Building a better beginning

Deener describes the ways McHenry High School has changed and the benefits of where it could go in the future.


Alyssa Thomas

Mr. Jordan Deener discusses with a student in his office at Upper Campus.

As a young Mr. Jordan Deener walks through the halls of West Campus to his next class, with not much time to spare, he contemplates the gray walls and rows upon rows of lockers, describing the sight as “prison”. Deener makes it to his class right on time, sitting down he counts the seconds on the clock mindlessly. Soon leaving his class to start the same routine, class by class. While Deener had amazing teachers, the atmosphere at West back then was far from what it is now. While combining the new high school experience with what he was used to as a student, Deener describes what it was like as a student at West to what it is now.

The school has seen significant changes since Deener has gone to West Campus, from the environment to the architecture alike. Deener describes the environment at West Campus as “amazing”, adding, “the school was a lot smaller when I was a student here. It sort of had this ‘white hallway prison vibe.” Deener is excited that the students at Upper Campus are experiencing a new beneficial way of learning, to grow from the past and benefit the future. 

Learning is important, especially the environment students learn in, which can determine how well they can succeed. Deener brings up the topic of blended learning as he describes, he didn’t have the ability to go where he wanted to when he needed it. Deener also explains,“The main aspects of west when I went as to now were definitely the freedoms.” Freedom is and can be beneficial to everyone, stating that blended learning and this newfound freedom in the school is beneficial for students who all have different ways of learning. 

Not only is freedom beneficial for anyone it can motivate and help an individual and for as long as Deener could remember he has always wanted to help people. That was his goal in life no matter what career. Inspired by the teachers that taught him in high school and the leaders he saw as a student, their actions were a big motivator for him growing up. Deener explains, “our world has changed, everyone should be allowed freedoms and they should have more opportunities’. The freedoms for students spanding from blended classes, open lunches and the morning coffee shop is something every student at the Upper Campus has embraced. 

Deener sees the ways this new system of learning has helped so many kids during their time through high school and through the pandemic. With teachers,“leading by example” or “leading through their actions,” Deener explained, they can help so many students succeed by just giving students that little glimpse of freedom that can help change so much. As Deener describes, “I want people to build off of that”, including, “that opportunity for students and staff, that idea of freedom is amazing”. 

By discovering his own passions in high school, Deener hopes to do the same for kids that were once his age. Leadership and freedom are important aspects to who Deener is as a teacher and person. The mobility for students to find who they are as learners and the privileges students have in West Campus to learn in a way they can individually understand is important to a person’s character and future. Deener hopes to help students for generations to come and keep building a better learning environment for all!