For most high school graduates, walking across the stage to receive their diploma at the end of their senior year marks the end of their high school experience. They will go off to universities, colleges, trade schools, or work and not think about returning to their high school. Ms. Abigail Kolb, a graduate of the class of 2012, had a different experience.
Ms. Kolb attended College Park from 2008-2012. This was a time when CP was a no phone zone and the only form of social media that students used was Facebook. She was very involved in extracurricular activities at school, took challenging classes, and graduated Magna Cum Laude.
“During high school, I was involved in Cheer all 4 years, National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, and Dugout Dolls,” Ms. Kolb said.
Throughout her 4 years attending College Park, Ms. Kolb had many teachers who she is now working alongside in the science department and cheer program. She now shares a classroom with her former AP Biology teacher, Ms. Waggoner, and coaches cheer with her former cheer coach, Ms. Trana. For Sophomore Chemistry, Ms. Kolb had current science department chair, Ms. DeLong as her teacher, and now Ms. DeLong is her manager. During high school, Ms. Kolb was a very strong student and was admitted to her dream school, The University of Texas at Austin.
“I chose to go to UT because my dad had gone there so I grew up knowing about the school and when I visited Austin I fell in love with the city and the campus,” Ms. Kolb said. “My other choice was Texas A&M, but the schools just didn’t compare once I saw UT because I loved the city vibe of Austin and not the small town feel of College Station.”
Located in Austin, the University of Texas, is the 8th largest university in the United States and attracts students from all over the world. Known for it’s motto, “Keep Austin Weird” and for being the music capital of the South, Austin is a very liberal and diverse city compared to The Woodlands.
“There’s a lot of different people in Austin when compared to the little bubble we have in The Woodlands,” Ms. Kolb said. “It was an adjustment to be around many different types of people but it was a really great experience for me.”
At UT, Ms. Kolb was apart of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority and majored in Chemical Engineering. Her parents were in the oil field and she planned to follow in their footsteps. After attending Chemical Engineering classes for 2 years, she decided that studying Chemistry and becoming a teacher was a better fit for her life. She then joined a program at UT that allowed prospective math and science teachers to receive their teaching certificate and student teach for a semester.
“UTEACH was a club in itself because all the members were in the same classes together,” Ms. Kolb said. “I taught elementary school, junior high, and high school through the program and student taught for a semester at a local school. The program gave me lots of support and prepared me for teaching.”
After graduating from the University of Texas in 2016 with a degree in Chemistry, Ms. Kolb decided that she wanted to move back to The Woodlands to be closer to her family and because teaching salaries are higher in Conroe ISD then they are in Austin school districts.
“I’ve always been a homebody and have always wanted to be close to my family. That’s part of the reason why I went to college in Texas too,” Ms. Kolb said. My parents live here and my sister and her 2 young children live here so I want to live near all of them.”
Currently, Ms. Kolb is sharing her passions with others by teaching Chemistry and by coaching Freshmen Cheer. This is her 3rd year teaching at College Park and she plans to continue teaching for many more years. Ms. Kolb hopes that her students are getting more out of her class than just learning Chemistry.
“In my classes, I hope my students learn to be an advocate for themselves and take charge of their own education. I always stress that if you need help, come ask me,” Ms. Kolb said. It’s super important in life, even if you are not going to college that you learn to advocate for yourself.”