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College Bound

College Bound

Jesuit High School's Class of 2021 will attend top colleges and highly selective universities across the country, such as the Air Force Academy, Notre Dame, the University of Chicago, USC, and the University of Virginia.

As much as ever before, though, Jesuit's newest graduates have found their best collegiate fit from among the many outstanding schools within the Sunshine State – very often at Florida State or the University of Florida. It was a banner year for the traditionally most popular destinations in Tallahassee and Gainesville.

Among the 185 members of the Class of 2021, 102 were accepted at FSU (125 applied), equaling the Jesuit's highest total ever accepted to Florida State. Twenty Tigers met the criteria for Honors College, and 40 are expected to enroll at FSU. Among those matriculating are Tyler Corish, Jesuit's O'Connell Award recipient for Athletic and Academic Achievement; Alex Wasylik, the lead programmer for Jesuit Robotics; State Champion swimmer Sam Prabhakaran; guitar ensemble vice president C.J. DeCort; basketball standout Kai Ravenna; and Jake Spoto, who earned 2nd place for his AP Art Portfolio at Celebration of the Arts this spring and graduated summa cum laude.

The numbers are exceptional at Florida again this year as well. Of 95 applicants from Jesuit, 66 were accepted to UF (69%, more than double UF's overall average), with 9 accepted to the Honors College and 35 expected to enroll and become Gators. Seven Tigers are expected to join the UF Honors College: Aiden Dupreez, Jason Heiman, Jason Kwo (who was one of four Jesuit Valedictorians), Alex Martinez, Diego Maldonado-Puebla (also a Valedictorian), Michael Rooth, and Max Gonzalez (National Merit Finalist).

Gonzalez and Wyatt Swezey chose UF over acceptances to the University of Notre Dame, among others. UF-bound Brett Litschgi chose the Gators over Michigan, Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Boston College. Joey Santana, Jesuit's Heart of a Champion recipient, chose Florida over Xavier, Syracuse, and Fordham. Lucas Alvarado selected Florida over Wake Forest and BC. Maldonado-Puebla, who won the Lashley Award at graduation, the highest honor Jesuit confers, selected the UF Honors College over Duke, Northwestern, Notre Dame, and Georgetown.

The third Jesuit Valedictorian accepted to the UF Honors College, Daniel Jung, is among the five members of the Class of '21 who will matriculate at Notre Dame, joining Jimmy Grammig, Dawson Kiser (an Ignatian Scholar at Jesuit), Jake Geske, and Frankie Machado. Jung received the Hiller Family Scholarship to Notre Dame, and Grammig received the Crowley Family Scholarship.

Many of Jesuit's 87 summa cum laude graduates (4.1 GPA or above) are enrolling at some of the nation's most highly selective universities. Nick Vega, who first came to Jesuit as a middle school student in Jesuit Summer Bridge and later became a JSB Big Brother, is headed to the highly selective University of Chicago. Joseph Koebbe, an award-winning AP Artist and hockey captain, will enroll at Villanova University. The fourth Valedictorian, Lukas Lehman, selected the University of Virginia over Columbia, Michigan, and Georgia Tech, among others, and Jack Delp will join Lehman at UVa. Nico Machado and Mac Revelle are headed to Wake Forest, and Eric Mullan chose Providence College over UF, BC, and Colgate.

Edward Morrison, the drum major of the Pep Band, president of African-American Club, and recipient of the Gavan Award at graduation for outstanding generosity and dependability in service to the school community, selected Xavier University over acceptances from a slew of Jesuit universities. Will Danzi, who earned 1st place AP Portfolio at Celebration of the Arts and was president of Jesuit's Business Club, The Company, earned the prestigious Chris and Lauren Schellman Scholarship to the University of Tennessee. Danzi, who was accepted to UT's Haslam College of Business, was surprise-awarded the scholarship this spring during a Zoom presentation in Jesuit's college counseling offices by Tennessee's administrative leadership, including university chancellor Donde Plowman.

Among the Jesuit student-athletes signing to play collegiately are swimming sensation Nick Shaffer, who helped lead Jesuit to three State Championships in his four years, with Florida Atlantic; baseball star B.J. Graham, who joins former Tiger baseball teammates Bennett Lee '20 and Turner Thompson '20 at Tulane; a trio of baseball players, Kris Sosnowski, Dominic Castellano, and Cole Russo, who signed with the University of Central Florida, following in footsteps of UCF All-American and Tampa Bay Rays 2020 5th round pick Jeff Hakanson '17; football players Todd Bowles (Rutgers), and Joe Pesansky (Holy Cross), the Florida Class 5A Football Player of the Year, who will bring their gridiron talents to the northeast; and AP Artist and flame-throwing baseball pitcher Alden Segui, who signed with North Carolina.

Adam Dieck, a National Merit Finalist and track District Champion in the 1600 and 3200 meters, chose the very highly selective Pomona College in California, which has an acceptance rate of 7.4%, over the UF Honors College. Jackson Shembekar, who gained renown this spring as a cryptocurrency guru and all-around "Renaissance man," will play baseball at the University of Tampa. And Aidan Bissett, who signed with Capitol Records and released his first single under the famed record label this spring, is headed to the University of Southern California.

Jonas Jonsson, who played football and lacrosse and earned straight As in high school, accepted an appointment to the Air Force Academy in Colorado. Luke Franklin accepted a four-year ROTC scholarship to the University of Florida.

Like FSU and UF, state universities Central Florida, South Florida and Florida A&M are well represented in the Class of '21. Nico Smyth, the Excellence in Media Production award recipient and the Performer of the Year with the Jesuit Masque, is among nine who are expected to enroll at UCF. Jorel De Guzman, Jesuit's Elliot Award for Spiritual Leadership recipient at graduation, may also enroll at UCF, pending his application to the Diocesan Seminary. Summa cum laude graduates Joey Aschenbrenner, Tyler Brownrigg, Brayden Hanrahan, and Xavier Lopez are all UCF-bound.

John Barreto, a four-year standout in Robotics, the Pep Band, and Campus Ministry, is among 14 Tigers who are expected to enroll at USF, along with summa cum laude graduates Justin Boumalhab, Carson Jeffords, and Jacob Tagle, as well as Bulls baseball signee Joey Volini. AP Artist Jeremiah Sutton and football captain Myles Coates are headed to FAMU, joining a host of Tigers from recent graduating classes to enroll there, including Jeremiah Nichols '19, who spoke at Convocation this spring.

At least one member of the Class of '21, Koehler Runkle, is crossing the border for college. Runkle chose the University of Toronto, which is ranked as the No. 1 university in Canada by U.S. News & World Report, over Montreal's McGill University.

Eleven members of the Class of '21 were accepted to Boston College, the highly selective Jesuit school, and two are enrolling, Jeff Buyak and Dawson Jessee. Jessee won the Arrupe Award for distinguished achievement in community service at graduation, and he was president of two of Jesuit's most active clubs, the Pre-Medical Club and Environmental Club.

Many more top universities from across the nation have accepted Jesuit students this year, such as the University of Georgia (11 accepted, Chazz Brazzeal enrolling), Ohio State (Nick Asher, who chose the Buckeyes over UF), Furman (Brett Fedorovich, Tyler Thiel, Chris Rinker), Vanderbilt (Swezey, Geske), Emory (Andrew Smith, who is enrolling at UF), Miami (Joseph Lopez), Virginia Tech, and many more.

Jesuit's director of college counseling, Fernando Rodrigues, emphasizes that each individual student should focus on finding the best matches for them during the college process. This year's class did a great job managing the process and finding the right colleges, and ultimately that one right college, for them. 

"These young men worked their way through the process and identified those schools that are the best fit," Rodrigues said. "It is an outstanding, well-rounded group of students who have selected excellent colleges and universities for the next four years of their life and beyond."

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