On the court, Gaby De Jesus is the starting point guard for Franciscan University of Steubenville’s women’s basketball team, but to over 100 high school students in Steubenville, she is something even more impactful: a teacher.
De Jesus is a senior mathematics and education major from Crystal Lake, Illinois, and she has been playing on the Lady Barons’ basketball team since her freshman year. However, her love for the sport traces back to nearly half her lifetime ago.
Coming from a family of four, this first-generation American’s drive was impacted by the interests of her older brother, Jeremy.
“Little siblings, including myself, have a tendency to want to do everything their older siblings do,” said De Jesus, “so when I saw my older brother playing basketball that meant I wanted to do the same.” Her fire to keep up with her brother would eventually lead her on a journey to compete at the collegiate level.
After honing her skills in middle school and high school, De Jesus eventually made the decision to continue her career in Steubenville. As a senior on the women’s basketball team, De Jesus has many memories of her collegiate basketball career, but her favorite came from freshman year.
“One of my favorite sports memories was my freshman year at Franciscan when we beat LaRoche for the first time in our program’s history,” she said. “LaRoche was undefeated going into that game, so we were strongly pinned as the underdog. That was my first big win at the collegiate level, and it was amazing to experience it with all the seniors I admired so much. When I look back, that game will be how I remember Baron basketball.”
This year, De Jesus hopes to help the Lady Barons reach the playoffs and to help lead the younger girls by example. She also hopes to graduate and pursue teaching, a passion she has pursued during her time here at Franciscan as a student teacher in Steubenville.
De Jesus feels inspired by her students every day, and she credits them for much of her growth.
“I completed my student teaching last semester at Steubenville Catholic Central, and I had over 100 amazing students who pushed me and taught me more than I think I taught them. Thinking about them, as well as all my future students, and all the potential they have as people definitely encourages me throughout tough moments in my days,” she said.
The Lady Barons’ next home game will be on Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 6 p.m. against Mt. Aloysius College.