From “Troubled Student” to Teacher

Former students makes his way back to Kettle Run

Not every student fits perfectly in with the routine of school, and Ryan Wicka was no exception.

The 2010 graduate returned to Kettle Run after years away from the very place he despised the most.

As a former student, Wicka never felt like school was worth it and he slowly built up a careless attitude where he began to feel hopeless and undervalued.

“I would say that I was a tough students, I had an idea of how I should be treated, what I should and shouldn’t do in classes, and the things that were important to me during the high school period of my life really wasn’t what the teachers were teaching,” said Wicka. “I rarely put forth effort and really gave the teachers that tried to help me a hard time.”

Foreign language teacher Nancy Fermoselle was one of those teachers who tried to help Wicka.

“Mrs. Fermoselle was my Spanish teacher and she offered me an alternative in her class, she gave me one final homework assignment and told me that if I did the assignment she would let me pass her class,” said Wicka. “Needless to say, I did not do the homework and failed the class…that’s the type of student I was.”

Wicka credits Mr. Doyle (former Kettle Run administrator) and Dr. Nosal for much of his success, along with a few others who helped him see his full potential in becoming a successful teacher.

“My attitude change was largely due to the dedicated teachers (there were a few who simply refused to let me drown) and my wife (who at the time was my girlfriend),” said Wicka. “I would have to give a lot of credit to Mr. Doyle, he was one of the old vice principles at Kettle Run and he protected me a lot when he didn’t have to. So to sum it up, Dr. Nosal, Mr. Doyle, and Mr. Kadilak all played really huge roles in helping me overcome a lot of my personal battles and become succesful.”

Dr. Nosal recalls her experience when working with Wicka as a student.

“Mr. Wicka was a very difficult student, but I adored him nonetheless,” Nosal explained. “He truly tested the patience and resolve of every saint in the book and every teacher and administrators in TWO schools. Mr. Wicka was one of those students who needed to reach a point where he wanted to make a change. There was nothing we could really do to help him, until he wanted the help. At one point, I sent a card home in the mail telling him that I believed in him. (Of course I spelled it wrong, but alas).”

Wicka decided to turn his life around after high school.

“I worked hard after high school to get into college,” Wicka said. “I ended up going to JMU, I married my (now wife) a year after graduating college and had my daughter. I worked in D.C. for a year, taught at Auburn for two years, and then finally made my way back to KR. I think I got sick of being the kid all the adults hated and then I really just set out to prove everyone wrong about me. I guess coming back to KR as a professional was just one more way I was able to show all the people who doubted me what I was truly capable of.”

Nosal is thrilled to have him as a co-teacher

“One of the best days of my teaching career was seeing him at convocation in 201 and was thrilled to see he had become a teacher and I knew he was going to be brilliant,” said Nosal. “I am thrilled to be teaching with Wicka and look forward to many collaborations in the future.”