- Ron DeSantis spent a year after college at a private school in Georgia, according to The New York Times.
- Former students said he had a “smug” air about him and was a “total jock” who partied with students.
- Some students fondly remembered DeSantis, while others remembered “unthinkable” pranks he played on students.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis once taught a year at a private school in Georgia, where former students said he was a “total jock” who would party with students, according to a New York Times report.
DeSantis, then a 23-year-old graduate of Yale University, told his students he was on his way to the White House when he taught at Darlington School, a prestigious private school in Rome, Georgia, former students told the Times.
“He was a total jock; that was his personality,” Gates Minis, a graduate of the school in 2003, told the Times. “He was certainly proud of graduating Ivy and thought he was very special.”
DeSantis taught in Darlington, which, according to the Times, enrolled about 750 kindergarten through high school students for the 2001-2002 school year. Tuition, room and board at the school with its 500-acre campus costs about $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 who tried to be the friend of everyone who was nowhere near his mystique.”
Barnes described DeSantis, who coached baseball and football, as “very smart” and “charismatic,” noting that “people liked him” at Darlington. Some other students remembered the Florida governor differently, telling the Times that he had a bit of a superiority complex.
“Mr. DeSantis was a bit of a smug fellow,” former college student Matthew Arne told the Times, adding that many students knew that DeSantis had just graduated from an Ivy League school.
“It was like a ‘I’m a little better than you’,” Arne told the outlet. “And we were all just kids.”
A DeSantis spokesperson did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Multiple students told the Times that DeSantis attended parties with high school seniors in Darlington and attended some events with college graduates where alcohol was served.
“As an 18-year-old, I remember thinking, ‘What are you doing here, dude?'” a former student, on condition of anonymity, said for fear of retaliation, the Times reported.
Former students also recalled an incident where DeSantis challenged a student — who bragged about how much milk he could drink — to slurp as much as he could in one sitting. The student obeyed and surrendered in front of dozens of other students, according to the Times.
“I’m thinking about it now — I’m a public school teacher now,” Adam Moody, a former student who witnessed the incident, told the Times. “I put myself in that moment, and it’s just unthinkable. There is a ferocity in the sense of humor. The mentorship is cruel.”
Some students had positive memories of DeSantis and remember his coaching on the baseball team.
“He has helped many of us on the field, especially when some of us were distracted by being young adults,” Lee Graddy, a 2004 graduate, told the Times. ‘I know some of us weren’t the best; with his guidance, we became good baseball players and better people.”