Every current and future Trinity student needs to thank Branden Klayko. After graduating in 2002, he enrolled at Washington University in St. Louis. He earned a degree in architecture and spent his professional life focusing on urban design, eventually becoming well-known for publications related to that field. He married in spring 2017, but soon after succumbed to leukemia. His passing was met with much sadness and expressions of respect.
Why should students thank Branden?
It was 2001 and the school just launched the House System. We hoped the new way of organizing student government and activities would spur better communication between students and teachers. Branden was among the first 30 seniors to be chosen as House Captains. Within the opening weeks of that school year, Branden presented a petition to then-principal Dave Winkler H’04. It was signed by hundreds of seniors and teachers.
His proposal was that seniors, after enduring exams for seven semesters of high school, could be exempt from spring exams if they had an “A” class average for the year. The idea was quickly approved. It was a brilliant way to reward a senior’s hard work (and battle the infamous “senior slide”). No wonder teachers were also in favor of it. The practice still exists today.
For those of us wondering if the House System would be worthwhile, it was an immediate taste of what could come from this new way of doing things. From the beginning, Branden showed us how it could work. All these years later, every senior still appreciates the chance to skip an exam.
The celebration of Branden’s memory will include visiting hours Thursday, June 22 from 4-7 p.m. at Pearson Funeral Home at 149 Breckenridge Lane. His service will be Friday, June 23 at noon at Pearson, followed by burial at one of his favorite Louisville landmarks, Cave Hill Cemetery.
(Photo from Insider Louisville.)