Dill Leaving Linn-Mar to Serve Her Country

Elizabeth Low, Staff Reporter

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She is amiable and affable.  She is strong and smart. And most of all, she will be missed.  Ms. Chelsea Dill, who teaches social studies at Linn Mar High School and at Compass, is leaving at the end of May to be deployed to Cuba as a military police officer in the Army National Guard for one year.  Besides the students and teachers who will miss her, Ms. Dill has her share of memories that she will miss.

“My kids. I will miss my students. They are why I come in every day, they are why I serve; they are my purpose. I will miss my classroom,” she says tearing up. “I will miss getting to see the ‘a-ha’ moments with students, and I will miss sharing in their accomplishments. I will miss walking through the halls saying hi to everyone I can, and hanging in the offices talking with all of my ladies. I will miss EVERYTHING.”

Dill was born the youngest of three daughters and spent her life living between Iowa and Missouri.  She enlisted in the Missouri Army National guard at seventeen and continues to act as a Military Police Officer, serving in Germany, Guatemala, Kosovo, Haiti, and most recently, Poland.  This October will be her sixteenth year as a soldier. With a life so committed to serving our country, why did Ms. Dill decide to additionally pursue a teaching career?

“I made the decision to go back to school and obtain my M.A. so that I could be an educator AFTER I watched the Variety Show at Linn Mar. I was a student supervisor at the time, and most of my interactions with students had been watching Learning Center or taking someone to the office. I watched those same kids who warmed my chairs in LC step out of their comfort zones and show me what they could do outside of the classroom, and I was in awe. I decided that night- I HAVE to get to know these human beings, I HAVE to try to make an impact- and the only way I can do that is to teach. So I went back to school.”

Above all, Dill’s fight to create an empathetic relationship with students comes from the struggles she has faced in her own experiences.

“I have faced many adversities in my life, and I am aware that all of my students face challenges. They need an informed, empathetic adult that will help them shine. That’s my goal: to be that person.”

With a love for her students being so prominent, one might ask, why continue to maintain a career in the army? Dill also loves her soldiers, traveling, and serving/helping others which includes leading and helping other people lead.  However, joining the military is a large commitment and it has advantages and disadvantages.

“I could go on and on, BUT military service is supposed to be challenging. If there is anything someone should expect when they join it is that it will suck, and if you want to survive, you embrace the suck. I am in the process of opening my arms wide, and taking in all that this deployment will be, good and bad.”

Aside from her vigorous military and teaching life, Ms. Dill takes time to help the community as she is the teacher adviser for Key Club at Linn Mar, which holds community service events and fundraisers.  These activities in 2018-2019 included raking leaves for Granger House, making toys for dogs in shelters, and hosting Dance Marathon and Variety Show which has raised thousands of dollars for charities.  She has been helping with all of these activities, not only devoting an immense amount of time, but also donating money to help the causes.  As a dedicated adviser, Ms. Dill will miss the club dearly.

“I will miss being and seeing my kids be a part of the community and bringing different groups together to make a difference. Key Club’s entire role is to make a difference in the lives of those in our community. Everything we do, every penny we fundraise goes back to help others.”

Although Ms. Dill will be leaving the club physically, her hopes have not as she still has aspirations for the 2019-2020 Linn Mar Key Club.

“My dream is to just get bigger and better. I believe that everyone should have a shared goal: Do what you can to make this world and our community a better place. Key Club isn’t the only route to achieve that goal- but it can be a start for those who don’t know where to begin. My goal is that each of my officers this next year will champion an initiative each month, and provide our students at Linn Mar more opportunities to do great things. I am going to try to work as much as I can with Key Club while I am absent, and hopefully attend meetings remotely with video/internet help.”

It’s difficult to believe that Dill has any free time with such a busy schedule, but when she does, she works out, plays trivia, decorates her house, spends time with her loved ones, and snuggles with her kitty.

Thankfully, Dill is planning on returning to her Linn Mar teaching job from the year 2020-2021 as long as the district will allow it.  She also hopes to maintain a connection with her students.

“I may be able to come for a visit at the beginning of the year, but I will be unable to come once I am in country. I hope teachers reach out, and I would be willing to visit a classroom via skype or online to talk with students about my experience.”

Unfortunately, there will be an empty teacher seat in the history department but many in the Linn-Mar community hope this won’t be the case in 2020-2021 with the possibility of Dill coming back.  Teachers and students alike will miss her dearly, wishing her well as she begins her next mission in Cuba.