Staff Spotlight: Ben Dombroski

By Katie Rodemich ’02

The Quincy Public School Foundation’s upcoming Dream Big in Color 5k Fun Run would not have become the successful event it is without the amazing partnership of the Quincy Senior High Leadership Class. The students from the Leadership Class are highly motivated and have been instrumental in making this event possible. Credit for their involvement goes to their amazing leader and QPS teacher, Ben Dombroski, who has been a true-blue Blue Devil since he joined the staff of Quincy Senior High thirteen years ago. Ben is a man of many talents, with many interests and creative pursuits. Originally from Mount Zion, Ill., Ben was hired as a math teacher for QHS. Through the years, he has taken on various roles and has become a fundamental part of the QPS family.

“I applied to just a bunch of places, and this was my favorite interview. I got offered the job and I’ve been happy ever since,” said Ben in a recent interview.

Since then, one of his proudest accomplishments as a teacher was creating the QHS Leadership Class. “In my first-year teaching, I saw students who had so much potential to really help the school, but I didn’t feel like they had an outlet to really put themselves out there and do it. They had opportunities to do service hours just in the community, but never anything focused on the school. I came up with the idea of the class, went to administration, got it approved and I’ve been teaching it since my second year. In my third year of teaching, I was approached by the Quincy Public Schools Foundation, and we came up with this idea together of Dream Big in Color Run. This is the 11th annual Color Run and I’ve been involved every year.

2023 Dream Big in Color 5K Fun Run Quincy High School Leadership Class Students
Ben Dombroski pictured with the QHS Leadership Class after the 2023 Dream Big in Color 5K Fun Run.

“The Leadership Class does much of the promotion. We made some promotional videos and different things to help get the word out. One of the biggest things that the Leadership Class does is when the students go to businesses and oversee getting sponsorships. They contact businesses and obtain financial donations that support QPSF Color Run.”

The Leadership Class meets every day in first hour, with the Senior Leadership Class held in the fall and the Junior Leadership Class in the spring. To enroll in the Leadership Class, students must first be nominated by a QHS staff member. After they’re nominated, students complete an application that includes an essay. The administration looks through the applications and decides who is selected for the course.

Aside from hosting Dream Big in Color 5k Fun Run in the spring semester, the Leadership Class also hosts the Trunk or Treat and the Operation Christmas Child Packing Party. The operation Christmas Child Packing Party entails packing boxes with gifts that are shipped overseas or to areas where children may not receive anything for Christmas otherwise.

Ben Dombroski with QHS Leadership Class - Operation Christmas Child Packing Party 2023
Ben Dombroski with QHS Leadership Class for the 2023 Operation Christmas Child Packing Party

“One of the biggest projects the class does that I enjoy the most is a community outreach project. Students form groups of two, three, or four. Each group is in charge of creating, hosting, and planning their event. They are free to choose whatever event they want. We’ve had all sorts of different events throughout the years. It’s just been cool to see the different things that have come about from their creativity.”

Teaching the Leadership Class is just one of the many roles that Ben takes on as teacher. Ben also teaches math classes and is one of the math team’s co-coaches. He is the National Honor Society sponsor and the Junior High tennis coordinator. In addition, Ben’s successful track record has made him a significant member of the excellent team within the QHS Music Department. He oversees the QHS show choirs and has a very involved role, “I’m the director and choreographer. I come up with the plans of our shows. We also have a vocal director and I help alongside the vocal director with vocals. But I choreograph the entire show and pick out the songs, organize the costuming, and organize the trips.”

Ben Dombroski with QHS Show Choir 2024
Ben Dombroski pictured with the 2024 QHS Show Choir.

The QHS Show Choirs include Company Blue and Electric Blue. Both groups are audition-based, and the selection process is based on scores, not grade level. Company Blue is a non-competitive unisex show choir that performs at various events in Quincy. Electric Blue is a competitive mixed show choir that performs at multiple events in Quincy and competes in a few competitions held in February and March.

Besides competing in competitions, the show choir is also involved with performing in the Showcase of Excellence, the QHS Music Department’s Spring Fundraiser that includes other show choirs and jazz band groups from other schools across the state. Ben’s role is involved in planning and preparing the show choir performances. He also reaches out to multiple directors from other schools, inviting them to bring their groups to Showcase. On the day of the competition, he works with the other schools to ensure that they have a great experience.

Ben also helps with the music department’s New Faces, A-Building’s long-established spring variety show comprised of many performances and acts including show choir, jazz band, local dance schools within the Quincy community, and many other inspiring individual acts that students create and present. Ben helps coach the individual acts to maximize their potential and choreograph different aspects of the show. He also works with the students to ensure that they know what jobs they need to do during set-up, the day of the event, and tear-down.

In addition to everything else, Ben also choreographs the QHS traditional fall musical. This is a huge undertaking, but the outcome is worth the effort. “I am strictly just the choreographer. I help with different scenes. I’m at every practice and in charge of just any dancing that happens, except for tap numbers because I cannot tap. We hire out for that.”

Den Dombroski with students - White Christmas 2023
Ben Dombroski pictured with student performers at the 2023 QHS fall musical White Christmas.

When asked about his favorite musical to work on Ben responded, “Although I was involved in choreographing parts of The Wizard of Oz, I have only fully choreographed Hairspray and White Christmas. Both musicals have been so much fun, but I feel like I learned a lot during Hairspray that helped me for White Christmas. For that reason alone, I would say that I enjoyed White Christmas because I had a musical under my belt by that time and I was able to use my time more effectively. The students aren’t the only ones who are learning through the process!“

Outside of school, Ben stays busy with his family which includes his wife, Alison, and their three children, 6-year-old Quinn, an almost 5-year-old Lincoln, and an almost 3-year-old Briggs. “We like to go on a lot of walks or scooter rides and we like to go to the park when we can. We like to just play outside, get outside as much as we can whenever it’s nice.”

A fun fact about Ben is that he was a contestant on Wheel of Fortune. “Yes, I was on Wheel of Fortune back in 2017. It was an absolute BLAST to be on the show! I watched the show all the time as a kid growing up and so when I heard they were accepting applications in my hometown (Mt. Zion, Ill.), I had to apply! Making it on the show was a dream come true and making it to the final round was exciting too! Even though the final round didn’t go in my favor…and lost sleep for a few weeks thinking about it…I wouldn’t trade my experience for the world!”

Ben’s many roles and responsibilities at QHS are vast and varied, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. “I love all the different things that I get to do. I’m able to use all my passions and get kids excited about performing. I also love working one-on-one with students and help them understand a concept that they could not get before. I know I’m involved in a lot of things, but every single one of them is something that I feel like I’m passionate about.”

When asked Ben’s advice to students, he replied, “I think the biggest advice I’ve received from people that has helped me the most and is something that I try to share with kids is there’s only certain things that you can control. Take initiative and control the things that you can do. There are many things that life throws at us that we cannot control. So, how can we make the most of every situation that we have? There is going to be drama and issues that happen in life. We need to make the absolute most of each situation in a positive way.”


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