An Ordinary Woman Does Extraordinary Things

Shared Stories
on January 21, 2012


In the fall of 1971, Mrs. Carol Wiesinger walked through the doors of Our Lady of Peace (OLOP) School, (Darien, Il), an ordinary woman about to do extraordinary things through teaching the youth each and every day for the next forty plus years.

 Prior to that day, Wiesinger earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in History, English, and the Classics from Rosary College. 

She always knew she wanted to be a teacher because of her own high school teacher.  Wiesinger described that teacher by saying that she didnot teach from the book.  “She treated us like young adults” Wiesinger said.  “She expected us to understand what was happening in the world.  She raised the bar and expected you to reach that bar.”

Entering OLOP, she began teaching first grade, but found her niche teaching seventh and eighth-grade English and has done so for the past 25 years and seventh and eighth-grade social studies for the past 13 years.  In addition to teaching, Wiesinger is currently the school’s assistant principal. 

Over the years, Wiesinger has been recognized as the 2011 Distinguished Teacher at OLOP and is a four-time Golden Apple nominee. 

Her coworker, Bill Tanguay, said “She gives everyone 100% respect, no matter if the recipient might be a child, a coworker, or even someone with whom she disagrees. Of course, that is what she expects from anyone that interacts with her.”

Wiesinger does not consider herself a hero. “I am absolutely not a hero!  A hero is an ordinary person who does extraordinary things.  Out of all the qualities that make up a hero, courage is the most important.”

She also said that her heroes are Atticus Finch and her husband.

She said, “Atticus Finch stood up for someone who he knew that didn’t have a chance in his town … He was the same to everyone he touched, whether they were his own children, the people in the town, or his friends.”

Wiesinger’s personal hero is her husband.  She said, “He is my hero because he is strong. [He is] a man of principles, not a man who compromises.  He sacrifices himself for his family.”

Using Wiesinger’s definition, she is a hero because she is a person of principle who does not compromise, and she sacrifices herself for her students.

In response to being called a hero she said, “[I am] actually kind of touched because I really don’t see myself as that person.  I am taken a back.  I think that people recognize in me that I have a passion for teaching and people recognize in me a passion for teaching younger people and hopefully setting them on the right path and hoping that they see their potential as I do.  I think all good teachers do that.”

Other students also consider Wiesinger an inspirational teacher.

On, a former student said, “I wish there were more teachers like her.  I learned so much from her but most importantly some life lessons.  I hope one day my children will have a Mrs. Wiesinger to learn from.”

Another former student said, “Mrs. Wiesinger MADE OLP.  It wouldn’t be the same without her.  She is the sole reason that many people go to OLP.  She always knows how to handle problems and knows her priorities.”

As Plato said, “A hero is born among a hundred, a wise man is found among a thousand, but an accomplished one might not be found even among a hundred thousand men.”  Wiesinger is one of these accomplished heroes.

Found in: Shared Stories