Geno McKenna: The Energy Behind Tritonfest

Aeva Ver Boort, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Every year Notre Dame Academy has the fundraiser known as Tritonfest, which is scheduled for February 16 here at the school.  The event helps keep tuition down, helps pay the salaries of teachers and staff, and provides funds to meet other needs of the school.

About 450 people attend this major event each year. This will be the third year Tritonfest is held at NDA.  Prior to that it was held at Lambeau Field for a number of years.

“I’ve been here so long that I can remember when Tritonfest was held in the Brown County Arena,” said veteran English teacher Carolyn Brown. “Then it was moved to the Lambeau Atrium, and I didn’t think it could get any better than that.  But the decision to ‘come home’ to NDA turned out to be the best place to do it.”

 And the man behind that decision was Mr. Geno McKenna, the creative brain and energy behind the event. He decided to move the event to NDA so attendees could appreciate all the changes and improvements made to the school.

Before he came to Notre Dame Academy, McKenna worked at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in the Department of Development and the Chancellor’s office. There he organized fundraising and development events.  

When McKenna first started working at NDA, he had one daughter attending school here and three more that would follow.  

“I thought it would be great to help the school that directly affects my kids,” said McKenna.  It is the students, he contends, that make his job worthwhile. The fundraising he does is to help make NDA an affordable place and a better place to be.   

McKenna starts planning Tritonfest almost one year in advance.  He has a detailed checklist that he uses so he knows what he needs to complete each month.  

“I have the best volunteer staff in the world.  Without the parent volunteers, Tritonfest would not be what it is today,” said McKenna.  The event takes about 65 parent volunteers and about 75 student volunteers.

“I am fortunate to be working in such a giving community where adults and students alike seem to understand the importance of giving to Notre Dame Academy,” said McKenna.

His favorite part about Tritonfest is the auction. They hire a professional auctioneer, and McKenna said he really knows how to work the crowd, make it fun and fill the gym with energy.  

Besides Tritonfest, McKenna organizes the Triton Golf Classic which helps support the student athletes and the athletic program.  He also organizes several alumni-related fundraisers. The events are held to build relationships with alumni and allow them to see the great things that Notre Dame Academy continues to do.