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Kathy Budzien

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A team state qualification every year. Two Championships. One Jazz Championship. The most successful woman coach in the history of Arrowhead High School. Those are all characteristics that describe my Varsity dance coach, Kathy Budzien.

Mrs. Budzien is someone who has impacted many people and not just the girls on her dance team. She also teaches in the Math lab, where she volunteers to help students who struggle with Math. The students trade in their study halls to receive the extra help Mrs. Budzien offers.

Every birthday is celebrated on the dance team. Mrs. Budizen has never missed one birthday. We see her showing up promptly every day, five minutes early, with her cart and a balloon attached with a cake balancing on the top. This year, we had a freshman that couldn’t eat cake, so Mrs. Budzien made a special purchase of fresh fruit. This was not once or twice. This was every time!

Mrs. Budzien was also prepared. Whenever there was a change made to the season’s schedule, she made sure to make the changes and print off copies for each girl and their parents. Whenever a girl was sick and had to be taken out of the routine, Mrs. Budzien would come to practice with new formations so we could start to work on our changes right away. Nothing was ever last minute.

Every other week, I would have a new locker decoration hanging on my locker. These were not locker decks that were put together in a day, either. These locker decks had different designs, colors, with each girls’ name. And they would relate to the performance we would be doing or the song being played.
Whenever we had a big competition or our summer camp, Mrs. Budzien would give us gifts that were thoughtful and out of the ordinary. We received zip-up jackets, a long sleeved t-shirt, and sweatpants all with embroidery. Her gifts showed how much she cared, but it was mostly her personality and motivation that helped me better myself as a dancer and person.

Mrs. Budzien is someone who cares about everyone’s feelings and who always puts others before herself. If someone was having a bad day, she felt it was her responsibility to make them feel better. She never expected anyone to give her sympathy. Instead, she would plaster on a happy face no matter how hard her day had been because all that mattered to her was our happiness and our love for dance.

After twenty-five years of coaching, Mrs. Budzien has decided to retire. She was surprised when her husband had alumni pom girls and parents, the basketball and wrestling coaches (whom we performed for every week during their halftimes), teachers, and our old and new Activities Director whom directed all sports and activities that take place. All of the words that came out of people’s mouths were the same: “She has inspired me to be the best I can be.” “After I went on to college, it didn’t matter what time of morning it was, she would answer my phone call and talk to me about how my life is.”

No matter how difficult poms was or how much I wanted to cry or give up, Mrs. Budzien would never let me do that. She knows what we all have inside of us and she knows how to motivate us to become the best we can be. She never gave up on us, even when we felt like we had to give up.

As someone said at our Awards Night when talking about Mrs. Budzien and her retirement, “Her legacy will live on throughout Arrowhead for years to come. Better yet, her legacy will live on throughout me for the rest of my life.”





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