Time flies. Regardless of if you’re a senior or a freshman, you can still imagine what the newness of Jesuit felt like. In April, these feelings are especially visceral as you move into the next phase of your academic career. Even though these feelings are seemingly exclusive to students, the faculty and administration sense these phases as well.
On March 7th, writers from The Roundup sat down with Principal Tom Garrison and Vice Principals Mark Knize, Ben Kirby, and Michelle Williams to discuss the 2017 semester thus far.
The group led off the conversation with a discussion about the acquiring of land across Willow, which could potentially make Jesuit 34 acres. The project, Mr. Knize explained, will “better our parking,” something “that was one of the biggest things that stuck in my mind about a change that’s coming on the near horizon.” Though there are houses existing in that property, Mr. Garrison added that the addition will “be sooner than you realize. They’ve got to clear the current buildings… When it starts happening, it will happen very quickly.”
Garrison said of the project, “It’s always been a dream, there are just all kinds of things that go on behind the scenes… We worked with the city to make sure that it was zoned for athletic use and for parking because if the zoning didn’t happen, there’d be no point in getting the land. All these dominoes had to line up before you start pushing them over—that’s really Mr. Earsing and Mr. Berend.”
The land is set to feature sports fields and/or facilities and additional parking. “It’ll impact those students who are in those sports from day one… The persons who park there will feel that immediately because they will not have to cross Inwood,” Garrison stated. Dr. Kirby explained that because Jesuit is “landlocked,” it is “huge to get something that’s that close [to campus].” Moreover, sports programs will benefit by being able to practice earlier in the day due to “availability of all that green space.” Multiple sports will be able to practice at one time, potentially minimizing late evening practices.
Other construction projects, Garrison added, will include “more work in the cafeteria this summer. The side as you go in closest to the Senior Courtyard where the sound baffles are up in the ceiling, we’re going to do something similar to that on the other side… It’s going to make it more inviting and more comfortable.”
“At least one class in the building will see these changes.”
The iPad program, old in technological years, saw its fifth year of implementation this year. However, Jesuit continues to maintain its highly effective educational technology program. Put frankly, Garrison noted that “our technology works. I’ve been placed or I know people who work in places where technology doesn’t work.” Because of that, the program will focus on “revamping, revitalizing and making sure all our infrastructure continues to work, which is not glamorous—you don’t see it. If we replace the WiFi access point, you wouldn’t notice, but you would notice if it wasn’t working.”
Mrs. Williams expressed the teachers’ newfound success with technology: “I think in the classroom, teachers have become more comfortable experimenting and trying things on their own. I’ve heard a lot of different teachers tell me about different applications or things that they’re trying in class that is germane to their class. In general, there’s an increased comfort level in terms of the teachers and what they’re comfortable doing in their class.”
As the seniors begin their slew of end-of-the-year events, Garrison lauded the Class of 2017 by explaining that “In a high school, there can be an ‘us versus them’ with the adults and the students or there can just be an ‘us’ and I do feel like there’s an ‘us’ here, which is a big deal. I don’t feel that we have to play cat and mouse with you guys. That’s greatly appreciated.”
Knize added that “our big events have been very successful because of the tone that the senior class set: Ranger Day was phenomenal…homecoming was well done…our bigger events had a solid tone to them.” He also noticed the activity in the courtyard, “the most use we’ve gotten out of the Senior courtyard since I’ve been here… These guys like to play. That sounds like a trivial thing, but, even on Community Days and stuff, there are just guys out there playing games and having a good time… This group really enjoys one another’s company.”
As this school year wraps to a close, Jesuit administration will continue its habit of bettering the school’s infrastructure and students.