Debate Impresses with Three Top 10 Finishes at State Championships

Although a state title proved elusive for this year’s debate program, Jesuit Dallas showcased an unmatched degree of depth as the only school in Texas to qualify five teams for the elimination rounds and a staggering three teams in the top 10 at the 2017 Texas Forensic Association (TFA) State Debate Championships. The teams of seniors Beomhak Lee and Alandro Valdez, and Emmanuel Ruiz and Zack Watts finished in a tie for fifth, with the duo of senior Jake LoRocco and sophomore Jack Moore closing in ninth overall.

Junior Ben Miller and senior Greg Tan, along with sophomores Jack Griffith and Riler Holcombe finished 17th, as all 10 debaters earned all-state honors. The performance marked the first time since 2007 that Jesuit Dallas could boast 10 all-state debaters in the same season. With over 120 teams competing, TFA serves as the largest and most competitive state tournament in the country. Jesuit Dallas was one of only two schools statewide to qualify six teams for the championships, a testament to both the program’s depth and skill.

Griffith and Moore used their run at states to launch another impressive performance one week later at the 2017 First and Second Year National Championships hosted by Woodward Academy in Atlanta. The duo finished in a tie for ninth in the second-year division, while freshmen Javier Arroyo and Garrett Nagorzanski took ninth in the first-year division. In addition to the team awards, Jesuit’s contingent grabbed six of the top 20 individual speaker awards (Second Year: Moore, 6th; Griffiths, 16th; First Year: Adam Hall, 3rd; Arroyo, 4th; Nagorzanski, 12th; and Thomas Cluck, 18th).

Despite not competing, LoRocco and Lee made an imprint at the National Championships by being presented with an Outstanding Student Judge Award, which recognizes the best judging and mentoring by a varsity debater assisting at the tournament.

Jesuit Dallas Debate will cap its season on April 8-10, as three teams will make the trek to Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, to compete in the 2017 National Debate Coaches Association (NDCA) National Championships.

Jesuit Dallas Announces 2017 Sports Hall of Fame Inductees

A Super Bowl winning lineman, All-American attacker, three-sport high school star, and an NCAA Division I basketball standout turned international pro comprise the 2017 Hall of Fame Class as announced by the Jesuit Dallas Letterman’s Club. This year’s honorees will be officially inducted on Saturday, April 29, 2017 at the Blue & Gold Banquet on the campus of Jesuit Dallas.

Bernie Hogan ’76 excelled for the Rangers in football, baseball and basketball during the mid-70s. Recipient of the Leo Ostick Award as Jesuit’s top student-athlete in 1974-75, Hogan was a two-time TCIL All-State selection in football and a two-time all-state pick in baseball. In his first varsity season on the diamond, he was named TCIL Sophomore of the Year while helping the Jesuit Dallas program to its first state title. Lauded by local and regional media for his prowess on the gridiron, Hogan by-passed the likes of Notre Dame and Navy in accepting a full athletic scholarship to Rice University.

Reggie Stephens ’05 is another multi-sport athlete (he competed in four sports during his time donning the Blue & Gold) that made headlines with his sensational play between the hashes. After leading Jesuit to its first UIL district crown in 2004, Stephens flourished as a three-year starter at Iowa State University. A two-time Honorable Mention All-Big 12 offensive lineman, he was the 2009 recipient of the Arthur Floyd Scott Award as the Cyclones’ most outstanding athlete in the football strength and conditioning program. Stephens was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2009 NFL Draft, and during a four-year pro career, became the first Jesuit Dallas graduate to win a Super Bowl as a practice squad member of the Baltimore Ravens.

Todd Wallace ’88 was a dynamic playmaker on the pitch, helping Jesuit soccer to three state championships before serving as a dominant force at NAIA powerhouse, Oklahoma City University. The Rangers compiled a record of 63-7-2 during his tenure as a four-year starter, including the stunning 1988 campaign that finished 16-0-0, and left Jesuit Dallas ranked No. 1 in the State of Texas among all private and public schools. Participating in the 1988 Pan-Am Games, Wallace accepted a scholarship to OCU, where he still holds the all-time single-game scoring record. In 2002, he was inducted into the OCU Hall of Fame. From 1990-96, he played professionally in the USISL with the Oklahoma City Heat Soccer Club.

Kyle Wilson ’02 literally journeyed across the globe to showcase his basketball talents. After being part of the last state championship team prior to Jesuit’s exit from the TCIL, he pieced together an outstanding career that resulted in his selected as a finalist for McDonald’s All-American honors. The only high school athlete in America named to the USA Global Games team in both 2001 and 2002, Wilson was ranked as one of the 10 best players in Texas and one of the nation’s top recruits according to Rivals. Wilson won a Big 10 championship as a freshman at Illinois, but transferred to Wichita State where he earned a bevy of conference awards and served as team captain for a top 10 nationally-ranked unit in 2007. He continued his career after college, playing professionally in the Germany Bundesliga, Austria BBL, Hungary A League, and the Israeli National League. In 2010, he helped pace Zalakeramia ZTE to the Hungarian national championship.

The evening will also honor legendary Hall-of-Famer Rufe Brewton ’55 as the 2017 recipient of the Gold Ranger Award. Tickets are on sale now at For more information, contact Sean McMullen ’96 at or 972-387-8700 x342.

Alistair Keggen ’17 and Felix Kimbrell ’17 Receive President’s Volunteer Service Award

Jesuit Dallas seniors Alistair Keggen and Felix Kimbrell were named as recipients of the 2017 President’s Volunteer Service Award. The award, which recognizes middle and high school students across America for outstanding volunteer service, was granted by the Presidential Spirit of Community Awards program on behalf of the President’s Council on Service and Participation.

“Demonstrating civic responsibility through volunteerism is an important part of life,” remarked JoAnn Bartoletti, Executive Director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. “Honorees such as Alistair and Felix practice a lesson we hope all young people, as well as adults, will emulate.”

In addition to receiving a certificate of achievement marked by the Seal of the President of the United States, Keggen and Kimbrell received a signed letter of congratulations from President Barack Obama. Volunteer activities for each of the recipients were judged on criteria including personal initiative, creativity, effort, impact and personal growth.

The community service and social justice program at Jesuit Dallas is one of the most comprehensive in the nation. Although all students are required to complete a pre-determined number of hours to graduate, nearly every student far exceeds the minimum. This past year, students worked with over 100 different service organizations and totaled over 100,000 hours of service both locally and abroad.

Busy Weekend for Debate Nets Five Top-10 Finishes and Sixth State Qualifying Team

Jesuit Dallas joined Austin Westwood as the only two schools across the state to qualify six teams to the Texas Forensic Association State Championships after an exciting weekend that saw 12 teams competing at two tournaments.

At the Royce City Invitational where 30 teams from the metroplex competed, the sophomore team of Jack Griffiths and Riler Holcombe earned third-place honors and became the sixth Jesuit Dallas team to qualify for the state tournament in March. Sophomores Ashik Amar and Giovanni Ferrer-Falto earned fifth place. 

At the Colleyville Heritage Invitational, which featured over 70 teams from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kansas, and Florida, the team of seniors Jake LoRocco and Emmanuel Ruiz secured ninth-place honors in the varsity division. In the novice division, freshmen Javier Arroyo and Marshall Mann snagged second place with the freshmen duo of Thomas Cluck and Garrett Nagorzanski taking third overall.

Jacob Palisch ’17 Announced as Finalist for Prestigious Davey O’Brien Scholarship

On Tuesday, Jan. 17, Jesuit Dallas senior Jacob Palisch was named one of five finalists for the 31st annual Davey O’Brien High School Scholarship, sponsored by Higginbotham and Southwest Bank. An award which recognizes the most outstanding high school senior student-athlete across the metroplex, Palisch and the remaining four nominees will attend the 10th annual Davey O’Brien High School Scholarship Luncheon at The Fort Worth Club on Jan. 24, where the award will be presented.

The Stanford University baseball commit and three-sport athlete was a University Interscholastic League (UIL) District 9-6A First Team selection for the reigning UIL 6A state champion Rangers, picking up the decision in the team’s 6-2 win over San Antonio Johnson in the title game.

Named a Junior All-American last June, Palisch threw two no-hitters during the season, including a 15-strikeout masterpiece against Highland Park in the first game of the UIL 6A Region II Quarterfinal. He closed the year with an 11-1 record, 0.64 earned run average and 117 strikeouts, while guiding the team to a top 10 national ranking for the second consecutive season.

On the gridiron, Palisch served as the team’s starting quarterback and punter in 2015 and 2016, and was named the UIL District 9-6A Player of the Year after both seasons. He ended his high school football career with 3,746 passing yards, 36 passing touchdowns, and 20 touchdowns on the ground while averaging 40.6 yards per punt.

Palisch helped lead Jesuit to back-to-back district titles for the first time in program history, as well as the highest state ranking in School history (No. 20). He scored the go-ahead touchdown in Jesuit’s 24-21 win over perennial state power Skyline on Oct. 2, 2015, snapping the Raiders’ 49-game district winning streak.

Earning UIL District 9-6A Second Team honors in basketball after the 2015-16 season, Palisch has appeared in 14 games for the Rangers this year, totaling 53 rebounds, 51 points and four blocks, while helping Jesuit build a 15-7 record heading into Friday’s bout against state-ranked No. 6 Skyline.

Off the playing surface, Palisch has excelled in the classroom, earning a 4.0 grade-point average. A National Merit Commended Scholar and AP Scholar with Honors, Palisch works with the Commit to Dallas early education literacy program as a teacher’s reading aide.

The other four finalists for the award are: Anna Connolly, a softball student-athlete from fellow UIL 9-6A member J.J. Pearce, Highland Park volleyball student-athlete Madeline Ngo, Vivian Weinman from Southwest Christian School, and soccer student-athlete Christopher Wines from Trinity Christian Academy.

Palisch will head to Fort Worth on Tuesday hoping to become the third student-athlete in Jesuit Dallas history to earn the Davey O’Brien award, following in the footsteps of Jesuit Hall of Famer Joel Sharp ’87 and Jeff Miller ’02.

Debate Opens 2017 with Four Top 10 Finishes

Jesuit Dallas Debate began the calendar year posting a pair of top 10 finishes at the Billy Tate Southern Bell Forum hosted by Montgomery Bell Academy tournament in Nashville, Tenn., and the 2017 Coppell Cowboy Classic. Seniors Jake LoRocco and Emmanuel Ruiz finished ninth overall in Nashville, while the teams of sophomore Jack Moore and senior Zach Watts, sophomores Jack Griffiths and Riler Holcombe, and sophomores Ashik Amar and Gio Ferrer-Falto all tied for fifth place at Coppell.

At the Southern Bell Forum, which is considered the Wimbledon of high school debate, LoRocco and Ruiz finished the preliminary rounds with a 4-2 record, posting wins over teams from Peninsula (Calif.), University School of Nashville, Bellarmine Prep (Calif.), and Greenhill. The team, which was seeded 12th heading into finals, lost to Glenbrook North (Ill.). Seniors Beomhak Lee and Alandro Valdez earned the 18th seed at MBA with wins over teams from Wayzata (Minn.), University of Chicago Lab School, and Niles West (Ill.), but only the top 16 teams advanced to the elimination rounds.

LoRocco and Ruiz’s performance marked the best finish by a Jesuit Dallas team at MBA since 2011. Hugh Alexander and Chris Madden won this prestigious tournament in 1985, while current Jesuit assistant coach Ryan Gorman and Sullivan McCormick finished third in 2011, and current faculty member John Hill and his partner closed ninth in 2008.

At Coppell, where 20 teams from the metroplex competed, all three Jesuit teams finished with 2-1 records, securing wins over teams from Greenhill, Colleyville Heritage, McKinney Boyd, and Prosper. With their fifth place finishes, all three teams earned two of the 12 points needed to qualify for the Texas Forensic Association State Championships.

Connor O’Neill Caps Record-Breaking Season at National Championships

Senior Connor O’Neill closed out one of the best cross country seasons in Jesuit Dallas lore after finishing 24th overall at the 2016 Nike Cross Nationals (NXN) on Saturday, Dec. 3 in Portland, Oregon. O’Neill logged the fifth best time from the South Region (16:05), and bested Jordan Brannan from Colts Neck High School (N.J.) by 1.6 seconds in securing the best finish at the national championships in program history.

O’Neill compiled an impressive resume during his senior campaign, totaling seven consecutive top-five finishes prior to nationals, including four individual wins. His postseason run included a dominating one-minute victory at the UIL 9-6A District Championships, a runner-up finish at the UIL Regional Championships, a sixth-place finish in the fastest state championship race in UIL history, and a top-six finish at the Nike South Regional Cross Country Championships.

A two-time all-state selection, O’Neill’s time of 15:04 at the UIL 6A State Championships marked the fastest performance by a Jesuit runner in the history of the state meet.

Jesuit-Ursuline Ranger Band Collects Sweepstakes Honors at State Competition

The Jesuit-Ursuline Ranger Band (JURB) received a Superior rating from all judges at the Texas Private School Music Educators Association State Marching Band Contest, earning Sweepstakes designation following its “We Will Rock You” show. In addition to its outstanding performance on the team board, the band took home a program-record number of caption awards.

Featuring soloists Joey Wong-Vermilion (trumpet) and Carson Ward (flute), the band’s performance was lauded for having the top drum majors, drumline, winds section and marching in the competition. Caption awards included:

Outstanding Drum Majors: Martin Flores and Michael Gasper
Outstanding Percussion: drumline and front ensemble
Outstanding Winds: woodwinds and brass
Outstanding Marching

 “The directors would like to express how proud we are of the work the students have put into this season’s show,” offered music director Donovan Putnam. “The countless hours the band has spent together creating joyous music and memories, is truly a blessing to witness. From the most seasoned of the senior class to the freshest of the freshmen members, the band’s spirit has been one of positivity and brotherhood, a quality that is not easily achieved in this day and age.”

The last time JURB won four caption awards was for its “Beethoven” show in 2011, although this year marked the first time that the band won the award for Outstanding Marching.

“We Will Rock You” – TPSMEA state performance (Video)

Jesuit Stage & Film Takes Top Prize at ESD Film Festival

Jesuit’s burgeoning stage & film program, which just two years ago resurrected its own national film festival, walked away with the top honor at the ESD Film Festival, presented by Episcopal School of Dallas. The festival was juried by film critics from The Dallas Morning News, and included actress Carolyn McCormack, Emmy Award-winning film critic Gary Cogill, and Dallas County Community College faculty member Andy Chiles.

The winning film, titled “Through the Ashes,” was written and directed by senior Spencer Vilicic. The film’s original score was created by Martin Flores, with Calvin Herbst and Jake Hessong serving as director of photography and production assistant, respectively.

“In our third year of having filmmaking classes and filmmaking resources on campus, Jesuit students have started to show some success in local film festivals,” noted department co-chair David Myers. “We’re really excited by the great work that the students have exhibited thus far.”

The Jesuit Dallas Film Festival, which has drawn nearly 100 submissions through each of its first two years from high schools across the country, is looking to move the timing of the festival from its current position on the calendar to late January. The rearranging of the calendar reflects a shift in the Jesuit program toward featuring filmmaking.

Click Here to view “Through the Ashes”

Fifty-Three Students Recognized By National Merit Scholarship Program

Nearly 20 percent of the Jesuit Dallas Class of 2017 was honored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) for demonstrating exceptional academic ability and the potential for rigorous college studies. The students were formally recognized on Wednesday, Oct. 12, during an on-campus ceremony in Hughes Hall.


Over 1.6 million students in more than 23,000 high schools entered the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). The 27 students from Jesuit who earned Commendation status were among the top 2% of all test takers in the country, while the eight seniors earning Semifinalist honors mark the highest-scoring entrants in each state and represent less than 1% of high school seniors across the United States.

In addition, a School-record 18 students were honored through the College Board’s National Hispanic Recognition Program as National Merit Hispanic Scholars, and rate among the top 2% of all Hispanic/Latino students nationwide.

Jesuit’s Semifinalists will have a chance to advance to the Finalist level of the competition by meeting additional standards and fulfilling several requirements. These include having a record of very high academic performance in college preparatory course work; SAT scores that confirm the PSAT/NMSQT performance; and the completion of a detailed scholarship application.

National Merit Semifinalists
William Henrion, Miles Okamoto, Robert Rota, Manny Ruiz, Jack Schwab, Joe Vance, James Vroom, Zach Watts

National Merit Hispanic Scholars
Chase Burciaga, Carlos Cabre, Joe Carver, Manolo De Oyarzabal, Evan Doran, Jake Hessong, Erick Huang, Jake Lorocco, Steven Mancillas, William Name, Aaron Olivo, Marc Riccione, Carlos Riddle, Manny Ruiz, Casey Snelson, Reed Torres, Alandro Valdez, Harrison Ward

National Merit Commendation
Will Aberger, Jack Ayres, Timothy Bedard, Joe Carver, Ryan Clements, Sam Cormier, Will Curran, Nash Evans, Spencer Gautreaux, Jake Hessong, Michael Hogan, Vance Holub, Ethan Lacour, Jake Lorocco, Jack Matthews, Will Naquin, Aaron Olivo, Connor O’Neill, Zach Ovenshire, Jacob Palisch, Noah Sherer, Kieran Taylor, Reed Torres, Alandro Valdez, Thomas Whitaker, Trey Wiederecht, Jeff Zhao