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 MaxPreps.com 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

Middle School Debate Workshop Highlights Busy Weekend

Jesuit Dallas Debate, along with the School’s Diversity program, is hosting a debate workshop for over 200 middle school students throughout DISD on Saturday, Oct. 8. This weekend marks the fourth consecutive year of the workshop, which serves to provide students with an introduction to debate while promoting the sport as one of the great equalizers in educational opportunity.

In addition, Jesuit is also hosting a scrimmage for first-year high school debaters. Students from St. Mark’s, Greenhill, Colleyville, Highland Park, and Denton Guyer are expected to participate.

The workshop, which begins at 8:30 a.m., will include breakfast, lunch, and snacks for the participants, while the morning features a series of activities meant to cultivate skills in debate. With assistance by the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance (DUDA), students will take part in a practice debate where they will be quickly introduced to the organizational, research, persuasion, and critical thinking skills highly sought by college admissions counselors and employers.

Jesuit Dallas boasts one of the most historically competitive debate programs in Texas, and has won four state championships since 2000. For the second consecutive year, Jesuit qualified a Texas-high five teams for the Texas Forensic Association (TFA) State Debate Championships in 2016, while the Rangers have had at least one team finish among the top 20 in the state 18 times in the last 22 years.

Six Jesuit Dallas Debaters Secure State-Qualifying Points in Season Debut

Three varsity debate teams from Jesuit Dallas finished in fifth place this past weekend at the Newman Smith Invitational, earning their first qualifying points of the season to the Texas Forensic Association (TFA) State Debate Championships. Thirty of the top teams in DFW competed in the two-day event.

Senior Greg Tan and junior Ben Miller, sophomores Ethan Jackson and Chris Tran, and sophomores Jack Madden and Pete Weigman all advanced to the quarterfinals before being eliminated. Tan and Miller finished the preliminary rounds unscathed after compiling a 4-0 record, while Jesuit’s other two teams finished 3-1 in the prelims with wins over teams from Coppell, Grapevine, Greenhill, Hebron, Law Magnet, Naaman Forest, and St. Mark’s.

In addition to the team awards, Weigman was named the second individual speaker and Jack Madden the fifth individual speaker out of the over 60 competitors. This was the first tournament of the year for Jesuit’s contingent.

Museum Exhibition Opening: David Bates & Texas Artists

The most recent exhibition from the Jesuit Dallas Museum opens tonight, September 22, in the Jesuit Dallas Historical Library with an evening reception scheduled from 6-8 p.m. The exhibition, titled “David Bates & Texas Artists” offers a local flair, and will feature the acquisition of Man with Gold Tooth, 1982, a monoprint, signed and titled in pencil by David Bates, one of Texas’ most venerated artists.

Jesuit Dallas President, Mike Earsing, and museum director Elizabeth Hunt-Blanc, will each make a short address during tonight’s celebration, which will also include works courtesy of Russell Tether Fine Art, private individuals, and pieces from the Jesuit Dallas Museum’s permanent collection. In addition to the public unveiling of the Bates acquisition, featured artists will include John Alexander, Otis Dozier, and Robert Rauschenberg, among others.

Thursday’s opening is open to all friends of Jesuit. Please RSVP for tonight or send requests for future tours to ehuntblanc@jesuitcp.org or 972-387-8700 x383. The “David Bates & Texas Artists” exhibition runs through Monday, November 21.