Meet Your Teacher – Mrs. Karen Halusek

I was born and raised in Chicago and grew up taking advantage of all the city has to offer.  After graduating from Lourdes High School, I attended Northeastern Illinois University, where I received a B.A. in English with a double major in secondary education.  After receiving my degree, my first job was teaching high school English at a school for pregnant girls in the inner city. At that time, I returned to college part-time and acquired an M.A. in Education / Reading. I have been teaching junior high English at St. Rene for 14 years and teach research writing courses online for the University of Phoenix during the summer.

I am married and live in Riverside, which is just a 20-minute Metra ride from downtown Chicago.  We have three adult children and three grandchildren whose activities continue to keep us busy. Our oldest daughter was a marine mammal trainer at Brookfield Zoo and is now a stay-at-home mom to three-year-old Michael and four-year-old Mackenzie. Our younger daughter is mom to four-year-old Adelina and followed her mother’s footsteps into teaching. Our son is a lawyer at a family practice firm downtown, three blocks from his apartment.

In addition to education, my passions are the arts, reading, and sports. Go Bears, Blackhawks, White Sox, and Bulls! Of course, my favorite teams have always been my children’s.  My oldest daughter attended UCONN on a volleyball scholarship, and I loved visiting campuses around the country watching her play. While my younger daughter chose not to play a sport in college, she played club volleyball for many years. My son played basketball in college so I enjoyed more gym time.  As far as participating, I enjoy golf and swimming.

From the time I was in kindergarten, I loved learning and knew I wanted to be a teacher. By the time I was in junior high, I was a grammar geek who loved diagramming sentences and entering essay contests. I did win some of those contests, and my favorite prize was getting to ride on a float downtown in a Clean-up Parade and meeting the original Mayor Daley.

My favorite memories at St. Rene include attending award ceremonies at the Cultural Center downtown for my students who won a city-wide essay contest sponsored by the Council on Human Relations. We had a winner every year the contest was in existence! Though this particular contest was disbanded, the junior high students continue to win a variety of essay contests every year. Though winning contests is not the end-goal, it is a rewarding experience, and the development of writing skills is a valuable asset at the high school, college, and career level.

In addition, when our alumni return to visit, I am thrilled to hear about the excellent grades they are receiving. It is very rewarding to hear their thanks for the education they received at St. Rene. For example, they have said that they appreciate having learned MLA format for writing research papers in junior high because it made them more confident in their high school work.

Above all, I am so proud of the fine students it is my pleasure to teach! Our students are of the highest moral character and are a testament to the outstanding families who send their children to St. Rene!