Students dine with the Principal, serve up questions

by Dominic Gideon ’14

During 4th period on January 30th, while most students were eating lunch in the cafeteria or the atrium, six students went to the Castele room and took the last chance to eat and talk with Principal Dan Bradesca’88. When they got there they were greeted by the principal and a table of delicious food from the cafeteria: pizza, chips, vegetables, and various drinks, all on the house. In exchange for the food they brought conversation to Mr. Bradesca, who happily answered questions, addressed problems, and received ideas and input.

This was all a part of Mr. Bradesca’s plan to interact with the students; the part he misses most about teaching. “I figured this would be a good way that I’d always have interactions with students,” Mr. Bradesca said. “The other reason for doing this is so that I could get input from the guys, because after all they’re the reason why I’m here.

He was very pleased with the outcome of these student lunches. Although the attendance wasn’t very large, they did not lack discussion and thoughts. “The guys feel empowered to share and to talk,” Mr. Bradesca said. “[They] are coming in with ideas about how to do things better, how to improve.”

Among the many good ideas he heard and considered, a few took immediate effect. For example, during the first meeting, one student suggested a blue and gold dress down for finals, and by the end of the day, Mr. Bradesca went on the PA to announce that that idea would be a reality.

In addition to being receptive, he asked some questions as well; giving those students the inside scoop and sought their opinions. The biggest being his plan for town hall meetings. These would be public gatherings for all students to, as Mr. Bradesca put it, “come and voice concerns or ideas about what we should do in school to improve student climate.” The questions would go to Mr. Bradesca and other administration, such as Mr. Hennessey and Fr. Murphy.

From the food to the discussions to the accessibility of the principal, these lunches were very well received. They showed the students that they can have a voice and make change no matter how big the school is. The students were happy as well as Mr. Bradesca. “One of the things you have to do as a principal,” he said, “is to avoid being stuck in the office and not really knowing what’s going on.” And that’s exactly what he has done.