|David Peters (Head of School), John Gathje, Archbishop George Lucas, Patrick Slattery (Archdiocese Superintendent)|
Mount Michael Benedictine High School English teacher John Gathje is able to connect with his students and make vocabulary, literature and even grammar memorable by bringing the material to life through humor and creativity. He has introduced students to the Coordinating Conjunction Chant, the Great Wall of Grammar and G-Elves. he takes subjects that can often be intimidating for freshmen and makes them fun and accessible.
Since coming to Mount Michael in 1991, John has taught freshman English for 20 years, junior level English for 18 years, senior level English for five years as well as creative writing. He has been chairman of the English department since 2009 and served as assistant freshman dean from 1991-1994.
John has been head cross country coach since 1991. During his tenure, he has coached five state championship, two runner-up and 20 state qualifying teams. From 1993-2010 he was head track and field coach and is currently the team's assistant coach.
"I have never had a teacher so full of passion and energy," Lukas Buehler, a former student said. "Mr. Gathje's excitement about English was contagious, and his impeccable sense of humor made 15 year-old boys eager to go to English. Any student of Mr. Gathje will remember the meaning of words like 'panacea' and 'loquacious' until the day they die thanks to the hilarious examples he gives." Lukas is now a member of the cross country and track and field teams at Saint John's University, John's Alma mater. Lukas said he was encouraged by his former coach to pursue the sport in college despite being hesitant to do so.
Former student Thomas Feichtinger echoes Lukas' sentiments. "John teaches everyone around him how to live with kindness, leadership and most importantly, humor."
John holds a bachelor's degree in English from Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minn., a master's in curriculum and instruction from Wayne State College in Wayne, Neb., and has completed additional course work at Augsburg College, the University of Minnesota, Creighton University and the University of Nebraska at Omaha. In 1998 he received the Wal-Mart Teacher of the year award.
John and his wife, Melissa, have two children, Jacob and Benjamin. In his free time, he enjoys reading, running, yard work, gardening and home brewing.
Previous Mount Michael Award winners are:
1999-2000 Brian Osborne Administrator of the Year
2002-2003 David Peters Administrator of the Year
2002-2003 Rev. Michael Liebl, OSB Secondary Teacher of the Year
2004-2005 Patricia Dowd Secondary Teacher of the Year
2009-2010 Rev. John Hagemann, OSB Secondary Teacher of the Year
|Many Mount Michael families, alumni, teachers past and present attended the awards ceremony in support of John Gathje|