"I Am St. Francis"
The Student Leader Perspective: Six Questions for the Student Ambassador Leadership Team (SALT) Executive Board Maggie B. ’21, Kate C. ’21, Caroline D. ’21, and Evan S. ‘21
1. What grade school did you attend? What activities have you been involved in at SFHS?
Maggie: I attended St. Isidore in Bloomingdale. While at St. Francis, I have been involved in tennis, volleyball, Student Ambassador Leadership Team, Student Ministry Team, National Honor Society, Spanish Honors Society, math team, scholastic bowl, marching band, jazz band, and pit band.
Kate: I attended St. Raphael Catholic School in Naperville. At St. Francis, I have been involved in varsity soccer, varsity basketball, the Student Ambassador Leadership Team, National Honor Society, Students Against Destructive Decisions, and the Spanish National Honor Society.
Caroline: I attended St. Walter School in Roselle. At St. Francis, I’ve been involved in theatre, band, scholastic bowl, and NHS, most notably!
Evan: All Saints Catholic Academy. I have been involved in Soccer, Tennis, Math Team, Scholastic Bowl, Ping Pong Club, Uno Club, and Engineering Club.
2. How has SFHS prepared you to excel in your areas of interest?
Maggie: St. Francis has prepared me to excel in my areas of interest by providing me with opportunities to be involved with everything and anything. I participate not only in athletics but also in the arts programs and academic extracurriculars as well. With these countless opportunities to be involved, I can explore my interests and interact with others who have similar passions.
Kate: St. Francis has prepared me to excel academically, spiritually, and athletically. I have been challenged in the classroom each year by my teachers and their rigorous curriculum. They have taught me study habits that I will translate into my college career. Spiritually, the religion teachers have guided me to develop a stronger faith through the retreats each year and now, I look to attend a Christian college because of the experience I have had at a Catholic high school. I have excelled in both soccer and basketball due to the coaches that are at St. Francis. I have loved every minute playing on the teams because I have learned about leadership, hard-work, and composure. St. Francis has really prepared me for the future, and I am excited to see what the future holds. I have been allowed to partake in a rigorous course load, two sports, and several clubs because of the size of the school and the compassion among my teachers and coaches.
Caroline: SFHS has nurtured my love for music and theatre. My favorite memories about music come from the experiences I’ve had in band. My teacher is such a great influence on the students’ love of performance, and I experienced it firsthand in marching band and music ensemble. He helped me overcome my fear of playing keys in public through encouraging me to take solos. And the standard is the same in every class, where teachers constantly offer support and learning opportunities for their students.
Evan: SFHS has prepared me to excel in my areas of interest through its wide variety of class choices (both electives and APs). Also, all the teachers are super passionate about their classes – if I want to learn more about a subject, I can simply have a friendly conversation with a teacher.
3. What Franciscan virtue do you most connect with your high school experience? Why? (compassion, prayer, peace & justice, simplicity, integrity, humility, brotherhood/sisterhood, joy, acceptance, service, generosity, peacemaking, faithfulness, hospitality, charity, goodness)
Maggie: The Franciscan virtue that I most connect with my high school experience thus far is hospitality. Everyone at St. Francis, from the staff and faculty to the students and parents, is welcoming and cares for you. I feel that SFHS is a safe environment for me to not only learn more about educational topics but also myself and the world around me. The people I know at St. Francis have become my second family with the school building as our home.
Kate: The Franciscan virtue that connects with my high school experience is hospitality. While looking into St. Francis as an incoming freshman, I was immediately welcomed by the teachers and other students. The teachers welcomed me by showing us that they are there for us for anything we may need. They make time for you before or after school for any academic or personal reasons. I love walking down the hallways because I always see people I know. During the passing periods, I stop in to talk to some of my teachers and just check in. As a whole, St. Francis works on welcoming all people into the school, whether it’s a Future Spartan, or an outside visitor. The service projects we partake in demonstrate the hospitality that the staff and students have, and I think that is the difference with St. Francis and other high schools in the area.
Caroline: The virtue I associate most with high school is sisterhood/brotherhood. The group of friends I met at St. Francis truly feels like a family. I have a deep connection with every single one of them, and attribute them to part of the reason why St. Francis is so special. In addition to my primary group of friends, I say confidently that I have a memory with every single one of my classmates, all of whom make Francis, Francis.
Evan: The Franciscan virtue that most describes my high school experience would be JOY. I have made tons of life-long friends, and every time I step into St. Francis, I feel happy.
4. Between traditional in-person classes and E-Learning, what are your thoughts about returning to school this fall?
Maggie: Although we know this year will not be normal, I am excited and ready to return to school this fall because I know I will be challenged to grow as an individual. Traditional schooling and e-learning will help highlight our versatility and willingness to overcome any obstacles thrown at us. We might not be in the classroom together all the time, but I know that we all will have grown to become stronger, more resilient versions of ourselves. It will be a challenge, but a challenge we all can overcome through our support of one another.
Kate: I am confident in returning to school in the fall because St. Francis is well equipped to adjust if necessary due to the amount of preparation all of the teachers and staff have placed in order to make this school year as similar to the years prior. I have confidence in the teachers to challenge us even during E-Learning because that is what they did last spring. Most importantly, I cannot wait to be back in the building even if it is for two days of the week. The St. Francis community is blessed to have the tools and knowledge to make this transition as easy as possible for all parties involved.
Caroline: I know that St. Francis is prepared either way, that is through in-person learning or in e-learning, to provide the excellence of education that has always been the standard here. Last quarter was essentially a test run for teachers to understand the technology and for us students to get used to a new normal. I have full confidence that despite a different looking school year, the teachers, staff, and other students will make our senior year special and just as incredible as it would have been if we were at full capacity.
Evan: I am confident that St. Francis will provide the highest level of education no matter what form of learning we do this fall. Also, I think that while school this fall will be different than what I am used to, I will find a way to connect with my teachers and classmates to give myself a better senior-year experience. Finally, I know that the guidance counselors will do an excellent job to try and help seniors figure out their college plans during ‘these unprecedented times’.
5. What advice would you give to parents of middle school students that are considering SFHS for their child’s high school experience?
Maggie: My piece of advice for parents of middle school students considering SFHS would be to keep an open mind and follow your heart. Encourage your students to look into St. Francis through its website or social media outlets to gain a better understanding of our community. Even during e-learning where it was necessary for us to stay apart, we still could feel the school's love and compassion through our online classes. As a member of the Student Ambassador Leadership Team executive board, we are creating and working on innovative ideas to show the heart of St. Francis in other ways. I encourage all families to be as involved as they can; even through the form of photos, videos, or any other options, I know everyone is able to see the love present at St. Francis.
Kate: Although this year’s recruitment events may not occur due to the current circumstances, I would say to any parents of middle school students to reach out to Mrs. Isphording and request information about the school. I would also suggest checking out the social media pages in order to see what a day at St. Francis would look like if in-person shadow days cannot take place. I have developed relationships with my teachers, and I feel so comfortable asking for help with anything I may need. Because of the size of the school, I have been able to participate in several activities while taking on a rigorous course load. The community makes St. Francis the best place for me because of the sense of family that exists throughout the halls.
Caroline: To parents: St. Francis provides the most enriching high school experience I could have ever asked for. A lot of my middle school friends attended different public schools in the area, and while they enjoyed some aspects, many wish they had made the decision to go to a school like Francis. Going into high school, I knew I wanted a smaller school where I knew my teachers and classmates well, and St. Francis delivered. It also didn’t disappoint on academic levels, and I feel like I have learned valuable life lessons from the experiences I’ve had here. Even in quarantine through e-learning, teachers have made the SFHS experience one of a kind.
Evan: I would say that St. Francis is capable of easily switching from in-person learning to e-learning should the need arise. Our technological capabilities surpass those of all other schools in the area. Also, the teachers and staff are always trying to help their students, so no one student will feel left behind during these crazy times.
6. What is one word that encapsulates your experience at St. Francis?
Kate: One word that encapsulates my experience at St. Francis is friendship. The teachers and coaches have strived to develop relationships with each kid that walks through the door. There have been several service opportunities that have allowed me to make friends with students from different grade levels. I have met so many friends that I know I will keep in touch with even after I graduate. The teachers are so loving and compassionate, and they make that known by offering up their time before and after school to help any student that may need them.