It is English Teacher Katie Kunz’s fourth year of teaching at BHS and possibly her last. She has decided to take a break from teaching for a year, starting this summer, to pursue her dreams of writing. She remembers the specific moment that she decided she wanted to be a writer.
“It was fall of my Junior year in high school when I decided I wanted to be a writer. I was in an English class and I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do. I gave up on being a doctor when I was like five and I knew would never make it as an MTV VJ. And the thing I like best was reading and writing. One moment it just happened and I’ve never been able to forget, it’s never gone away. I’m tired of it looming in my head. I don’t want to be that someone who doesn’t try. I’m expecting to fail so it’s okay if I do. It’s going to make me work harder because I don’t want to fail. I just want to write a little story.”
The little story she wants to write is already in progress. She started a novel about six months ago for kids around the ages of eight through 12.
“It’s about a refugee girl trying to find a way out. She’s an environmental refugee, I think. She is homeless due to natural disasters. I have two chapters written, that I’m totally going to revise. I have a lot of research left to do. I enjoy writing. It’s really hard, though. There’s a lot of confidence issues you have to overcome.”
Despite the fact that it will be difficult, Kunz feels like this the right time to take a stab at writing.
“There were a lot of factors involved in me making the decision to leave. Probably the biggest thing is that financially, I’m okay to do it right now. And mentally and emotionally I’m in a secure place to do this. I feel more capable of doing it now than before. I also think it finally dawned on me that I’m always encouraging students to follow their career dreams, and I’ve never done it. And to use Mr. Mischke’s word, I feel like a hypocrite.”
Her goal is to get the novel done in one year. After that she will see if anyone would like to publish it. Along the way she wants to write articles and essays to get into the publishing world and keep herself researching. All the articles and essays would be research about the novel or writing itself. After that one year, she doesn’t know what’s in store for her.
“I love teaching. If I come back will depend. I honestly don’t think I’ll get published, it’s a competitive world, but I’ve never given myself the chance to be a writer. I’m not sure which lifestyle I’ll enjoy more: the one where I’m teaching or the one where I’m writing. It’s been a hard decision. Buffalo’s been so helpful to me. I’m going to miss all the people, the students and staff, so that will be hard.”
Even though she has to leave BHS, she knows the experience will be worth it no matter what.
“It’s really incredibly nerve wracking, but the support I’ve received from people at Buffalo and my family and friends makes me feel like I’ve made the right decision. And it’s just for a year. If I don’t get published it’ll still be good because I tried. Nothing will make me happier than giving it my all, whatever the outcome. I just want to give the story a chance to be told.”