Every year when the air turns crisp, clocks gets set back and Bronco sports fans say goodbye to their fall rivalries, Montini students gear up for their annual Golden Gobbler and Adopt-a-Family Events.
November 11th marked the beginning of Montini’s ‘season of giving’ with the onset of their annual Golden Gobbler Thanksgiving Food Drive benefiting local food pantries. This year marks Gobbler’s 22nd year. In 1997, under the leadership of Jim Segredo (principal at the time), Montini kicked off their very first Gobbler. Since then the event has become a welcomed tradition for students as they pit homeroom against homeroom and class against class to donate the most food.
“I was really excited to get involved in Golden Gobbler this year,” said Megan Steiner ‘10 - this year’s new Student Government Moderator. She has been the driving force behind a push to get Montini students more engaged and involved in all Bronco activities. “I wanted to see what kind of difference we could make with the momentum of participation we've had in other events this year, and our students did not disappoint!” Megan, along with her team of class moderators (Mr. Eric Brechtel, Ms. Stephanie Kuecker, Ms. Laura Medina and Mrs. Melanie Comella ‘10), have worked hard this year to hold more activities and events to cultivate more Bronco Pride! “Our moderators did a great job of motivating everyone to participate in Gobbler this year,” she said. “Everyone did a great job of communicating the rules, prizes, and the bonus items to their classes every day and encouraged them to get in the spirit!”
In the end, it was the freshmen who pulled out the win, donating a record amount of food to the cause. “My totally unofficial count would be over 6,000 donated items (based off of the number of points each class earned),” said Steiner. Every year, she gets specific food requests from the food pantries served. “They request items for making their holiday dinners such as stuffing, pasta, rice, corn bread and dessert mixes, and then items they can use year round like peanut butter and jelly, soup, vegetables, and cereal.”
Megan has 9 Golden Gobblers under her belt as both a student and a teacher at Montini -and has been a part of the winning team 8 of those 9 years. “By far, my favorite part of the week is the homeroom contest!” she said. “I love getting my homeroom excited every year, and hearing all of the other classes talk about how they're going to beat us! I think the kids enjoy it as well - every year I talk such a big game and they want to see if I can back it up!” Back it up, she can - her homeroom has lost only once (2018) in her 5 years at Montini!
When Gobbler winds down at the end of November, Montini's Adopt-a-Family winds everyone right back up! Some of the food collected during Gobbler is allocated for families that are ‘adopted’ by Montini Catholic during the Christmas season. Homerooms, under the direction of Campus Minister, Michael Blanchette, get busy shopping, donating, sorting and wrapping loads of Christmas cheer for area families.
The school's traditional 'Catholic Charities Adopt a Family' service program enables students to donate toys and gifts to families facing hardship during the holiday season or throughout the year. During the beginning of December, students donate money through their homerooms - which each homeroom receiving a family to shop for. The students receive wish lists informing them of the number of family members, their gender, ages, and sizes. "Most of the wish lists include simple items many of us take for granted like gloves, boots, and warm hats," said Mr. Blanchette.
As part of their annual Adopt-A-Family project, each year students create handmade blankets to include in their gift packages. The money used to buy the material to create the warm blankets is raised each year by the school's Drama Department which sponsors a Halloween Dress Down (or Up) Day in October.
"Our students really make a difference by lifting the spirits of families in need at the holiday time. Each year Golden Gobbler and Adopt-a-Family remind us of what is important in life and there's no better time than the holidays to reflect on and share our many blessings."
Image above l to r: Glory Ugorji, Ellie Dinkel, Estevan Moreno, Mario Florio, Sebastian Thomas Jara, Amanda Rollag and Cydney Rand