"If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life."
This quote stands true for Valparaiso High School physical education teacher Katie Lenard. Whether you're taking freshman P.E. or dance choreography, Lenard will not fail to put a smile on your face. Her friendly, outgoing personality makes it easy for students to enjoy class while learning skills working towards a healthy lifestyle.
Not only has Lenard contributed to Valparaiso High School as an educator, but also as the head girls volleyball coach. Lenard attended and played volleyball at La Porte High School. She continued her education at Purdue University, majoring in education. Though Lenard's original plan was to pursue a career in elementary education, she grew fond of working with high school students in the physical education field. Once she finished school, she returned back to her hometown and coached the freshman girls volleyball team in La Porte. La Porte's head coach advised her to take a job offer at VHS. Lenard's ability to get along well with the students as well as showing discipline when needed made her the perfect candidate for the job.
"I applied and got the job [as VHS head volleyball coach]. I was nervous about it at first, but I'm really glad I took the opportunity." Lenard said.
She has been working religiously with the school's volleyball team for the last couple of years, pushing the players to strive to reach their full potential. When asked about the team's future, Lenard had an optimistic expression on her face.
"I really liked the girls and we have a lot of them coming back. Hopefully we can pick up right where we left off and build an even stronger team next year," She said.
Lenard's family has influenced her passion for sports. Her father, who retired this past June, was both a teacher and a baseball and football coach. He served as an athletic director, as well. His appreciation for both education and sports inspired Lenard to choose the field she works in now.
"I did a little bit of everything. I played a lot of different sports growing up. I've always thought the school aspect of a career involving sports was interesting," Lenard said.
Other than Lenard's commitments within VHS, she also coaches a traveling team for the Dunes Volleyball Club. The season officially begins at the end of November until June. The season ends off with their national tournament in Orlando. As shown through Lenard's involvement with volleyball inside and outside of a school environment, it is evident that coaching volleyball is not only a career but also a passion for Lenard.
"A lot of the weekends we're traveling to either Indy, Chicago, Louisville, different areas like that," Lenard told me.
Despite Lenard's dedication to her work, she always makes time for family and friends. When asked about her family, Lenard expressed that growing up as an only child led to a close relationship with her parents.
"Growing up as an only child, I grew extremely close with my parents. I have a small but close knit family," Lenard stated.
Lenard has not been only a teacher or coach to several VHS students, but also a friend. Lenard's calm yet friendly aura has made students in both her classes and the volleyball team become more comfortable with being themselves. She exhibits several of the traits that represent a Life in the Spotlight on a daily basis. Day in and day out, Lenard works to the best of her ability on making the already amazing community of Valparaiso even better.