The Right Angle

Written on 05/15/2024
Paul Batterson, Contributing Writer

Fischer made praying for students a top priority.

(Editor’s Note: Two stalwarts of the Worthington Christian faculty are retiring at the end of the school year. Cathy Fischer and Kathy White have served for a combined 52 years. They will be celebrated at a drop-in reception on Friday, May 24, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Crabbe Courtyard at the Upper School. Cards and notes may be mailed to their attention at Worthington Christian School, 1485 Lazelle Road, Westerville, OH 43081.)

Luke Smith (WC ’18) never had Cathy Fischer as a math teacher, but that didn’t keep Fischer from leaving a handprint on Smith’s spiritual growth.

After 29 years of teaching and tutoring Worthington Christian students in math, Fischer decided to retire to spend more time with her husband, Les, their children, and grandchildren.

“She had a significant spiritual impact on my life and many others while I attended WC,” Smith said. “During my junior year, Mrs. Fisher helped organize prayer meetings for our school every Wednesday morning before classes.

“It was a transformative experience, teaching me there’s no ‘right way’ to pray. It’s simply a conversation with God. Moreover, I discovered the value of praying in community.”

According to principal Tim Kraynak (WC ’94), Fischer’s prayers have been a staple at Worthington Christian for decades. As a student, he remembers Fischer beginning every geometry class with a prayer.

“Cathy’s been a faithful servant of the Lord,” Kraynak said. “She’d begin every class with a prayer, which would sometimes turn into a Bible study before her teaching time.

“She was adamant about integrating her faith into everything she did in her classroom. She cared so deeply about the spiritual development of the students here.”

Fischer’s two sons, Jim (WC ‘00) and Tim (WC ’03), both attended Worthington Christian. When her husband Les retired four years ago, Fischer considered stepping away from teaching.

“Les has waited patiently for me to join him in helping care for our two grandchildren (Boaz, 9, and Minerva, 5),” she said. “We look forward to traveling together, and I plan to volunteer in their classrooms next year, hopefully bringing LifeWise Academy into public schools.”

Fischer began to think about becoming a teacher when she was in eighth grade. She remembered having “a very young, peppy, and personal English teacher who inspired us to think deeper and was a model of integrity and friendliness.”

The teacher mentored Fischer and her best friend, who both went on to become teachers. When a member of her family was hospitalized, Fischer felt the Holy Spirit calling her to help with the person’s geometry instruction during her long time away from school.

“That’s when I felt God was calling me to pursue teaching math,” she said.

Fischer graduated from Miami (Ohio) University in 1975 with a major in secondary mathematics and business. While teaching at Worthington Christian, she took online courses to pursue a master’s degree.

“That experience drastically improved my teaching, which now includes more hands-on methods with authentic problem-solving and informal and cooperative assessments,” she said.

Fischer’s tenure at Worthington Christian can be divided into epochs. She started out as a substitute teacher and a volunteer coach with the math club. After home tutoring for 15 years, she returned to Worthington Christian as a teacher from 1997 to 2014. After being diagnosed with breast cancer and following the birth of the couple’s first grandchild, she stepped back from the classroom but continued to work as a math tutor.

“My biggest joy of teaching has been watching students grow in both their math skills and their bold faith in Christ,” she said. “(Some of my students) mentored younger students through their example and faith-filled discipleship.

“Education has changed. There is a desperate need for Christian education to partner with parents to teach and model God’s truth. As the world becomes more chaotic and hopeless, God desires for us to know and make known His endless grace to those who follow behind us.”