Throwforward Thursday: Class of 2017
Posted 05/25/2017 05:18PM

Throwforward Thursday: Derik, JoJo & Ricky

In exactly one week, the Class of 2017 will walk across the stage at Boston College’s Robsham Theatre to receive their high school diplomas. For all of our graduating seniors, the road to Commencement has been a journey full of successes and challenges, friendships and memories.

This week, after delivering final reflections on their Senior Service projects, Derik, JoJo, and Ricky sat down to discuss their college plans and review their time at Saint Joseph Prep.

Derik Griffin ’17 will attend The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. where he will play varsity football for the Cardinals! Accepted into the Busch College of Business and Economics, Derik is excited to explore a new city and experience college life. Based on its strong academic program and sense of community, CUA has always been Derik’s first choice. Majoring in Business, Derik also appreciates the wide range of internship opportunities that will be available to him in D.C., as well as the diverse professional options that he can pursue, recognizing that the leadership and problem-solving skills he’ll develop can be applied across industries. As a four-year football player at Saint Joseph Prep, Derik is thrilled to be joining his new teammates at Catholic. He hopes that, from his highlight videos, what stood out to his coaches was a relentless effort and disciplined work ethic. As a freshman, he’ll report to practice on August 10, and Derik looks forward to developing friendships well before classes begin. In recent years, he has nurtured a strong sense of responsibility and is eager to have the structured schedule and support system that comes with playing college athletics. He is thankful to his parents, coaches, and teachers who have helped him realize his goals. “SJP has definitely given me the opportunity to grow as a person,” Derik noted. “I’m really going to miss the community here!” Derik completed his Senior Service at St. Columbkille Partnership School in Brighton.

JoJo Duplan ’17 is headed to Boston University, where she will major in Biology, pursuing a pre-medical curriculum program. Since she was six years old, JoJo has loved going to the doctor and has aspired to working as a pediatrician. Now she is one step closer to realizing that dream. A recipient of the prestigious Cohen Scholarship, JoJo is thrilled to begin her studies at the first college she ever visited... as a sixth-grader. She recalls attending a women’s basketball game, being in awe of the school spirit. This past summer, when she went to visit as a rising senior, she was once again impressed by the student population, specifically noting how welcoming and eager to assist they were; it just felt like a good fit. “I’m a little nervous about going to a big school,” she notes, “but I’m hopeful that I will be calling BU home like [the home] I’ve had at Saint Joseph Prep.” Here at SJP, JoJo was involved in pretty much everything. She was a four year soccer, basketball, and track athlete; National Honor Society and Student Council member; Phoenix Player thespian; active in Campus Ministry... the list goes on. Sports, however, were where she made her closest friends and had her most vivid memories, including a victory at Marian that clinched a state tournament bid for the Girls’ Soccer team. This past weekend, JoJo was recognized by the CCL as SJP’s female Scholar Athlete of the Year. While she’s excited to start college and experience more independence, she knows she’ll miss having her parents there to “clean up [her] mistakes!” For her Senior Service project, JoJo assisted the younger grades at her former school, St. Catherine of Genoa in Somerville.

Ricky Espada ’17 will spend his next four years at Merrimack College, where the Boston native will major in Graphic Design. On his campus visit, he was very impressed with the people he met, but also excited to learn the program will be moving into a state-of-the-art facility with new labs and cutting edge technology. He credits SJP’s Art teacher, Mr. Glozzy, with helping to reignite his love of art this year. “Mr. Glozzy really pushed me to become more creative. He helped me expand my own expectations and realize the kind of work I could actually produce.” At this month’s STEAM Show, Ricky’s exceptional work was on display along with that of many other SJP artists. As a sophomore transfer, Ricky has perhaps a more nuanced appreciation for the SJP experience. He observed the high standards that students were called to meet in the classroom, as well as the inclusive community that welcomed and respected all students. On his first day, he remembers then-Student Council President Maryellen Robinson ’15 introducing herself and making him feel right at home. Ricky came to SJP, however, knowing Benjamin ’17 and Jonathan Stratter ’17, with whom he played AAU basketball. Some of his fondest memories were playing on the court with his closest friends, and then senior year, joining the Boys’ Soccer team that advanced to the state tournament, a decision he identified as the best he made in high school. These friendships will last Ricky a lifetime... and he’s excited to make more friends for life at Merrimack. Ricky completed his Senior Service at St. John the Evangelist Church in Hingham.

It has been a wonderful opportunity to connect with the Class of 2017 and learn more about their exciting plans after Saint Joseph Prep. Each student, whether they were featured in these Throwforward Thursday profiles or not, has achieved tremendous successes in their time at SJP. As a school community, we are blessed to have shared their journey in some way, and we look forward to staying connected for many years to come. Congratulations, seniors!