Ms. Katherine Willis, a beloved Mac English teacher of 27 years, has decided, along with many great educators this year, to retire. Through the years she has had many students and, though she is strict, she has had quite a few interesting moments.
Before teaching, Ms. Willis was part of a study abroad program at St. Andrews University in Scotland. When she started teaching, she taught all over, from Hawaii to Japan to Mexico, and in the continental United States in San Diego and in San Antonio at Lee High School before coming to Mac.
Seniors, when asked to reminisce their past four years, usually share their most memorable moments before they leave the school. Ms. Willis has had a particular moment too, during the rebuilding of the school.
“I was going to the restroom in a partially demolished building in the dark with standing water on the floor and electrical lines sparking,” Willis said, “and there was a raccoon running across the floor.”
There are a lot of activities to be involved in in school, and Ms. Willis took part in quite a few. She was a Senior Level Chair, was a judge the past two years for Mac Idol (see above picture), one of the four creators of Keep Mac Beautiful, and SAT/ACT supervisor, part of the Senior Class Activities Committee, in the DEIC (District Education Improvement Committee), Faculty Advisory Committee, the Catastrophic Sick Leave Bank, and the Human Relations Committee at Mac.
Besides her long English teaching career, Willis has taught a few other classes round campus that might be seen as a fun alternative to the typical essays and class book sets of a regular English class. There was a senior English class specifically about horror and science fiction; she had a creative writing class full of all kinds of different readings; she was a speech and communications teacher and a debate coach; and she led a film critique and a women in literature course.
Her only rules of the classroom are the Four P’s: Punctuality, Preparedness, Participation, and Politeness. If you respect these, she respects you.
There is one thing Ms. Willis wants her previous and current students to know.
“I cared about them more than they think,” Willis said.
She really has had the best interests of the students at heart.
Like the seniors, Willis cannot wait to see what’s in store for the rest of her life. “I’m both excited and sad to leave friends and home,” Willis said, “like the graduates, I’m excited to see what I’ll do next.”
There’s an overabundance of opportunity out there and all that’s left to do is grasp it.
All will miss Ms. Willis, whether they show it or not. She has made for many stories, many laughs, and many memories. She has influenced students all over the school and taught them lessons that do not always have to do with the subject of English. Almost everyone at school has come across her path, and while she may intimidate everyone unfortunate enough to feel her wrath, they leave that C-wing hallway almost a better person. We appreciate everything Ms. Willis has done for us at MacArthur.
For her parting words, Willis grants underclassman a farewell statement: “You missed out on a great show.”
For her seniors, leaving to fulfill their lives, she shares a family saying: “Salud, amor, amigos, y pesetas; y tiempo para gustarlas. Health, love, friends, and money; and time to enjoy them.”