The Chronicle

The student news site of Kettle Run High School

The student news site of Kettle Run High School

The Chronicle

The Chronicle

The Chronicle

The student news site of Kettle Run High School

Sharon Krasny: Teacher, Author, and Inspiration

When Sharon Krasny was approached by TEDx to apply as a speaker in June earlier this year, it was the day before her departure to Europe on a trip that would bring her to the center of one of her earlier challenges. Iceman Awakens was published on November 14, 2020, and was written over the course of about 12 years with the inspiration of the oral histories she heard during her time working overseas in Hungary and the Czech Republic. The book follows the character of Gaspare, who takes on the role of a living Ötzi the Iceman, the famous naturally preserved mummy of a prehistoric man found in the Ötztal Alps. The story is a glimpse into the past as it describes his journey through society and the mystery behind his murder. It was these same mountains that Mrs. Krasny would climb on her trip to finally meet the mummy and the archeologist who made her telling of history possible. It was also the first leg of her journey towards her next goal, one she was unsure of.


TEDx Warrenton originally asked Mrs. Krasny to deliver her talk on Ötzi and her book about him, and although she considers herself a well-informed author, she felt there were others more qualified to speak on the topic. Even though she had already been accepted as an alternate speaker at this point, she had still just begun the arduous process of creating and preparing a TED talk by attending a training meeting over Zoom and was beginning to doubt herself, saying, “I was in a training Zoom and very discouraged. Everyone was bringing their A game, and I had just returned from my trip on this mountain, and school had literally begun the day of the zoom. I was going to quit after that meeting. I had no idea what I was doing and no sense of why I should do it other than that it was a great opportunity.” However, this was an obstacle she has worked through many times with her students in the AP Seminar and Research programs, and she wasn’t going to give up.


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As a teacher in these classes, which focus on independent research driven by student interest, she always encourages her students to be perseverant and ask themselves the all-important “why” behind their topic, and when they become stuck, she patiently helps talk them through their frustrations. Knowing this, during another training session where Josef Martens, a physicist with a PHD from Cambridge who delivered a talk last October, offered a one-on-one Zoom session, she quickly seized the opportunity to talk her problems through with someone more experienced. By the end of the meeting, she “began to refocus my Ted off of how Otzi helped me navigate teacher burnout in order to explore how professional development can really make a difference to how Otzi challenged me to overcome my fears… Otzi was found in the fall before I went overseas, but I was unaware. They didn’t realize he had been murdered until I was already back stateside.  I never intended to write his story. I was trying to write a book about motherhood and just couldn’t get out of the way as a writer. So I chose a subject the farthest from me. That’s when I found my voice as a writer.” With a solid and deeply personal topic in mind, she could begin working. “In August, after talking with Martens, I decided that I really wanted to do my best and fight for my position if indeed the opportunity arose. We had debriefing sessions with a handler, and at the first meeting, she gave some feedback. The second session, she was amazed at the progress. I was heading in the right direction!”


Two weeks later, she was declared a mainline speaker and guaranteed a spot to speak during the talk. This was where the real work of writing her speech and building a presentation began, all of which had to be balanced with her full-time work as a teacher and her other responsibilities. “To say that I drafted 20 edited drafts is an understatement. I went back and tweaked, eliminated, refined, and added. It was intense and required nightly commitment. I listened to recordings of myself. I listened while driving to town. I tried to practice out loud. It was a lot of self-training. I bought a Ted talk book (that I still need to finish) and paid for Ted lesson videos that did help somewhat. I tortured my family by having them listen and give feedback. It was quite the experience.”


By the end of it all, there was only one thing left to do: step onto the stage and climb yet another mountain on the road of her life. Her talk titled “Say Yes To The Mountains In Life” was given at TEDx Warrenton and was released on November 21. The video version of the talk is available here. “When I finished and said thank you, I turned and walked off. I didn’t look, but I received a standing ovation.  That was truly the hardest mountain I have ever climbed, but it was really worth it.” Mrs. Krasny continued, saying, “The amount of work put in equals the results coming out. I remember the day of, practicing in one of the study rooms and making a mistake each time I tried to do the talk without notes. I honestly just prayed about it and tried to not over fixate. When an entire band went before me with strobes and all sorts of cool things, I refused to get intimidated by following “Aerosmith”. The coolest moment was hearing myself actually say every single word that I had practiced except one. That really felt great!”

For Mrs. Krasny, this talk was the culmination of both her personal project and her career as a long-time English teacher, adjunct professor, and now head of the Kettle Run English department, which helped inspire her. “My experiences overseas taught me to value oral history. I was teaching English as a second language in Hungary and the Czech Republic. My students needed to speak English, so I asked lots and lots of questions about their country’s history. I got reenactments of Wenceslas being stabbed in the back by his grandmother on the steps of the church, trying to seek sanctuary, and numerous retellings of Dracula.”

Besides the clear inspiration to do things outside of your comfort zone and seize the opportunities in your life by accepting challenges, when asked what she hopes people will take away from the presentation, she continued this idea, saying, “Don’t be afraid to embrace your fears. Stop hiding behind helping everyone else with their requests of your time and begin figuring out what it is that you want to do. This doesn’t mean to stop helping others or to stop being a part of a community. What it does mean is being real with yourself and saying no to things that simply keep you busy—too busy to pursue passions that are important to you.”

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About the Contributor
Luke Allen
Luke Allen, Editor
Luke Allen is a Junior at Kettle Run and is in his second year as an Editor for the Chronicle. He is in Journalism III and is looking forward to another year of news. He is part of the Kettle Run varsity swim team, chess club, and an involved member of the Boy Scouts of America.

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  • D

    Denise B RobertsDec 6, 2023 at 7:56 am

    She sounds like a truly inspiring teacher. Embrace your fears. Wonderfully written article.

  • S

    Sharon K KrasnyNov 30, 2023 at 5:57 pm

    Luke! Wow! What a fabulously written piece ? I’m honored to say the least. Thank you so much for writing such a thoughtful story of my journey!
    Mrs. K

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