Liberty Staff: Ochs

Piper Koski, Editor In Chief

Many know Kedibona Ochs, an English teacher, as the guy who sings in the hallways and has a lot of energy. But his back story may surprise some. 

When he was in high school, at the age of 15, he was homeless. People in the Dubuque community helped him out by giving him a place to stay and the basic necessities every high school student needs. 

Ochs feels that the way the Dubuque community helped him out made him the person he is to this day. By giving him basic necessities he was able to have the needs, caring environment and support, to motivate him to do well in life. He also gives credit to his mother and father for raising him to be strong and independent. 

At the same time in high school, Ochs was living in the US illegally because of visa problems his dad had. The Dubuque school system, teachers and principals, helped him out by taking him under their wings and giving him a place he could feel safe and felt like he belonged. They enrolled him in the school system and gave him resources he would need to succeed. By offering a safe place and a support system he was able to develop throughout high school. 

In the school system, his principals took extra time to make sure his needs were met. His teachers also made a big impact on his life. The way they treated him made him want to pursue a career in teaching. He always had the idea of having a job that he would enjoy. Being able to help a student understand different subjects and being a support system for others made Ochs feel he had a purpose. 

When Ochs was expressing his opinion on the school system he was saying that the school system is structured in an interesting way. Most students spend hours at school and often have extracurricular activities after school. This allows little time for kids to be with their parents. Limited time with their parents means that the students need another source for help and support. This is where teachers can come in and provide support to the students. Teachers spend the most time with the students so they are able to make an impact on their lives. 

He felt the school structure made it possible for teachers to be a support system for students and look out for them during classes. Ochs wants to give back what his high school teachers gave him: an adult that showed him he could be something. 

After Ochs found his calling, he attended The University of Iowa and worked for a degree in teaching. His student teaching assignment was at West High School, which is where he fell in love with the Iowa City Community School District and decided he wanted to work there.

All of the connections Ochs had made from his time in college and at West led him to an interview at Liberty. He was able to make a good impression and get the job. 

Ochs stated, “ I’m very lucky to have this job. I love the new school and being apart of what the school is going to look like in the future. It is like raising a child.”

The best parts about working at Liberty have been the people for him. All of the teachers have been very welcoming and helpful throughout his transition. He feels the positive vibe Principal Scott Kibby gives out reflects onto the teachers which make the whole building a positive and fun place to be. 

Like most teachers, many students only see the educator side of Oches, but he has a life outside of the school. He enjoys playing beach volleyball (prefers it to be non-competitive), but if there is a team he does not like his competitive side will come out. Ochs also enjoys walking because it gives him time to be by himself. Another thing he enjoys is watching sports and tv. If he has a free hour, he will most likely turn on a show to watch. Although he is an English teacher, Ochs does not enjoy reading books for fun. There are those books on special occasions that are fun to read, but he would prefer to do other things. 

Ochs hopes to help other students learn and enjoy learning while also providing them a support system when they are at school.