By Todd Travis
A dollar sign is not what dictated the career path for Kevin Banich, principal at Roncalli High School. His motivation was to give back the kind of guidance and encouragement he received from his family and schoolteachers when he was young. After growing up in New Palestine, Banich and his family moved to the Southside of Indianapolis to attend Roncalli High School. These were the years he looked back on when he was really contemplating his own future and his career.
After spending one year in the architecture program at Ball State University, Banich realized he was missing out on what he really had a passion for: education. In the face of criticism, he decided to change his major to social studies education.
“When I changed majors, most of my friends and some of the professors were asking why I would give up the chance of being an architect to be a teacher. It was kind of a society slap in the face at what it means to be an educator. I would always laugh when someone would say, ‘do you know what an architect makes compared to a teacher?’ because I knew the impact was what mattered to me,” Banich explained.
So Banich continued on the path that he knew aligned with his values. Since then, not a single day has gone by where he has regretted that decision. As the principal of Roncalli, he uses his platform to encourage and challenge the students at Roncalli. Every day, he asks his student body to “commit to the productive struggle.” This is a reminder to them that life is not just about outcomes. The process of moving to any certain outcome requires struggle and failure. There is no instantaneous success, even though sometimes people try to make it look that way.
“Roncalli is a microcosm of the greater Southside community. There are incredible achievements that happen when kids are Roncalli Royals, but that starts in the wider community and in the family unit. You wouldn’t have great schools to select from if you didn’t have great families and great kids to teach,” Banich concluded.
What do you consider your greatest virtue? My passion, or energy.
What do you deplore most in others? Those that are driven by outcomes only.
What do you like most about working in Johnson County? It’s a true community where people work and live and care about where we’re at.
If you had to live anywhere else, where would it be? Nowhere.
If you could begin life over, what would you change? I would understand the productive struggle earlier.
If money weren’t an issue, where would you spend it? On golf.
What makes you happiest? My family.
What is your favorite vacation spot? Disney World.
What do you do with idle time? Golf.
What is it that makes you angry? Pickles, I don’t like pickles.
What do you do to escape from reality? Spend time with family.
What/who is the greatest love of your life? My wife and son.
What is the quality you most like in a person? Integrity.
What is your greatest extravagance? Golf.
What are your fears/phobias? Flying. Being stuck in a big tube is scary. If I was in the cockpit, it’d be great, so maybe more like being trapped.
What has been the happiest time of your life? The birth of my son.
Which talent would you most like to possess? I wish I could be a comedian.
What do you most value in your friends? Loyalty or mutual trust.
Who is your favorite historical figure? George Washington. He’s the GOAT.
What is your greatest regret? Not playing high school golf where it could have been free.
What tenet do you live by? Commit to the productive struggle.