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DePaul Prep’s Ram-done Acts of Appreciation: Issue 3

Serena Tran, Freshman Writer

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Every successful student would not be where they are without a supportive teacher right behind them. Many individuals take teachers for granted, but their jobs are incredibly important. Teachers guide the next generation of leaders, and if anything, we should be thankful for the adults who work so hard to see their students grow and succeed.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a question on my social media asking my peers who they believed should get more recognition for what they do. There was a total of thirteen faculty members nominated, so every week, an article will be posted honoring two to three teachers or staff members.

Before we begin, I would like to write a quick message to every teacher out there: you may not get recognition for what you do, but there will always be a student who is successful because of what you did to help them. Even if it’s not said out loud, there are students who are grateful to call you their teacher.

Now, to the teachers and staff members who were nominated by the students, this goes you.


Mrs. Dempsey

Meet Mrs. Dempsey. Mrs. Dempsey was born on the west side of Chicago and raised in the suburb of Hillside. She is one of five children, and attended Catholic school all her life. Mrs. Dempsey attended an all girls Catholic high school, and because she could not have afforded to go to college or graduate school without scholarships, it was important for her to do well academically to earn those scholarships. Starting at age 14, she began working outside of high school to save every penny for her college fund.

Mrs. Dempsey, along with her brothers and sister, were the first generation of their family to graduate from college.  After graduating from St. Mary’s College (now University) of Winona Minnesota with a Bachelor’s degree, she attended the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, where she earned a Masters Degree in Library Science. Eventually, she became a librarian in public libraries in Illinois. After a couple of years, she decided to enter law school and attended DePaul University’s College of Law. After graduating from law school and passing the bar exam, she practiced law in Chicago for 12 years.  Soon after, Mrs. Dempsey was asked by Mayor Richard Daley to leave the practice of law to become the Commissioner of the Chicago Public Library, a position she held for 18 years.

According to Mrs. Dempsey, she has always been passionate about reading, lifelong learning and social justice, and believes we should never stop learning and growing.  She became a librarian because it is a profession which supports lifelong learning, and a lawyer because she believe that the rule of law is the foundation of a civilized society.

Before coming to DePaul Prep, Mrs. Dempsey was a librarian in public libraries, a paralegal at a large firm, a lawyer at large firms in Chicago and the Commissioner of the Chicago Public Library.  As Library Commissioner, she was responsible for 1200 employees, 79 library buildings and a $120 million budget– moreover, she reported directly to Mayor Daley and a Board of Directors. Mrs. Dempsey has been working professionally in some capacity for more than 40 years, and believes that her many years of Catholic education fully prepared her for the professional careers she undertook.

Mrs. Dempsey had been a member of the Board of Trustees of DePaul University for 20 years, and has always believed that Chicago would benefit from another strong Catholic high school. When DePaul University was asked to become involved here, she became a member of the board of directors of Gordon Tech.  When the school became DePaul College Prep, she was elected as the first Chair of the Board of Directors. In January 2016, she joined full time as President of DePaul College Prep, and continues to serve on the Board of Directors.

As stated by Mrs. Dempsey, her first day as President was very busy.  Although she knew many of the faculty and administrators because of her role as Chair of the Board, she met many more faculty and students that day.  She set up her office, identified what needed to be done and got to work.

Mrs. Dempsey’s biggest challenge depends on the day and the issue.  She believe that there is no challenge that cannot be resolved with good communication, strong collaboration, mutual respect and a belief that by working together as a team, individuals can and will accomplish their goals.  (A few prayers everyday help too!) On the contrary, her proudest achievement is that, through a lot of hard work by many many people, DePaul College Prep has become a thriving Catholic high school. She is proud to be All in for DePaul Prep!

Mrs. Dempsey’s advice for incoming students:

“Respect the intelligence that God gave you– you will be amazed at the capacity of your brain to learn if you open your eyes and your mind to learning new things.  Ask for help when you need it. Serve other people, not to be thanked but because it’s the right thing to do. Stand up to injustice.  Listen before you speak.  Respect everyone. Show kindness to everyone.  Give people the benefit of the doubt. Try new things.  Thank God and your family for giving you the gift and the opportunity to be educated at DePaul Prep. Embrace all that DePaul Prep has to offer; if you do, you will become an educated and well rounded person, ready for college and ready for life.  And we will be proud to say that you are DePaul College Prep.”

“Mrs. Dempsey seems like a cool person. Although I have never really talked to her, she seems super smart and hardworking. In a male dominant world, she manages to prove everyone wrong and show just how strong and powerful women can be. Mrs. Dempsey, you rock!!” – Anonymous, freshman

“She’s nice and always seems to be smiling in the halls.” – Anonymous, a freshman

“Mrs. Dempsey suits the job as president. She is precise and works hard. Also very friendly.” – Anonymous, a senior  

Mr. Galante

Meet Mr. Galante, who also goes by Coach Galante. Coach Galante grew up in Glenview and attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help. From a very young age, he loved the game of football; his family had season tickets to the Bears, and that would be their family vacation.

Coach Galante knew he would play football, and would one day coach it. As far as Admissions work, he has been a recruiter his whole life– in college, he would recruit for his college.

In high school, he was continually challenged to be excellent in both the classroom and on the field. Coach Galante learned how to push himself to be excellent. He played football and loved studying history and Latin language.

Coach Galante was a Graduate Assistant Football Coach at Northwestern University for two years, and an assistant Football Coach and Admissions Officer at North Park University for eleven years. According to Coach Galante, he even coached Coach O’Keefe!  

Before coming to DePaul, Coach Galante was The Head Coach and Director of admissions at Saint Patrick High School for 16 years. After he stepped down, Coach Jeske, Coach O’Keefe and Coach Kleinschmidt reached out to him about coming to DePaul Prep. He had known both of them for a long time, and hoped a position would w

ork out for him to join them. It all worked out, and he started in June of 2017. Coach Galante is currently an Admissions Assistant and the Defensive Coordinator for the football team– he also teaches the Global Issues class in the 2nd semester

Three big challenges Coach Galante faces include: continuing to grow the enrollment of the school and recruit great young men and women with great families, help Coach Jeske build the football program back up in number of players and winning championships, and help grow the school spirit to fever pitch. His proudest achievement is the number of young men whom he coached over the years that are now teaching and coaching at the high school and college level. If I wasn’t working here, I’d be a college football coach or an Admissions Counselor for a college.

Coach Galante’s advice for incoming students:

“The world is very competitive and a tough place in high school you need to learn to compete in everything you do. Get involved and whatever you are involved in strive for excellence. Most of all make new friends and be a good friend.”

“Coach Galante is the funniest person in school.” – Nora Jeske, a freshman

“I love how Coach Galante is always energetic during pep rallies, it makes me more pumped and excited. He’s cool guy.” – Anonymous, a sophomore

Mrs. Haslwanter

Meet Mrs. Haslwanter. Mrs. Haslwanter was born in LaPeer, Michigan, but moved to Benton Harbor, Michigan when she was two. She grew up around educators— her mother was taught Special Ed at a Benton Harbor High School, where she attended, and her father was a school psychologist for Berrien County.

Mrs. Haslwanter started her career when she moved to Chicago at Aon Corporation and worked there for 19 years. She started at Aon as a Senior Correspondent (Combined Insurance/Aon) interacting with field representatives, govern

ment agencies, and insurance professionals to resolve questions, complaints and disputes. Eventually, she worked her way up to Vice President of Product Implementation (U.S. & Canada – Aon Warranty Group).

Ultimately, Mrs. Haslwanter changed careers to take care of her mother and started working for her Pastor at Concordia Lutheran Church, as an executive administrative assistant/office manager, a position she held for seven years.

Mrs. Haslwanter started working at DePaul Prep the summer her daughter was a entering her Junior year at Gordon Tech— she was looking for a change and thought working with high school students would be fun. Mrs. Haslwanter currently works at DePaul Prep as an executive administrative assistant/office manager in the main office.

Mrs. Halswanter’s first day at DePaul Prep was orientation; she was given an outline of the duties of the position and given a tour of the facility, as well as being introduced to the teachers and staff. Her biggest challenge was the name change from Gordon Tech to DePaul Prep, something she quotes as a “very difficult time”. Her proudest educational achievement was attaining her Master’s degree in Business Administration from Loyola University— she was working full time at Aon Corporation and going to school at night.


Mrs. Halswanter’s advice for incoming students:

“Strive to do your best. Participate in extracurricular activities (have fun). Take advantage of the different class offerings to find out what you like and dislike, that will help you decide on a major when you go to college. Be kind and help one another.”

“Mrs. Haslwanter is always so helpful and friendly. She doesn’t get enough appreciation for what she does in the office.” – Anonymous, a freshman

“Mrs. Haslwanter is always smiling and ready to help someone :).” – Anonymous, a freshman


Although I could not include all the amazing and wonderful teachers at DePaul, here are some honorable mentions that either I could not get to or didn’t get to my email in time (haha).

Mr. Conlin:

“I really hated science before this year, I couldn’t understand it and I wasn’t doing my best. Here, I think it’s because of Mr. Conlin that I am improving. He’s an amazing teacher; great at explaining things and helping students out when they need to understand.” – Kennedy Hummons

“Mr. Conlin always answered our question to the best of his ability and put in a lot of extra time helping my freshman bio class outside of our class time.” – Avery Downes, a sophomore

“Mr. Conlin is a very good teacher, I appreciate all he does for my class. He really wants to help his students understand the material and gives us ways to improve our test grades. He spends a lot of time helping different students and is genuinely a terrific teacher to have. If it wasn’t for him spending so much time outside of class helping me study for a test, I probably would have failed all of them by now haha. I also like his way of teaching, he’s very thorough, detailed, and will answer a question if I have one.” – Anonymous, a freshman

Ms. Bidstrup:

“Ms. Bidstrup puts soooo much effort into fun games and activities for us to do instead of deskwork and understands that we need a lot of help and patience while learning a new language.” – Avery Downes, a sophomore

“Ms. Bidstrup is always offering extra help if anyone ever needs it which allows everyone to understand the Spanish concepts.” – Anonymous, a freshman

“I don’t have her as a teacher, but I’ve talked to her a few time and I’m sososo excited to have her as my spanish two teacher!” – Sabrina Nguyen, a freshman

Mr. Dwyer:

“He helped me big time on my first day. I had him first period and it was a great way to get a good start on the year. He’s super energetic, really wakes you up for the day and finds ways to make religion and history more interesting and fun. He also runs Black Student Union, another amazing and time consuming thing. He knows how to help out his students and be there when you need him. Super kind and super helpful.” – Kennedy Hummons, a freshman

“Very energetic, passionate about his job, and funny. He makes the community a better place.” – Anonymous, a junior

Ms. Orr:

“I absolutely love and adore Ms. Orr. She is the nicest person in the world. She’s always energetic, and ALWAYS saying hi to everyone that passes by her. She’s a fantastic person, very hardworking, and under appreciated. She is so positive and can brighten up anyone’s mood. Ms. Orr you are amazing!!” – Anonymous, a freshman

“She is always happy and works well with students.” – Parker Casey, a freshman

“I love being around Ms. Orr because she can instantly lift up my mood. She’s like a ball of sunshine.” – Anonymous, a junior

“She’s always super positive and super nice whenever I talk to her or see her in the halls! She’s also super funny and a great teacher.” – Sasha Goncharko, a freshman

I would also like to recognize:

  • The Quest workers for working hard to make the delicious food everyday, and for doing it with a kind smile (things get pretty crazy in the cafeteria, so thanks for putting up with us)
  • The individuals who make sure the school is clean and organized everyday, we really appreciate it
  • The individuals who work in the office all day who the students never really see— we know you’re hard at work to help us!

When I began writing this article, my day had been wild and I had no idea what to write at all. However, during a cold night in Chicago, sometime around 11 at night, I sat down with my dad and we began having a conversation about school. We soon got onto the topic of teachers, and this conversation gave me a new insight. Now, this is what my dad told me:

“Teachers sacrifice their lives students, even if it doesn’t seem like it. It is tough to be a teacher, you have to deal with all types of students, good and bad. But no matter what, you have to help them become good people by the time they grow up.

Teachers have to lead their students to be the right person; a teacher must have a lot of patience with the students. Teachers don’t do what they do to be rich or famous, because most teachers aren’t rich or famous. Kids come and go, and the teachers stay there, spending the rest of their lives teaching, maybe at a few different schools. And the thing is they still have challenges themselves while trying to help students with their challenges.

Some people give up on teaching and go on to do something else. They want to find a better job, one that pays more or gives more recognition. A teacher has to have passion for teaching, and a passion to stay teaching. During their careers of teaching, they still have to challenge themselves to get better.

I see that a lot of kids don’t understand their teachers; they will complain about how bad the teacher is, how mean they are, how hard they are, but when they grow up they will understand what the teacher did was to benefit them. Kids will go to school and when they graduate, they leave and never look back— never come back to thank their teachers for helping them get to where they are. Even if they only teach you for a year, or month, or week, students must always respect their. They don’t have to be a full time teacher, they could only teach one small thing, but it doesn’t make them less worthy of a student’s respect because they still dedicated their time to teaching.

As a parent, I rely on teachers to shape my children’s’ futures, so I will always respect them. [Here’s the part where I almost started tearing up] By the way, this is my daughter, Serena, she is a very lovely young lady. She will be in college soon, I just hope she does something good for her life, for her family, and for the people around her— I know she will. She is very smart and passionate about learning, I hope one day she makes it to the top. Whatever she does with her career, I know her teachers helped lead the way.”

As they say, a good teacher can teach a student, but a great teacher can make a student want to learn.

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DePaul Prep’s Ram-done Acts of Appreciation: Issue 3