Spotlight ArchivePatrick Bonnot
Anthony "Tony" Brenneke
2019 marks a significant year for one of the most familiar faces here at Helias Catholic High School. Ron Vossen celebrates 40 years of molding young minds as the 2019-2020 academic year gets underway. He currently teaches Mechanical Drawing, Design and Construction, Theatre Design, and Life Skills.
Vossen graduated from Helias in 1974, where he was involved with football, basketball, wrestling, student council, and spring musicals. After high school, he obtained his bachelor's degree in industrial arts education from the University of Missouri-Columbia before earning his master's in school administration from Lincoln University. After brief stints volunteering with the Jefferson City Diocese and at Immaculate Conception School, Vossen began his first year as a teacher at Helias in the 1979-1980 school year.
In Vossen's 40 years at Helias, he has served as both a teacher, and for a brief stretch in the 80s and 90s as an assistant principal under Jim Rackers. But it's one role in particular that he has filled in the school for which he may be remembered by even more alumni; a role he accepted on day one of his Crusader career.
"When I started teaching at Helias, I was the industrial arts guy," Vossen said. "I was also friends with the school's musical director Joyce Weber. So from day one I've been a part of the spring musicals at Helias."
"It's probably the one aspect of my job that I enjoy more than most people know."
While Vossen's involvement is almost exclusively behind the scenes, his efforts are no less vital than those on stage. From set design to construction to production management, Vossen's efforts help set the stage for the student actors to shine. And it's those shining moments that motivate him.
"Our goal is to get as many kids involved as possible; everything from being on stage, to working backstage, to lighting crew, to sound crew, to costume, you name it. We like to have 80-90 kids participating in some aspect of the musical. It's a lot of hands, but it's also a lot of good memories for those kids.
"You know, high school days are the days you're going to remember," Vossen said, "and that's why I like to instill in these kids that positive experience of being involved with the musical. That's one thing I want them to always be able to look back on fondly."
One thing Vossen reflects upon fondly is the generosity of the Helias community.
"One of the biggest changes I've seen in my time at Helias is the tremendous amount of generosity and support that pours into this school, especially compared to when I was a student and a young teacher. Not that we didn't have generous folks who gave back then, but these days I'm constantly in awe of the number of people who do contribute and how much they give. I'm beyond grateful; we all are."
"As a teacher, we couldn't do what we do without the generosity and support of this community."
Vossen credits Brother James with inspiring to become a teacher.
"I remember when I was a student I was a statistician for the football team. I would always be running up and down the sidelines next to Brother James as I kept up with the game stats. Of course he would be taking all kinds of pictures at the time. But he instilled in me a lot of what made me want to be a teacher."
That decision to become an educator is one which Vossen has never looked back from or regretted.
"I knew the day I graduated from Helias that I wanted to teach. I feel so fortunate that life has allowed me to do that here at Helias for 40 years. I can honestly say I love what I do, and I wouldn't trade any of the days I've been here for anything. Hopefully I'll be here a few more years... retirement almost scares me!"Ron Vossen is married to Carol Glover Vossen. They have four children: Ryan Vossen, Nathan Vossen, Aaron Vossen, and Meghan Vossen, as well as two grandchildren. He is the son of John (Bud) and Helen Vossen. He is a member of Immaculate Conception Parish in Jefferson City.
-- 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.