U of D Jesuit Experience Truly Is More Than an Education
By Tom O'Keefe '64, Director of Planned Giving
U of D Jesuit supporters often ask me what our students are like today. I usually respond by speaking about current students. Today, I would like to share some insight from two Class of 2009 graduates. Both of these young men received financial aid which made it possible for them to attend The High.
Kevin O’Brien '09 grew up on the west side with his parents and two sisters. He graduated from Michigan State University with a major in Social Relations and Policy. Kevin was accepted into Teach for America, and began teaching sixth grade at the Detroit West Preparatory Academy in the fall of 2013.
I currently have 27 students in my class and I love each and every one of them. I am committed to Detroit West Prep for at least two years. I am open to all career options – as long as I can remain in Detroit. In August, my former soccer coach, Mr. Tuite asked me to become the head coach of the U of D Jesuit Academy soccer team. I told him I would love the opportunity. In the first week with these young Cubs, I realized that I was going to be coaching for a very long time.
U of D Jesuit has influenced my life in many ways. I continue to take graduate classes because I have a commitment to intellectual competency. I still wear my Kairos cross to remind me of my religious values which keep me grounded and humble. I go to work every day because I want to positively impact my community, my city and my brothers and sisters in the most loving way possible. I chose my collegiate major because of my commitment to doing justice. Finally, I wake up in the morning with a mind that is as open to growth and positive change as it can be. I often think about requirements at The High for a graduate at graduation and hope that I am exemplifying them every day.
Jordon Ramirez '09 grew up on the east side with his mom and little brother and he credits his mother with giving him a solid Christian foundation. He graduated from Grand Valley State University majoring in Biomedical Science (pre-med) and is applying to medical schools. Jordon is currently working at The High as an AVC (Alumni Volunteer) and coaching football and basketball.
I chose U of D Jesuit because it had so many students from so many different walks of life coming together and interacting with each other. There was an overwhelming sense of unity among the student body. The academics were outstanding, but I also knew that the school would help me cross that bridge from childhood to manhood.
One of my favorite memories is the Kairos retreat in my senior year. It was truly life-changing. It acted as a safe haven where my classmates and I could let our guard down and really express our feelings. As men, society sometimes dictates the repression of our emotions and feelings for fear of not appearing masculine. Kairos really lets you see that your fellow classmates are not just classmates, they are your brothers. I wouldn’t trade Kairos for the world.
Thank you for making a U of D Jesuit education possible for Kevin, Jordan and many other deserving Cubs. To learn how you can ensure that these opportunities are available for future generations of Cubs, please contact Tom O’Keefe '64 at 313-927-2342 or at Thomas.firstname.lastname@example.org.