I became a teacher because I wanted to help all students but I especially had a heart for helping kids through tough times.
PERSEVERANCE & AGILITY: CHRISTINE KRAGENBRING
Christine is an English teacher at Alexandria Area High School in Alexandria, MN.
I was born in Los Angeles, California to my 20-year-old single mother. My biological father left her the day he found out she was pregnant. My mom married her high school boyfriend after he returned from Vietnam when I was 3. Life at home was rocky. My dad was an alcohol and drug addict. My parents fought a lot. I remember my furious father asking me to calm my sobbing mother when I was 6 years old. That cycle continued throughout my childhood, which resulted in me growing up faster than I should have. We moved a lot, from house to house, always in the same town. My parents eventually divorced and we had to sell the house that had 9 years of my memories.
I was extremely rebellious in my teen years and was basically functioning with a “you only live once” mentality. I was more concerned about boys and drama than my future. In school, I didn’t fail any classes because I didn’t want to be grounded, so I got by with a lot of Ds. There was one teacher who saw my potential, and that teacher shifted my perspective.
When I was a senior in high school, I decided I wanted to go to college. I earned straight As that year which helped my GPA. Upon graduation, it was 2.98. My ACT score was 18. On paper, I did not look like a likely candidate for college success.
I went to college in my hometown at the University of Minnesota-Morris. I was accepted based on a “wish kid” decision one of the admissions counselors made. To show my thanks to that admissions counselor and that teacher who believed in me, and to prove everyone who thought I couldn’t do it wrong, I decided to work my tail off. I graduated from college with honors, and a 3.4 GPA.
I became a teacher because I wanted to help all students but I especially had a heart for helping kids through tough times. This is not something I typically share, but to emphasize the fact that perseverance pays off I will share these two accolades:
My principal nominated me for the North Dakota State 1st Year Teacher of the Year, which I was awarded; and 5 years later, I was awarded the Minnesota Middle School Teacher of the Year.
I am now in my 28th year and committed to helping those “wish kids” like me. CFES is a dream come true for that mission. My path crosses with that admissions counselor occasionally. She hugs me and cries tears of joy every time.
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