The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

A Fantastic Freshman

New-to-Parker John Swanson brings optimism and originality to the Class of 2027
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At the Bridge program for new students in August, the freshmen were making introductions. John Bartlett said his name was “John” but he goes by “Jack.” Next up was John Swanson who said his name was “John” and he goes by “John.”

“We all cackled,” new freshman Sadie Graines said.

Swanson is among 29 new freshmen in the class of 2027 at Parker. He was born in Chicago and attended Hawthorne Scholastic Academy in Lakeview from kindergarten to eighth grade before coming to Parker this fall. 

“I really just wanted a big change,” Swanson said, “something new.”

Swanson’s older sister Anna Swanson is a senior at Parker who came four years ago at the start of her ninth grade year. Swanson’s other sister went to Walter Payton College Prep, where John was also admitted. He was excited about both Payton and Parker and deferred the opinion to his family, including Anna who was a staunch advocate for Parker.

Swanson has not enjoyed being known at Parker as Anna’s little brother as he would prefer to forge his own identity, however he has enjoyed the admiration of Upper School English teacher Mike Mahany whose class Swanson is not in but who knows Swanson for his sister and will say hello.

“The weeks here just kind of fly by,” Swanson said. “There’s always something going on that you can do or look forward to which I really enjoy. At my old school it was just watching the clock 24/7.”

Swanson is a member of Parker’s scholastic bowl team, the math club, the golf team, and the chess team. At the scholastic bowl MX this year, all players introduced themselves with their favorite math symbol.

“I said it was the pi symbol because I really like to eat pie,” Swanson said. 

“He’s just so good at something he’s never done before,” Graines said about Swanson’s scholastic bowl debut. “He’s a natural at it.”

“You are a very intellectual kid and you contribute a lot to scholastic bowl,” senior Marian Cozma said to Swanson after his performance in the MX.

Another senior Swanson appreciates is Matthew Borden who has been kind and welcoming to him.

“It feels good to have seniors who aren’t like closest friends with your sister acknowledge you and hang out with you,” he said of Borden.

Swanson has enjoyed meeting his new classmates and the teachers have exceeded his expectations. In addition to being in both advanced Algebra II and Advanced Biology, Swanson said his favorite class is Themes in World History with teacher Dan Greenstone.

“At my old school I hated history,” Swanson said, explaining that his teacher was boring and classes were long and unengaging. He expected more of the same at Parker “but Mr. Greenstone [made] it so interesting.”

Graines reflected on funny things that Swanson has said in their Biology class. “I really think Ms. Lesinski and John have a special relationship,” she said. “Everyone knows John and loves John.”

Despite having a name that rhymes with one of its main characters, Swanson has never watched Parks and Recreation. He does however enjoy the Marvel movies.

Swanson hopes to one day move to California. In a perfect world he would like to skip college, become an entrepreneur and billionaire, retire early, spend time with family, and then travel the world.

“John is really like what I think Parker should be defined as,” Trisen Phillips, another new Parker freshman, said. Phillips said he has found Parker to be a “judgy” place and Swanson represents the opposite of that attribute.

“John was just a face here that I knew was going to leave an impact on the school,” Phillips said, “and he definitely did that. I’m so proud of him.”

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About the Contributor
Harry Lowitz, Editor-in-Chief
Harry Lowitz is a senior who is animated to be in his second year as Editor-in-Chief, and fourth year on "The Weekly." Outside of the "The Weekly," he is the DCA in Student Government and a member of the Second City Teen Ensemble. Harry’s favorite journalism movie is “All The President’s Men.” Inspired by the film, he hopes to break into the college counseling office to hide listening devices. Perhaps, after that, he will swing by the Parker Democrats.