KUTZTOWN, Pa. – During the spring semester, Kutztown University will feature a variety of student-athletes in order to get an inside look on their everyday lives. Articles will not only focus on their athletic performance, but what they do outside of competition. This week’s feature is senior Caity Leppert from the golf team.
Caity is a student-athlete who has a passion for teaching and has recently accepted a job to teach in Fredericksburg, Virginia after graduation. This year, she helped KU win first place at the PSAC Championships. In addition, she will join the rest of the golf team at NCAA Regionals next week in Michigan.
When you were a senior in high school what led you to Kutztown to continue your athletic and academic career?
I knew of Kutztown because they have a great education program. I knew I wanted to study Special Education and General Education, KU has a really good dual major for that. I also came and met with the golf team; after I met the coaches and some of the girls, I was sold. After seeing the campus, it just all fit.
What are your majors/minors? Are you involved in any extra-curricular activities on campus? What are you planning to do after graduation?
I am a double major in Special Education and Elementary Education. My Special Education certification will be from Pre-K to 8th grade and my Elementary Education certification is Pre-K to 4th grade. I am in several honors societies such as Phi Lambda Theta and the Society for Honor and Leadership. I am also in the education program and SAAC.
I actually just accepted a job to teach second grade in Fredericksburg, Virginia after I graduate. I am from New Jersey, so it will be about five hours from home and I have wanted to go down south.
How did you decide on your major?
I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. I didn’t know if I wanted to teach older kids or middle level. I definitely didn’t think about doing Special Education when I was younger until my neighbor Sam was born. He has Down-Syndrome and when he was born, he was definitely the person who made me want to study Special Education. Still up until this point, I love him and he’s just the best. Through him, I was able to meet so many other people and it definitely became a passion. Wanting to study Special Education was not something I had originally thought about doing, but it was something that I acquired because of him.
How has playing a sport prepared you for the future?
It’s been difficult and it has helped me handle everything that has been thrown my way. It has been hard to juggle student teaching and golf. I have had to miss a lot of student teaching for tournaments, but I’ve found responsibility in having to find time to make it up. Luckily I have a really great co-op and advisor who understand and let me play. On days that I am at student teaching, they trust me to teach the entire day. Having them feel confident in me, makes me feel confident in myself. It’s been good to juggle that stress and know how to find a way to make it up.
What is one thing you’d say you have improved on most since you started golfing at the collegiate level?
Probably my attitude, my skill level has definitely gotten better too, but that’s to be expected at the college level. In high school I dwelled a lot on a bad round, and now I’m just happy to be playing college golf. I love my team and my coaches, so I am definitely a more positive person about it.
What age were you when you started playing golf? Was it something that came naturally to you or was it something you really had to work at?
I wasn’t serious about it until I was about 12 or 13, even then I didn’t take it as seriously as I should have. My whole family plays golf, so I’ve basically been on a golf course ever since I could walk; I remember my dad putting little spikes on my tike shoes when I was little. But I didn’t get competitive until about sophomore or junior year of high school. I guess it did come naturally, from the moment I picked up a club it was pretty much a natural swing.
Who is your biggest supporter/inspiration?
My parents in general, but more specifically my dad. He has taught me everything I know about golf. He taught me how to play, and he is just my role model in general. He knows so much not only about the game of golf, but about life. Any time I have a bad day he talks me back into a good mood, he just knows how to be positive. He also knows how to make the situation not just about golf, but about life; I really admire him for that.
What excites you most about being an athlete?
I would say it would have to be the team aspect. It’s really great to be on a team where everybody wants to do their best. When I came in my freshman year, I was the only freshman and the upperclassman at the time did a really great job of making me feel welcome. When they all graduated, I tried to do the same for the people that came in after me. It’s really nice to be a part of a team that has been close every year and have those built in friendships.
How would you say you handle stressful situations?
Stress with golf, I guess it would just be practicing and feeling better with my game. Stress with school, I am a big planner. I like to plan everything, I guess that is the teacher in me. I write down everything I need to do for the week and when I need to get it done.
Who is your favorite professional athlete and why?
My favorite of all time is definitely Derek Jeter. I grew up in Northern New Jersey and my dad is from Jersey City, so we are huge Yankees fans. I grew up in the time where Jeter was on top and it was him in the ‘Core Four’. He was just such a classy guy, you never heard about him in the tabloids. He was a good inspiration and role model for everybody.