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Education Spotlight: Wendy Kabonic helps students succeeed at Etna

◆ Teachers need lots of support from parents, she says.

“I see amazing people doing amazing things because they’ve dedicated their lives to their students and their profession. – Wendy Kabonic

Bringing 15 years of experience to the classroom, Wendy Kabonic teaches 4th Grade at Etna Elementary school. During her career, Kabonic has taught grades 2, 4, 5 and 6.

“I always wanted to teach school because I loved school growing up,” said Kabonic. “I had great teachers that inspired me to do great things and I wanted to be able to pay it forward somehow.  I taught dance at studios in Utah for years and loved working with those youth as well.  Originally, I was about to finish an accounting degree, but decided to switch so I could have the chance to work with kids and make a difference for them.”

During her childhood years, Kabonic frequently visited her grandmother’s home in Dingle, Idahl by Bear Lake and she attended Utah State University for her degree. She loves the snow and always wanted to live in a northern region.

Kabonic has not always taught in districts where funding is adequate and where students usually succeed.

“For most of my teaching years, I have worked in schools with great need. I was working in a school with a high English Language Learner and low-income/low socio-economic population. The students had tough home lives and were dealing with more than they should at a young age. It was exciting to see several students each year turn their behaviors and outlook on life around.  I had a few students on the brink of delinquency and juvenile detention each year. No one believed in them, and they were said to be lost causes. Several completely turned their lives around, becoming straight-A students, and being voted into the student-council.  It was the best feeling in the world to see them become true leaders in their education and in their own lives.”

Kabonic and her husband have worked as guides in the Grand Canyon for many years. Her husband is on his 20th year serving there.

“After having met folks from all walks of life from all over the world, I got the bug to travel the world and go on more adventures.  I have a long bucket list of places and people to visit and want to check off more someday. I love old architecture and history, so those places intrigue me the most.”

Kabonic admires her colleagues.

“I see amazing people doing amazing things because they’ve dedicated their lives to their students and their profession. While they don’t feel the need to be recognized, there are a lot of small things going on that make a big difference and most people are unaware of what happens behind the scenes. It isn’t the easiest profession, and teachers need lots of support from parents, the community and the nation.”