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Crimson Aviator

Mrs. Kowalczyk saying adios to DPHS at year’s end

Veteran teacher retiring after more than 20 years here
Ky Miller
Mrs. Kowalczyk

Mrs. Kowalczyk, after a career spanning more than 20 years as a Spanish teacher, is retiring at the end of the school year. I had the privilege of speaking with her about her time teaching at De Pere High School, as well as looking back at what she has learned while teaching. Here is what she had to say about students, DPHS, and teaching altogether. 

Why did you decide to become a language teacher in the first place?

“I grew up in Germany and I had first-hand knowledge of seeing my friends in classes. They, at a very young age, learned English and Spanish. They learned a lot of languages and I thought that was really interesting and I saw that they were able to communicate everywhere we went, with a lot of people. … My parents also speak Spanish and I grew up not speaking Spanish. I was sad that I didn’t know. I want to share Spanish with everybody. I want everyone to speak Spanish. So that’s my way of giving back.”

What is something that you would want future students to know about language, about life?

“I want future students to go out into the world and travel and meet new people, to learn about new cultures and to use Spanish to help people. A lot of people need help right now.”

What are you looking forward to after you leave DPHS?

“I’m gonna miss the students very much, so that makes me sad. I’ve had 20 and a half great years, but I’m not going to miss the snow. I’m going to be living in Arizona. I’m looking forward to being with my granddaughters and with my family. They live in Arizona and I’m looking forward to the sun.”

What have you learned from your time teaching?
“Time goes by very fast. I’ve learned to slow down. It’s not always about Spanish or class. Sometimes students need some time. If they’re having a bad day or not feeling good or something’s happening at home, it’s best sometimes to just stop and give the time that the students need to talk about that.”

How have students changed over the years?

“I don’t think the students have changed a lot. I think sometimes the students are a little bit more co-dependent on their phones. I think the dress has changed. The styles change all the time and then they come back. But other than that, not much has changed.”

What do you hope for for the future of language classes and language students?

“I hope that we start earlier. I hope that learning starts in kindergarten. I hope that we bring more languages into our school. Right now we have French and Spanish. I hope we introduce more languages and have a bigger world language department and that kids are able to learn 2 to 3 languages like kids are in Europe.”

Do you have anything you’d like to say to the students of De Pere High School?

“I am going to miss each and every student. I loved my job because of the students. I think the students here are amazing and very kind. I think a lot about all of them and I hope in the future when I see them they come back and become fluent in Spanish. It’s special, and I wish it for every student.”


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About the Contributor
Ky Miller
Ky Miller, Reporter
Ky Miller is a senior at DPHS. Ky was born in American Fork, Utah. Ky likes to do things such as play soccer, create art, play the guitar, and hang out with his friends. He also enjoys traveling and eating foods from Europe and South America. Ky hopes to one day inspire the world through his art.

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