Success Stories


Where are our DeBusk students now?

These stories from former program participants tell how one of the foundation’s programs had an impact on his / her life and what he or she has done since participation. Click on one of our graduates’ names to learn more.


Submitted February 2015

Jeremy Thames is from Tyler, Texas where he attended DECATS four times as a student at All Saints Episcopal School. He graduated third in his class, was a National Merit Commended Scholar and a member of the National Honor Society, where he was chapter president. Jeremy was also president of the Young Republicans and captain of the golf team.

Currently in his junior year at Vanderbilt University as a double-major in Finance and Economics, Jeremy is in the top 5% of his class and has been named to the Dean’s List every semester. As the youngest member of the Executive Board of Vanderbilt Investment Club, he was elected incoming president for next year. Last summer, he earned a highly-competitive internship at Harris Associates, a Chicago-based investment firm that manages approximately $150 billion in client assets, and earned an unprecedented return invitation for next summer.

Jeremy is a member of Beta Upsilon Chi national fraternity, loves following college football and basketball, competes in intramural sports and plays golf every chance he gets.

Jeremy writes:

I first attended DECATS as a 10 year-old 4th grader in 2004. Since then my two younger brothers have attended and I have my senior year of college in sight. Thinking back, after that first year, the only thing I was sure of about DECATS is that I wanted more. I didn’t understand it at the time but the kind of inspired teaching that goes on at DECATS is the exception rather than the rule. I’ve often wondered why that is and why more of education and learning can’t be the same way. I had so many great experiences at DECATS it’s hard to single out a particular one but there are definitely some things that stand out ten years later.

One of the most memorable classes – one that I took all four years – was Sports Math. The mentor used statistics from pro baseball and basketball teams and had us make a board game. We used the board game in a league where we competed against other scholars. My last year in the class I was named assistant commissioner, which meant I helped newer scholars make their game and compete against more veteran scholars. It makes so much sense now that by helping to make math and numbers fun that DECATS furthered my interest in finance and economics. I’m convinced I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.

Being mentored, then having a chance to be a mentor to younger scholars, helped me begin to understand leadership and how critical it is to developing yourself as a person. Writing ‘Thank You’ letters to DeBusk Foundation really helped me see that this was an experience to be deeply appreciated. The Perspectives lessons on the “Different Kinds of Smart” were mind-blowing. There are people who never get a chance to be introduced to something like that and I was fortunate to have the exposure as a 3rd-6th grader. Learning that I had multiple levels of intelligence and that I could make choices that help improve each of them is something I still think about today.

Looking back, the most enduring thing about DECATS is remembering the way it made me feel. Some of my friends now find it hard to believe that, as a 10-13 year old, I would’ve rather attended an academic camp than some other kind of summer fun. I honestly can’t imagine having done anything else. In fact, my youngest brother just finished his first summer at DECATS. It was hard being so far away at college but he couldn’t wait to tell me about everything he did on a particular day, like which players he drafted for his Sports Math team. He was so excited! I asked my parents if I or my other younger brother were that fired up about DECATS. They both just laughed so I guess the answer was obvious! Needless to say, DECATS continues to be an important part of my life and it’s an experience I sincerely hope my children have a chance to have some day.