Meet Jeff Schmitz. Jeff is a graduate of Central Catholic, Class of 1988. After graduating from CC, he attended Purdue University where he received a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. He continued his education at the University of Texas at Austin receiving his master’s degree in Civil Engineering in 1995. Upon completing his education, Jeff joined the Peace Corps. He was able to put his science background to work by teaching chemistry and physics in the West African country of Benin.
After an incredible 2 year experience volunteering abroad, Jeff returned to the U.S. He joined the U.S. State Department, working in Washington D.C. as a Structural Engineer from 1998-2001. Although he loved using his engineering degree, Jeff had developed a passion for teaching while working in the Peace Corps. Jeff left his position with the State Department to earn his teaching license, and he then began teaching in the inner city schools of Washington D.C.
Jeff has continued to teach math, physics, engineering, and computer programming at the high school level for the last 15 years. In addition to teaching in Washington D.C., Jeff also taught in Silver Spring, MD before moving back to Lafayette last year. Jeff is currently teaching at Lafayette Jefferson High School.
In his free time, Jeff enjoys spending time with his family who lives in Lafayette. He also has 2 nieces, Avery and Claire, and 2 nephews, Liam and Jack, who live in Woodland, WA, and Jeff enjoys visiting with them whenever he can.
How did your education from LCSS prepare you for college and your career?
More than academics, I appreciate how Lafayette Catholic Schools strove to educate the whole person. They fostered a deep connection with our Catholic faith, kept high expectations for integrity and work ethic, and promoted an attitude of service to our community and the world. I was academically prepared for postsecondary education, but the faith component of my years at Saint Lawrence and CC is what has really driven the key decisions in my life and career.
I remember writing an essay on Letter from a Birmingham Jail for a college application. I asked my English teacher, Kathy Korty, to proofread it for me. What I got back from her surprised me. Instead of suggestions on how to improve my essay’s structure or grammar, she had written a letter to me, challenging me to try to see the world through the eyes of the disenfranchised. She wanted me to grow, not just as a student, but as a person, and she cared enough to spend the time to help me grow. Reflecting on experiences like that are what form who I am as an educator and a person.
What did you like most about your experience at LCSS?
I liked the size of the student population. It allowed students to participate in a wider variety of activities than they might have in a larger school. And having a group of close friends in the same class through elementary and high school was a great experience that students in larger schools don’t get to experience.
What is your favorite memory from your years at LCSS?
I have great memories of playing football at CC. All of the double session practices in the summer, the sprints, the weights, the months of hard work – it was all worth it being on the field Friday night with great friends. And what a great feeling to sing “Where, oh Where Are You Tonight” on the bus ride home after a road win!