Spotlight ArchivePatrick Bonnot
Anthony "Tony" Brenneke
The Foundation for the Benefit of Helias Catholic High School would like to introduce and feature our other newest alumni member of the Helias Foundation Board of Directors, Patrick Bonnot in this edition of our Helias Alumni Spotlight. Patrick graduated from Helias in 1994, where he participated in wrestling, and the JCPD Law Enforcement Explorers program. He and his wife Lori have four children – Claire, who graduated from Helias in 2020; Truman, who graduated in 2022; and Klein and Alden, both of whom attend St. Joseph Cathedral School. The Bonnots are members of St. Joseph Cathedral parish.
Patrick works for the Missouri Intergovernmental Risk Management Association (MIRMA), and serves as the organization's Loss Control and Member Services Director.
After graduating from Helias, he attended the University of Central Missouri, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. He then went on to earn his Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Missouri in Columbia.
Patrick is involved in a multitude of community efforts. He is a member of the St. Joseph Cathedral Church stewardship committee; a Boy Scouts of America Troop 104 adult leader; a member of the City of Jefferson – USS Jefferson City Submarine Commission; and he's a JCPD police reserve officer. He also coaches various sports, and is a former advisory school board member and president with St. Joseph Cathedral School.
In his spare time, Patrick enjoys volunteerism, coaching, and "focusing on learning things I've never done before." He says he'd also like to restore another Corvette at some point.
Q & A
What are some of your fondest memories of your time at Helias?
PB: Any time students were allowed to gather to compete, celebrate or focus on faith. Assemblies, all school masses, and Homecoming events, even as a student, it was empowering seeing alumni come back to school to offer support and foster what they know to be true; that Helias is a place where Saints and Scholars are made daily.
What impact did Helias and/or your teachers/coaches/etc. make on you?
PB: Helias faculty and coaches expected more from me than I thought possible both in terms of faith and in competition. There's nothing greater than providing a means to another person than to allow them to break through and advance through their own perceived fears, shortcomings, and ability. Mike Jeffries helped many who would have otherwise been mere wrestlers and formed them into Champions. Once you've wrestled for Helias, everything in life is made easier.
How do you feel Helias personally prepared you academically and/or socially for your future (school, career, etc.)?
PB: The high standards across all lines of involvement at Helias allow students to move on to the next chapter in their lives with greater transition and success. For me, Helias helped instill a drive to succeed as well as a focus on what matters most, the goal of getting to Heaven.
Proudest Helias moment for you personally?
PB: In short order I will have assisted my second of four children graduate from Helias. While the years after graduation are overshadowed by kids moving away, there's nothing more fulfilling than to see one of your children reach the pinnacle of their high school careers by graduating from Helias.
What does "Helias Community" mean to you?
PB: "Helias Community," is a Christ centered effort which allows a community to come together to lift up young adults to realize their full potential and to give back to an institution that has offered so much to so many. It should be the goal of all alumni to fully consider the work that takes place in the halls and classrooms of Helias and support it in ways that benefit generations to come.
Why do you think "giving back," either financially or otherwise, is so important when it comes to being a part of the Helias community?
PB: Whether you have graduated from Helias or not, you have benefited from its existence. A well-educated workforce lifts a community in many different ways. All alumni should thoughtfully consider how they might redouble their efforts at offering time, talent, or treasure to this great institution. In the same way that Father Helias brought immigrants together in the mid-1800's, our school community serves the purpose of extending important faith and values now and into the future.
What was your motivation for joining the Foundation board?
PB: I hope to act as a resource that can offer my experiences in life to the service of the Helias community. None of us has all the answers but all of us have some of the answers. I look forward to getting better acquainted with the Board and help in carrying out the mission to the benefit of Helias Catholic. The support of Helias is a great way of putting in the works while furthering faith in works.
Tell me a Crusader – family, friend, former teacher/classmate, someone in the Helias community, etc.; can be anyone – who inspires you and why.
PB: God rest his soul, Joe Welschmeyer was a former teacher who eventually entered the priesthood and served in the St. Louis area. He had an unorthodox way of connecting to students via an old record player in his religion classes. While it seemed laughable at first, his playing of records from the 50's, 60's and 70's not only allowed students to realize there was so much more out there instead of what they hear on Y-107, most of what he played calmed the class and allowed the students to take a break from their busy high school lives to just ponder the lyrics and underlying meaning. Looking back on my Helias time, I didn't have as much of an appreciation for what Fr. Joe did in that class and I wish I had had the opportunity to thank him for the daily schedule reprieve. The introspection he fostered via music and his way of tying this into evangelization was amazing and left lasting impressions.
From a current teaching perspective, Elizabeth Twyman has been a rockstar with assisting students to develop skills of greater independence. She understands a students' shortcomings and advocates for them in a way that satisfies the other instructors but also allows the student to grow in whatever they are being asked to perform. Her ability to motivate students that need a little extra spark is very effective. The ways she gets buy-in from the students provides them with a situation whereby the students eventually see the value in progressing and start to want to progress on their own. If it wasn't for the hard work of Mrs. Twyman and the support by Mr. Allen of the accommodations program, many students would be left to fend for themselves possibly to the detriment of their futures.
What makes you proud to say you're a Crusader?
PB: I am very humbled to be a part of a community that expresses with great enthusiasm that we are proud to be Catholic and proud to represent what Fr. Helias started so long ago. It's an awesome responsibility to be asked to help further the future of our great institution and the future of those whose faith and education are rooted in the values we hold dear.
Words to live by?
PB: 2 Timothy 4; 6-8
Do you know a graduate of Helias who deserves to be featured in an upcoming Alumni Spotlight? It doesn't matter whether they still live here in this community, or if they're doing big things somewhere far away. If we can reach them, we'd love to feature them. Please feel free to send us a name, contact information, and a brief description of why you feel they deserve to be recognized to email@example.com or call us at (573) 635-3808. We want everyone to know what our Crusaders are doing, regardless of when they graduated or where they live. If they're an example to you, they can be an example to many, and we'd love to tell their story!
To nominate someone for the Alumni Spotlight, email firstname.lastname@example.org.