Maximilian Rex Burgess-Shannon: A Man with a Plan

Maximilian Rex Burgess-Shannon. An impressive name for an equally impressive person. A native Benician, you can often find him helping out at various community events and service clubs, such as the Kiwanis. He is an Eagle Scout, a singer and a multi-instrumentalist whose hobbies include traveling the world. And he’s only 18.

Max is a Benicia High School graduate with, as you might have surmised, a formidable background.

He was involved in band through high school, as well as Benicia Key Club, in which he served as president during his Sophomore and Junior years. He credits his parents, Gretchen Burgess and Anthony Shannon, with introducing him to community service. They would bring him to whatever service project they were working on, and he would help out where he could, even from a young age. “Even though I’m not a member, I’ve been working with Kiwanis ever since I was able to lift anything of significance,” he explains.

Max recalls that the Benicia Easter Egg Hunt was the event that really got him interested in community service.

His mom has been a key organizer of the event for years and Max found ways to help out. “Getting to know community service through that event and seeing the joy that the event brought everybody really made me think, ‘Okay, community service is something I like doing. It’s really fun.’” Beyond the Easter Egg Hunt, Max also volunteers at the Peddler’s Fair every year, waking up in the pre-dawn hours to help set up, and returning in the evening to help break down. He has been involved with the Benicia Dog Festival and many other local events.

The value of community service was also impressed upon Max by his involvement in the Scouts.

In order to attain Eagle Scout, he had to complete a service project, among many other tasks. His service project came together after some roadblocks and a pandemic forced him to change directions. He ultimately created a promotional video for the McCune Collection at JFK Library, but plans to eventually complete his original service project idea of building a shade structure at the Benicia dog park, as well. He speaks fondly of the experiences the Scouts have given him, one of which—a near 100-mile backpacking trip with his troop—was one of his favorite endeavors.

Max has traveled internationally with Voena Choir.

He notes that he’s been fortunate enough to travel to various places in Europe, to the UAE, as well as to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York. These experiences have inspired in him a love of travel and of experiencing other cultures. Max, who joined Voena at age 7, remains involved with the choir and has since become a teacher there. His honed voice was featured at his Eagle Scout ceremony where he sang the National Anthem.

Currently enrolled at DVC, Max plans to transfer to UC Berkeley to major in computer science and minor in music.

He ultimately wants to study how augmented reality can be used as treatment in medical and psychiatric fields. He plans to stay involved with various community service projects as he attains his higher education, and beyond. “Community service seems to find me wherever I go, so I do as much as I can,” he says, humbly.

Max loves the small town feeling of Benicia, but like many teens now and before him, sometimes wishes there were more youth-focused activities to do in town. You can find Max working as a lifeguard at the pool in town, or look for his curly mop of hair at the next big community event. It’s clear that this accomplished young man has much to look forward to in his future.