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Ormond Beach Observer Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019 1 year ago

Meet Seabreeze High School's Teacher of the Year

Karen Kepner is inspired by "The Kite Runner."
by: Jarleene Almenas Associate Editor

Karen Kepner is not one to be in the spotlight, but she's led an eventful life.

According to her resume, she graduated with a bachelor's degree in creative writing and a minor in Italian studies from Florida State University in 1988. After obtaining her master's in English education from FSU in 1991, she began her teaching career in Orlando where she taught journalism. Throughout the years, she taught at Taylor Middle-High School, Ormond Beach Middle, Campbell Middle School and, where she is now, Seabreeze High School.

She's also traveled to Africa, won second place in a watermelon-eating contest, wrote novel, held the hand of her aunt as she took her last breath, and rescued three dogs. Kepner also did mission work in Costa Rica.

But her passion is through a ministry called New Start, which works with troubled teens.

"We strive to bring a message of hope and restoration, meeting with the kids twice a week, providing them with pizza, mentorship, and often, just listening to their struggles as they attempt to free themselves of addiction," Kepner wrote in her resume. "It is a beautiful experience to watch a teen, who has lost his or her childhood and given up any hope of a future, begin to discover a new way in life."

Kepner is inspired by three things in her life: her students, her colleagues and words. She especially takes to heart words from the novel, "The Kite Runner," which talk about forgiveness. 

"These words. . . are a reminder of how I am inspired by the poetic beauty and profundity of words, in the power that words have to both heal and destroy, connect and divide, but ultimately to reveal truth and meaning."




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