Tony Leseman '01 Proudly Represents CDH

Reprinted from Traditions, Summer 2020
July 30, 2020

Leseman with his wife Ashley and their three children: Clara (8), Annie (6), and Luke (4).

As Director of Admissions, Tony Leseman ’01, has the unique opportunity to work with all aspects of Cretin-Derham Hall. Of course, his work with prospective students is front and center, and he enjoys welcoming our newest students on campus. But even after students enroll, he remains in contact with students all four years of their CDH experience. He connects with teachers daily and has a wonderful network of alumni that know and love the school. We asked Tony to tell us more about his perspective on CDH from his unique vantage point.

What were you involved in when you were a student at CDH?

I was mainly involved in sports at CDH. I played Football, Basketball, and Baseball for all four years. I loved playing different sports, competing with different friends, and being able to focus on more than just one sport.

When you think back to your time at CDH, what has stayed the same?

The commitment of faculty/staff to support students to be their best in and outside the classroom! I recall many teachers during my days at CDH who genuinely cared about me and my experience. Now that I’m a staff member at CDH, I accept that responsibility and it’s so cool that the faculty and staff’s effort and care for students has never altered from then to now.

When you think back to your time at CDH, what has changed?

The lunch menu and social media. I sure miss me some ribticklers and circle pizzas but it’s definitely a good thing that our lunch menu now offers a variety of foods for us to eat, many of which are way healthier. Social media has certainly provided CDH a platform to promote all of the wonderful things going on at CDH. It also means that everyone always knows what everyone is doing in and out of school, which is certainly different than trying to figure out what’s going on by calling my buddy’s home phone line.

What did you want to be ‘when you grew up?’

Aside from wanting to play in the MLB or NBA, I wanted to be a firefighter. I’ve always appreciated their impact on helping others and how much they have to work as a team. I’ve always been on a team and thought a firefighter would be a good fit for me. I was very close to going to firefighter training until I was encouraged to apply for a job at CDH. Funny how things work out.

You get to meet all incoming students in your job as Admissions Director. What have you learned about today’s teenagers?

They are still as awkward as I probably was when I was in 8th grade. I’m kidding. Today’s teenagers are much more connected with each other through social media even when they don’t attend the same middle school. More often than not, a student knows another student who is considering CDH, simply because they play the same sport or they have a mutual friend. Today’s teenagers are also much more involved with the decision-making process of searching for a high school than I remember. I have the unique opportunity to meet each student before their experience starts at CDH and I welcome them through the doors and congratulate them as they go out after four years.

What do you wish people knew about CDH?

Two things: 1) how impressive our curriculum is; and 2) how beneficial it is to be a CDH graduate. Our academic experience is so comprehensive and expansive, students will truly have a premium high school education that is very competitive against other schools. Our students are able to attend the college or university of their choice and are well-prepared to take the next step in their lives after CDH. I truly believe that our broad curriculum helps open our student’s eyes to the talents they have and what they desire to do long term.

Your job doesn’t stop once the students are enrolled at CDH. How do you connect with them once they are here, walking our halls?

I definitely like to stay connected with our students after they enroll! They also help my efforts with the next wave of potential students because our students are our best marketing. There are no better advocates to have in my corner than current CDH students. They sell CDH, not me. I also have the opportunity to coach 9th grade baseball at CDH in the spring. It’s a great way for me to give back to the program that has given me so much and it’s a way for me to hopefully improve the experience of our students. I also lead a few clubs on the side such as Table Tennis, CDH Friendship Club, and I support our annual Empty Bowls by making soup.

The Class of 2020 is leaving CDH in a way that no other class has ever experienced. What is your message to them?

Although there is so much that is not fair to you in regards to how you’ve been forced to end your CDH experience, what makes sense is who you have become today and why. You all have contributed so much to our CDH community in so many ways that words cannot adequately express.

What advice do you have for our incoming Class of 2024?

We cannot wait to have you on our campus and officially begin your CDH experience! Your class is so unique with where some students are coming from, your interests, talents, and much more. You were destined to be Raiders and I can’t wait to see what tremendous impact you will bring to our CDH community.

Why are the four years of high school so important?

In my opinion, high school is where you will most likely meet some of your lifelong best friends. It’s a time of transitions, new beginnings, and adventure. High school, particularly at CDH, will be some of the best years of your life.

Leseman is leaving CDH this fall, and we wish him luck in his future endeavors!


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