Student Spotlight

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Student Spotlight

Pamela Peigler

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 As she was attending college as a psychology major in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Rachael Berntson changed her major to a program they did not offer. So she decided to transfer to Western Illinois University as a sophomore to major in pre-elementary education. 

 As a middle child in a large family, Berntson knew she wanted to teach elementary students since her youngest sister (Mattilyn) was born. She really likes kids; she is good at getting along with them and teaching them new things.

 Besides Western’s elementary education program, she also picked the school because her sister, Ryan Wood, is a freshman psychology major here. Berntson chose Western specifically because it is close to her hometown: Galesburg, Illinois. 

 However, Berntson is not originally from Galesburg. She lived in Kerrville, Texas until her parents divorced. She moved to Galesburg with her father during her freshman year of high school. She says she would not go back to Texas.

 “I hated it,” she said. “I don’t like the weather. It is really hot and dry. I also lived about an hour outside of San Antonio. For every class field trip we went to the Alamo. The Alamo is not as big of a deal as the world thinks it is.”

 When she isn’t studying, she spends her time reading, watching Netflix and listening to alternative music. She doesn’t play sports because she says she is too clumsy.

 “Balls hit me a lot,” she said. “Like during gym class freshman year of high school, I got hit at least three times a day. We would be  playing volleyball and I would get hit with a basketball, like what is that?”

 When she was in the fifth grade, she went to a San Antonio Missions semi-professional baseball game because of the close proximity to home. While she was in the stadium someone spilled soda under her seat.

 “So I went up into the higher part to see if there were any seats up there,” she said. “The baseball came around the stadium and hit me in the head. It hit me in the temple and rolled down the steps a little bit and this bully from my grade took the ball. I didn’t even get to keep it. He rode the same bus as me home too.”

 Other reasons why Berntson thinks she is a good fit for elementary education is because of her personality. She described herself as calm, open-minded, and patient but a procrastinator. 

 “It is a big problem,” she said. “I always wait until the last minute. I seem to do well when I procrastinate so that kind of spurs it on. I need to stop doing it though.”

 Berntson also said that she hates clowns because when she was seven her brother made her watch Stephen King’s movie “It” and she never got over it.

 “It is a grown man and he is wearing full facial makeup to make himself look happy,” she said. “That is not okay. It really freaked me out. Scary movies don’t really affect me that much but it is kind of like a psychological thing.”

 She loves kids and her pets more than adults. She has three Australian shepherds at home and three cats. She considers herself an animal lover more than a people lover on most days.

 “It is kind of like with kids, how there is just an innocence about them,” she said. “They don’t do anything to hurt you intentionally and if they do there is a very easy (way) to figure out (the) reason behind it. People are a lot more complex than that.”

 Berntson also likes reading fantasy books, poetry and books on European history. Some of her favorite books are the “Maze Runner” seriesand the “Count of Monte Cristo,” which is why her favorite classes are in history and English.

 “I think that everyone kind of has their little niche that makes sense to them, that they just get it and don’t have to work really hard to do it,” she said.

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