By Jack Viscuso ’21
During typical times, the dedication would follow the recessional hymn at a late-winter or early-spring Mass. The yearbook’s editor-in-chief would approach the lectern as a wave of silence swept over the students and faculty packed into the Activity-Athletic Center.
He would begin his speech listing little-known details of an individual – perhaps mention a hometown, the college he or she attended, or memories from the start of a career. Eventually, everyone in the arena would know who was being spoken about, and a long, roaring round of applause would commence.
As we know, these are not typical times.
But Mrs. Kump is no typical teacher, either.
So, while it seemed somehow improper for the Chaminade Family to learn of this year’s Crimson and Gold yearbook honoree through a video message, it could not have been bestowed on someone more deserving – a faculty member whose 26 years of faithful dedication to our school and its students have established her as among the most popular and respected teachers by her peers and pupils alike.
Appearing from his home in a CANVAS video message, Liam Maxson ’20, Editor-in-Chief of the Crimson and Gold, revealed the theme of the 2020 yearbook – “Full Circle.”
He recalled the growth and advancement of Chaminade over the four years his senior class has spent on campus. The opening of the Dolan Family, Science, Technology, and Research Center, launch of the Bloomberg Financial Lab, and introduction of Advanced Placement-aligned class offerings have elevated their learning experience and presented new opportunities for both them and the school’s underclassmen.
“‘Full Circle’ represents the Chaminade spirit of innovation, grounded in the rich tradition of Marianist education,” explained Liam. “The goal of the theme ‘Full Circle’ is to document this union of progress and tradition.”
He continued to describe the commitment and charisma of this year’s honoree through her roles as an upper-level Spanish teacher, chairperson of the Foreign Language Department, and moderator of both the chess club and team.
Mrs. Kump graduated from St. Vincent Ferrer High School in Manhattan and received her bachelor’s degree from Ladycliff College in Highland Falls, New York before earning an M.B.A. from Long Island University Brooklyn. She began her teaching career thereafter, eventually joining the faculty at Our Lady of Victory Academy in Dobbs Ferry. In 1994, Mrs. Kump came to Chaminade – and the rest is history.
“If you told me in September that I would be standing in my house thanking the senior class for this honor, I would not have believed you,” Mrs. Kump exclaimed via video message, smiling as usual. “Life has taken us on a different journey this year, and there have been many dark days, but this is a very bright spot that I really appreciate.”
Mrs. Kump praised the generation-plus worth of students who had come through her classroom and inspired her to teach with a unique sense of passion, humor, and knowledge.
“Muchisimas gracias por este honor muy especial [The most thanks for this very special honor],” said Mrs. Kump, appropriately capping her acceptance speech with one last Spanish lesson.
Connor Polaski ’21, a current Spanish IV student of Mrs. Kump’s, acknowledged her ability to connect individually with each student and effectively teach Spanish: “Mrs. Kump is such a kind teacher who has tremendously helped me and my classmates become more proficient in Spanish.”
Mrs. Kump’s unwavering devotion to instilling an appreciation and love of other cultures even outside the classroom was witnessed by both students and her fellow teachers through her organization of Chaminade’s annual Language Week. During this special celebration of various foreign languages, ranging from Latin to German and Spanish, Morning Announcements featured cultural music and prayers. Afternoon performances by Chinese acrobats and Spanish dancers charmed students and fostered an understanding of customs that unite our world.
“Language Week was one of the most fun new traditions I have seen develop in my time as a teacher here,” said Mr. Patrick Reichart ’01, one of Mrs. Kump’s former students (and current faculty moderator of Tarmac). “I know the students especially appreciated the new prayer videos and treats at lunchtime that came with the annual event.”
After nearly three decades in the Chaminade community, Mrs. Kump will conclude her time as a teacher, leaving a profound impression on the thousands of students she taught and scores of colleagues with whom she interacted.
“It’s been a pleasure working with Mrs. Kump,” said French teacher Mr. Terence McCormick ’03. “Over the years – first as coworkers, and then when she became my department chair – I’ve learned a lot from her experience in education. One of the most significant things Mrs. Kump taught me was patience and dedication to the needs of my students – she has always fostered excellent relationships with her students. Teaching is more than just instructing and assigning work from the front of the classroom; it is also about developing a rapport and relationship with the students you teach.”
One of Mrs. Kump’s current students, Peter Vouthas ’20, echoed this sentiment: “Mrs. Kump was one of the most approachable and helpful teachers I’ve ever had. She walked into class each day excited to teach us. Her presence in the classroom and around the school will certainly be missed.”