Kathy Bersett Wight, ’87 - Red Knight Distinguished Alum
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Kathy Bersett Wight attributes her academic and athletic prowess to an incident that occurred during her freshman year at IWA. At her very first game as a Red Knight, "scared” freshman Kathy Bersett Wight was on the bench when IWA volleyball coach Teri Clemens told her to untie her shoe. Coach Clemens than called for a sub and put Kathy in, whispering to her to tie her shoe when she got on the court. The other team was serving well when Kathy signaled to the ref that she needed to tie her shoe. The break in the momentum was what IWA needed; our team reclaimed the ball, Coach Clemens took Kathy out, and the team went on to victory. At that moment, Kathy vowed to work exceptionally hard to become the best she could be so that she would contribute more than a "stalling tactic” to whatever personal or communal win she achieved in her life. That determination has taken her a long way – from a valued member of three State Championship varsity volleyball teams (1984-86) and co-captain of the varsity squad in her senior year to member of the volleyball All-State 1st Team in 1986. Kathy's achievements were not limited to the volleyball court. She was sophomore class president, president of the Student Council in 1986-87, and a St. Louis Post Dispatch Scholar-Athlete in 1987, an honor she still considers THE ultimate award since it acknowledged both her academic and athletic excellence. In the summer following graduation from IWA, Kathy and several of her teammates participated in a volleyball tournament in Stuttgart, Germany, an experience that is still among Kathy's fondest memories. While attending Washington University, Kathy continued playing volleyball all 4 years, playing as a member of the NCAA Div. III National Championship team in her junior year and being named an All-American. In her senior year, she was named the NCAA Division III National Player and participated on several all-conference and all-tournament teams. After receiving her BSBA from Washington University, Kathy began working for Famous Barr, where she met her husband Alan. Soon after they married, they moved to Alan's hometown of Williamsfield, IL and Kathy opened and operated her own business (a gourmet cooking school and kitchen store) in nearby Peoria for five years. Four children later, Kathy decided to become a stay-at-home mom and part-time graduate student. She earned an MA in Education from the University of Phoenix and currently teaches Business Education in the Williamsfield Schools. "I am so thankful that I paid attention in my typing class at IWA, since I teach keyboarding to 7th-9th grade students today,” Kathy said. Of all the impressive achievements that Kathy has to her credit, she considers her four sons – Parker (15), Garrett (12), Harrison (8), and Graham (6) – her most important accomplishments and greatest gifts. "They are as active as I was, playing sports and working hard for straight A's. I am their greatest fan and toughest critic. But they are my world. The sun rises and sets with them.” Of all the people who have influenced Kathy's life, she says that she would most like to thank her parents, Tom and Jeanne Bersett who "truly made everything in my world possible.” She also remembers with fondness working with Sister Mary Kay and her teammates on the State Championship banners. "It was one of the greatest bonding experiences I've ever had,” she said. "How great it was for us to see our names on a banner we helped make for an accomplishment we all worked so hard for!” And, of course, Kathy says a "huge thank you to Coach Clemens, Coach Piedemont, and my teammates.”