A teacher’s impact: Kathryn Mcdowell


Suhas Konijeti, Reporter

If you walk into room B232 at Independence High school (IHS) you’ll see Kathryn McDowell, one of the most admired teachers at IHS. Last year, during my freshman year at IHS, I had McDowell as my teacher for Business Information Management (BIM), and she is one of the sweetest, joyous, and most compassionate teachers I had the privilege to get to know and learn from. 

“Having Ms. McDowell as my teacher is great. She is the sweetest teacher I’ve ever met,” said sophomore Sruthi Sudakar. “I’ve never once heard a negative thing about her from other students, and I’ve only heard the sweetest things about Ms. McDowell.”

McDowell, one of the Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers, worked her last week of the 2021-2022 school year due to medical circumstances. In support of McDowell, Journalism teacher and IHS’s CTE department chair, Brooke Allen, and social studies teacher Megan England, created an appreciation week consisting of daily themes in which IHS students and staff participated. 

Mcdowell has been a teacher for 12 years, teaching a variety of CTE classes at IHS for about four years. This year, Mcdowell taught fashion designing one and two, interior design, interpersonal studies, and child development. McDowell’s real accomplishment has been the relationships she’s built with her students and the staff; she is known not only as an educator but also as a mentor for many students. 

IHS Assistant Principal Renee Sena believes McDowell is more than a coworker.

“Personally, I’ve always loved working with her…I consider her a friend,” said Sena. “Ms. Mcdowell really cares about other people, she really cares about her students that make learning more engaging,” she said. “She always thinks about others before herself, and she sacrifices herself to give to other people and she does it always with a smile on her face.”

McDowell describes her favorite memory of the year.

“This week,” said McDowell. “I haven’t really been talking to anyone about what is going on and I was just really surprised by how many people came up and said something. It’s been really really wonderful.”

She talks about her emotions regarding her last week working this school year.

“I’m really sad about the timing. I wish that I was going to be here through the end of the year since I want to be at graduation, so I’m hoping that will work out,” said McDowell. “The outpouring of support has made me feel so good and I appreciate it.”

As students and staff participated in the appreciation week in support of McDowell, Allen put together a gift basket to which staff members donated to. She also set up a donation through Venmo and collected gift cards for McDowell.

“I wanted her to know how much she is loved and appreciated at school,” said Allen.

Junior Manny Koirala wanted to show his appreciation to McDowell by also donating via gift card.

“I wanted to show how much I appreciate her, for all the good times I had in her classroom,” said an IHS student. “Thank you Ms. McDowell for being an amazing teacher.” 

IHS Executive Student Council and math teacher Brittany Hendry talk about McDowell.

“My favorite thing about her is her willingness for others, she’s always trying to make other people’s days better,” said Hendry. “I wish for her a long life of happiness and comfort and healing.”