For 2021 graduate Andrew Wenzler, SJC Brooklyn was a place where he could develop his leadership skills. He seemed always busy planning events as president of the campus’ community service club S.T.R.I.P.E.S., taking part in Campus Ministry mission trips, and coming up with new ideas to encourage his peers to stay involved on campus through the Campus Activities Board.
His hard work didn’t go unnoticed. At graduation, after completing a double major in Child Study and Speech Communication, Wenzler was recognized for his leadership efforts and received SJC Brooklyn’s inaugural Donald R. Boomgaarden Leadership in Action Award.
The award recognized Wenzler for his positive leadership qualities — displaying traits that contributed to a positive campus environment and enhancing the quality of student life through her participation in campus groups.
Since graduation, Wenzler has taken his leadership skills to P.S. 13 in Elmhurst, Queens, where he works as a first-grade special education teacher in an ICT (integrated co-teaching) classroom.
“When I go into my classroom each day, my job is to be someone my students can trust, someone they can turn to not only if they are confused with a lesson, but someone that they can talk to,” Wenzler said. “Being present and trusting are two of the most important qualities in a leader, in my opinion.
“Although my friends and I are no longer organizing the different drives at SJC — like the food drive and toy drive — I still remember the importance of giving back and I made sure to donate to my school’s annual toy drive this past holiday season,” he continued. “Giving back is something that always has and will always be important to me.”
Wenzler is also pursuing his M.A. in Literacy and Cognition at SJC Brooklyn.
A Leader at Heart
It was a common occurrence to spot Wenzler getting involved in all areas of campus life at St. Joseph’s. He was a member of the Sigma Iota Pi, Delta Epsilon Sigma and Kappa Delta Pi honor societies; attended two alternative spring break trips; and participated in many fundraiser and community service events.
Wenzler also spent time learning new teaching techniques in the Dillon Child Study Center. As an Honors student, he took part in the third annual Voices of SJC oral history project, helping the McEntegart Hall Library document what student life was like during the COVID-19 pandemic.
After settling into the first few months of his teaching career, Wenzler already catches himself often incorporating classroom leadership techniques learned at St. Joseph’s into his new workplace. His SJC classes prepared him to plan effective lessons and engage meaningfully with students, as well as how to use such popular teaching programs as Kahoot and Flipgrid.
“Teamwork and collaboration are two extremely important things I learned at St. Joe’s,” Wenzler said. “Looking back at my four years of college — especially the two and a half years I had in person before we went remote — my fondest memories are fundraising for the Alternate Spring Break trips, working on C.A.B. with my peers, hosting awesome events, and going on service trips with my friends.
“These events taught me the importance of working with other people and we are stronger when we are together,” he added.