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College Bound: Class of 2023

College Bound: Class of 2023

Jesuit High School’s Class of 2023 is matriculating at outstanding universities throughout Florida, across the country, and even a little beyond the national borders, from Miami to Vancouver, British Columbia.

2023 has been another popular year for Jesuit graduates choosing to attend a major state school, with Florida State (39 Jesuit students from the Class of 2023), Florida (25), and Central Florida (14) leading the way. Several also are bound for Ivy League schools such as Yale, Penn, and Brown. And the Class of 2023 has a remarkably high number who have chosen a military academy.

Two seniors accepted appointments to the U.S. Military Academy (West Point): Matthew Griffith, who was the recipient of the Elliot Award at graduation, and Grant Creedican, who chose Army over an appointment to the Naval Academy. They will be joined at West Point in 2024 by Wesley Shaw, who will play football this year at the U.S. Military Academy Prep School.

Two seniors accepted appointments to the U.S. Naval Academy: Juan Figuera-Parra and Brian O’Leary, who is an internationally accomplished rower and will compete in rowing for Navy. They will be joined in Annapolis in 2024 by Andre Gilbert, who will play football this year at the U.S. Naval Academy Prep School.

Jordan Jansen, who was 4-year standout for Jesuit’s State Championship swimming program, accepted an appointment to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut, where he will be a member of the swim team. And Grayson Gallagher accepted a Naval ROTC scholarship to the University of Mississippi.

Florida State and Florida continue to be the most common destinations for Jesuit students. Among the 39 Tigers in the Class of 2023 headed to Tallahassee this summer/fall are the top theatre student in the senior class, St. Genesius Award winner Colin Creadon; straight-A student Jake Margetis; basketball standout and summa cum laude graduate Angelo Cabalan; award-winning artists Nick Rodriguez and Vincent Spoto; and pitcher John Abraham, who signed to play baseball with FSU and will join Jamie Arnold ’22 and Ryan Denison ’22 in the Seminoles’ rotation.

Many of the top students in the Class of 2023 are headed to the University of Florida, led by Valedictorian and Arrupe Award winner Cam Bailey, who chose UF over two highly selective West Coast schools, UCLA and USC. Other incoming Gators include soccer standout Alex Bossio, who partnered with Bailey to raise more than $100,000 in 2022 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; straight-A students Caiden Hyer (chose UF over Boston College), Brian Rumsey (UF over Notre Dame), Jude Soriano (National Merit Scholar), and Collin Williams (National Merit Scholar); John Philip Sousa Award-winning drummer extraordinaire Marc Mejia; and Nicholas Gagliardo (UF over Boston College and Georgetown) and Zach Marquis, who were recognized this spring by the Leukemia Society for raising a record $143,000.

Of the 14 attending the University of Central Florida, three are National Merit Scholars: brothers Anthony Donnelly and Shane Donnelly, and Kyle Boyes. Boyes, who chose UCF over UF and Georgia Tech, was the recipient of the Jack O’Connell Award for Academic and Athletic Achievement after earning straight-A grades and starring in football for Jesuit. Also UCF-bound is St. Robert Bellarmine Theology Award winner Joshua Newman and Dean Schroeder, who chose UCF engineering over Purdue.

Four Tigers are continuing their education at Ivy League institutions. Jesuit tennis standout and summa cum laude graduate Bobby James-Rodil is headed to Brown University in Rhode Island, and All-State goalkeeper Phillip Falcon will join the nationally ranked soccer program at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Last year, two Tigers matriculated at Yale University, Matthew Tran ’22 and Zachary Reich ’22, and they will be joined by two more from the Class of 2023. Zipoli Scholar, Pre-Med Club president, and No. 1 tennis player Andre Botero is headed to Yale along with National Merit Scholar Ayden Lee, who was voted Most Likely to Succeed, earned Jesuit's Altar Server of the Year honor, and received the Lashley Award for leadership, Jesuit's highest honor, at graduation. Lee chose Yale over Notre Dame and Georgetown, among others, while Botero chose Yale over the UF Honors College.

Several other highly selective national universities are welcoming members of the Class of 2023. Houston Weathers will attend the University of Chicago (6.5% acceptance rate), where he will play football for UC. Sam Forman is attending renowned Rice University in Texas, which had a 7.7% acceptance rate for its incoming freshman class. Dylan Bissett is continuing a recent pipeline across the country to USC, following his brother, Aidan Bissett ’21, and Riley Buchanan ’20. Zipoli Scholar and hockey captain Matthew Dolan selected Providence College over UF and the University of Montana, and lacrosse standout Colin Kruger will play for Boston University.

Perhaps the most valuable of the more than $20 million in scholarships earned by the Class of 2023 was that awarded to summa cum laude graduate Kevin Doherty, who is the recipient of the extraordinary Schellman Scholarship to the University of Tennessee's Haslam Business School, a comprehensive four-year full ride plus benefits. Also headed to Tennessee are Ryan Fanelli and Cole Maddox, who earned the Volunteer Scholarship to UT.

Others attending SEC schools include four Tigers who will join Gallagher at Ole Miss: All-American baseball superstar Wes Mendes, Jacob Brill (who will be the Rebels’ baseball team manager, reprising his role at Jesuit), Andrew Moore (who received a trio of scholarships from Ole Miss), and Barrett Nelson; three who are headed to the University of Alabama – Gilbert Morgan, Hansen Rix, and Luke Wagers; and three more attending Auburn – Davis Cool, Liam Elder, and Johnny Weir.

Some 30 Jesuit seniors signed to participate in college athletics. Among them are outfielder Jake Kulikowski, who will play for the historic University of Miami baseball program, and infielder Grant Jordan, who signed with the University of Tampa, the 8-time DII National Champions. State Champion Liam Schindler will swim for Loyola Maryland. National recruit Troy Bowles, who was voted Most Popular by his classmates, signed to play football with Georgia, the two-time defending National Champions. Record-setting running back Joquez Smith, who was chosen Best Dressed in the senior class, will play for Temple. And receiver Jarriett Buie signed with Iowa in the Big Ten, following in the footsteps of Dane Belton ’19, who is now in the NFL with the New York Giants after starring at Iowa.

Joining Buie at a Big Ten school are National Merit Scholar and Excellence in Mathematics Award winner Jack Uteg (Michigan State) and Connor Kirchner (Ruth Leverton Scholarship to Nebraska).

Some Tigers are headed to the other side of the country, such as Most Outstanding AP Artist winner Andrew Koebbe, who enrolled at the University of Utah. Some are headed halfway across the country, such as Aidan Mahoney and Owen Mitchell at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. And some are headed all the way to the Canadian Pacific Coast, as Max Mazzacurati will attend the internationally renowned University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

Others are staying close to home. Ten Tigers have enrolled at the University of South Florida, including Faculty Memorial Growth Award winner Ralph Augustin and USF Presidential Award scholarship recipients Matthew Abboud, Mark Chenouda, and Chris Tan, the class Salutatorian who chose USF over UF. Seven will attend the University of Tampa, including Heart of the Tiger Award winner (soccer) and straight-A student Shane Oliva.

For each Jesuit student, it is about finding the best fit for him for the next four years. Congratulations to the 191 members of the Class of 2023 as they, in the words of Saint Ignatius, “Go forth and set the world on fire.”