A Chance Classroom Encounter and a Change in Life Trajectory
By Barry Engelhardt
"Dominick has learned several lessons throughout his time at Momence. When we trip or stumble, he suggests, we figure things out and grow from the experience."
As we chat, Dominick Brucato shares how he accidentally discovered his love for welding. At first, the Momence senior enrolled in a welding class, hoping to escape the classroom for a few hours. At first, he looked at the class as an escape, a way to break the routine of classroom learning and work with his hands. But he quickly learned to enjoy it. “I really learned a lot. I met some good friends, some good people. I can see myself welding in the future,” shares Dominick with a knowing smile.
Dominick’s openness to new experiences serves him well. He has also enjoyed Momence’s woodworking courses and hopes to attend trade school after graduating. He is currently in his second year at the Kankakee Area Career Center (KACC) and is working towards becoming a pipefitter.
Dominick has lived in Momence his entire life. He plays football and baseball and considers sports ‘really fun.’ He recently played the school’s final football game on the grass field. While some may be bothered by change, the concept excites Dominick.
“The new field is going to be nice. We’ll take care of it, and everyone’s going to enjoy it,” shares Dominick. Reflecting on his life, he adds, “Everyone in Momence has known each other their entire life. It’s just a welcoming town. No one is here to judge you. This school is awesome.”
While Dominick prefers to be outside and work with his hands, he cites Mrs. Boris’ English III class as an exception and as an amazing experience. He also works as a teacher’s assistant for Miss Henson, where he’s been known to inventory and install new gym equipment as it arrives. Dominick also works as a handyman outside of school, helping an individual who owns several properties. He shares that one of his specialties is opening and closing pools.
Dominick enjoys fishing and going to the gym when not in school or working. He considers himself a supportive friend, always there for others, regardless of the circumstances. He takes inspiration from his family, admiring his father, mother, and sister who’s a freshman at Momence.
“My parents support me in anything I do. No matter what I do, even the bad decisions, they always support me, says Dominick. “If I mess up, they’re going to tell me, but they’ll be there to care for me and help me build off of that.”
Dominick has learned several lessons throughout his time at Momence. When we trip or stumble, he suggests, we figure things out and grow from the experience. Dominick also suggests that one should stay on top of their work and never take anything for granted. “It goes by so fast,” he concludes. As someone who is quickly approaching high school graduation, he has a knowing wisdom.
Dominick’s biggest realization is that sometimes you can learn the most through chance encounters. Just last year, he enrolled in welding to break the monotony of his school day. While a welding class gave him an escape from deskwork, it also changed the trajectory of his life.