Beloved ASL teacher signs farewell to CHS, hello to travel

BY LUKE FRANKLIN

 

Carmel High School must say goodbye on June 1 to experienced American Sign Language teacher Kay Vetter.

 

Vetter, who has taken students through all four levels of ASL, will retire with six years of teaching at CHS and more than 25 years in the Paso Robles area, working at both the elementary and high-school levels.

 

“Out of my thirty years of teaching, these six years have been the most heart-warming, most satisfying experience I’ve ever had,” Vetter says.

 

Vetter comments that teaching has been one of the leading passions in her life, but retiring will allow her to spend time in those other activities.

 

“I love teaching so much, and it’s never felt like a job. It has really been a passion of mine,” Vetter explains. “But I have other passions as well.”

 

Her plans post-retirement include a wide variety of activities, namely traveling around the world. She wants to get a taste of different cultures, literally.

 

“I would like to bicycle through Vietnam and experience some cuisine. Since I’m vegetarian the food is limited,” says Vetter, laughing. “But I really look forward learning at the foot at all of the masters.”

 

Just as getting a taste of a Vietnamese culture is something Vetter looks forward to, she is also thrilled to experience the tastes of Italy. This love of food and cuisine stems from Vetter’s love of learning. She is motivated by gaining knowledge from around the world to make herself a diverse individual.

 

She is excited to help out homeless war veterans. This strong passion of Vetter’s is propelled from her husband’s death last year, who was a veteran himself.

 

One of things that Vetter will miss most about CHS is the supportive staff and students who show true compassion regarding her life. Although Vetter’s husband passed away last year, CHS students and staff were there to pick her up from the incredibly tough times she was going through. She says that she couldn’t have gone through the experience without the support the CHS family.

 

Being a passionate and enthusiastic woman herself, she praises the staff and students for going above and beyond, and she is honored that she gets to work with them every day.

 

“The whole staff is working for the same common cause, which is the good for the students,” Vetter says.

 

Zeke Spooner, a second-year ASL student, says that Kay Vetter is one of the nicest people he has ever met. He adds that she really engages the students with their learning by incorporating stories and signs.

 

“She wants to make all of her students feel comfortable and happy, and she has us do non-ASL activities and games to help us connect with classmates,” Spooner says.

 

This is a common theme with students that have had Vetter at CHS, as Dalton Muck also has nothing but praise for the long-time teacher.

 

“There is a really good community in her classroom, but at the same time everybody is eager to learn and have a good time doing it,” says Muck, who adds that Vetter has been part of the decision to continue with ASL in his senior year.

 

One of the features of teaching that Vetter will miss the most is seeing her sign language students go along with the language further and truly make a difference.

 

“I’m proud and honored when a student wishes to continue with ASL, whether they want to be a teacher or interpreter,” the ASL teacher states.

 

Not only will the students be losing the only ASL teacher at CHS, they also will be missing out on their prom advisor—Vetter has held this position since her first year at CHS. Along with six years of teaching in Carmel, she was the prom advisor for 12 years at Paso High School.

 

“She has been a huge help,” former assistant prom adviser Leigh Cambra says. “It has been a thrill working with her. We were a really good match working together.”

 

Cambra also adds that Kay Vetter has been a role model for positivity and that she truly “lights up a room.”