“Look, if you had one shot, one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it, or just let it slip?” Mr. De Leonardis, more commonly known as Mr. D, passionately sings those Eminem lyrics quite frequently, encouraging students to take every chance they can get.
His influence on the Marian community has been nothing short of legendary. However, with heavy hearts and teary eyes, this rap god will be packing up his desk and sick rhymes in order to move to Chicago.
“Marian has given me so many opportunities I could never forget,” De Leonardis said. He explains that the past three years have been incredibly memorable.
Every day, Mr. D is a shining model of positivity. Mr. D, a senior theology teacher and the head of Campus Ministry, has made the decision to move to Chicago where his girlfriend lives. He hopes that he can get a new job in the vibrant city, but he could not leave without addressing the Marian community.
“My most favorite part of Marian was the opportunity to teach seniors because the whole year is crazy for you. But then you get to a point where everything clicks, and the lessons Marian has taught you come together. It’s so exciting seeing you seniors develop into the people you’re going to be,” De Leonardis said.
He encourages bonding and respect between classmates and will do so in the most creative ways possible. For anyone who doesn’t already know, Mr. D and Mr. Peter Cunningham are #bestie goals and are constantly seen together at Marian.
Last year, they came up with the idea to label themselves as Jack Gilinsky (Mr. D) and Jack Johnson (Mr. Cun- ningham) when they dressed up like the Vine-famous duo for Halloween. The departure of De Leonardis has raised the question, “What will happen to Jack and Jack?”
“Me and Jack (Cunningham) have a connection that will never be broken. Ain’t no mountain high or valley low will keep Jack and Jack apart. We will definitely be having a comeback tour in the near future. Don’t worry,” De Leonardis said.
From rapping encouragin messages over the intercom to dressing in ridiculous costumes, he is never shy of entertainment. Mr. D has added such a bright light to Marian. With his future absence, many students are afraid the light at Marian will become dimmer. Mr. D says that he will always hold Marian close to his heart.
“I know it’s the right choice to move to Chicago, but it’s definitely bitter- sweet. Man, I’m going to miss this place a lot,” De Leonardis said.
De Leonardis / Mr. D / Jack Gilinsky 2.0 has put his whole heart and soul into Marian, and the students have definitely felt that impact. He encourages students to be the best versions of themselves inside and outside of the classroom, and that is something the entire community will never forget. One of the many reasons Mr. D is adored by students is because of his influential, upbeat attitude and empowering advice.
“When in doubt, sing Tupac in class,” De Leonardis said, laughing. “No, the biggest thing is thank you. Coming into a school with such a vibrant community, I have felt so welcomed and loved. Thank you to the students, staff, and faculty. It’s been quite the ride, and this is definitely not goodbye.”