Kyndall, Class of 2017

Kyndall joined the Marian family as a outgoing fifth grader in 2013. Like nearly all Marian Girls, she was underperforming and needed remedial support to get on grade level. With support from her teachers and the extra one-on-one attention provided at Marian, Kyndall went from an overall composite on the IOWA Assessments at the 25th percentile in fifth grade to the 57th percentile in eighth grade! Christy Toben, religion teacher (and former principal), had a close relationship with Kyndall.

“I first met Kyndall as a fifth grader. She was funny and obviously bright. When she was in a good mood, her smile could light up a room, as could her quick wit. But, somehow this promising young Marian student’s God-given talent wasn’t translating into amazing classroom performance. It was hard to get her head up off of her desk during class. She moaned and groaned going up the stairs about how hard we were working her, and how much our school needed to invest in an elevator. Much of her energy was going into classroom disagreements with other students, rather than school-work. She had supportive mother who valued education. She had all the natural gifts. But, somehow she was still not achieving.

“Then, it was Spring Musical time and Marian performed The Wiz. Kydall was the only fifth grader cast in a leading role as the lion. It was perfect for her: the character who, like her, just needed a little courage, to take a risk, to believe in herself, and see where her dreams could take her. She stole the show, and there was no hiding what a star she could be.

“I wish I could say sixth grade brought a total transformation in academics or behavior, but Kyndall would be honest enough to correct me! I can say that each year brought out a few more of her gifts. Focus increased, standardized test scores went up, and she continued to shine in our theater program.

“Fast-forward to her eighth grade year: the spring musical is The Lion King. But instead of another brave lion, Kyndall is now playing Rafiki, the wise old monkey. Rafiki means ‘friend’ in Swahili, and by the end of her Marian career, Kyndall was a true friend to many in her class. And her classroom comments frequently revealed a wisdom beyond her years.

“This is how she ended her eighth grade year: a straight A and B report card, no major discipline issues, one of the largest gains in standardized test scores that Marian has ever seen, and a high school scholarship to Incarnate Word Academy. Take a bow, Kyndall!” ~Christy Toben, religion teacher (fall 2017)

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