A Lasting Community

As a Catholic school focused on educating the whole person, The Franciscan School values promoting academic achievement, making space for life-long friendships and instilling a passion for service in its students. 

For Alan Wessel, who attended TFS from kindergarten until his graduation in 2012, the instruction and experiences he received while at TFS did just that.

Wessel went on from TFS to attend Leesville Road High School, and then to study chemical engineering at North Carolina State University, which is ranked no. 24 for best engineering schools by U.S. News and World Report. 

“Going to TFS allowed me to get ahead in my education and prepared me really well for high school and beyond,” he says. “But TFS is not only a great school – it’s also a great community. I made life-long friends during my time there, and while we don’t see each other as often anymore, it’s always easy to catch up.”

For current students, Wessel encourages them to get involved and take advantage of all TFS has to offer. “Have fun. Try out for a sports team, join the art club, or do the Science Olympiad. TFS offers a lot, and these are great ways to make friends and do something you like.”

Reflecting on his own time at TFS, Wessel calls to mind some of his favorite moments.“Winning the soccer championship in my eighth grade year on the big turf field at Cardinal Gibbons is still at the height of my sporting accomplishments,” he says. “And I always thought the obstacle courses on field day were so fun.” 

While getting to dunk his teachers on field day is among his favorite memories, too, Wessel also remembers how much he enjoyed the TFS faculty inside the classroom. 

“I had so many great teachers at TFS who all left positive memories for me. I loved first grade with Mrs. Burdette…she was awesome,” he says. “I still remember hatching chicklets in my sixth grade science class with Mr. Watson. And after spending most of my years at TFS in morning care with Mrs. Marie, she’s been a constant in my life.”

After Wessel completes his degree at N.C. State this year, he will head west to start a full-time job at Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport, Tenn. As he goes, he carries with him a key lesson he learned during his time at TFS. 

“Wherever I go, it’s important to me to be a steward for my community. The people at TFS do this so well and it’s something I’ve taken with me since I left.”

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