Spotlight ArchivePatrick Bonnot
Anthony "Tony" Brenneke
Our Alumni Spotlight for May falls squarely on David Kemna ('95). David is a Relationship Banking Specialist at Central Bank's downtown main branch, and currently serves on the Jefferson City Council as the Ward 1 councilman.
After graduating from Helias in 1995, David attended Lincoln University where he graduated with a degree in History while minoring in Education.
In 2003 Kemna began serving as an assistant football coach under Coach Mike Jeffries. Eventually he served as freshman football coach during Chris Hentges first tenure leading the Crusaders. Kemna also served as an assistant and junior varsity coach for the Lady Crusaders basketball program, and as an assistant coach for the school's baseball team.
In 2008, Kemna joined the Helias faculty as Civics and Geography teacher, filling in for Coach Dan Campbell during his deployment to Kosovo with the Missouri Army National Guard.
Kemna comes from a Helias family. "I had two older brothers go through Helias before me, as well as my dad. He was one of the first to go through all four years at the school."
David says he's most proud of the relationships he built during his time at Helias, as a student, as a coach, and as member of the faculty. He says many of those relationships remain to this day and continue to be the source of his fondest memories of his time at Helias.
"Helias has a proud tradition of friendship, and there's a real sense of family in the Crusader community," Kemna remarked. "It's not just at the games. I run into people all the time all over town - at restaurants or at the grocery store; people I haven't seen in a long time. Because of the family atmosphere of the Helias community, it's easy to just pick up right where you left off from the last time you saw them."
"To me that's a huge benefit of attending Helias,"
Kemna also recalled his experience with the faculty at Helias, both as a student and a fellow teacher.
"Being that Helias isn't a huge school, I feel like the faculty got to know you as a person and treated you as such; you weren't just a number to them," Kemna said. "They were fair - strict, but fair. And that helped prepare me in my current positions of dealing with some of the challenges I face on a daily basis, both here at Central Bank and on the City Council."
"Helias prepared me for college. Helias prepared me for the business world. Helias prepared me for life."
"You look back at the teachers you had and you pick up positive little traits from each of them that you incorporate into your life. Maybe it was the way they handled students or coached players. Maybe it was how they applied their faith when handling difficult situations."
"Even when I went back to coach and became a part of the faculty, they were the same genuine people to their peers as I'd hoped they were when I was a student. That was very refreshing to me."
"I knew then that the teachers at Helias genuinely cared for their students; they sincerely wanted to see them succeed in both the classroom and life. That's something I'll always appreciate and treasure from my time at Helias.
When asked about the importance of having the option of affordable Catholic education here in Jefferson City, Kemna was reflective and unwavering.
"I never really saw it while I was a student," Kemna recalled, "so I didn't realize when I was younger how much of an impact Helias has on the Jefferson City community. Since then though, through my time teaching and coaching at the school, and meeting various parents and speaking to so many people through my role on the city council, you see how much passion is in the Helias community. You see how much parents and alumni and grandparents and other Catholics in this town love and appreciate what Helias has done for them and what it represents, and I think it's incredibly important to continue to support that, either financially or with your time, or even both."
"You don't see it so much while you're young and in school," Kemna continued, "but once you get out and become a part of that larger community, that's when it really hits you. You understand what being a member of the Helias family really means and why that tradition makes it so important to continue supporting faith-based education here in Jefferson City."
"The Helias family is what makes me proud to say I'm a Crusader for Life. It's that common ground of knowing that not only did you go to the same school as so many people whose paths you cross each day, but that you came through a strong Catholic education. You know that those people are using and instilling in others those same traditions and values and morals that you were taught at Helias. It's that commonality that bonds us and makes us better and stronger as a community."
-- Kris Wilson / Foundation for the Benefit of Helias Catholic High School
** If you know of any Helias alum who's proud to say they're a #CrusaderforLife, please send their name and contact information to email@example.com.
Each month we'll focus on a new and different member of the Helias family. Whether they passed through these halls 60 years ago or their cap and gown still have that new smell, we want to know all about where life has taken our Crusaders and how their time at Helias helped them along the way!
To nominate someone for the Alumni Spotlight, email firstname.lastname@example.org.