Miss Kathy Winkfield: Math & volleyball guru


Kathy Winkfield with husband Jacoby, son Cortland, and daughter Amethyst pose with Forbidden Island in the background. (Contributed Photos)

What do you consider as your talents/strong sides of your character?

The strong sides of my character are my patience, determination, and positivity. Those three characteristics are what made me who I am today, an educator, coach, mentor, adviser, volunteer, wife, sister, mother and has helped me achieve every goal that I have set my mind to accomplish.

What requires the most skills teaching mathematics, playing volleyball, or being a Mother?
Hands down being a mother. That is one role that requires you to be a teacher, nurse, cook, comedian, storyteller, playmate, cleaner, lifeguard, counselor, just to name a few at a moment’s notice and sometimes all at one time.

Why volleyball of all other sports?

Volleyball has been a sport that I have always enjoyed with my friends but my school did not have a team. My friends and I had petitioned to have a team starting our freshman year in high school and we finally got one my senior. I unexpectedly got nominated the co-captain position which was a little nerve-wracking for me at first since I was not very comfortable and familiar with the players on the team but it definitely was an experience that has helped me become the enthusiastic, avid volleyball player I am today.

During the years I did not play volleyball in high school, one of the sports my school was fortunate to have was fencing and that is one sport that I fell in love with. I was a fencer for all four years of high school until my sophomore year in college. However, because of the expenses of the equipment and rarity of the sport in places that I moved to it was difficult to continue.
After high school, I had been exposed to 6 vs 6 indoor and 2 vs 2 beach volleyball in college, then 9-man in Japan, 4 vs 4 and 2 vs 2 grass and indoor upon my return to Stateside. So, volleyball is quite dynamic and can be played in various turfs and various formations that make it so intriguing, adaptable in any environment, exciting and fun. Each style has different rules and plays that cater to different groups of players.

Best of all, it’s become a sport that my siblings and I have grown to love to play together. Every time I go back home to New Jersey, we always spend majority of the time playing volleyball with each other.

What are the most exciting and surprising discoveries you have made about yourself when you started playing sports?

Understanding how my body adapted to each sport as well as my love for competition and the desire to keep improving to become a better player and athlete. Another thing was realizing that it was not only the physical aspect of the sport but the mental aspect of it that was just as challenging and crucial to succeeding. I remember reading somewhere that fencing was described as physical chess which is exactly what it was a physical, mind-reading sport that lasted 3 minutes for each five-touch bout. You had to understand how to defeat your opponent within 3 minutes to win the bout. Volleyball it’s a matter of reading, expecting, and understanding your opponent’s or team’s habits and moves to predict what will possibly happen for you to make the next move to win the point.

Does your knowledge in math help in volleyball?

I actually never really thought about it but yes! Lots of geometry that can be connected with every motion. I find myself describing motions in terms of angles when I coach sometimes.

What would you like to achieve in teaching math and volleyball?

In math, I want to help students relieve that fear of math and realize the relevance and practical use of it.
In volleyball, I want to help people develop a love for the sport and understand the fundamentals of the sport to play it properly

What makes you happy?

My family. I love to come home and be greeted with the smiles of my children and husband as well as getting reunited with my immediate and extended family all over the world.

What makes a champion the champion?

A champion is someone who understands what their strengths and weaknesses are both physically and mentally and learns to exploit their strengths and strengthen their weaknesses. Self-reflection and determination to become better is the key to their success. They treat opponents as partners as a means to improve themselves as well as their team and opponents and believe that any victory is possible.

If going on an inhabitant island adventure, what are the three things and three people you’d take with you?

Three things I would take is a camera to capture every moment, proper footwear for any hikes that I would go explore on, and a swimsuit to enjoy the water.

Three people I would take are my husband, son, and daughter. (I’m so glad you said three, otherwise I would have a very difficult time with that one)

What are the most essential things/skills you’d teach your children?

One, to be kind and loving; two, to reach for your goals; three, to explore the world; four, God is always there for you and that you are never alone, and five, live life to its fullest!

Kathy Winkfield poses with younger sister Amanda Peng and older brothers Chris and Joel Peng.

Kathy Winkfield and the Winkfield household in a jovial mood.

By ALEX MEGINO, Kagman High School 10th Grade Student

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