Kay Metzger Groll

Areas of Achievement: 

For her entire life, Kay has always strived to be the best, no matter the discipline or obstacles. Not only was she the valedictorian of her high school class, as an early beneficiary of Title IX she became an accomplished athlete as well. But fun was always part of the equation, as any of the “rowdies” (or anyone who has spent more than a few minutes with her) would surely attest.

Kay was a born teacher. From the time she was old enough to be certified, she began teaching swimming lessons. She graduated from Eastern Illinois University with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mathematics. The first year Kay taught, the school needed a computer science instructor. Without formal training, through hard work and determination Kay became an exceptional computer science instructor, teaching Advanced Placement classes in both Computer Science and Mathematics. In nearly 30 years as a teacher Kay touched the lives of thousands of students. Many have earned advanced degrees and gone on to great successes. Many more have remained friends.

As a mother, Kay is a role model and constant source of inspiration. Kay shared her competitive and athletic side with her children from a young age, often tossing balls and toys to them before they even learned to walk. Her daughter Karen went on to become a collegiate athlete, while her son Karl took to pushing his boundaries in triathlon and rock climbing. But Kay always emphasized balance, and stressed the importance of success in the classroom. Karen followed in her footsteps, becoming a high school Mathematics teacher, while Karl is now an Electrical Engineer. Most importantly, Kay stood as an example of love and kindness for her children. She taught compassion, hard work, loyalty, dedication, and how to have fun through it all.

In 2013 Kay was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Kay has become a tireless supporter in the fight to raise awareness and find a cure to this fatal disease. In spite of the limitations caused by ALS, she will always find a way to fundraise or do an interview. But as is so often the case with Kay, her greatest joy is being a resource to those affected by ALS by sharing her experiences and helping others find hope when there seems to be so little. ALS has a brutal way of stripping a person of every ounce of dignity they once had. Nevertheless, Kay has remained strong in her fight, continuing to see the beauty and humor in everyday life. "No wasted days" is her motto, and as anyone who knows her would say, her strength through these terribly difficult times is inspiring.

Kay, you will always be loved. You will never be forgotten. Thanks for helping us find something to laugh about every day. Especially on the days when there doesn’t seem to be anything to laugh about.

Love you forever, Rob, Karen, and Karl