For Portage High School social studies teacher and track and cross-country coach Abagail Trzeciak, a clear vision has led to a life that has fallen nicely into place.
“I could never see myself doing anything different,” Trzeciak said, noting that her mother and grandmother were both teachers. “Being a part of kids’ hopes and dreams, helping them find success, it’s such a great thing to be a part of.”
Helping others realize their goals has long been a priority for Trzeciak, who took up running track and cross country as a student at Portage High School and used her own passion to give back by volunteering for Girls on the Run while she was matriculating at Purdue University Calumet.
Trzeciak met her husband, Kyle, when he was assisting in her college art class.
“He’s from Portage as well. I was in the athletic scene and he was in the music scene,” Trzeciak said. “Now he works for a sound production company, so he does a lot in that field and helps with the music program, running sound for their festivals. Everybody keeps in touch, which is great because, as a coach, there are a lot of times when I have to collaborate with the music programs and they already know Kyle.”
Portage was a natural fit for the Trzeciaks, and when a spot opened up for track and cross-country coaching, Abagail leapt at the opportunity.
“I’ve lived here my whole life. My whole family is here,” Trzeciak said. “My grandparents are here. I’ve been in the school system since kindergarten, and I guess I really never left.”
Abagail and Kyle recently bought a home and enjoy hosting friends and family for barbeques.
“We’re really family-oriented,” Trzeciak said. “My dad used to take us a lot of places growing up. I’ve been to pretty much every state south of Indiana.”
Trzeciak’s current travel plans pay off both of her passions of history and running.
For the historical portion, Trzeciak has always been very interested in the Holocaust. She was very impressed with the museum in Chicago, but looks forward to exploring the museum in Washington D.C.
For the running portion, Trzeciak ran her only marathon straight out of high school in Philadelphia, where she took the rest of the day to visit the 9/11 Memorial. She still runs half-marathons, but would like to run the Chicago Marathon in the future.
Today, she and her husband enjoy taking day trips to state parks. With physical fitness as a priority, Trzeciak enjoys summer break because it’s a time for her, her husband and their chocolate lab, Belle, to get a lot of walks in.
“We go to the beach a lot and we walk pretty much every day,” Trzeciak said. “One of the best things about living here is how close we are to nature so we can just enjoy it every day.”