Student Spotlight: 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 is currently in the Teacher Preparation program at College of DuPage. She's paying for her own college, and being named a Presidential Scholar -- an impressive award that includes a full-tuition scholarship and enrollment in COD's Honors program and the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society -- is helping her save for when she transfers. She is planning to earn her bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from the University of Illinois and then getting a job upon graduation.
She knows that this will be a life-long career and is excited about her time at College of DuPage, which is providing opportunities for educational and personal growth.
"Personally, I am learning how to be more and more independent through going to COD. Educationally, I am able to take classes that are actively engaging and challenging. They apply to my major and will transfer to U of I," she said. "It's great being at one of the best community colleges out there."
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