Lions' Digest Winter Issue 03 2020

lionsdigest1

09 | WINTER 2020

with one another--they’re valuable

learning experiences as well. For

Harpster personally, she learned to

love a million different kinds of food

that she wouldn’t have gotten the

chance to try otherwise. But more than

that, Harpster learns valuable life

lessons from her students.

“I learn different perspectives, I

learn different ways of being a human

that I think most of us in the United

States don’t see. [...] I think I gain an

appreciation for the world that I don’t

think would be possible unless I were

someone to really seek it out. I feel

really fortunate that it happens to be

in my daily life,” Harpster said.

Not many people get the chance to

widen their world view simply through

their career, but Harpster’s position as

an ESL teacher allows her to do just

that. On top of gaining a unique

perspective through her career, the way

in which Harpster views her role as a

teacher is a bit different than one

might expect.

“I think of my role as--I hope--a

human they can look up to as being

more important than a teacher. [...] I

more hope that they can just think

that I’m a good human to be around

as opposed to a teacher,” Harpster

said.

When asked about the most

gratifying part of her job, Harpster

confidently responded, “my students.”

“They (students) come in and tell

me a story, or there’s something going

on with their family that they come in

and share with me, or they tell me a

funny thing that happened. It’s also

really cool to get to see them, to watch

them [...] after they graduate,”

Harpster said.

When talking about her students,

Harpster recalled a specific student of hers. She entered the

classroom never having before seen a computer, and has

since majored in international business and is currently

working in D.C.

“Yeah. I have pretty incredible students,” Harpster said.

In having worked so closely with the ESL students, there

are certain misconceptions that Harpster wishes to dispel.

“I think when a lot of people come into contact with

somebody who is from a different culture and speaks a

different language, there’s this automatic fear and therefore

they don’t communicate with them, they don’t talk to them,

they ignore them, they don’t try to have a conversation in

any way, shape, or form. That is one major misconception

that I wish I could broadcast, is that there’s so much

brilliance inside of these minds that it’s just communicated

in a different way. [...] Difference is something to be

questioned and discomfort is something that leads to

growth. Without being uncomfortable, we just stay in our

stagnant lives,” Harpster said.

And Harpster’s life is anything but stagnant. When she’s

not teaching or organizing fundraisers, you’ll probably find

her working on her latest art project or experimenting with

different flavors for her kombucha business, Moody Culture.

Moody Culture began a little over three years ago when

Harpster’s business partner started making kombucha

himself. Harpster became one of the kombucha tasters, “and

she eventually started experimenting with and creating

different flavors. The duo then started giving the kombucha

out to friends, and they eventually found themselves selling

their kombucha at Rothrock Cafe.

Harpster focuses on flavoring, new product launches, and

designs. When Moody Culture was at Arts Fest and Pop Up

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