How Byron Montilla made Circle K a success

LMC student and soon-to-be University of California Irvine transfer Byron-Thomas Montilla is energetic and passionate.

He balances a full school schedule, working as a tutor at Bristow Middle School in Brentwood, and was promoted from LMC Circle K President to Lieutenant Governor of the Golden Gate Davison, meaning he now overlooks and inspires Circle K at such schools as San Francisco State, UC Berkeley, DVC and other community colleges and universities in the Bay Area.

He is a Linguistics and International Studies major and hopes to become a teacher abroad in Japan one day.

Montilla radiates pure energy; from his need to succeed. That drive has led him to excell , as president of LMC Circle K, the collegiate division of the Kiwanis Club, an organization dedicated to servicing the community. Under his reign as president Montilla brought many awards to LMC, such as last year’s first place Best Video which depicted a fun energy that advertised LMC’s Circle K.

His initial drive for helping others stemmed from joining Key Club, the high school chapter of Kiwanis Club, during his time at Deer Valley High School. Montilla admitted his first foray into service was a bit preconceived due to the fact that a lot of his friends were already enrolled in the organization.

But his desire to work with his friends led him to the position of bulletin editor, and responsibilities included updating information for the newsletter and dispersing them to his club.

Shortly after he created his very own title-spirit chair, a position of leadership with the goal of keeping his members enthused so they would return to the club to serve.

Despite his success there, Montilla looks on the past with some regret, and feels guilty for not achieving more during the four years he was an active Key Club member in high school.

“I’m in Circle K to make up for my lost opportunities in leadership, and I’m here to make a difference for myself,” he said.

To gain recognition within other schools, each college’s Circle K club is encouraged to attend events where a plethora of schools are in attendance. Since LMC is a community college, Montilla strives to give his Circle K chapter the right lasting impression.

During Circle K’s first year of inception at LMC Montilla and other members of his board attended these events and other schools had no idea what LMC was, let alone where it was located.

Montilla admits the first year of the club was challenging with just nine general members, a president, vice president, secretary and treasurer. Only the four board members attended the first big function of the year. Montilla decided from that moment that he wanted things to change for his school and his club.

“I wanted to prove to everyone, not just to the school, what LMC could do,” he said.

This year LMC’s Circle K has tripled its membership, their service hours hit the roof with 3,651, and members have raised more than $1,500. They also brought home first place awards from such events as FTC, a gathering that brings together all of California’s collegiate Circle K clubs as well as Kiwanis chapters.

Now that he will be transferring in the fall Montilla can’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia and hope for the club’s future.

It will be very hard to leave behind LMC Circle K. I know that I’ve left a legacy here” he said. “However, I know that people will live on the successful year that we brought in the past. I’ve left the club in good hands, and I know I’ve set an extraordinary example for others to follow behind myself and my board.”

Donna Eaves, the new LMC Circle K vice president of service intends to continue down the path that Montilla has laid out for the club.

“It’s tough to try and fill his shoes,” she said adding that she feels “strongly that the general members made the right decision in the selecting the new board. We have an incredible team this year and we’re motivated to shoot far and above than what Montilla expects of us.”

When Montilla hears this his broad grin widens.

“That’s exactly the kind of mindset that I’ve always wanted for LMC Circle K to adopt, to always go further with their service, leadership, and goals, I’m glad to hear that the new board is already scheming to do better than me.”