Oslica Interview

Oslica Interview

Derrick Neuner

At the end of February, Mr. Oslica will be leaving Priory to assume the role of director of communications for the SLU Chaifetz School of Business. As a student, coach, and faculty member, he has experienced many aspects of student life that make Priory unique. In his exit interview with The Record, he reflected on his six years as a student here and his nearly 10 years working at Priory.


Why did you choose Priory in 7th grade?

Funny you ask, because I didn’t choose Priory; my parents chose Priory for me. I was kind of angry about it at the time. My dad went to Kennedy [High School], and he and my mom wanted me in the Catholic school setting and thought Priory would be a perfect fit. They were right. I was very happy to be here after about a week. Now, I’ve spent nearly half my life on this campus.

You were working at the SLU School of Law in 2013 before applying for your current job. What brought you back to Priory?

I was happy [at SLU], and the timing wasn’t really ideal, but I saw the job posted online, and the description was very similar to what I was doing at SLU. It would have been hard to say, “No,” to not at least applying and seeing what happened. Being an alumnus, knowing the culture, the people, the importance of what [Priory] was doing and why — that made it easier to switch jobs unexpectedly. I knew the bigger context of how communications fit into the mission of Priory.

Did you ever think you would be a teacher or an advisor?

No. I never planned to work at a school. Being here, though, helped, because it was a natural extension of the learning and growing I did as a student here. I had a lot of support and examples to draw off of, from Marty Combs, who coached me and then gave me the opportunity to coach, to Ann Redow, who was my advisor as a student and helped me grow as an advisor. They gave me great examples to emulate. I got to work with Tony Finan and learn from him, even if he does still scare me a little bit. Folks like Jake Parent and Tyler Orf have been solid examples and very helpful for me in growing into these roles too.

What would you want a stranger to know about Priory?

We battle a couple of different misconceptions. One, that our community is super homogenous. When you actually get onto campus, you meet people from all over the area, with all different interests, all different backgrounds, and lots of different life experiences. Diversity in the big picture, broad sense is here. The other is that because we are so small that you don’t have as many opportunities [at Priory]. I’ve always described Priory as a “choose your own adventure” novel. You do have the opportunity to explore your interests, whether with other students or faculty members, and whether it’s curricular or in clubs or athletics.

What would you tell yourself, if you could go back to senior year?

It’s a cliché, but things aren’t always going to work out the way you think they will – but they will work out the way they are meant to. Sometimes you have to wait to find out why that is and what things are meant to be. I think about this job and how unexpected it’s been for me. I never thought I’d be a teacher or an advisor. It’s been rewarding in ways I didn’t anticipate. One of my most cherished memories here is winning the class mentor award in 2019. It blew me away to win that, as someone who never anticipated being in a role or setting like this. And along the way, I’ve gotten to develop some really great, transferrable skills. I learned that if you can hold the attention of 14- and 15-year-olds for 50 minutes, that’s a skill that you can use anywhere.

As you reflect on leaving Priory, what else stands out?

It felt good to give back to a place that has given me a lot, and I got to do that in a lot of different ways. I have had wonderful experiences working with kids, co-workers, and parents. I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity.