Past the copper colored steel gates of Christian Brothers High School, just minutes beyond the foot traffic of busy students that make up the lively campus, sits the treasured space of Room 402. After 42 years of teaching history, Mr. Tom English has retired, leaving his classroom open. At the same time, Mr. Dave Desmond […]
Past the copper colored steel gates of Christian Brothers High School, just minutes beyond the foot traffic of busy students that make up the lively campus, sits the treasured space of Room 402. After 42 years of teaching history, Mr. Tom English has retired, leaving his classroom open. At the same time, Mr. Dave Desmond ‘94 has recently stepped down from his position as assistant principal and has returned to his position as a social studies teacher, as he now sits in Room 402.
“The responsibilities are vastly different,” Mr. Desmond says. “We’re all here for you guys — the students — but the assistant principal’s role encompasses so much more than just being in the classroom.”
While he enjoyed his time as an assistant principal, Desmond is having an amazing time having hands-on time in the classroom.
“There’s so many facets that are involved with being a school leader versus working in the classroom, where my primary goal is to serve students. Shifting from the assistant principal to teacher has been a blast. I have had to get my teaching legs back — it’s been about three years since I’ve taught a class.”
Mr. Desmond says that he enjoyed his time as assistant principal, but it interfered with some matters in his personal life.
“I loved being assistant principal. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to pick up my kids from school. I wasn’t able to come home at a time that was best for my family. Eventually I was faced with a choice of what is it I want to spend my time with. I had full support again from the school for the decision that I made, and it was best for my family.”
But before working at Christian Brothers, Mr. Desmond had to be pushed in the right direction, headfirst into the career he never would have expected.
“I graduated from college in 1998. One of the brothers approached me and said ‘why don’t you teach summer school?’ I thought okay, I’d never taught before. I did that. I was a Lasallian Volunteer, which was where you’d give a year or two to the brothers and live and teach in an impoverished area. You’d really learn what it’s like to live that life. At that point I kind of liked it. Then they said ‘hey, why don’t you teach at this Cathedral High School in Los Angeles?’ They slowly pushed me into that role without me realizing it was something I wanted to do.”
Mr. Desmond takes great pride in the CB community. Once he returned to the school as a teacher in 2014, he found himself solidified in his judgement to work at Christian Brothers.
“I came back here eight years ago and walked into the freshman lock-in in the theater. It was the first time ever we had the lock in [in the CB theater]. And I was blown away by how awesome it is. It was a profound moment and at that moment I realized I made the right decision moving back to Sacramento and taking a job at Christian Brothers,” he says with awe. “I knew it before, but that really solidified it.”
Mr. Desmond continues to enjoy being back in the classroom and has a message for the seniors going off into the world.
“Wherever you end up is where you meant to be. Make the most of it. Adversity is okay. It’s how you respond to that adversity that makes you a stronger person. When that roadblock comes, remember to seek the help that you need. There are resources at the school you’re going to go to. You always have a family at Christian Brothers regardless of when you come back, decide to come back, or if you come back. My hope for all the seniors is that they know they’re never alone.”
Joshua Montoya (‘22) is a student in Mr. Desmond’s Civics class and feels that the collaborative learning environment in Mr. Desmond’s classroom has impacted him for the better.
“He uses a lot more group work than most teachers and makes his own activities. He lets us be free and do our own thing.”
And it’s because of that independence that Joshua says he is able to enjoy the class.
“I like that when he gives us homework, he gives us time to complete it,” the senior says. “I like doing the group activities, picking out partners, and the debates.”
Overall, Joshua feels that while he hasn’t known Mr. Desmond that long, he’s developed a strong liking for the class.
“I like being in Mr. Desmond’s class. I’ve never really had him as a teacher until this year. I think he’s great in his ways of teaching. The activities he does are useful.”
It’s without question that Mr. Desmond has helped countless students throughout his time at Christian Brothers High School, whether it be as an assistant principal or as teacher. That positive, determined, kind-hearted attitude is not only what makes him a great educator, but a key part of the Christian Brothers family.