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9/24/2013 2:51:00 PM
'Two Pounds Exactly': Wearing two hats at Jesuit High School
Jesuit High School photo
Kelly Kaempf, Josh DeKlotz and Sanya Cowal volunteer at food bank.
Jesuit High School photo
Kelly Kaempf, Josh DeKlotz and Sanya Cowal volunteer at food bank.
Erin DeKlotz

As admissions director at Jesuit High School, one of my charges every fall is ensuring that the freshman transition to high school is a smooth one.  A team of more than 150 junior/senior student leaders and I plan orientation for the new students — a day for meeting classmates through games, tours, songs and cheers.  Older student “Ambassadors” help freshmen find their classrooms, open locker locks and determine which lunch period they have.

For me, this year felt different, though. My oldest son, Joshua, is a freshman at Jesuit. After 20 years as a teacher (and now an administrator) here, I am now also a parent. The beginning of the school year takes on new meaning as I fret about my own son: whether he will make the soccer team, whether he will find friends to sit with at lunch, and whether he can manage all of the academic expectations of high school. I now wear two Jesuit “hats.”

But one of the best things that happened during Josh’s transition happened far from Jesuit High School’s campus—at the Oregon Food Bank, of all places. Ten other Jesuit faculty and staff members, also parents of freshmen this year, decided we wanted to introduce our children to each other and to the Jesuit spirit through a group service project before the start of school.

In August, we met at the Oregon Food Bank to pack noodles into bags. What resulted was much more than two-pound bags of pasta neatly boxed. What we witnessed were the seeds of community beginning to sprout within the class of 2017, right before our eyes.

We watched as our sons and daughters laughed together, competing with one another for who could measure exactly 2 pounds with one scoop. We listened as they shared stories of summer reading assignments and family trips.  

The best part for me as a mom: Josh now has nine new friends and understands more clearly what I have shared for years about Jesuit forming “men and women for others.” I think he also has someone to sit with at lunch.  

The writer is director of admissions at Jesuit.

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