Spotlight ArchivePatrick Bonnot
Anthony "Tony" Brenneke
The Helias Foundation would like to shine our Alumni Spotlight on one of the newest members of the Helias Foundation Board of Directors, Brian Dowden. Brian graduated from Helias in 1988, as did his wife Carla (Brenneke). The Dowdens have three children - Ashley (Class of 2016), Abby (Class of 2018), and Andrew (current Helias sophomore). They are parishioners of Immaculate Conception Church here in Jefferson City.
Brian currently serves as the Fiscal & General Services Manager in the Office of the State Courts Administrator. After graduating from Helias, he attended Rockhurst College where he earned his BSBA in Marketing, as well as a BS in Mathematics. He then attended the University of Missouri in Columbia where he earned his Masters in Public Administration.
Over the years, Brian has been actively involved in coaching youth sports in the Parochial Athletic League (PAL), particularly in the sports his children played - track, cross country, softball, baseball and basketball. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at the Lake with his family. He is also a lifelong Kansas City Chiefs and Royals fan.
Q & A
What are some of your fondest memories of your time at Helias?
BD: My wife and I both winning Cross Country state championships in 1987; going to Helias sporting events and activities; and float building.
What impact did Helias and/or your teachers/coaches/etc. make on you?
BD: Helias prepared me for what college teachers expected. This made it easier to adjust to college studies. Brother James is probably one of the best teachers that I have ever had at any level. He taught me Pre-Calculus and Physics. Brother Russ Martin, my cross country and track coach, taught me how to get the best out of myself as an athlete, but more importantly as a student and person.
Favorite Helias class or teacher, and why?
BD: My favorite teacher was Mr. Spitz who taught chemistry. His enthusiasm and excitement for the subject was contagious and made us want to pay attention and learn even if Chemistry was not what we were interested in. I still remember the experiments in his class!
How do you feel Helias personally prepared you academically and/or socially for your future (school,
BD: I felt I was more prepared than the majority of incoming college freshman. The discipline and academic standards that Helias expected helped make the leap to college much easier.
What do you feel are your greatest achievements and/or accomplishments thus far in your life?
BD: I have been married for 25 years and have three children.
What does "Helias Community" mean to you?
BD: They are people that I can count on for support and friendship. Not only have my children grown up with them, but so have my wife and I.
What was your motivation for joining the Helias Foundation board of directors?
BD: To give back to the school that has given so much to our family.
What makes you proud to say you're a Crusader?
BD: Looking back on the education that my wife, my kids and I received, it could not have been any better.
How has life for you and your family changed during the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis and this age of
BD: We stay close to home now. Family vacations have been cancelled. We have not seen some family members (in person) for months.
What are some positives and negatives to this new normal for you personally and your family?
BD: We are closer than we were before the pandemic because we have spent so much time together. However, it has also kept us from doing the things we are used to doing – like seeing friends and family when we want to. We miss them!
What do you miss the most about your pre-pandemic "normal" life?
BD: Sports, activities and being around family and friends.
When the pandemic and all the restrictions, quarantines, and social distancing are in our rearview
mirror, what life lessons will you and your family take away from this historic experience?
BD: Enjoy what you have. Life can change in an instant.
Do you know a graduate of Helias who deserves to be featured in an upcoming Alumni Spotlight? It doesn't matter whether they still live here in this community, or if they're doing big things somewhere far away. If we can reach them, we'd love to feature them. Please feel free to send us a name, contact information, and a brief description of why you feel they deserve to be recognized to email@example.com or call us at (573) 635-3808. We want everyone to know what our Crusaders are doing, regardless of when they graduated or where they live. If they're an example to you, they can be an example to many, and we'd love to tell their story!
Spotlight ArchiveRyan Pollack
To nominate someone for the Alumni Spotlight, email firstname.lastname@example.org.