Joseph G. Bonito Award

The Joseph G. Bonito Servant Leadership Award is presented to a Jenks graduating student who is unanimously selected by the student directors as the person who best exemplifies the Jenks program's motto “learning for leadership and leadership for service.”

Joe Bonito


Joe Bonito '79 is the Senior Vice President, Learning & Leadership Development Executive at Bank of America. He holds a BA from Boston College, an MS from the University of Pennsylvania and an Executive Masters in Human Resource Leadership from Rutgers University. As an undergraduate student, Joe participated in what was then the Paraprofessional Leader Group (PLG) and later served as a student director. Dubbed by Sandy Jenks as a "rough gem," Joe admired and emulated Sandy and since his graduation from BC has continued to give back to the program by leading workshops year after year. In the words of one student who benefited from Joe's tutelage, "Joe has been an invaluable foundation and glue to Jenks, and the PLG before that. His unselfish commitment and service to this organization has been exemplary and in the true spirit of Sandy Jenks." Joe gave almost four decades of service to the Jenks Leadership Program, and when we marked the 50th anniversary of the Jenks program, the Joseph G. Bonito Servant Leadership Award was created in his honor.


Class of 2021 Recipient

Kayla Hernandez


Over the past three semesters, it has been one of my greatest joys to watch this individual blossom into a servant leader, social justice warrior, and advocate for change on BC’s campus. Serving as a role model for her peers, this young woman’s radiant smile and unmatched enthusiasm has allowed her to engage fully and wholeheartedly with each facet of the Jenks Program. An active contributor to our Zoom sessions, we consistently look to this leader for her insights and reflections. Might I add, she has maintained a near perfect workshop attendance record - a true feat during the particularly challenging times we find ourselves in.

Every year, the Joseph G. Bonito Servant Leadership Award is presented to a graduating student who is unanimously selected by the student directors as the person who best exemplifies the Jenks program's motto “learning for leadership and leadership for service.” Today, it is my great honor to present Kayla Hernandez with this award for her embodiment of Jenks values and commitment to serving as a woman for, and with, others.

Kayla’s unwavering dedication to the Program is best exemplified in her pursuit of opportunities to learn, listen, and grow beyond the limits of our preset workshop schedule. Through her affiliation with Jenks, she has connected with the professor who facilitated our culturally responsive leadership workshop, and is now engaged in research focused on culturally responsive teaching at BC. After attending “The Hellfighter” performance sponsored by the Winston Center last fall, Kayla took the initiative to personally connect with Mr. Ron Jones, the Director of Dialogues on Diversity, to enlist his support in training her team on workshop facilitation techniques to use in their culminating service project, Peers Talk: Power and Privilege.

While her accomplishments demonstrate her tireless commitment to living the mission of Jenks, it is Kayla’s compassion and thoughtfulness that we cherish most. Kayla, we would be lost without your optimistic, yet realistic, outlook on life. In your own words, you once shared with the group that though, “Though the sun may not be shining brightly some days, it is a sense of gratitude that will carry you through.” Having watched you weave the importance of gratitude and mindfulness into your conversations, both in Jenks workshops and in our Executive Board meetings for Project Sunshine, it has been my privilege to walk alongside you in your journey of leadership and self-discovery. Though it will be hard for Marcello and I, as well as the other senior members of our Jenks class, to leave the Heights very soon here, it is in knowing that we leave BC in hands of leaders like yourself that makes saying goodbye so much easier.

Congratulations, Kayla, on your achievements with the Jenks Program. It is my great pleasure to now virtually present you with the 2021 Bonito Award!

Claire Greydanus’21, Jenks Student Director