Principal Tom Garrison, at his news conference with The Roundup staff on November 9, 2011, expressed his satisfaction with the first ten weeks of the school year and his excitement at the prospects of change in the near future. In The Roundup’s first news conference of the year, Mr. Garrison discussed with Jesuit’s young reporters a varying array of topics, including tablet/smartphone accessibility, building renovations, and bad homecoming dates.
On the stresses of taking over as principal this year, Garrison admitted to “being nervous more often” at the beginning of the year. However, he noted that as time went on these new-job jitters melted away. “I really am more calm [now] than I used to be. This year, I’ve quickly evolved a new appreciation for our teachers that I didn’t have before…I’ve found that I can completely trust the faculty; they’re really doing the right thing.”
With typical optimism, Garrison said that he would describe his oft-demanding principal job as enjoyable. “[The principal job] really has ended up being fun. There are so many cool things going on all day long, all evening, all the time; from my vantage point now… I can sit back and appreciate the wonderful things this community does.”
Going in to Ranger Day, Garrison conceded that he was “nervous, because if it went south [he] would have a greater responsibility than before.” The principal expressed his relief and pride in the senior class for putting on a wonderful morning pep rally, even if the class competitions were less than equitable. “I thought the tone of the morning was very good, very inclusive. I’ve seen in years past Ranger Day turning in to an opportunity for seniors to belittle the other classes, but the [class of 2012] did a very good job of not doing that. There was still quality ribbing going on, and I think the freshmen lost every competition… but it was all in good spirit.”
Garrison happily admitted that he was pleased with the school’s new renovations, namely the re-worked main hallway and the recently completed athletic facility. “I wish I could take credit for those two [renovations] because they’re awesome… I think the flow in the main hall feels better, and teachers have said they prefer the new classrooms. The new athletic tower was kind of the missing link in our program. It wasn’t too long ago that we were dealing with the overcrowding of locker rooms and showers; that should be a thing of the past.”
On the school’s smart-device policy, Garrison seemed optimistic that Jesuit will become more technology-centered in coming years. “I’m confident that we are going to become a device school in the next couple of years. First of all, even if I said we weren’t going to be a device school, the price is such that in the next few years students will overwhelmingly have smart-devices anyway. To deny that fact would be silly; there are going to be iPads on campus whether they’re required or not. What we’re trying to do as a school is decide on what grounds classes will use the devices.”
Even with all the changes expected, Garrison does not see the homecoming dance and football game being consolidated into one weekend. “With the amount of facilities and manpower that goes in to Jesuit’s homecoming events, the alumni homecoming event, the student dance, the football game, it’s difficult to pack all of that in to a 48-hour period.”
Unfortunately, Garrison added with a smile, the “awkward date” problem some students experience is not going away any time soon. “The biggest complaint I’ve heard about homecoming being spread out is that if you get angry at your date [at the dance,] you still have to take her to the game the next week. Thinking back to being a Jesuit student, I realize that that could be difficult; from one week to the next you may wish you had a different date.”