English teacher Kevin Sedelmeier enjoyed teaching middle school, but when DeSales had an opening for English in 2019, he was interested in moving to high school. “I have a number of friends who are DeSales alumni, and they have always spoken so highly of the school,” said Mr. Sedelmeier.
Personal motto: Be sincere.
What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most?
Discussing writing and literature. First, students need to learn about writing, whether it is an essay or fiction. I want them to focus more on clear communication than trying to impress me with vocabulary. Writing is something all of us do every day in some form or another regardless of occupation. Since I write so much on my own, I am interested in the process from prewriting, outlining, and note-taking to the revision and editing of drafts. I like to give the backgrounds of authors so the students can see where some of the writer’s ideas come from and how they develop.
What do you think has been the most positive change/impact since your time at DeSales and why?
In the short amount of time, I have witnessed the administration's response to the pandemic. They are thorough and considerate and follow-through very well. They made the in-person graduation happen when it seems like an impossibility, and then they developed a detailed and safe plan for the students’ return to campus.
What do you see DeSales doing in the future to make an impact with students and/or the community?
The best thing any school can do is help develop responsible, moral, and sympathetic people who think for themselves and treat others with respect. DeSales has been doing this for a long time now. These students who become graduates then go on to make an impact in the community. However, young people can make an impact now. A club like Joseph of Arimathea is a great example of current students doing something here and now for the people of our community.
Why should alumni and friends support DeSales?
Catholic schools don’t get much funding, and especially with high schools that do not have a parish’s backing, support from graduates and friends is very important to keep the school going in a positive and growing way, especially as costs rise.
What have you learned from the students?
They make you think back to when you were in school at that age. That helps you relate and sympathize with them. I have also learned that I am getting old because there are times when absolutely no student gets one of my references (literature, music, sports, TV) that seem so universal to me.
What is your proudest moment at DeSales?
Any time a student stops by to talk outside of class time simply because they want to. At least that tells me they find me approachable and willing to listen.
What is your biggest achievement to date - personal or professional?
Being a dad to Lukas and Mason is my greatest legacy. Getting a novel published by a traditional publisher is my goal and something I am always working toward - but it has not happened yet. However, even if that happens, my sons will always come first. My wife and I have been really blessed.
What is your hidden talent?
Sadly, I can’t think of a thing. I would not enter in a faculty talent show; that is for sure.
If you could switch roles with anyone at DeSales, who would it be and why?
Well, I wouldn’t want to be an administrator. Bless all of them. I will stay in the department and say Matt Sommer because he brings great enthusiasm to education and teaching in general plus a lot of confidence. He also teaches Creative Writing.
What would others be surprised to find out about you?
Nothing particularly impressive. Odd things like ... I once sold prescription painkillers to actor Ned Beatty … I had a cable access show with my cousin for three years in college … I self-published a book with my oldest son when he was 8 (still available on Amazon!) … I won a Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon contest through Actor’s Theatre … I used to entertain my kids when they were smaller with a poor impression of Barney the dinosaur.
How do you spend your summer breaks?
I do not get up after 6:00 for sure. I like to spend time with my sons, and we usually go on a vacation and a short road trip or two in non pandemic years. I also try to finish a completed draft of a new middle grade fiction manuscript. I outline them and take notes during the school year so that it is ready for me to write when school is out. Although it will undergo more revisions for sure, I like to have that new project “done” by the end of the summer.
If you could take the students on a field trip anywhere in the world, where would you take them?
If I wasn’t apprehensive about flying over the ocean for five hours, the streets of London would be cool to spot famous locations in literature and music. Closer to home, the Rock &; Roll Museum would be great. Music, like fiction, poetry, and film is an essential facet of Language Arts, and understanding the styles, diversity, and origins also provides us with history and context and gets students into thinking about and ultimately commenting on art (and hopefully creating their own).
How do you think the students will remember you and your class? What do you want your legacy to be?
It would be great to influence students on becoming writers, but I know not everyone has that desire. So, demystifying writing for those that aren’t so passionate about it is really important. I want students to think for themselves and understand themes and the writing process. They may also remember me as being full of useless pop culture knowledge.
What were you like as a student?
I took copious amounts of notes and had a good GPA. I was in the National Honor Society and worked on the school paper in high school, but I also had to work hard to maintain the grades. Math and Science were especially challenging for me.
How do you show school spirit?
I am not a rah-rah kind of person. I won’t paint my face for a game, but I will gladly wear apparel. More so, I like to talk with students on teams to see how things are going and to let them know I support their sport or activity.