Future teacher: Kylie Strickland finds inspiration after former teacher’s death

Coronado High School senior Kylie Strickland is one of two recipients of the Scottsdale Charros Future Teacher Scholarship, which is an award for a Scottsdale Unified School District high school senior planning on pursuing a degree in education.

Ms. Strickland was unavailable for comment at the time of publication of the Independent’s special section highlighting SUSD. After the deadline had passed, Ms. Strickland answered questions regarding her past and future in education. Here is what she had to say:

Coronado Senior Kylie Strickland (Submitted photo)

How long has education been a part of your life?

I’ve always been taught that education is the key to success and have been raised to prioritize my school work.

How has education affected you individually?

All that I have, I have because of education. My friends are all current or previous classmates of mine and I discovered my interests through school activities. Even my home life was determined by my parent’s pursuit of a higher education.

Who has been a mentor/role model for you and why do you look up to them?

I owe everything to my previous theatre teacher, Paul Townsend. He lived doing what he loved and never missed a chance to share his appreciation towards his students and his career.

How long have you wanted to be a teacher?

I decided that teaching was the path for me during the second semester of my freshman year. My teachers at Coronado High School were always so caring. I could tell they made a huge difference in hundreds of their students’ lives. I want to make that same difference too.

Please describe that moment when you decided education was your path:

My theatre teacher, Paul Townsend, passed away the beginning of my junior year. When I attended his funeral, the building was completely full of family and his past students that loved him. The speakers at the funeral shared stories of him and the impact he was able to make during his time of teacher. Mr. Townsend touched so many lives and I want to do the same and make him proud.

What are your goals in education? What do you hope to be?

I hope to obtain at least a Master’s degree in Secondary Education and Theatre in hopes of becoming a high school theatre teacher.

Why do you believe education is important?

I believe a child’s education is the foundation to a successful life and will give them the tools to achieve great things.

What activities do you do at school?

I am a leader in many different things at school. I have been a percussion section leader for the marching and concert band for three years. This last season, we received the highest percussion score of the state for marching bands. I’ve also been involved in varsity choir all four years of high school, have been Soprano section leader for two years and have been in Advanced Vocal Ensemble two years. I’ve also been in theatre all four years of high school, participating in five theatrical productions. I am currently the president for our Thespian club. Lastly, I am a board member of our school’s international club through which I have traveled to both Marrakech, Morocco and Interlaken, Switzerland, on a student ambassador exchange.

Where do you plan to attend college?

I have been accepted into Northern Arizona University’s Honors College for my undergraduate degree.

How has Coronado helped you become who you are?

Coronado has been through so much change over the years, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the positive atmosphere that both the students and the staff create. Coronado is a second home to me and always will be. I am so grateful to have attended all four years. GO DONS!

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