Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 8
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

DeSales graduates typically do not attend Whitman

DeSales Catholic School is a five minute walk from Whitman College campus, yet very few of its graduates continue their studies at the nearby liberal arts college.

DeSales High School is a Catholic school operating under the Spokane Catholic Diocese. The first Catholic educational institutions in Walla Walla area were started more than 140 years ago, but the current high school opened its doors in 1959.

DeSales shares baseball fields with the Whitman baseball team. | Photo by Brett AxelrodDeSales was named after Francis de Sales, the patron of writers and journalists.
The Catholic schools in Walla Walla have 500 students enrolled in kindergarten to high school. DeSales has 125 high school students enrolled.

Eighty one percent of the students at the Walla Walla Catholic schools are Catholic, according to figures in DeSales promotion materials. Weekly Mass is mandatory and is held on Wednesdays.

“It is a good school,” said James Crosby, who graduated from DeSales last year.

“You cannot not do the work because it is so small, but it also does not have the same opportunities and class offerings that WaHigh does,” said Crosby during a phone interview from the University of Oregon campus in Eugene, Ore.

Crosby applied to Whitman College last year and was accepted, but decided in favor of the University of Oregon.

“I probably would have gone to Whitman if I didn’t live in Walla Walla, but it was the proximity to my family that finally drove me away from choosing Whitman as a school,” Crosby wrote in a Facebook message.

Whitman sophomore Nick Gottschall, who graduated from Walla Walla High School, echoed Crosby’s sentiments.

“Many Walla Walla students don’t even consider Whitman as an option,” he said. “People often think that a student from Walla Walla would attend Whitman only either because he or she has a full scholarship or parents working here.”

Every year a few DeSales seniors have the opportunity to attend a class at Whitman as part of a local college enrichment program. Crosby took introductory Chinese. Carol Baker, who will be graduating this year, used this opportunity to study French.

Baker will not be attending Whitman either.

“I love Whitman campus and the school, but what kept me from going to Whitman next year is that fact that it is in Walla Walla. I’ve lived here most of my life and really desire a change,” Baker wrote in a Facebook message. “I think that’s how a lot of DeSales students feel, although one girl I talked to choose not to go to Whitman due to the price.”

Tony Cabasco, dean of admission at Whitman College, thinks that this opinion is common among local high school students.
“From my experience with local high schools students, they would like a place like Whitman, but not here,” he said. “I am pleasantly surprised that there are as many local students as we have at Whitman.”

Whitman gets between 10 and 20 applications from Walla Walla High School graduates each year. The much smaller DeSales and Walla Walla Valley Academy, a Seventh Day Adventist high school in College Place, usually have one applicant each year.

The Admissions Office continuously works with high schools to attract students from the area. Admission representatives recently made a presentation about the college application process to a group of DeSales students and their parents.
Because the experience of living in Walla Walla can be very different from that of being a student at Whitman, Cabasco still encourages doubtful local high school graduates to consider Whitman as an option.

“Even for local students, going to Whitman is going away from home. They discover a different Whitman than just what they may observe superficially,” said Cabasco.

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