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Technology Director Pete Farina '87 Receives Faculty Dedication Award


Montini Catholic awarded Technology Director Pete Farina '87 their Faculty Dedication Award on Saturday, April 30th at the Lasallian College Preparatory High School's 31st annual Maroon & Gold Gala.   The event, themed 'Empowering & Inspiring Tomorrow's Leaders,' celebrated Farina and his multitude of contributions benefiting Montini Catholic students.

Throughout his 22 year career at Montini Catholic, Pete Farina has exemplified what it means to be a Lasallian Educator. He was honored at the 2019 Diocese of Joliet's Tech Fest for his contribution to the advancement of technology, both in and out of the classroom.  His dedication to Montini Catholic students and school community is inspirational to many.

Through Pete's leadership, the Montini Catholic Technology program has developed into one of Illinois’ top high school instructional technology programs - public or private.   From the introduction of the One-to-One iPad Program, the revamping of Montini's technology infrastructure, the development of the pre-engineering curriculum and Robotics and Drone programs, Pete Farina has played a significant role in planning and implementing many vital projects.

Pete began full-time as Montini's Technology Director in the summer of 2000, being asked to come onboard after his creation of Montini's first ever website in 1999.  He taught three classes his first semester and has been teaching ever since.  During his time at Montini, Pete became Technology Education Department Chair.  With the help of programming instructor Barry Briggs, Montini’s technology courses have evolved from basic computer skills to higher level STEM-based courses in computer science, coding, computer aided design, and robotics.

Thanks to Pete, Montini Catholic courses are now more project-based, more collaborative, and rely heavily on real world problem solving.   In 2019, Pete and Assistant Technology Director, Frank Deiber, designed and oversaw the building of Montini’s Kazma Family Innovation Center.  Montini’s Robotics team has made great use of this new space and has qualified for the Illinois State Championship tournament for the last three seasons.   Over the years, Pete has guided Montini through several technology-related changes.  

The biggest and most wide-ranging was the move in 2014 to a 1:1 learning environment with iPads. This learning environment continues to evolve and change as Montini works to meet the needs of modern day students. Pete has found involvement at Montini outside the classroom to be just as rewarding as his other work.  He started up a Computer Club in 2000 which continues to this day and he ran a Film Club and the Rock of Ages shows for several years each.  In 2013, Pete started a competitive Robotics team and in 2018 a drone flying group called Flight Club.  Pete also runs an annual video game tournament for Montini students as well as an annual STEM-based competition for middle schoolers called M-TEC.  

Pete’s STEM outreach programs for middle school students have included STEM presentations at grade schools as well as hosting STEM Days at Montini.   He has enjoyed being a part of several Kairos retreats and chaperoning on three Montini trips to Europe.  Pete completed the Lasallian Leadership Institute, a three year program, and is a member of Montini’s Lasallian Educators Group.  

“While most of my work revolves around technology, it’s the students and my colleagues at Montini that really sustain me and make me look forward to each new project," says Farina.   "Helping students and colleagues solve challenging problems and reach their goals is what keeps me motivated year after year.”  

"Pete is the proverbial 'IT' guy at Montini," said Principal Kevin Beirne.  Kevin has worked with Pete over the last fourteen years and together they worked to launch Montini's one-to-one Digital Learning Program (2015).  "He fixes all devices, runs cable, soothes the frayed nerves of colleagues when laptop screens go blank," he added.  "He finds wayward student devices misplaced in the building, is a social media sleuth extraordinaire, assembles countless bids for endless requisitions, images and re-images, and purposes and re-purposes dozens of laptops every summer!  He's the printer whisperer, Apple TV magician and he single-handedly built Montini's entire network!"  Beirne reiterated the fact that these roles constitute only a fraction of the importance Peter Farina plays in the school community.  "His real impact can't be measured in bytes, keystrokes, codes, miles of cable or hundreds of devices," he said.  "His impact is better told with terms of passion, dedication, vocation and generosity!"

Congratulations, Pete, on this well deserved honor!  

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