Leaders Teach, Teachers
Imagine how dramatically
different your life would be if someone had to read this article to you
because you could not see the words. Imagine not being able to drive yourself
to work or watch your favorite television program. Imagine that every morning
when you awakened, your sight became dimmer and dimmer until it eventually
faded to black like stage lights.
That is a small piece of
Kathy Nimmer's story. She epitomizes the believer who walks by faith and
not by sight. She is blind, but her career proves that you do not need
sight in order to have vision.
Nimmer '91 teaches English
and creative writing to freshmen and sophomores at Harrison High School
in West Lafayette, Indiana, a position she has held for the last 11 years.
She has been determined not to let her blindness hinder her progress, even
though she can't overtly discuss God or other religious subjects in the
"My situation puts me in
the spotlight," she says, "because I'm the only blind teacher in the northern
half of Indiana. It lets people see me overcome challenges on a daily basis,
and my students learn valuable life lessons.
"I want my students and my
colleagues to see my faith in God and how it keeps me pursuing great things.
I know I can be a great witness for His grace and love, so I do my best
to yield myself to Him and model my dependence on Him."
After graduating from Trinity
with a degree in education, she attended Purdue University to complete
her master's in English. The Munster, Indiana, native stayed in West Lafayette
to start teaching at Harrison in 1992.
Recognizing her for an exemplary
career in education that is transforming the lives of her students, the
Associated Colleges of Illinois (ACI) selected Nimmer as one of its Shining
Examples of Liberal Arts for Leadership award winners in February. Her
close walk with the Lord motivates her to pursue a similar level of closeness
with her students. Some of them may not be sure how to approach their teacher
because of her blindness, but she is proactive by inviting them to her.
"I want to make one-on-one
connections with my students and sustain those relationships," says Nimmer.
Each one of them matters to me individually, and it gives me great joy
to reach out to them and have them reach back. Through my actions and attitudes,
I want to be an example to them that all things are possible with God.
We may not take the paths that we want, but He always supplies what we
need to accomplish His will."
Nimmer lost her sight as
a child and enrolled in the Indiana School for the Blind, which helped
her adjust to living with her visual impairment. Coming to Trinity provided
a vital sense of security during that phase of her life.
"It was a safe environment
for me to re-enter the sighted world. The transition was as smooth as could
be expected, and the faculty and staff helped me become more comfortable
with my surroundings.
"Dr. Bob Rice was sympathetic
to my situation, and I appreciated his words of encouragement. Knowing
there was someone else on campus who could relate to me was comforting.
Dr. Annalee Ward and I bonded with each other on a personal level, and
that degree of support was important for me. I learned the value of connecting
personally and academically to my students from her."
Being the first Christian
school she attended, Trinity offered some unique opportunities that captivated
Nimmer. For her, chapel was like Christmas.
"I was ecstatic about going
to chapel. I went to nearly every one of them and never wanted to miss
them. I looked forward to the music and the speakers. Working at a public
school, I miss not being able to attend chapel services."
Tapped For Teaching Excellence Award
to Alumni Profiles