University High School October 2016 Student of the Month

University High School October 2016 Student of the Month
Posted on 10/03/2016
Anna

Anna Stewart
Grade: 12th
Academy: Education and Training

My love for the world of academia is founded on its uncertainty; many of the concepts society has developed have exceptions, there will always be another topic to dive deeper into, and the answers that people find can always lead to more questions. For as long as can remember, I have welcomed this unknown world into my life. I have always respected the path of an educator and the patience it takes to immerse oneself in the world of innocent creativity and imagination. I cannot recount the hours spent day-dreaming, where school has not been a part of the picture. I want to make a difference in students’ lives. After explaining my passions, people often say, “So, you're an education major?" Shockingly, I reply no.

I am a Communication Sciences and Disorders major. I am often asked, “Why not education?" I want to pursue speech-language pathology because of what it brings students- security and confidence. I am so blessed to be a part of a program that gives me hands-on experience before I reach college. The A.J. Moore Education Professions Academy gives future educators, speech-pathologists, and counselors the opportunity to gain life-long skills that cannot be found in anywhere else.

When working with children, one must be able to discern when definitions and worksheets aren’t grabbing a student’s attention. The Director of Career and Technology Education, Donna McKethan, and the Head of the Education Professions Academy, Karen Baier, have developed a way for students to participate alongside teachers in a classroom- The Trojan Tykes Pre- Kindergarten. One of the many benefits of the education academy is our fully functioning Preschool right beside our classroom, with an observation window. This allows students to watch the children’s behavior and assist during their breakfast time and their curriculum based games. This program gives its students a higher level of confidence and competence when entering in to major specific post-secondary education courses. During the last year of instruction, student can take the Practicum in Education and Training course. This gives students the opportunity to go inside local elementary schools and work alongside educators and speech-language pathologist. In class, we are given the opportunity to pick what grade level we would like to assist in. We observe teachers, teach small groups, supervise large class groups, and make teaching materials. Our year is always packed with opportunities to be involved, but the fun does not stop in the summer.

During the summer of 2015, I was able intern at the ARC of McLennan County. This summer program, for special needs children, allowed me to use all the skills I learned during the school year. It was an enriching and eye-opening experience for me. I learned the importance of community among teachers, caregivers, and therapists. This experience changed me view education- I have always known the importance of education, but I never understood how far education reaches. During the summer, I was able to assist many different students that struggled to communicate their ideas. For months I watched children, who could not verbally communicate, express their joys, disappointments, and dreams through art. It showed me that every child deserves to find their voice regardless of its fluidity or distinction. My internship, through my academy, showed me that communication is not conversation for conversations sake; language transforms the lives of the socially-limited, underestimated, and ignored.  I was also able to return to at the ARC during the summer of 2016 and was able to build friendships with the students. I have never been a part of something as rewarding as my time at the ARC. I am convinced that every day of my life can feel like my experiences during the summer.

My academy has opened doors for me- my academy has given me the opportunity to grow academically as wells as occupationally. I hope to make students become confident and enjoy learning. Because of the education and training academy I know that I will be equipped to not only implement effective teaching strategies, but be able to relate to my students.

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