When the Senior Honors Convocation was about to start on April 25, one of the day’s biggest winners was nowhere to be found at St. John Vianney High School.
Senior Grant Atwood came to school that day but then went home sick, which left school administrators in a slight panic because they knew he was going to be honored with the biggest honor of the day — the Griffin of the Year award for the Class of 2019.
Principal Ian Mulligan had to talk to Atwood’s mom, Wendy, and asked her to persuade Grant to come back to school for the ceremony.
“My mom actually told me that they really wanted me in the picture — they wanted all the seniors there — and I was like one of the only ones missing,” Atwood said. “So I was told that I was supposed to come back for the picture and then just leave after that. I ended up staying for the picture and the award.”
Atwood returned in time to be recognized for several awards, including Griffin of the Year.
“I was really surprised,” Atwood said. “I didn’t necessarily, like, expect it because there are so many great kids in this class. It was kind of a big shock and an honor.”
It wasn’t a big shock to anyone at Vianney who has gotten to know Atwood.
He has been involved with so many clubs and activities it is difficult for him to even remember all them. He’s been a part of Student Council, National Honor Society, Blood Drive, Ambassadors, Baseball (freshman/sophomore years), Soccer (freshman year), Racquetball (sophomore/junior years), Letterman’s club, Griffin Guide, Pro-Life club, Spanish Honor Society, Science Honor Society and Math Honor Society, to name a few.
“Looking back over his career as a Griffin, there really is no surprise here that a young man who has accomplished so much in just four years in the humble, kind and thoughtful manner that he has, deserves to represent this Class of 2019,” Mulligan said during his Griffin of the Year announcement. “On behalf of the faculty, we are certainly proud of him and I know that his two biggest fans here today — his parents — are proud as well. To his parents, thank you for raising the great young man that he has become. This community is better because of him and there is no doubt that he will continue to do amazing things in this world.”
Brandon Lewis worked closely with Atwood as the STUCO moderator.
“Grant was a superior Student Council representative,” Lewis said. “In all things he did, he completed with humility and the utmost care. Throughout the year we worked together he was always willing to do the extra step, to walk the extra mile, and complete the simple tasks without recognition or complaint. It is individuals like Grant that make Student Council a great organization. Without people like him this school lacks spirit and energy. I am so happy to have worked with him and can not wait to see what he does next in his life.
Atwood will head to Saint Louis University in a few months and plans to study finance. He said he plans to visit Vianney often and continue to be involved.
It was a good four years at a school Atwood had a good feeling about when he was trying to decide where he would go. He had a family connection to Vianney, but looked at other schools to find the right fit.
“All my cousins went here,” Atwood said. “The youngest of them (Brian Bach) won the Griffin of the Year in 2014. That’s kind of cool. My older brother went here. It was kind of like Vianney was ingrained in me, but at the end of the day I had the opportunity to go wherever I wanted. It wasn’t forced on me. I shadowed here and went to a few different events and it just felt like the perfect size.”
How did Vianney help him in his four years?
“Obviously I’ve learned a lot academically but I think most of what I’ve learned has been through the interactions with my friends and my teachers. Just building those relationships and learning how to build a relationship to connect with others. And then also how to be a leader. In my time at Vianney I’ve obviously been involved in a lot of things and I’ve had opportunities to lead several clubs and organizations. I’ve really grown as a person, whether that be spiritually, academically, socially, and also grown into a leadership role and now feel like I can really take on just about anything that’s thrown at me.”