Student engagement is the ultimate mission for two Montini Catholic educators

  • Alexxis Johnson's group of Montini Maniacs stir up a crowd of Bronco fans at Montini's first home football game Aug. 27. Pictured front, from left, are the leaders of Montini Maniacs (spirit club) seniors Ava Franklin, Madeline Kasallis, Reeghan Boyer and Paige Pickering.

    Alexxis Johnson's group of Montini Maniacs stir up a crowd of Bronco fans at Montini's first home football game Aug. 27. Pictured front, from left, are the leaders of Montini Maniacs (spirit club) seniors Ava Franklin, Madeline Kasallis, Reeghan Boyer and Paige Pickering. Courtesy of Montini Catholic

  • Alexxis Johnson and Andrew Weisenburger with students at Montini's Gold Rush Football kickoff event, Aug. 27.

    Alexxis Johnson and Andrew Weisenburger with students at Montini's Gold Rush Football kickoff event, Aug. 27. Courtesy of Montini Catholic

 
 
Updated 9/16/2021 11:46 PM

Two Montini Catholic faculty/staff members are going above and beyond when it comes to student involvement at the Lasallian college preparatory high school in Lombard.

Student Government Director and Montini Maniacs Moderator Alexxis Johnson and Student Activities Director Andrew Weisenburger are doing everything they can to see that students get engaged during their high school years as Broncos.

 

Johnson is enjoying her first year leading a team of energetic Bronco student government members who are determined to make this year a memorable one, especially in light of last year's series of cancellations and postponed events (due to COVID-19 regulations).

"My goal is to offer events that students are excited to participate in. I want to get our school community back together to celebrate all of the great activities that Montini has to offer."

The teacher stresses that her primary responsibility as director is to be an advocate for the student leaders -- making sure that their voices and opinions are heard. She and her team of faculty class moderators are determined to challenge Bronco students to step up and be a part of creating a spirit filled community.

"We want to plan great events and activities to keep our students excited and engaged. They should leave here with nothing but great memories of their Bronco experiences."

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"It is extremely rewarding to work with our student body to collaborate on ideas for Montini," adds Johnson, who works primarily with the officers elected to student government during the spring of last year. "They are all so eager to bring back some of the traditions that they were not able to participate in last year, and they have so many amazing ideas about how to raise school spirit! I am so lucky to learn from them what 'Bronco Pride' really is!"

Johnson and her team of teacher/moderators conduct student government meetings twice a week (executive board on Tuesdays and individual class meetings on Wednesdays)

"All students are encouraged to attend their class meeting each Wednesday and to share their ideas for how to better the school community here at Montini," she shares. "We want everyone to feel like their ideas are valued. You never know who will have the next great idea!"

Student Government and Montini Maniacs go hand in hand in regards to student engagement. One group plans the events and the other goes all out in making sure all Broncos are inspired to take part. It made sense for Johnson to also take on the role of moderating the Maniacs spirit team. The group decorated the hallways for Montini's first football game of the season, Aug. 27, and themed their pregame kickoff party -- the Bronco Gold Rush! The spirited Bronco fans dressed the part for their first Friday Night Lights game and helped lead cheers throughout the evening.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Montini's Student Activities Director Andrew Weisenburger oversees all of the school's non- athletic clubs and organizations. (He is also one of two dean of students at Montini Catholic.)

"This year, I hope that our students can enjoy a somewhat 'normal year,' in that they have the opportunity to take part in many events, unlike last year," he said. "One of the great things about Montini is that we are very receptive to new clubs and ideas and it is really a great empowering lesson for our students. They are encouraged to suggest new clubs and to find and recruit members with similar interests."

He is in awe of the resiliency he has witnessed in Bronco students over the last year and a half -- of COVID restrictions regulating and ending many events.

"I'm excited for them to have a high school experience this year that is defined by what they can do rather than what they can't do."

Weisenburger acknowledges that these days many students are pulled in several different directions, with memberships to several clubs, athletics and outside jobs. "I think it really is a testament to our students -- they are so involved and dedicated. They really are amazing young people and it is inspiring to see them excel in so many different aspects of life." He feels blessed to be able to work with students in this capacity and greatly enjoys witnessing them as they develop their own leadership skills over the course of their four years of high school. He hosted a special Club Day Sept. 1, educating freshman Broncos about the many opportunities available.

"Our students really take ownership and feel like they are a part of something much bigger than themselves," Weisenburger said. "These are the things that I think will benefit them long after they graduate and also will allow them to look back on their four years here and feel like they belonged and made the most of their high school experience."