Dream Big, Class of 2021!

Dream Big, Class of 2021!
Debbie Higgins

Smiles, hugs, wind-blown National Honor Society hoods, a weather delay, and fireworks were all part of the Class of 2021’s graduation ceremony on May 16, De Smet Jesuit’s 51st commencement exercises. But it is the 172 graduates, and their legacy of leadership and service, who assembled guests will remember most.  

The graduates processed into the ceremony on Suntrup Field carrying yellow roses, symbols of gratitude to present to their parents.  Principal Kevin Poelker ’98 welcomed guests, stating, “Class of 2021, you have been exceptional leaders and role models, and you have earned the respect and admiration of your teachers, coaches, and fellow students. We are better because of you and will miss you.”

In his remarks, De Smet Jesuit’s President, Dr. Daniel Zepp, challenged graduates to model the legacy of St. Ignatius of Loyola. “Set the world aflame,” he said. “We expect you to dream big, like St. Ignatius, discern what you are meant to do, and pursue it with everything you have. When you do that, you can transform the world.” 

Salutatorian Ben Mueller led the Convocation Prayer, and Valedictorian Jack Jones offered an address to the graduates. “In high school, we’ve been looking to discover ourselves: finding our passions and meeting our people,” Jack said. “Now we look forward and wonder about the beyond. We try to fit the pieces together to join ourselves and service; our greatest joy meeting the world’s deepest need; and what we are going to make of the life that is in front of us.”

Following the conferral of diplomas, Fr. Jim Burshek, S.J., offered the closing Benediction. 

“Loving God, may these young men who have been so gifted by you now share all of their gifts with the world, so that as they near the end of their journey of faith toward you, they may hear you say to them as we say to them today: These are our beloved sons in whom we are very well pleased.”

Congratulations, De Smet Jesuit Class of 2021!


Graduation 2021 Awards

The following awards were presented during the graduation ceremony. Congratulations to all honorees.

Twelve young men outside, sitting and standing around a sign that reads De Smet Jesuit.

Men of the Year

Gael Cosgaya, Michael Cutler, Marquis Govan, Andrew Herrmann, Yaya Keita, Justin Kennedy, Ben Mueller, Connor Pohl, Ian Quinn, Brad Rumping, Bryan Rumping, Mekhi Wingo

Jerry McMahon, S.J., Award

Chosen by vote of the senior class, presented to a senior who epitomizes what it means to be a true man for with others

Nick Winter

Jesuit Schools Network Awards

Students who exemplify the Jesuit Graduate at Graduation ideals: open to growth; loving; religious; intellectually competent; developing as a leader, and committed to justice

Jonathan Fales

Andrew Freund

President’s Medals

To seniors who embody the values contained in De Smet Jesuit’s mission statement and exemplify what it means to be a man for and with others

Nolan Ruder

David Totty  

Fr. Windmueller, S.J., Ignatian Educator Award

To a teacher chosen by vote of the senior class

Adam Boehm

Dr. Patrick Berger Excellence in Teaching Awards

Chosen by vote of students in each grade level

Freshmen: Kennedy Phillips

Sophomores: Alex Hall

Juniors: Tom Sothers


Six young men in maroon graduation caps and gowns standing arm in arm outside.
Strings of colorful confetti drift over a crowd seated outside in folding chairs.

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