My name is Katrina Konnick, a high school mathematics teacher at Central Bucks High School East in Doylestown Pennsylvania. Originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania, I found my passion for mathematics education during my junior year of high school while taking Pre-Calculus. I attended Susquehanna University (class of ’05) where I earned my bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics with a Minor in Secondary Education. Ironically, as much as I love waking up each morning to the challenge of a new school day with my students, school was one of the last places I wanted to be as a kid. As an obese child and teenager, I endured years of bullying and ridicule for my weight and size. Standing at 5’ 8’’ and weighing in at over 260 pounds, being invisible was something I tried to be really good at. It was one of the most difficult times of my life as I experienced bullying physically, socially, and emotionally. From being shoved down a flight of stairs to being told I should never have been born were just a few of the things I experienced during my time in school. At a time when a teenager’s concern is centered around her prom dress or next big science test, mine was all about self-preservation and survival.
It was in my senior year of high school that I realized I needed to make a change. Not just for myself, but for my friends, family, and my future students. It was with this inspiration that I started to develop a healthy relationship with nutrition and exercise. It all started by walking laps around my parent’s backyard in Falls, Pennsylvania. Who knew that the simple act of walking would lead me down the path to a lifetime of dedication to health and fitness. Over the years, I have continued to find new ways to remain active including lifting, hiking, swimming, cycling, completing triathlons, and even running marathons. All of this came from a young woman who was always told she would never be enough.
I have realized that my passion for teaching mathematics comes from my passion for teaching and supporting students. As I begin my 14th year at Central Bucks High School East, I would like to give back and support all those students who feel as I did so many years ago. Teens who are bullied are more likely to struggle with depression and anxiety, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, and loss of interest into activities they used to enjoy. Many of these issues may continue into adulthood. This is where I need your help.
Running has always been a huge challenge for me both physically and mentally. On Sunday, November 17th, I will be running in the 25th annual AACR Philadelphia Marathon. Over the next three months, I will run over 560 miles to train for this 26.2-mile race through the streets of downtown Philadelphia. I am asking for your help to promote awareness about the effects of bullying by donating to Teach Anti-Bullying in Havertown, PA. For every dollar donated, I will dedicate that number of miles to a family member, friend, or loved ones of your choosing.
The more that you can give, the better! Your donations will be used to provide educational programs in schools and supports for students who may be struggling with bullying. It was through the support of friends and family like yourselves that I can call myself a survivor. All of children deserve that chance and through 560 miles of running I hope to show them that no matter what, you are enough.