Inspirational Feature by J1 Reporter Lauren Mayer
Last year, an ambulance hurried Mark Koesters to the hospital on July 27 at 2:30 a.m. The doctors frantically rushed to figure out what had happened. It took them almost eight hours to come to the conclusion that Koesters had suffered from a stroke. In the treatment, the doctors found out that he needed open heart surgery to correct an issue which had a six week recovery time. “The hardest part was the complete loss of energy,” Koesters said. He was always exhausted and could not walk without a walker.
Former teacher, Al Di Mauro, volunteered to substitute for Koesters, which lasted about a month. It was difficult finding another Latin teacher until they came across Harrison Lajba. Koesters knew about Lajba beforehand and how he had just received his degree in Latin. “I don’t know what they would’ve done if we didn’t find him [Lajba].” Koesters said.
After teaching at St. Alberts in Council Bluffs for four years, Koesters continued his journey to Marian High School. As of today, he has taught at Marian for 29 years. Koesters says that teaching at a single gender school has its perks and being around youth keeps him young. He compares teaching to being a comedian on stage, which he certainly is. This year, he looks forward to Field Day color block, his favorite Marian event. “Rarely in the past did students ever talk about Field Day so publicly,” Koesters said, “The stakes are immensely high and there is a lot of focus put on it this year.”
Koesters has noticed some other changes at Marian over the years. For one, technology is a lot more prevalent, buildings have been remodeled and new ones added. He describes Marian’s innovations as “slicker.” Marian has become more professional and increased marketing to give the school a positive image. These days, having a positive image is important when competing with other high schools for donations and students.
“In the four years at that other school [St. Alberts], I never owned one t-shirt.” Koesters said. Now he has more than 30 Marian shirts in storage. If he had to pick one, his favorite shirt is the Latin Club t-shirt this year which has “We like our languages dead” written on it.
Marian’s abundance of school spirit is what helped make Koesters’ first year at Marian a breeze. Koesters plans to continue teaching at Marian to see the girls’ smiling faces every day. Every day he brings such enthusiasm to the classroom and makes learning fun. He truly inspires us all.