Lenka (Steffelova) Wendland
'01 elementary education
3rd grade teacher, McKinley Elementary School, Wauwatosa, Wis.

I'm from the Czech Republic and studied in an American school there. I grew up under the heavy hand of communism in the former Czechoslovakia, and for most of my life I had been told that I was not good enough to go on to high school because my parents were not members of the Communist party.

I always knew that I wanted to go to college in the States, but I barely spoke English. Then, in my second year of high school, a graduate of WLC, Kole Knueppel '93, came to teach in my school. He inspired me to work hard and learn English, and he shared stories about WLC and assured me it would be a wonderful place for me. He gave me a glimpse of what WLC might be like, helped me with the application and convinced me to attend. I could not imagine a friendlier place.  I was thrilled about the possibility of attending a small school where I was not just a number but could get individual attention.

Because of my earlier experience, I wanted more than anything to make a difference in the lives of others. I wanted to make every child excited about going to school. I wanted to let them know that I believe in them, and they can do anything they set their mind to.

WLC made me excited about teaching, and the many observations that were required for the education program made me anxious to get into the field. WLC prepared me to work hard and be organized in my thinking. The program offers small classes and a lot of individual attention. I also like the variety of courses offered.  I love how friendly and helpful all the professors are and how centrally located WLC is, allowing for observations in both the suburban and urban settings. Although I did not grow up as a Christian, Christianity became very important to me. I could not imagine finding a better place to grow.