A Detailed Look at Mr. Donovan

Hope Thomas, Staff Writer

It seems that time has flown by as Danbury High School enters its third month of the 2022-2023 school year. The school year has been filled with so much excitement like senior fest, homecoming, and the first pep rally in years. Academically, there have been many learning curves in switching from Google Classroom to Schoology, and reinstating the Credit Only Policy. Students and teachers have worked hard to put their best foot forward in the first normal school year since 2020. The journalism class wanted to learn all insider information about Danbury High School events and policies. There was no better person to invite for the classes’ press conference than our very own, Mr. Donovan. 

Mr. Donovan is the main principal of Danbury High School. While he currently serves as the principal, there were many years of experience that brought him to this stage of life. Donovan was born and raised in New York, acquired a bachelor’s degree in criminal psychology, and a masters in education. Before becoming the principal, he taught fifth and seventh grade science. He truly loved his experience in the classroom and explains a challenge he faces as an administrator is the little interaction he has with students. Mr. Donovan would love to develop more relationships with students and does his best to ignite them when possible. 

One of the most interesting factors that Donovan expounded upon was the new academies set to be completed by fall of 2024. Instead of regular classes, a student will take courses that give clear guidance about their interests. As Danbury High School has an increasing population, there will be two academies in the old Cartus building, and four in Danbury High School. Students are required to be in an academy, and they can send in their top three choices of interested careers. The freshmen will be staying in the current Danbury High School building, but the upperclassmen will move between buildings. The current plan involves every floor being a separate academy. There are many advantages to this model as high school gives more support for students choosing their future careers. However, there are many challenges that arise with such a new concept. A lot of money is required to create the academies, money that our district lacks. The school has decided to borrow money from the state, and the state will reimburse about 80% of the costs. Another challenge is transitioning between two school buildings. Managing after-school clubs, sports, and honor societies that involve students from both buildings requires a lot of coordination. While there will be buses provided for transportation to the main high school building, implications like delayed practice times may have to be instituted. 

Many difficulties come with running such a massive high school. Despite our huge population, Danbury is the lowest funded district in CT. Mr. Donovan acknowledges the bathrooms need an improvement  and wishes air conditioning to be school wide. However, with such a low budget, Donovan along with the rest of administration are trying their best to improve the school. For example, hallway traffic has slightly improved since last year where three full grades were unfamiliar with navigating the school. Despite the challenges that come with running Danbury High School, Mr. Donovan truly loves being able to guide students through their high school journey. 

For the upcoming school year, Donovan hopes this year will give students a full perspective of what it means to truly experience high school. He described last year as an “adjustment year.” He hopes to change the reputation of Danbury High School amongst other schools as the students are often underestimated. His advice to seniors is to “lead,” leading in the hallways, the lunchroom, and the classroom. He urges the juniors to remember this is an important year as they begin to look towards the future. To the sophomores he advises “hang in there,” while the freshmen should embrace this new atmosphere.

One thing is certain, Mr. Donovan takes pride in the student’s from Danbury High School. He proudly explains, “I’ll take our kids and put them against anybody. We send students to the finest institutions. [In Danbury], we go about our business and we have fun when we can.” Mr. Donovan hopes that students never forget how remarkable they are with their many passions, and talents. Danbury High School is blessed to have a principal like Mr. Donovan who is approachable, caring, and methodical. We’re excited to see the rest of such an incredible year unfold.