Starting Fresh

Senior Easton Dubbert relocated to De Soto high school to salvage his final football season

Rory Dungan, Co-Editor-in-Chief

A senior year without football was out of the question for senior Easton Dubbert.

His entire life, Easton and his family lived in Shawnee, less than five minutes away from Northwest. T

hen, this July, things changed drastically when he moved in with his sister and brother-in-law as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The location was Eudora, Kansas, 10 minutes away from his new school in De Soto.

“I thought I would be a lot more homesick considering that I grew up in that house, but I just really like it out in the country,” Easton said. “You don’t have any neighbors or anybody creeping on you and you can just do a lot of stuff.”

Easton enrolled at De Soto high school almost immediately after the SMSD Board voted to put a hold on fall sports. Easton was also offered to play at Lee’s Summit West, but ultimately decided that De Soto would be a better fit.

“I really needed a senior year to put myself out there and get better offers and looks from colleges,” Easton said. “We chose DeSoto because the guy that was playing my position actually got hurt. I knew that I wouldn’t come in and step on any toes or make anybody mad, and there wouldn’t be any kids sharing time with me.”

Much to the family’s disappointment, SMSD announced that fall sports would resume within days after Easton’s withdrawal, which meant that he was ineligible to play with the Northwest team.

“When I heard the news that the Shawnee Mission School District was going to revote on sports, it was a very hard pill to swallow,” Easton said. “The day that they said they could have sports, football held a practice at night, so I went to it. As soon as I pulled up, Giacalone was on the phone with the state and they said I couldn’t come back.”

Easton’s fate was decided. In August, he began attending school and playing football at De Soto, where everything was new to him.

I felt like a freshman again trying to find my classes, but it’s not too big of a school, so it was easy to adjust,” Easton said.

At first, De Soto followed a hybrid schedule that split students into two cohorts. Each cohort took turns attending school either twice or three times a week. Then, much like what happened at Northwest, De Soto switched to an all-remote schedule after Thanksgiving break. Caprice, Easton’s mom, attested that transitioning to a new school and having to deal with a turbulent class schedule is a challenge, but she praises Easton for his unwavering hard work.

“I am so proud of him because he has continued to keep his GPA up really high,” Caprice said. “I know that had to be difficult moving away from all of his friends since kindergarten, but he continues to get great grades.”

After Easton’s move, another adjustment was made within the Dubbert family – in November, Caprice and Easton’s dad, Mike, relocated to Eudora on a five-acre plot of land.

“We just decided to move out to the country,” Caprice said. “We were wanting to after Easton graduated, but we just went ahead and did it sooner since he’s no longer at Northwest.”

Even though the entire Dubbert family is now moved out of their old house in Shawnee, they decided against selling it – for now. Caprice is considering using the housing rental service VRBO to allow guests to stay in their house while they still own it.

“We don’t want to sell it because it has been in the family since the 70s,” Caprice said. “Mike’s mom and dad, Easton’s grandparents, bought it as a brand new home, so it has always been in our family. We just decided that we would hang on to it for a year and just see how we like living in the country.”

Along with the uncertainty of the Dubberts’ living situation, Easton is also still undecided about his future plans. Easton is currently exploring multiple options to play football as a freshman next year.

“I’m still looking at a bunch of different schools, so I don’t really have any tops,” Easton said. “I really like the Air Force, Northwest Missouri State, Emporia and Missouri Western,  pretty much all of those division II schools.”