Student Spotlight: Emily Witek

Emily Witek

Emily Witek
Major: Teacher Preparation

Emily Witek readily admits to being a menace when she was in first grade. But it was the influence of her teacher that changed her attitude about education.

“I was not a fan of school or respecting authority, for that matter,” she said. “I don’t know how she did it, but my first grade teacher made me see how I could make the most of my days at school and how my attitude would affect my success. She really got me involved in helping her out with classroom tidiness, and I felt my presence was important. I went from rotten egg to teacher’s pet but, more importantly, my teacher shaped the way I looked at education and influenced the amount of effort I put in.

“She also made me realize I wanted to do the same thing for a child. I now know I want to be an elementary school teacher and pave the way to success for kids who don’t see their potential. I have so much going for me in my life, and some would think it’s silly to attribute a lot of that to one of my first teachers, but I honestly believe I wouldn’t be the person I am today without her influence in my life.”

Witek entered the Teacher Preparation program at College of DuPage. She’s paying for her own college, and being named a Presidential Scholar – and impressive award that includes a full-tuition scholarship and enrollment in COD’s Honors program and the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society – helped her save for her transfer institution.

After graduating from COD with highest honors, Witek is now at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, with a concentration in Spanish and endorsements to teach middle school science, language arts and social studies. Thanks to hard work, she earned a 4.0 during her first year at UIUC and was awarded a scholarship.

“I intend to now graduate without any debt,” she said. “Attending COD for two years has proven to be a great decision.”

Witek knows teaching will be a life-long career and enjoyed her time at College of DuPage, which provided opportunities for educational and personal growth.

“Personally, I learned how to be more and more independent through going to COD. Educationally, I was able to take classes that were actively engaging and challenging. They applied to my major and transferred to U of I,” she said. “It was great being at one of the best community colleges out there.”

More about the Teacher Preparation program

College of DuPage

425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn IL, 60137

(630) 942-2800 (Main)

(630) 942-3000 (Student Services)

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