
Student: No, I kind of stick to sports. They’re time-consuming, especially like club sports. I don’t have that much time.
DSJ: What about outside of clubs? Do you feel like things like Spartanfest, Mission Week, homeroom, have any of those things have helped?
Student: Yeah, they’re stuff not involving things with an academic side, I’m a big fan of that. It’s been really cool. It’s a lot different from my other school because there it’s kind of set, almost like hardcore stuff. De Smet’s nice and laid back, but they have a plan.
DSJ: Can you name some specifics of those that you felt in particular?
Student: Homeroom for sure. It’s really cool to be able to come in and just relax for ten minutes and get ready to start the day.
DSJ: Yeah, that’s good. Who is your homeroom teacher?
Student: Coach Klein.
DSJ: So, you’re with soccer guys? Do they kind of keep you guys together?
Student: I think they kind of scatter us around.
DSJ: You like the homeroom, you like coming in and starting your day. What do you think about the idea that you’re with that group for four years?
Student: I like that. You build a relationship to all those kids because you see them every single day for 10 minutes every morning.
DSJ: Perfect. What advice would you give to a student who’s unsatisfied with their current high school, assuming they’re not here?
Student: Look at De Smet Jesuit because it’s treated me really, really, really well.
Student: Academically, it’s at the point where it’s pushing you to your fullest potential, and non-academically it’s all the coaches that want the best for you and want to see you thrive and be successful.
DSJ: You obviously joined competitive teams very well, so that’s nice. There’s are some kids who won’t make Frisbee or don’t play soccer. Obviously, you made friends--a lot of teammate friends, homeroom friends. You’ve described the community and you’ve alluded to it a little bit, but if you could be specific, what would you say makes us distinct or different?
Student: I think there’s a specific culture at different schools that kind of goes around, and you can really feel the different types of them. At De Smet Jesuit it’s really welcoming, like a family vibe, coming in and being comfortable no matter where you are.
DSJ: When you say “no matter where you are”, do you mean no matter where you are in your personal journey, where you are in the school, or...?
Student: Either in school or out of school. Walking around the halls, at activity period, at lunch...you feel like you’re representing the name of De Smet.
DSJ: How about the benefits of an all-boy school? What would you say are the benefits of an all-boy school?
Student: Being able to relate to a lot of kids that are in that same kind of stage as you. You’ll find different friends and meet different people. It’s kind of about working together for different types of things. I went to a public coed middle school, and I think the work ethic’s different from an all boy school to a public school.
Student: Because, in middle school a lot of times the girls do most of the work, and it’s different (here) because we put it all on our shoulders, so we have to kick it into gear.
DSJ: (Laughs) Interesting. So the work ethic, anything else? Do you feel like the guys are more...I would assume...willing to try things because the girls aren’t around? Perhaps they’re going to be more willing to try out for a play?
Student: They’re more open to doing different things.
DSJ: Anything else that you can think of?
Student: That’s pretty much it.
DSJ: Thank you.