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Katherine Koehler of Loves Park is in her seventh year of teaching first grade at Ledgewood Elementary in Roscoe. Katherine was homeschooled her whole K-12 education. No one in her family went to college, so lessons were often very frustrating for both teacher and student! Her family didn’t talk about, encourage or expect her to attend college, but Katherine determined that her path was to attend college and become an Elementary teacher, so she made a plan and made it happen. Katherine is certain many students have had more of an impact on her than she’s had on them. In her fourth year of teaching, a student made a significant impact, consistently reminding her that her commitment to her students was the only thing that mattered. Every day, he would throw himself on the floor screaming he hated her and school. He would spit, scream, throw objects and cry. She continued to research ways to help him be successful at school. “In the midst of my exhaustion one day, I felt a hand on my shoulder and heard him whisper, ‘You’re changing my life and I love you!’ This was one of the most defining and meaningful moments in my teaching career.” Katherine says that teaching is a fiber of her being, not just her career. “Teaching has taught me how to love unconditionally, how to put others before myself, how to continually find new ways to get to know that student who is struggling in school, and how to lead by example. It is my hope that my students will remember their first grade teacher as someone who was committed, loving and a person who they could depend on. Teaching has brought me direction and purpose, and for that I am grateful.”