by Alec Burns
Ever since theology teacher Casey Johnson was a freshman, he admired the purpose behind Round-Up and the financial benefits it provides.
Now, 12 years later, Johnson has taken up the opportunity to lead the Round-Up Board with assistance from football coach Tim Fitzpatrick.
He will also be helping Fitzpatrick with the school assemblies during the Round-Up season.
“It was really an easy decision to help out,” Johnson said.
“For me, as an alum, it was just natural to want to assist during Round-Up. It’s the greatest thing our school does, to help students who can’t afford to get into St. Thomas.”
As many students are now well aware, Johnson is the main star in this year’s Round-Up student video.
He is playing the part of “Indiana Johnson,” who is in the pursuit of the St. Thomas Round-Up boots.
Johnson’s renowned denim jacket and cowboy boots perfectly fit his role in the video.
To the students, this year is a lot different than what they have come to expect from Round-Up.
“(Johnson) has definitely created more student involvement,” Junior Andre Pradia said. “This year’s video is a lot more interesting.”
For Johnson, Round-Up assemblies have not always been all fun and games for the students.
“When I was a student, Round-Up did not have all these bells and whistles like we’ve come to expect with Fr. (Kevin) Storey, (C.S.B.),” Johnson said.
“There were not any videos or anything that we have now; it was just selling tickets and collecting money.”
There was a different degree of effort in the way things were done before the days of Fulton and Storey, who have seemed to revolutionize the way Round-Up is perceived.
Ten years ago, the Round-Up record was only at a now measly $200,000.
Only within the past few years has that record been shattered, now standing at $400,000.
The new record can be attributed largely to a consistent zeal for increasing ticket sales present in the student body.
It is now the norm for there to be helicopters, limousines or horses during the final Round-Up assembly. Unfortunately, that is not the way things used to be.
“To get us pumped up, the fattest senior would run out with a cowbell,” Johnson said. “That would get us to all start cheering.”
Johnson is hoping to make this year’s Round-Up one of the best, and wants to involve all of the students in the activities.
“No other school attributes like we do,” Johnson said, “and that’s something I’m going to be very committed to.”
Although Johnson will be in charge of organizing the events and assemblies, he will have no control over whether the students will get the Wednesday after Round-Up.
“Honestly, I have to say that you guys are pretty spoiled,” Johnson said. “When I was in school, we did not even consider Tuesday.”
Although getting Wednesday may soon be a reality at St.Thomas, it will require the hard work and dedication from every student.
This hard work will be driven home by Johnson, who hopes to make this year’s collection the largest in school history.