John Allen is a busy young man.
The St. John Vianney High School senior is involved with so many different activities, both at school and outside of school, it would almost be easier to list what he’s not participating in.
“I’m involved in student council, letterman’s club, varsity baseball and varsity soccer,” Allen said. “I do ambassadors. I was a Griffin Guide. I was in the fantasy football club. … I wrestled freshmen year, too. That was a fun experience.”
Outside of Vianney, Allen is involved with his parish, youth group, helps with Luke 18 retreats, does volunteer work at St. Vincent De Paul and elsewhere and is involved with scouting, where he followed in his father’s footsteps and achieved the organization’s highest honor as an Eagle Scout.
How does he find time to do it all?
“It’s hard,” Allen said. “It’s definitely a struggle to find time, with time management and doing homework and everything. It’s definitely a hard thing to balance out but somehow I get through it.”
That’s an understatement.
Allen not only succeeds in each of his endeavors but also makes his mark with them, as evidenced by how the faculty and staff here feel about him.
He was recently honored for his volunteer work with a Martin Luther King, Jr. Model of Justice Award and was one of Vianney’s 14 recipients of the 2018 Marianist awards on Jan. 23.
“John is an incredible young man who breaths life into everything he does,” Vianney president Mike Loyet said. “His humility is so inspiring. I am so proud of John and feel blessed that he is part of the Vianney family.”
Brandon Lewis, the student council moderator, said: “John is a fantastic young man who is always willing to help out and do the work that is necessary for the group. He is the epitome of a team player. I am proud to call him a student council member and a Golden Griffin.”
Kristi Thompson, who has taught Allen for three years of Spanish, introduced him at the Marianist Awards assembly. She has witnessed the lasting impression he has made on his classmates.
“We call him ‘Juan’ and he stands out because he is funny, positive, tells bad jokes, his classmates love him, and he’s very smart,” Thompson said. “He encourages his peers and he is this person who everyone looks forward to seeing in the day for just being Juan Allen.
“John once did a stand up act in our class to resounding jeers — not cheers,” Thompson added. “We all laughed at the end and he said he would work on his comic routine. Most of his peers, when having a conversation with me at the end of last semester, said that their favorite memory in all four years of foreign language was having class with John specifically.”
Allen credits his time at Vianney High School for helping him grow and develop his leadership skills, helping him change from a self-described shy freshman to a senior who came out of his shell and is comfortable with public speaking.
He did that at the Feast of Blessed Chaminade all-school liturgy on Jan. 16, speaking to the student body, faculty and staff about the volunteer work that helped him earn the Martin Luther King, Jr. Model of Justice Award.
“So for one of my merit badges, of citizenship in the community, one of the requirements is to help out in the community around you,” Allen said. “So I found St. Vincent’s and that’s how I started. You had to help out for three nights. … I just loved doing it. So from then on — I think that was seventh grade — I went down once a month until now.”
Allen hasn’t decided on where he’ll head to college yet — “I narrowed it down to three schools, basically: Rockhurst, Quincy and Saint Mary’s in San Antonio,” he said. “I want to do something in the medical field right now.” — but he’ll take with him the experiences gained from four memorable years at Vianney.
He still has a few months left, including the upcoming baseball season where the Griffins will be looking to make a run in the state championship tournament, but it’s clear he has left his mark on the school and the school has also left an indelible mark on him.
“I chose Vianney because I shadowed here and I absolutely loved it, just the atmosphere and everything,” Allen said.
What Allen will take from Vianney is something special.
“It’s the brotherhood,” Allen said. “It is that everyone here is just like your brother and you are pretty much like a family here and you can just kind of feel that.”