Opinion | Showing gratitude: giving thanks to Iowa City

In the fourth edition of the four-part series, Opinions contributor Luke Krchak expresses his gratitude.


Gabby Drees

The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History is seen at the University of Iowa on Monday, May 2, 2022.

Luke Krchak, Opinions Contributor

Iowa City: It has a ring to it that has never left my mind.

Several places in Iowa City hold a special place in my heart, from the Fourth of July fireworks over the Old Capital, to eating at Pagliai’s Pizza once a month, and to moving from the kids’ section at Prairie Lights to the history section on the main floor.

I have been fortunate to visit big cities across the country. Still, no area compares to my hometown Iowa City. In the fourth and final edition of the series, I want to express my gratitude and thankfulness for Iowa City.

As an Iowa City native, I have grown up on the University of Iowa campus.

I have fond memories of visiting the UI Natural History Museum in fourth and fifth grade. The whole museum was closed, and the lights were turned off. The museum had a different perspective at night. We toured the museum wearing mining helmets with flashlights.

These memories at the museum inspired me to pursue the museum studies program at the UI.

I am grateful for my educational journey through the Iowa City Community School District. I got to see my friends grow up alongside me. While a few moved over time, the connections I made with the ones that were fortunate enough to stay were lifelong.

When I was at Northwest Junior High, I got low grades. At the time I loved school, just as I do today, but I was never motivated to do homework.

My junior high geography teacher, Kurt Crock, told my parents and I a simple, but meaningful, sentiment: “I believe in Luke.”

That short statement made me want to do better in school. I was holding myself back, and if I tried my hardest, I could do whatever I put my mind to.

Freshman year, I went to West High School and fell back to old habits. I was getting B’s and C’s in class, but I just couldn’t get myself to do the homework. This changed when my brother went to college.

My family and I went to Hawkeye Visit Days on campus in 2018. My father and brother went to the engineering sessions at the event, while my mother and I went to different sessions.

The first event was in the history department, where I am now, and the second one was in geography. I met Colin Gordon, a UI history professor, and saw what I could learn.

This reinvigorated my spark from Junior High. My grades went up, but more importantly I had a clear goal of where I wanted to be: UI.

Iowa City is not just another place to me. It is the place that helped me grow into the person I am today.

As the final piece of the gratitude series, I would like us all to give thanks to the places that have been there for myself and others. Iowa City has helped us, UI Students, reach the goals and dreams we never thought possible.

Thank you, Iowa City, thank you.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.