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POV: Joseph Townsend '20

Joe Townsend '20 discovered Delbarton through the New Jersey S.E.E.D.S. program. What does he appreciate most about his school?

Joe Townsend '20, a lifer and current junior, was first introduced to Delbarton School through the New Jersey S.E.E.D.S. program, one that aims to provide high-achieving students from low-income areas with education and access to elite secondary schools. For many years, Delbarton School hosted the Young Scholars Program for S.E.E.D.S., a summer school experience Joe attended for two summers. Joe recalls being awestruck by the campus during his initial visits. "Being from Newark, I'd never seen a campus that looked like this. It's huge. It's beautiful." After some encouraging conversations with Mr. Pillette, the English Department Chairperson who ran the Young Scholars Program at the time, Joe decided to apply to Delbarton. He came for his formal school visit the day before winter break began, and he enjoyed the "really relaxed attitude" of teachers and students alike. Deep in the throes of junior year, he can verify that this restful day before Christmas break did not really reflect the same rigor as a "normal" Delbarton day, but it was a special visit that made him even more excited to attend.

Joe cherished his time in the middle school, explaining that everyone in the middle school "knows everyone and hangs out with everyone". Years later, he still feels like his fellow lifers are his "closest family" at Delbarton. In middle school, Joe joined the baseball, football, and basketball teams. He went on to join the Percussion Ensemble and ran freshman track. He continues to play football and basketball for the Green Wave. He finds that sports provide structure and bolster academic achievement. He says, "Sports keep me in check, personally. Something about getting in the groove of basketball season keeps me together. Sports keep you disciplined."

Joe also became heavily involved with the DAP (Diversity Among Peers) program, one that focuses on cultural inclusion and cultural awareness in all aspects of the Delbarton community. Working with DAP moderators, Jenna Gomez and Tony Negrin, Joe leads educational workshops and programs that are open to members of the Delbarton community and our peer schools. Joe says, "Being a black student here is difficult at first, it never becomes truly easy. But if you just lean into discomfort here, you can become friends with a lot of [different] people...all the strides we've made in DAP have really helped me personally and improved Delbarton overall."

According to Joe, the best part of Delbarton is the freedom to pursue your own interests on your own timeline. "The best part of Delbarton is the freedom--freedom during the day. Teachers are flexible, and it takes a lot of stress off of you."