The Bishop Noll Institute (BNI) National Honor Society (NHS) Maryknoll Chapter sponsored the school’s first ever National Student Leadership Week (NSLW) from April 19 to 23.
NSLW has been around since 1972. The purpose of this week is to celebrate all the student leaders in the school, such as captains of sports teams, officers of clubs, and the student ambassadors of BNI.
The BNI National Honor Society Maryknoll Chapter decorated the main lobby area with the names of student leaders on gold, metallic stars in the windows. Over 90 students hold at least one leadership role in the building. Blue and gold streamers were also hanging from the ceiling. Characteristics of a leader were also placed in the windows such as being compassionate, loyal, and hard-working.
On April 19, they kicked off NSLW with a senior spirit-wear day for the leaders of the school. The senior class was able to wear their senior shirts with either sweatpants or jeans.
On April 20, all students were able to dress like a leader. Attire was business casual or business professional. That same day, senior retreat leaders, Mary Buksa and Olivia Baczkowski, helped lead day one of the El Camino Retreat for the sophomore class. They both gave talks on relationships with themselves and others, as well as mental health.
On April 22, the BNI National Honor Society Maryknoll Chapter had a zoom meeting with newly elected Congressman Frank J. Mrvan from Indiana’s first congressional district. The Hammond native spoke to NHS members about leadership, as well as his position in the United States House of Representatives. It was very informative and helpful, especially to the students who aspire to become politicians. Day two of the El Camino Retreat also took place where senior retreat leaders, Noah Reid and Carmelina Komyatte, gave witness talks to the sophomore class. Their talks focused on relationships with God.
Junior and NHS Member Abigail Wojtaszek shared her perspective on NSLW.
“My favorite part of the week was getting to dress up since I love looking professional, but the most powerful was getting to listen to Congressman Mrvan speak and learn from his experiences in public service and Congress,” said Wojtaszek.
The last day of NSLW also happened to be National DNA Day, a national holiday that commemorates the discovery of DNA’s structure. The BNI Biology Club has been celebrating this very important day in history for several years now. During the week, Biology Teacher and Biology Club Sponsor Rebecca Dostatni placed chromosomes throughout the building. If you found a pair of chromosomes, you received a prize. Also, throughout the building were all sorts of National DNA Day memes and other fun pictures.
Students were able to take a National DNA Day quiz throughout the week. Those who received a perfect score on the quiz were entered to win cool prizes including a 23andMe kit. Sophomore Maria Quiroga was the lucky student who got to take home that prize.
Students and staff were also able to purchase special National DNA Day shirts designed by the Biology Club.
Senior and Biology Club President Abigail Kawalec has always loved science, so celebrating DNA Day was extra special for her.
“My favorite part of celebrating National DNA Day is being able to share my passion for science with others,” said Kawalec. “A special thing about DNA Day is that everyone in the school is involved and is learning about science whether they are wearing a shirt, hunting for chromosomes, or just listening to the announcements.”
NSLW was a lot of fun for BNI students to say the least. Not only did it bring a sense of unity as a school, but also normalcy. This school year has truly been extraordinary, so it was nice to have the opportunity to celebrate the students who truly have shown leadership throughout the building.
Captains of sports teams have had to find ways to make sure their teammates are following all of the COVID-19 guidelines, while keeping an optimistic attitude about the season. Officers of clubs have had to find ways to keep their clubs active and fun, both in-person and online. The student ambassadors have had to meet with feeder schools virtually, instead of in-person to promote the school. It truly has been a challenge, but the student leaders of BNI accepted that challenge and succeeded. This week was ultimately just a gratitude week for them to know that their hard work and dedication do not go unnoticed.