I am celebrating my 20th year of teaching by profiling former students who are doing great things in their field. As I've watched them grow into adults, I have been impressed with an aspect of their lives and want to share them with you. I fully recognize that I was merely a small part in their growth and development, but I can't help to be proud. By highlighting these former students I hope to encourage other teachers that what we do is a noble and worthy cause. We have the ability to boost others to greatness we have never considered.
There was this one year that I thought I would be a good volleyball coach. After all, I enjoyed some backyard volleyball and did well in the church league. I must be good enough to coach school volleyball. Right? Ummm… No. I was the Assistant JV Girls Volleyball Coach. While I loved it, I realized that it would take more time and work than I could offer, so my coaching career fizzled out after one season.
The greatest joy I had that season was working with the girls. One of our JV captains was a fiery 9th grade lady named Katee, whom I had in my sixth grade class. As a student and as an athlete I appreciated her intensity, her drive to succeed, and her leadership capabilities. Katee was a respected member of our team, and without her the team would not have been at all successful.
Not long ago, Katee found me on LinkedIn, and I saw an interesting suffix to her name: J. D. I had no idea what J. D. stood for so, I looked it up: Juris Doctor. That got my attention, so I asked her about it and to participate in this blog series. Here is what she’s been up to.
After graduating from Calvary, I attended Kentucky Christian University from 2006-2010. I was a 4 year starter for the volleyball team, where we were 4 time NCCAA Mid-East Region Champions and made 4 appearances at the NCCAA National Tournament. I personally obtained a few honors and set a few records. I received a Bachelor of Science in 2010. I graduated Cum Laude with a joint-major; one in Biblical Studies, and one in History. I also have a double minor; one in Business, and the other in Legal Studies.
I then attended Capital University Law School from 2010-2013 where I graduated and obtained my Juris Doctorate (J.D.) in May of 2013.
As you can see, volleyball is still a major part of her life and she has continued to be a great player. Currently, she works as a personal trainer, coaching other girls to become awesome volleyball stars.
While Katee studies to take the bar exam this summer, she has an interesting job in West Virginia.
Professionally, I am working on a joint venture between the Federal Government, the State of West Virginia’s Office of the Insurance Commissioner, and a Private Corporation which deals in government contracts. Funded by a federal grant, we are working to educate people throughout West Virginia communities regarding the new healthcare requirements which were voted into law back in 2010.
Katee’s mom recently passed away, which leaves a big hole in her life right now.
I would not be where I am if it wasn’t for the support of my family. My mom was my biggest fan and biggest encouragement. There was hardly ever a home game where she and my family weren’t sitting in the stands cheering me on, even though it was a 2 hour drive. She always encouraged me to do my best, to work hard, and that I was smarter than I thought. The times I wanted to quit, she told me to keep going. Everything I am, I owe to my mother.
Katee intends for her mother’s memory to live on for a long time. I was amazed at how she kept coming up in Katee’s future plans.
Mom and I always talked about starting a bakery – so I intend to do that as well at some point in my life.
I have started plans for a non-profit in the next few years. My mother was such a giving, selfless person that I feel that would be the perfect way to honor her legacy – to continue to love God and help people. It’s just at the bare minimum, first-step planning stages.
Mom taught me that the sky is the limit. I have no intentions of staying in one place for the rest of my life. I get bored easily and I plan on doing just about anything and everything I can fit in this crazy life.
As you know, I enjoy hearing student memories of our time together. How closely do their memories align with mine? Katee’s memories reinforce how great it is to work in K-12 school, where it’s easy to bump into someone from any grade level. Being a coach, even for that one year, really helped me connect with some of those girls for the rest of their career.
I remember that I respected you for being so kind. That’s not to say you weren’t strict or in charge, but I remember – even into High School, the concern you had for your former students, going out of your way to wave and smile as you walked by in the hallway, or to ask how we were doing or how our day was. It’s a very admirable trait. I have known lots of teachers in my 21 year learning career and you are by far in the top of the ones that I remember fondly.
I’m looking forward to seeing what Katee can do as a lawyer, baker, and lover of people in the future, and I’m glad we got reconnected -- through LinkedIn of all things. :)
Some fun facts that didn’t make it to the narrative:
- She hates movie theaters -- claiming an insane fear.
- There is a love of cosmic brownies (what’s that!??!?!) and says they better not go extinct like Twinkies did.
- Apparently, there is a match.com picture out there that law school friends created and she can’t get rid of.
- When she was in 6th grade, Katee had allergy testing. She is the first person I ever heard of who was allergic to cockroaches.
- I once shared a hotel bed with her dad when we went to Space Camp.
- She has two dogs… a crazy dog lady is better than a crazy cat lady in my book.
- She loves to spend time with her two beautiful nieces. (I also had her sister in class and in volleyball.)