When freshman Jalen Kent found out last summer that he had been selected to receive the 2018 Kavanaugh, Keating, and Weber Scholarship to St. Francis de Sales, he was astonished: “I couldn’t believe it,” said Jalen. “I was really excited.”
The four-year, renewable legacy scholarship, funded by the school’s annual Alumni Raffle, made a big difference for Jalen’s family, who moved to Chicago from South Holland last year to give Jalen more academic opportunities. “When we were first looking at St. Francis, I definitely heard a lot about how my mom went here,” laughed Jalen. His mother, Enid Kent, is a 1995 alumna.
“One thing that drew me here was the challenging curriculum,” said Jalen, whose rigorous schedule includes honors classes in English, algebra, and biology. He points to a recent biology project as one of his favorites: “We were on a food chain and made a poster of who eats who. My biome was the tropical rainforest. It was fun, and I learned a lot.”
Jalen admits that the social adjustment to a new school was difficult at first, and that developing new friendships required him to be open: “I had to learn to trust new people.” His patience and perseverance paid off, and he says that the Homecoming dance was a highlight of this year because he got to spend time with all of his new friends.
A drum player since the seventh grade and member of the school band, last summer Jalen joined the South Shore Drill Team, a prestigious community ensemble that performs at more than 100 events each year. “It’s been a lot of work and a lot of fun,” said Jalen.
Despite some growing pains, Jalen says he is grateful for all of the new experiences he has had: “High school is a big step in life, and St. Francis definitely improves on your learning skills. From a good band to challenging classes, everything is unique.” Jalen credits the staff with playing a big role in helping him feel comfortable: “The staff are really funny, nice, and encouraging.”
As for what the future holds, Jalen says that his dream since he was five years old has been to become a Hollywood actor, a passion he discovered at the Kingdom Performing Arts Academy in South Holland: “I found out that I loved theater, and that’s what I want to do.”
Based on the talent and tenacity Jalen has demonstrated during his short time at St. Francis de Sales, we should all be lining up for autographs now.
Want to help other promising students like Jalen? Buy your ticket to the March 2nd Alumni Raffle today!