It’s been said that Karen Banach is worth three camels. Her Tri Kappa sisters would agree she is worth many more.
“My mom and I went to Morocco with a school group, and some man in the marketplace asked my mother if he could marry me for three camels,” Karen says. “I was 12 years old! My mom told him I was worth at least seven!”
Karen does like to laugh, which makes the Cheeseball Committee her favorite Tri Kappa activity.
“The first year on the committee, I worked with Maria Douglas,” Karen says. “We became really close. There were ball jokes flying everywhere! We had cheese all over us. We literally laughed all day!”
The Oak Park, Ill., native came to Indiana University for college. Her future husband, Jason, was hired by IU right out of college, so Karen decided to stay in Bloomington also.
The English literature major bounced around several jobs before finishing a second degree in education. In 2006, she obtained her master’s in educational leadership with a principal’s license. She taught in the Indianapolis Public Schools for three years before finding a job teaching “English as a New Language” in Monroe County. She’s now at Bloomington South, where she team teaches two hours a day with Tri Kappa sister Megan Parmenter.
Holly Harvey gently urged Karen to take a look at Tri Kappa back in 2016 when Karen mentioned she’d like to get back into philanthropic work.
“Holly was like, ‘Listen, lady, you’re going to join!” Karen laughs. “I knew a lot of women already in Tri Kappa, so it gives me an opportunity to not only help people but see my friends.”
Karen and Jason’s kids Conrad and Anastasia are old enough now that she can leave them for the evening without feeling guilty.
“I just love seeing everybody (at the Tri Kappa meetings),” Karen says. “I love that we get to help the community. I love getting to know different people that I would never get a chance to meet otherwise.”
More About Karen:
College member of Alpha Omicron Pi
Her goal is to visit all seven continents (she’s been to four)
Loves the beach
(It follows that sea turtles are her favorite animal)
Reads a book every day