Piano professor celebrates 45 years of teaching
College of Lake County (CLC) faculty and staff made a scene in downtown Grayslake with their car parade celebrating music instructor Kathleen Cizewski's 45 years of teaching excellence. The new traditional socially distanced car parade led by CLC President Dr. Lori Suddick marked the special occasion.
"Your experience at CLC has played a role in the college's success," said Suddick. "Your skills have helped so many students enhance their skills and gain confidence in themselves." Suddick's remarks also acknowledged all the ways the college relies on her, including her historical knowledge of the music department, dedication to upholding studio recitals for students every semester and strength in mentoring students who need extra nurturing and guidance.
"I have met some wonderful people teaching through the decades, growing with them personally, musically and spiritually," said Cizewski "I encountered various challenges, generational shifts, technology and world events during my tenure including new and innovative pedagogical methods I incorporated into my teaching curriculum to better student success."
Since 1974 when she was hired on the spot after impressing the college's first music department chair, Warren Simpkins, with her piano skills, Cizewski taught hundreds of students in both applied and group piano lessons. While a music instructor at CLC, she has completed her own advanced degrees, gave several of her own faculty solo piano recitals and served as an accompanist for a variety of choirs, instrumentalists and musical events at CLC.
"Anyone who listens to Kathleen's stories knows she has devoted her life to the college," said dean of communication arts, humanities and fine arts Sheldon Walcher. "She is really remarkable because her journey is the story of CLC: hard work, dedication, joy, belief, connection and serving others."
"If there comes a day when I don't leave a class with a 'high' I will know it is time to think about retiring," said Cizewski. "I am not there yet. God willing, I will continue to grow with CLC."
Cizewski's husband of 41 years and music teacher himself, Felix, has been part of her CLC journey. He continues to be supportive, attends performances and talks with many wonderful students, faculty and administrators. He is also a music teacher who took percussion lessons at CLC and played in the college's wind ensemble under the direction of Bruce Mack in the 80s.
Even in the face of obstacles like COVID-19, Cizewski remains completely dedicated to her students, her craft, making music and serving her community. She relies on "PR" - Prayer and Resilience to continue her longevity as one of the college's beloved faculty.