Nominator: Jocelyn Kawa
Davis High School
I would like to nominate Gene Kawa to KSL’s teacher feature. I was hesitant to nominate him because he is my husband, and some might think I am biased. However, after contemplating this nomination for a while, I decided to do it because as his wife, I see things he does that others are probably not even aware of.
Mr. Kawa is a guidance counselor at Davis High School in Kaysville. He goes about his business caring and working for and with students quietly and will probably be not very pleased with me for nominating him. His concern for students is because he cares. He will work through his lunch periods so he can help students with problems as minor as needing a change in a class schedule to things as significant as how he can help a student with health issues to complete work so credit can be received for a class, and even helping parents with resources for a child that is at risk with depression, habitual truancy, or homelessness.
One Saturday when he was finalizing ACT testing, two sisters came in the counseling center. They saw him in the center and came in to chat. He asked how school was going and what was going on with work and friends. When they were ready to leave, they asked to use the phone to call and get a ride home since it was cold and snowing and they needed to get to Bountiful to Grandma’s house to help with a Christmas project. Unable to get a hold of anyone for a ride, Mr. Kawa offered them bus fare. They smiled and said thanks and went on their way. Students will wait to have Mr. Kawa help them, even when they could get faster help with someone else, they are willing to wait until they can get a turn with him.
Gene is also on the district’s crisis team. When there are student deaths, he is called to go to the home school to help students and/or faculties deal with the trauma.
Mr. Kawa has been a wrestling official for the Utah High School Activities Association for 30+ years. He has developed many wonderful relationships with wrestlers all over the state of Utah through his officiating. He works out with wrestlers during their practices to help them become better not only on the mat but to develop stronger life skills as people. He has not only done this at Davis High School, but has also gone to other high schools and worked out with their wrestling teams.
He supports the student athletes at Davis High by attending football, basketball, soccer, and volleyball games (He has even turned me into a Davis Dart fan – all my children attended a rival high school.)
The things I have mentioned are just a few of the things that Mr. Kawa does because he believes in young men and women who are soon stepping forward to adulthood. Gene Kawa believes that they come first and backs up this belief with his willingness to walk the walk by taking time and effort to talk, counsel, and help them to be the best that they can be.
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