Montini Catholic High School, on behalf of the Karl Weiger family, presented the third annual Jonathan Weiger “Johnny Always Wins” Memorial Scholarship during the school’s Homecoming Mass on Sept. 19.
Each year, members of Montini’s incoming freshman class are invited to submit an essay to receive the scholarship. The Weiger Family selects a student displaying high moral character, a deep commitment to their faith, and achieving academic excellence at the grade school level, to receive the scholarship.
This year, the honor went to freshman, Nathan Sniegowski. Nathan attended St. Isidore Grade School and is a member of St. Isidore Parish. President Jim Segredo gave a heartfelt tribute to former student, Johnny Weiger, and announced Sniegowski as the recipient of the special scholarship in his memory.
In attendance at the Mass and ceremony were Johnny’s parents, Karl and Fran Weiger.
Johnny Weiger joined Montini’s school community for the 2011-12 school year as a member of the Class of 2015. This year would have been his senior year at Montini. During Johnny’s freshman year, he was diagnosed with leukemia. After undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and a bone marrow transplant, his leukemia was cured. As Johnny was preparing for his sophomore year, however, he was hospitalized with a rare blood disorder commonly referred to as TTP, which can be caused by a bone marrow transplant. He passed away on Nov. 4, 2012 due to complications from the TTP.
“Throughout his battle with leukemia and TTP, Johnny displayed the spirit of a champion,” said Segredo in his address to the student body. “He always showed great courage, fight and a deep commitment to his faith.”
During his battle with TTP, the Montini Catholic school community adopted the saying, “Johnny Always Wins” – which was displayed on orange wrist bands, candy wrappers, t-shirts and football stadium banners. The saying extended beyond the Montini Catholic school community and many supporters continue to wear the orange wrist bands today.
Even though Johnny died at the early stages of 2012 state football championship playoffs, Johnny’s spirit and his #76 jersey was with the team and fans throughout their journey to win the school’s fourth consecutive IHSA State 5A Football Championship. “Johnny’s spirit, character, faith and sportsmanship will always be remembered at Montini,” said Segredo.
“We felt very blessed as we became part of the Montini family with Johnny,” wrote Johnny’s family in a special tribute published in the school’s 2013 yearbook. “What we did not know, however, was that he was also going to bless and change the lives of many of the people of Montini as well.