President experiences class as prospective student


Nicole Hunter

President Steve DiBiagio talks to social studies teacher and Department Chair Jake Hollin. In order to learn more about student life, DiBiagio shadowed with a student on Oct. 12.

President Steve DiBiagio hurries down the hallway. Looking around, he dodges students on their way to class as he attempts to break through the flow of traffic in order to enter his next classroom. Following closely behind his student ambassador, DiBiagio thinks that this hallway scene is comparable to fighting through the crowd at Grand Central Station in New York. While he is used to walking down the hallway as the President of the school, this time, he is experiencing firsthand what it is like to walk down the hall as a prospective student.

On Oct. 12, DiBiagio spent part of his day better understanding what it is like to be a student at JC. He went to classes with shadow-host sophomore Spencer Bredesen in attempts to gain the viewpoint of a prospective student.

“From start to finish [the experience] was stellar. The organization and the preparation and the execution were flawless. My host, Spencer, was a walking billboard for John Carroll excellence. He was such a gentlemen and a great representative for John Carroll,” DiBiagio said.

Bredesen also enjoyed his experience throughout the day and the opportunity to know DiBiagio on a different level. “I got to walk around the President of our school and introduce him to our teachers. That was the funniest and best part of the day,” he said. “He was a very interesting person to talk [with], and we had a great time touring the school.”

Although the President was eager to learn about the school, one of his biggest motivators to pursue the experience was to gain a better understanding of the enrollment process. “Enrollment is so important to us, and we are in the high season now, and I just wanted to understand how it works so I can speak intelligently about it,” he said. “I can know what a shadow is and what happens and what the incoming prospective student’s experience is.”

DiBiagio also wanted to take advantage of the shadowing experience so that he could learn more about the students and teachers. “I have to understand what they do and how they do it. I have to understand that [in order to do] my job and to serve the faculty and students,” he said.

DiBiagio attended a total of five mods with Bredesen on an E-day schedule including Research Methods, Honors Chemistry, Mission of Jesus, Honors Government, and advisory.

The President’s visit came as a surprise to Bredesen’s Honors Chemistry teacher Julie Baker. “I was surprised he was here, but I was happy to see him …  I knew he would be interested in what we were doing,” she said.

According to DiBiagio, he was not only impressed with each of the teachers and enjoyed the differing teaching styles that he saw during his shadow day, but he was also impressed with the amount of technology used in the classrooms. “Each class made extensive use of technology from the instruction perspective to the student perspective,” he said. “It’s all digital, and I was really impressed by that.”

In addition to learning more about the classes, DiBiagio was able to learn more about student life and interaction. “People talk about the community, but I got to see it up close. It was great,” he said. “I think [the students] are enjoying themselves. I just got a sense that the students were relaxed and were interested in socializing, interested in learning, and very comfortable with being themselves among their peers.”

Baker thought it was unique and special that DiBiagio took the time to learn more about the community. “I thought it was really cool that he wanted to get to know what goes on in the classes [and] some of the students, just experiencing what it is to be a John Carroll student for a day,” she said.

Given the chance, DiBiagio would take the opportunity to shadow with a student again. “I wasn’t there to give feedback, I was there to learn,” he said. “And what I learned is that I have a lot more to learn.”

Taylor Bynion is The Copy Chief for the Patriot and