Carissa Kemp’s story radiates with positivity, hope and kindness. As a preschool teacher at Eminence Community School, her positive spirit is contagious. Kemp’s 100 Heroes nominator Amanda Watkins said, “Saying Carissa is like a second mother to her students is an understatement. This woman truly goes above and beyond for those little faces and big imaginations. Carissa Kemp was born to guide and teach children; she is the most understanding and patient teacher I have ever met. She is humble and never likes taking credit for her hard work.”
Kemp started her career as a teacher’s aide and then quickly moved up to be a substitute teacher. She progressed to be a special needs teacher, and over time discovered her passion for teaching preschool. On a typical school day, you will find Kemp smiling and engaging in active learning with her students. But Kemp does have some difficult days. She admits the work can be exhausting, but she takes strength from knowing she is not alone, and that others may need her positivity on their difficult days to make it through.
Kemp is inspired every single day by her students and hopes she enables them to be the best students they can be. “I hope my students have a love of learning and can be so proud of themselves – no matter if they have had the biggest accomplishments or just became a more social butterfly after coming in the first day completely shy. It’s watching these kids become best friends and learners, it’s the goal of being the best student they possibly can on their own level. There are so many state standards they have to achieve but to go beyond that, I encourage them to love learning and know that you can learn from mistakes and grow from them.”
The mother of four doesn’t only educate within the classroom. During her off time, she helps lead a faith-based summer day camp with her husband that empowers teenagers to build confidence and positive relationships. She’s helped hundreds of teenagers at this camp over the last 20 years.
What is Kemp’s one wish for the future of Central Indiana? “My wish for any community is to see that people are willing to reach out with compassion to their neighbors and give, without expecting anything back; helping everyone be safe and sharing joy.”