Joe Kirner

Senior Spotlight


David Nagy, Reporter

Joe Kirner is known as the star of the JAHS Quiz Bowl team that went to two national competitions last year, as a member of the homecoming court this fall, or as that student who is always willing to help someone out in their challenging IB class. Whether he is around school, participating in a club or sport, or out and about in the community, Joe brings brightness, diligence, and positivity to every situation he faces.

In his senior year at Adams, Joe is keeping his plate full with quiz bowl, Science Olympiad, the South Bend Youth Symphony Orchestra, the John Adams Orchestra, varsity golf, the John Adams Volunteer Association, and serving as president of the National Honor Society, all on top of being a full International Baccalaureate diploma candidate. 

In all of his extracurricular activities, Joe has helped to grow his community with the aim of leaving it better off than when he first arrived. After the COVID-19 lockdown took a toll on student involvement across the school, students like Joe have been integral to rebuilding and improving their clubs. For example, the quiz bowl has grown in size–from around twelve students when Joe joined the club to a group of well over thirty participants now–and in success: defeating a dominant Saint Joe quiz bowl program and competing at two national tournaments. Joe has been at the center of these landmark achievements for the club, and even qualified to compete individually at the national level. 

Though Joe has had no shortage of personal success in his endeavors, he is always focused on the programs themselves. While talking about his extracurriculars, his optimism for the future takes center stage. In the Adams orchestra, Joe is looking forward to seeing what heights the new conductor, Jaesung Lee, can help the program reach. Regarding the Science Olympiad team, Joe believes that they have the quality to finish top five in the state. In quiz bowl, Joe is eager to build off the accomplishments of last year and establish a foundation for the team to continue to succeed. Throughout his activities, Joe has great confidence in his teammates and only good things to say when he talks about them. 

Acts of service and volunteerism are very important to Joe. He has been a member of JAVA for all four years of high school, and is the president of the NHS program. Joe has fond memories of the winter walk, volunteering for the “Zoo Boo” event at the Potawatomi Zoo, and working the “Track or Treat” event Joe would like to continue to dedicate his time to service opportunities through college and his adult life.

The IB program was a major attraction for Joe when he decided to attend Adams, because of the academic challenge it presented. Now, four years later, IB has been one of his favorite parts of high school. Joe particularly enjoys the long-term commitments of two-year HL classes, the extended essay, and Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS), which allow him to engage with topics and activities for longer, something you can’t always find at other schools. The culture and support network that Joe has been surrounded by in IB has also been a highlight, making the stress of his rigorous schedule more manageable. 

College has always been an important goal for Joe, and his dream school is the University of Notre Dame. He has spent much of his life around the Notre Dame environment, and values the opportunities it can provide to both academically and in his faith. Of course, the high caliber of Notre Dame athletics adds some excitement to life at the university. Joe’s “dream school” of Yale, Washington University in St. Louis, and Purdue University are other institutions that he is enthusiastic about. Joe is interested in studying global affairs and political science, attending graduate school after college, and pursuing a career as an ambassador or diplomat.

Joe’s advice for underclassmen is to make the most out of their early years of high school. Classes and extracurricular activities become increasingly demanding in the latter years of high school, so appreciating a more relaxed schedule is something you won’t regret. In addition, taking risks and trying new things out is sure to broaden your horizons and help you find your place within the John Adams community. Finally, maintaining commitments for all four years helps foster perseverance and commitment, while also making an impact on your resume for college and beyond.