The Speaking Eagle
Juan Diego Students Say Long Commute to School is Worth ItSunday, January 29, 2012 By Holli Chapton
Juan Diego Catholic High School’s student population has grown to about 825 students, and more and more of those students are coming from farther away in recent years. Students attend school at JD from 30 different Utah cities. One current student travels 47 miles one way from Tooele and another drives 54 miles south from Ogden daily. Students have options of different high schools -- both public and private -- that are much closer to where they live. Yet there are various reasons why they come to JD when there are many other high schools much closer to where they live. Sophomore Jeffry Pfeifer is one who drives to school from Park City daily. “I go to JD because I need a good education, which they can provide, and they kill it at sports,” Pfeifer said. Another student, sophomore Nick Prokopis, lives in Magna and drives 24 miles to get to school. He attends JD because his parents went to a Catholic school and said it gave them a huge advantage academically, so they decided to send him to a private school. But the student who drives the farthest is Sam Brzowski from Ogden. “I chose JD because I have heard a lot of good things about the baseball coach and players, along with the number of state championships and JD’s fun, religious, and spirited student body,” he said. Students who come from far away do the same drive over and over daily. For the students who do not have their licenses, their parents have to make time out of their day to drive them if there is no carpool. But for some, those drives are not as tiresome as one might think. “The drive down the canyon everyday is actually great! I get to sleep or listen to music,” Pfeifer says. “But the most funnest drives are when I am awake in the morning, Rob [JD junior and Park City resident] and I are singing and dancing,” Jeffry said. Julienne Pfeifer, Jeffry’s mom, frequently drives the carpool from Park City down and said that she does not mind the long drive since it is worth the education. There are also staff members who drive from faraway places to work at JD. Marci Morse is one of them. She is the Service and Learning Center Coordinator. Starting at JD in 2007, Morse drove her four daughters down to JD instead of Park City’s private school or even public school. “This choice was made with heavy influence from my oldest daughter who graduated from JD in 2010. I was a single mom and wanted a community for my girls, not just a school,” said Morse. “The most important part of the community is faith. So, why do I drive 35 miles one way to JD every day? For the nurturing community rooted in God,” Morse said. Administrators say they are seeing a change in where JD students live. Kirsten Jansen is the Recruitment Counselor and Alumni Director for JD. “As the south part of the valley grows, we grow. It really just depends on the economy and the parents’ decisions,” Jansen said.