"I Am St. Francis"
The Student Leader Perspective: Six Questions for the Student Ambassador Leadership Team (SALT) Executive Board Members Ava S. ’22, Bella Z. ’23, Jack Z. ’22, Michael G. ’22, and Tommy B. ‘22
1. What grade school did you attend? What activities have you been involved in at SFHS?
Ava: I attended St. Michael in Wheaton from preschool through 8th grade.
At SFHS I run cross country in the fall and play softball in the spring. I am also a part of SALT, National Honor Society, and Student Ministry.
Bella: I attended St. Walter School in Roselle for grade school. I have been a part of the dance team, theatre department, choir, SADD, SMT, Student government, NHS, and, of course, SALT.
Jack: I attended St. James The Apostle School in Glen Ellyn. I am involved in theater, choir, NHS, Spanish NHS, and SALT.
Michael: I have come from All Saints Catholic Academy and I am a SALT executive board member, a member of the golf team, part of the Theatre program, the National Honors Society, and multiple clubs.
Tommy: I attended St. Joan of Arc in Lisle. Activities I’ve been involved in at SFHS include Basketball, Student Ambassador Leadership Team, Men’s Spirituality Group, National Honor Society, intramural sports, and I am currently the PA announcer for the boys' basketball team.
2. How does SFHS help you to excel in your areas of interest?
Ava: SFHS has helped me excel both academically and athletically in areas of my interest because of the great teachers and coaches. Every year I am so lucky to be surrounded by a staff that is passionate about what they do, truly cares about the success of their students, and is open to helping them in any way they can.
Bella: SFHS allows me the freedom to pursue different groups, ideas, and concepts while continuing to support my already well-established interests. I have continued to grow in everything from giving speeches to singing in choir because of St. Francis's willingness to provide me with the support I need to grow.
Jack: St Francis has a thriving theater program with 6 productions a year and a full-fledged stage crew. The theater program has opportunities for me to act, design, and build sets and props, direct, write scripts, and even play in the orchestra (if I ever decided to play an instrument.)
Michael: St. Francis helps me grow as a person, it allows me to become a leader in many ways, but it also allows me to follow my interests. As a person who has no clue what I am going to do in life, I can try out a lot of different stuff in high school. For example, I am trying guitar this year in the guitar 1 class. I also get expert advice from experts in their field. I am interested in theatre production and our theatre director has had years of training and works in that field. He trains us in modern techniques, everything from carpentry to lighting and sound design.
Tommy: SFHS helps me excel in my areas of interest because of the staff and students that surround me every day. They all support me and provide huge amounts of encouragement in all my endeavors.
3. What are your thoughts about returning to school this fall?
Ava: I am very excited to start school this fall and see everyone I missed over the summer. Based on my past years here at SFHS, I have great confidence that teachers will help me and push me to be the best I can be for college next fall.
Bella: Above anything else, I have definitely missed the daily connections had with the faculty and staff of SFHS. There is something about walking into school knowing that so many wonderful people are on your side, rooting so earnestly for your success that could never be replaced by a computer screen or phone call.
Jack: This fall I am excited to see all my friends in person 5 days a week and have no more Microsoft Teams calls to join.
Michael: I am very excited for this year to start. As I am ramping up for my final year at St. Francis, I only have positive thoughts. This year I am taking classes that I am very interested in like Intro to Engineering, Environmental Science, and AP Gov. These classes are not just fun and interesting, but they make me more knowledgeable in many different fields of study.
Tommy: Returning to school this fall, I am super excited to see my teachers and classmates again. I am also really looking forward to being able to cheer for our sports teams in person this year. Lastly, I’m ready to finish up my last year at SFHS on a great note and prepare myself for college next year.
4. Why are you glad you chose SFHS for your high school experience?
Ava: I am very happy with the choice I made back in 8th grade. At the time I was looking for a high school that valued community, holistic growth, and faith. I can confidently say that SFHS checks all those boxes and more.
Bella: I am so grateful that I chose St. Francis for my high school experience--I truly cannot see myself in any school besides it! The sheer number of classes, clubs and activities presents us with limitless opportunities, while the community fostered by the Franciscan spirit continually bonds these different sectors into a diverse, well-rounded community of individuals.
Jack: I am glad I chose St. Francis for my high school experience because of the large number of honors, AP, and college prep level courses offered prepared me for my senior year and for college.
Michael: I am glad I choose St. Francis because I feel like I have become a better person, not just academically but spiritually as well. Last year I got to take part in two different retreats and I believe they have allowed me to grow into a well-rounded student.
Tommy: I am so glad I chose SFHS because I have been given so many opportunities. Our perfect enrollment size has allowed me to form personal relationships with teachers and coaches that I likely wouldn’t have at other larger schools.
5. What advice would you give to parents of middle school students that are considering SFHS for their child’s high school experience?
Ava: Take advantage of Open Houses and Shadow Days. Both those events really give the student a chance to see what it is really like to be a high schooler at SFHS.
Bella: I can go on and on about my love for SFHS, but the only way to see if it's right for your family is to come experience it for yourself! Like so many others, I had trouble deciding on where to spend the next four years of my life, yet the moment I stepped into class on my 8th grade shadow day, I thought "this is it." The unique blend of top-notch academics, spirited athletics, developed extracurriculars, and the ever-present Franciscan Way makes up the famed Spartan Spirit. Come to any of our events and I'm positive you'll feel it for yourself!
Jack: I would say the small school feel paired with the big school resources make for a perfect high school experience.
Michael: To any parents or middle schoolers out there who are considering coming to St. Francis, please come by and experience St. Francis outside of the Open Houses and Shadow Days. Come and experience a football game, the musical, or the rock band play. These performances and games show the true loving community that St. Francis has to offer.
Tommy: Encourage your child to do a shadow visit and attend an extracurricular event like a sports game to get a feel for the school itself and the school spirit outside of the classroom. Also, don’t pick a school solely because most of your friends are going to a different school. You meet so many new people in high school that you can form new friendships while maintaining your old ones.
6. What is one word that encapsulates your experience at St. Francis?
Michael: The one word I would choose to describe St. Francis is family. St. Francis has become like my second home and in that sense, the teachers and my classmates are like my second family. They are always there to guide me and to help me grow. They are always there to support me and love me. St. Francis is my family.