Joe Kensok (A16) is a student at St. John’s College in Annapolis. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
St. John’s College: What are your plans after you graduate?
Joe Kensok: Starting this August, I am going to begin a year of service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. It’s a Catholic service organization that takes recent college graduates and puts them in social service positions for a year. I’ve been placed in a middle school in Milwaukee, where I will be serving as the assistant director of enrichment. I’ll be running all of the extracurricular activities that the school offers.
SJC: Why did you decide on this path?
JK: While at St. John’s, I knew I would take a year or two off before I went to pursue further educational opportunities and grad school, and I figured I wanted to do some sort of service. I was raised Catholic and they emphasize putting into practice four Ignatian values: community, spirituality, simple living, and social justice. During my time at St. John’s I’ve decided that I want to dedicate myself to those four things.
SJC: What are you most looking forward to in Milwaukee?
JK: I’m looking forward to getting some real job experience, and having the opportunity to help people and put them in a position to succeed. I’ve had the opportunity to do that to some extent this year, but having the opportunity to do that full time in a work environment—I think it is going to be very fulfilling. There’s also the beer, sausages, and cheese that come with living in Wisconsin.
SJC: How have you served at St. John’s?
JK: I’m one of the van drivers for the college, and I really get to connect with different people in the community—essentially everyone has to take the van at some point. When you’re in the car with someone you get to connect with them and have different sorts of conversations. I am also one of the captains of the Druids. I coach, manage, and lead the team in games, putting people in a position to succeed. Seeing the confidence that builds within my teammates [when] they grow more comfortable playing sports has been a very fulfilling thing for me during my time at the college.
SJC: What aspect of your college experience resonates with you most?
JK: The biggest part of this college experience is the community aspect. The spirit of respect for one another that forms within the classroom and by the collaborative nature of our education—you take ownership over the education you receive, and it transfers outside of the classroom. Nearly all of the extracurricular activities on this campus are student-run. I love the ownership I see in my fellow students—running the intramural program, running the waltz committee. There’s a bunch of freshmen this year that are really into chess, and I see chess being a big presence on this campus now, and I really appreciate that. I’m going to miss it a lot.
—Brady Lee (AGI14)