From the current students
Avery Neal Class of 2021
Kuchno was the first teacher who saw potential in my writing, and was the one who pushed me to pursue journalism throughout my high school career. He has given me a reason to come to school, because honestly if he wasn’t my teacher I probably would have much more absences in my high school career. The memories I made in his class like the DC trip, dropping the camera at the Centine center last year while filming for hockey, or taking countless naps on the couch will forever stay with me throughout my life.
Not only was he an amazing journalism teacher, he is also just a really cool guy. He has taken time out of his day to genuinely connect with each and every student, and you can tell that he cares about us so much. He cracks jokes with us (sometimes I don’t think he understands what we’re joking about) but he never fails in making us laugh. Kuchno gave me opportunities to be myself, especially when I felt nervous. He always had faith in me, and that’s something I can’t say about all of my teachers. Whether it be with b-roll for broadcast, an article for myohsonline.com, or pictures for the yearbook, I always felt comfortable sharing it with him because I knew he would be honest. I think the thing I will miss the most is his constructive criticism, or when he would ‘suggest’ for us to do something, but we all knew that we should just do it. He’s never made me feel bad about my work, and instead told me I should be proud of the things I create. He made me confident in whatever I make.
Kuchno, thank you for an amazing four years. Thank you for not only seeing potential in me and all of my classmates, but for pushing us to use it. Thank you for being an amazing mentor. You have made my high school experience one to remember. And thanks for not getting upset when we would leave during ANP to get McDonalds.
Lydia Manning Class of 2021
I’m not sure I’ll be able to find the words that can express how thankful I am for you, but I can try my best. This class has genuinely changed my life. If you told me freshman year that I would be editing, publishing, interviewing, or photographing, I would not have believed you. The growth in my skills and confidence from this class is unbelievable, and I owe it all to you. The DC trip especially was a turning point for me; getting to take so many classes (and the Smithsonian) was so great. Thank you so much for allowing me to develop such a passion for journalism. Your class has given me and so many others a place to learn, work, and grow while making such close friendships. You work so incredibly hard and it definitely doesn’t go unnoticed. I will absolutely never forget everything you have done for me. Congratulations and good luck in retirement, you deserve it, and as always, Let’s Go Blues!
Jojo LaBrier Class of 2021
Mr. Kuchno, I just want to start by saying thank you for everything! I not only have gotten to experience you as a teacher but also a coach and will always thank you for the many life lessons you have taught me. From the minute I stepped into room 234, I knew I had a serious love for journalism and that’s all thanks to you. I feel like when I look back on my high school experience, the memories of dances and parties will fade but the friends and memories I made here will be something I tell my family when I get old. You have provided me with life long friends, experience, and a love for journalism that I will never outgrow, so for that I truly thank you. I’ve been in the program for three years and never would have dreamt the final year would look like this, but somehow you stayed positive and made it all worth it to keep showing up. So Mr. Kuchno, thank you for all the hard work and time you spend on us to make us the best we can be, I will forever be grateful. Room 234 made it!!!
Cassandra Ludwig Class of 2021
While working on putting this whole project together, I’ve been able to reach out to so many of your past students and seen the impact you’ve made on their lives. I don’t know what else I could say that so many others before me have said, but thank you Mr. Kuchno. Thank you for giving us all a wonderful, safe place to grow into better writers, better friends, and better people. Thank you for pushing us to be the best we can and for believing in us no matter what we were going through (though we’ve all been through something this year). It really hasn’t been the best year ever from the whole perspective, but I honestly think this has been my favorite year of journalism so far. From the tiring google meets, to finally being in room 234, you made every day better at Oakville with your corny jokes, great music selection, and overall positive attitude.
I guess we really never know where our futures are going, but I know mine has been set on the right path thanks to you. You’ve given me so many opportunities to lead, to be creative, and to be myself. I hope you have a lovely retirement filled with Mizzou games, Blues games, Cardinals games – all the sports really – and time to relax after pouring your heart and soul into this program and into all of our lives. Thank you for everything Kuchno.
Davin Smith Class of 2021
Kuchno… where do I start. These past four years have been just amazing. Largely in part thanks to you. I would not be the man I am today if not for you throwing me into the fire. From the first time taking pictures to being the photo editor for the yearbook I have made so many friends and gained so much confidence thanks to the journalism class and you specifically. I still can’t spell and my writing is just about average with writing but thanks to you I found a passion of mine through this crazy ride. I will never forget the endless times walking into your 234 or the lab and just your presence made my day. I wish I could have been in your class more this year but rona and stuff.
Jack Butchart Class of 2021
These past two years of being in your classes are the only reason I am sad to be leaving high school. I always look forward to walking into the class and never knowing how that day is going to go. Through all of the hardships we have faced this year, we have managed to power through, all thanks to you. I cannot even begin to imagine how stressful this year has been for you and yet when we walk in, there is always time for your cheesy jokes and friendly greetings. Through A LOT of constructive criticism, I feel that my classmates and I have truly grown as people and writers. You have given us a reason to be excited about coming into a class. You have always been there to help us out when we need it. You are so dedicated to the program and you created one of the best classes at OHS, so, thank you. Thank you for giving us something to look forward to everyday, being able to grow as friends, teaching the only class most of us look forward to, and last but not least, your dedication to your students.
Cora Darmody Class of 2021
Even though I have only been a part of your class for two year I can safely say that it has been one of the best experiences I have had throughout my highschool career. You have always been extremely supportive and made sure that your class was an environment where everyone can be themselves without judgment. Joining yearbook allowed me to prove to myself that I could make something that people would enjoy. Thank you for being a teacher that I could always feel comfortable going to and supportive. With my senior year coming to an end I couldn’t think of a better way to end it with yearbook. Thanks again for being the best teacher that I have had, and I hope retirement treats you well!!
Kenzie Deutschman Class of 2021
As an 8th grader, I used to look forward to watching Channel 97 News every friday. I knew that I wanted to become a part of the program. But what I didn’t know was that I was going to meet one of the greatest teachers of all time. Kuchno, broadcast was truly my favorite class that I have ever taken. You made it so fun and stress-free while still putting in the hard work to create shows. You shared your love for journalism with me and I hope to take that passion with me to college. Your dad jokes and humor always put a smile on my face and it felt good to know that even on my hardest days you were looking out for me. I always looked forward to the cookie cake parties and getting to anchor under the lights. I am so incredibly proud to say I was a broadcast member and am even prouder to say that you were my instructor. You are such an incredible teacher and I will miss you greatly. When I go to college, I will use everything you taught me and will think of you when I do. Thanks for a great 3 years in the program. Love you Kuchno!
Meg Heveroh Class of 2021
Broadcast was always a place I could go if I never needed help or just wanted to take a break from the regular school day. The first two years that I was in broadcast, I didn’t take it seriously and I was just looking for an easy A. My senior year though, has been the best by far. I see Kuchno at least once a day and have a total of three classes with him on my schedule. Along with being his student, I’ve also had the opportunity to be his cadet this entire school year. He makes it so easy and is always willing to sign my papers, even if I didn’t do anything.
Despite the amount of stress and work that goes through this class, I’ve learned so much with line producing and even being able to talk to a stranger to get their “story.” Kuchno has taught me so many real life skills that I will need and I can never thank him enough for that.
I have never seen a teacher put more work into a class than Mr. Kuchno. The amount of time and effort he puts towards his classes is insane. Despite being so busy, literally all the time, he always takes the time to know each of his students. I can’t even count how many times he’s mentioned swimming or the Olympics to me. There isn’t a teacher out there more engaged and interested in his students other than him.
Kuchno, thank you for being my favorite teacher these past couple of years and teaching me everything I know about broadcast. I hope your retirement is filled with travel, sport games, and most of all, relaxation after devoting so many years to this program. Thanks again for everything Kuchno!
Katie Leeker Class of 2021
Mr. Kuchno! Thank you for being the perfect example of what being an Oakville tiger means. The passion you bring to the classroom is unmatched by any teacher I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Thank you for every single sacrifice you have made for the Oakville journalism department over the past 15 years. Your hard work and dedication does not go unnoticed. Over the past few weeks, I have been reflecting on my time at OHS, and I continuously come back to the memories I have gained while in the broadcast program. Your classroom was always a safe, welcoming environment where I knew I would be learning something new every single day. You taught me so many valuable lessons that will stick with me throughout the rest of my life, but one of the most important things you taught me was that – “Everybody has a story” – and you have one remarkable story, Mr. Kuchno. Thank you for pouring your heart and soul into the Oakville journalism department, for being a mentor for me throughout my high school career, and for loving all of your students no matter what we brought to the classroom. You are one incredible person – and I am so thankful to have been able to call you my teacher. Cheers to the last 37 years of work and to the next chapter of your life!!! AND Always remember: Keep your eyes on the tigers!
Isabella Wirthlin Class of 2021
Kuchno! The best and most wonderful teachers push their students. They have an undeniable presence in the classroom, and are dedicated to the students. I don’t believe I will ever meet an educator half as dedicated to their work as you are to the OHS Journalism Department. You make sacrifices any ordinary teacher would scoff at, like: turning their work week into an 80 hour week, going to extra curricular events for the coverage and support of students, and devoting who they are to a program. I thank you for nudging me to step out of my comfort zone, interviewing administrators and even ‘performing’ for the Professor Sally Anderson PSA’s. Broadcast has brought me so much joy and it is truly only attributed to one guy, Mr. Kuchno. You will be GREATLY missed and forever irreplaceable, thank you for sticking it through with us, even during the pandemic… and remember Kuchno: keep your eyes on the tigers.
Abby Rudd Class of 2021
At the end of the day, broadcast has always been a class I looked forward to and it’s all because of you. These final days with you in class have been bittersweet, exciting, sad, frustrating and so much more. I have been extremely lucky to have you three years in a row (even though my first two years were a little rocky with producing stories… which I blame on Meg). Three years is definitely a long time to create stories, learn from mistakes, edit raw footage, and somehow I’m still not amazing at it… BUT, this didn’t matter to you, you have been so supportive and patient with teaching not only me, but those younger than me. You have been able to constantly put a smile on my face no matter the situation, your thoughtfulness is a gift I will forever treasure. I can also say I’m greatly appreciative to share such a special day, also known as January 10th, with the one and only Jeff Kuchno!! The Oakville Journalism program has been SO lucky to have you!!! I will continue to wish you lots of health and happiness for the future, thank you for being such an impacting teacher.
Allie Cushman Class of 2021
I started yearbook as a sophomore and didn’t know what to expect. But having you as a teacher made the year great. You actually helped me to think about things rather than telling me it straightforward. You made everyday count and everyday more exciting than the last. I appreciate everything you do for the class and everything you do for me. Thank you so so much for being yourself every single day and never giving up on your goals. You empower every student of yours to always be right there and you push them to their accomplishments. That is why your class is always my favorite class of the day. They’re aren’t many people in the world that are like you! Never Change, and Thank You so much for everything.
Emily Davinroy Class of 2021
When I started out yearbook as a sophomore it was just a class I took because I knew it would be a guaranteed class with Allie. I took a break my junior year from yearbook in order to get all of the classes that I needed and then returned back my senior year and I’m so glad I did. Kuchno’s class was the only one I was truly looking forward to on A days. Your class has brought me so many new friendships and opened my eyes to how much work really goes into the journalism classes at Oakville. I have never really thought about how much work goes into every single publications class but now I have a better understanding and I just want to say how much I appreciate you for working with everyone and always being the positive guy that we know and love! I am so glad I got to have you as a teacher and a friend, I will miss room 234 and your positive energy more than you’ll ever know, thank you for everything Kuch!!
Emma Borage Class of 2021
Even though I was only in the program for a year, I really wish it could have been more. I wish I knew how much this class would help me grow in my writing and also have fun and get a break from the stress of my other classes. I remember sophomore year I was recommended to take journalism, but everything moved too fast and I didn’t end up having time in my schedule. I’m grateful that this year I got to slow down while still growing as a writer and having fun in class. Having a sort of “safe space” to get away from the stress of everything has really helped me through the year, but it wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t get to have you as my teacher, because you’re a great one. You’ve helped me learn a lot and stay focused on my writing while still having fun in class and having so many laughs. Without all the cheesy jokes and motivational moments, this class would feel so incomplete. Thank you so much for making this class different from the rest and just overall one of my favorite places to go in the school day. There aren’t many teachers who are able to create an environment like that. Everyone in journalism is so lucky to have had you as a teacher, and OHS really won’t be the same without you.
Morgan Herrick Class of 2021
I signed up for Journalism my Junior year not knowing the journey I was about to have. Of course I who you were, you’re pretty infamous around OHS, but I never got the chance to meet you until this year. Kuchno you are really one of a kind. I don’t have any other teacher with the drive or the positivity that you have. Coming to eighth block is truly the highlight of my day. You have made a special environment where we can relax, but still work our hardest. Having class with other students who have had you longer really helps me realize the positive impact you have put into each student. Oakville Journalism is extremely lucky to have such a teacher. I have really learned so much from you this year, like how to manage my time, how to meet deadlines, and how to have fun while doing it. I’m definitely planning on bringing everything I’ve learned here with me to college next year. I know I haven’t had you as my teacher for long, but I will miss this class and everything you brought to it. Thank you Kuchno for making my Senior year a good one.
Taylor Herrmann Class of 2021
First, I may not have been super involved with Kuchno’s classes every year or did the most stories or anything but Kuchno never made anyone feel unwelcome in his classroom. Kuchno was always a fun and loving teacher who made a point to get to know each and everyone of his students. My favorite part of every day is walking into his room and him always saying hello with a big smile and even though we drive him absolutely crazy sometimes he is always happy and always has our backs. I have never met a better human or kind soul then Mr. Kuchno. He has always been there for us and always been someone to put a smile on our faces.
He always goes the extra mile just to help us out no matter the situation and I will be forever thankful of him for what he has taught me inside and out of the classroom. He always tried to come to one of my games a year and would always congratulate me after. Not many teachers are like him which makes him stand out that much more and I know I am speaking for more than just myself when I say how much I will miss him.
I hope you take this time for yourself and your family because you deserve it so much. Never stop being the fun and loving guy that you are and thank you for being one of the biggest motivators and supporters for me and my peers Kuchno. You have inspired me to want to become even half the teacher you are and treat my future students the way you treat us. Thanks Kuchno!
Amanda Parker class of 2021
I came in pretty late to the game. Coming in as a first semester junior to the program was a bit intimidating. I picked the newspaper because I had known so many people in the program already and I had grown to hate my regular English classes. Newspaper definitely was one of the furthest things from boring English thanks to you. You did give me a heart attack putting me in a competition when we went to nationals but you had faith in me which I believe was what helped me keep my thoughts together while competing. You continued to push me further then I thought I could go in the program. You became that special teacher to me because I knew you cared more about me as a person than a GPA. I wish I could’ve had a final full year but Covid had other plans in mind for everyone. Thank you for making the last two years of my high school career amazing and always giving me a safe place to come.
Lindsey Marshall Class of 2022
There aren’t many people in this world who would wake up every day with the same drive to incite the passion of journalism in as many students as you do. Not only have you created a welcoming and open environment throughout your time here, you’ve made lasting friendships, unforgettable memories, and, for some, a lifelong career path. Through this program in journalism, I have been able to find a passion of my own: broadcast production. Some of my best high school memories have been made behind the camera or holding a microphone. Going into senior year, I am optimistic for the future of Channel 97 news with our new advisor, working even harder to impress you from outside the lab. These last two years of growing as a reporter have given me options for what I want to pursue once Oakville is nothing but my past. Thank you for showing the absolute most faith and belief in the students you’ve advised, always reminding them that progress makes perfect, and to never give up. Thank you, Mr. Kuchno for more than words can explain.
Belma Mujakic Class of 2023
Over the past week I’ve written about 20 thank you letters with ease, but this one has been a challenge for me to write.
I don’t even know where to start, or if I can even thank you for everything you’ve done for not only me, but for everyone around you. From the moment I walked into room 234 as a little 8th grader, I knew I belonged in this program and have never wanted anything more in my life at that time. That’s what you’ve done for so many students; helped them find a sense of belonging in highschool. You’ve created an environment for all your students to flourish and feel like themselves which not many people can accomplish. You’ve always pushed me to work hard. I’m forever grateful for all the support you’ve shown me everyday to become better and better. You’ve helped me realize my own potential and what I can do in life. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without you and I can’t ever thank you enough for pushing me and encouraging me to work for bigger and better things. Regardless, thank you so much for everything you’ve done these past three years for me, I’m going to miss you so much I hope you come back and visit.