Student Nomination Story

Motivated, motherly, and mentor are a few words that come to mind when describing Kaitlin Kapitan. Freshly graduated from college, Ms. Kapitan—a science student teacher, and assistant soccer coach—blended in with the students at Kettle Moraine High School. She wore stylish sandals, and her rings radiated on her hand. She wore clothes from Anthropologie and Patagonia. Just like another high school student, she was easy to approach and talk to about anything—especially my drama. “Come in at 6:45. We will go over Chemistry, and get you back where you need to be” and “we will be able to this together” are the things she said as I stood at practice one night almost in tears. I showed up the next morning with a bushel of bananas to carry on game day tradition, and I knew it was going to be okay. I popped open my laptop and logged onto ALEKS (my online Chemistry program) and right then I knew Ms. Kapitan wasn't just a teacher. Both of us in black jackets with the KMHS girls soccer logo plastered on the top left, eating bananas, did this together. And it was not just a one time thing. Almost every morning that semester, I marched into her classroom and we got to work. I even passed Chemistry that year. My family and I moved in late May of my junior year to Merton, WI. This would mean finishing high school at Arrowhead High School. Switching schools for my senior year was not ideal, but it was easier with her support and help. Ms. Kapitan was not just helpful in the classroom. Between afternoons and mornings, and even text messages, the transition was smooth because of her. Last night, I had my first day of soccer tryouts at Arrowhead. I called Ms. Kapitan frantic because I did not do well. “Emma, go get some bananas and show everyone how good you are. Play your game, and go prove yourself.” I whipped the tears off my face, and with a full stomach of bananas, I thought, I am ready. Ms. Kapitan: a coach, teacher, and a friend. She was a student teacher my junior year, and even though I don't get have her as a teacher, I am grateful for the students she will impact in her teaching career. She taught me to keep my head down and work hard, do what I love, and always push forward, to believe in myself, and always do everything with confidence. Ms. Kapitan is my educator of a lifetime.

Emma Wawrzyniak

To see more exceptional teacher nominees, visit The Honor Roll.