SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Come this fall, Jefferson High School will welcome students for the first time in Sioux Falls. Michele Jensen is plenty familiar with the Sioux Falls School District— she’s worked at Roosevelt High School for more than a quarter century.
“To leave a school that I’ve been at for a long time and is so close to my heart was definitely, it took a lot of prayerful consideration and talking with family and friends and colleagues,” Jensen said.
This fall she’ll be the chair of the science department at Jefferson High School.
“Really it was wanting to be a part of building a community at the new high school, not exactly like what we have here at Roosevelt but hopefully something new and exactly what this new school is going to need,” Jensen said. “So, that was probably the main reason, is just being a part of building it from the foundation up.”
Holly Borchers, who will chair the counseling department at Jefferson, also has experience with Roosevelt.
“What a cool opportunity to open a brand-new school,” Borchers said. “I was part of that process as a student when I grew up in Sioux Falls going from Washington to Roosevelt when it opened in 1991, I was a junior, so that was a pretty cool thing.”
Maybe not always easy, though.
“It was also a tough transition, so I think I can bring some of that experiences I had as a student to Jefferson,” Borchers said.
John Parezo is Roosevelt’s assistant choir director at the moment. Soon, he’ll be head choir director and head show choir director at Jefferson.
“Well I’ve been at Roosevelt now for six years as the assistant and I, it was one of those things where it was like, it just feels right, like it’s the right time to move from being an assistant to being the head,” Parezo said.
In a way, it’s a blank slate at Jefferson.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Parezo said. “I think being able to kind of lay the foundation and start fresh and kind of build it the way I want to build it is going to be really fun, and to work with students to see what they want and offer everything that they hope to get out of their high school experience.”
And there will be some familiarity.
“I think I’m very excited. There’s definitely some nerves and some stress about what it’s going to be like,” Parezo said. “But we also know that we have a good crew of kids that are going to be coming with us from Roosevelt that I’ve worked with for years now.”
“I’m not leaving all of my students at Roosevelt High School because a lot of them are going to be coming along with me, and so that’s comforting for me as well,” Jensen said. “Like, not every face is going to be new at the high school. There’s going to be quite a number of us that started as Riders, and now we’re taking that Rider pride and we’re going to develop that into our Cavalier pride.”