- Ron DeSantis spent a year after college teaching at a private school in Georgia, for The New York Times.
- Former students said he looked “blissful” and was a “total sportsman” who partied with students.
- Some students remembered DeSantis fondly while others remembered the “unthinkable” pranks he pulled on the students.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis spent a year teaching at a private school in Georgia, where former students said he was a ‘total sportsman’ who partied with the students, according to a New York Times report.
DeSantis, then a 23-year-old Yale University graduate, used to tell his students he was headed for the White House when he taught at the Darlington School, a prestigious private school in Rome. , Georgia, former students told The Times.
“He was a real sportsman, that was his personality,” Gates Minis, who graduated from the school in 2003, told The Times. “He was definitely proud to have graduated Ivy and thought he was very special.”
DeSantis taught at Darlington, which enrolled about 750 students from kindergarten through high school, for the 2001-2002 school year, according to the Times. Tuition, room and board at the school with its 500-acre campus cost around $50,000 today, according to the Times.
“He was definitely one of the coolest guys,” former student Trip Barnes told The Times. “There were other young teachers trying to be everyone’s friend who didn’t quite have his mystique.”
Barnes described DeSantis, who coached baseball and football, as “very smart” and “charismatic”, noting that “people loved him” at Darlington. Some other students remembered the Florida governor differently, telling the Times he had a bit of a superiority complex.
“Mr. DeSantis was kind of a smug guy,” alumnus Matthew Arne told The Times, adding that many students knew DeSantis had just graduated from an Ivy League school.
“It was like, ‘I’m a little bit better than you,'” Arne told the outlet. “And we were all just kids.”
A spokesperson for DeSantis did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Several students told The Times that DeSantis attended parties with Darlington high schoolers and attended some events with grads where alcohol was served.
“When I was 18, I remember thinking, ‘What are you doing here, man?'” said a former student, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals , reported the Times.
Former students also recalled an incident in which DeSantis dared a student – who bragged about how much milk he could drink – to drink as much as he could in one sitting. The student complied and began vomiting in front of dozens of other students, according to the Times.
“I’m thinking about it, now — I’m now a public school teacher,” Adam Moody, a former student who witnessed the incident, told The Times. “I put myself in this moment, and it’s just unthinkable. There’s a cruelty to a sense of humor. There’s a cruelty to mentoring.”
Some students had positive memories of DeSantis, recalling his practice on the baseball team.
“He helped a lot of us out in the field, especially when some of us were distracted by being young adults,” 2004 graduate Lee Graddy told The Times. “I know some of us weren’t the best; with his guidance, we became good baseball players and better people.”