Spring 2016

ATPE News is the official publication of the Association of Texas Professional Educators, the largest educator association in Texas. The magazine addresses the most important issues affecting public education in the state. Learn more at

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Page 28 of 43

ATPE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS VOLUNTEER ACROSS THE STATE EAST TEXAS BAPTIST UNIVERSITY While TWU students were reading to local children, ATPE members almost 200 miles away, at East Texas Baptist University (ETBU), were serving food to the children in their community. ATPE members spent the frst Friday in October volunteering at the Fall Festival for South Marshall Elementary in Marshall, Texas. Members served parents, teachers, students, and other community members at the festival's hamburger supper, a fundraiser for the school. ETBU's ATPE chapter has been struggling for a few years, and president Rachel Sirman believed a group volunteer efort could be key to getting membership back on track. "Since our unit is being built back up, we were looking for something to get involved in, and we knew we wanted to do something for the local schools," said Rachel, an ETBU senior who plans to teach Head Start, kindergarten, or frst grade. The Fall Festival turned out to be a great match for the students. ATPE members stayed busy the whole evening and enjoyed building connections with community members. Although the group hopes to get their own service project of the ground in the coming years, for now, they are thrilled to have the opportunity to be involved in their community schools. Rachel, for one, plans to fnd a position in Marshall or the surrounding community after she graduates, and having the opportunity to make a connection with the very students and parents she hopes to soon work with was transformative. Rachel was most impressed to see frst-hand the infuence a community can have on its schools, and vice versa, particularly in a Title I area like Marshall. "Even though it might not seem like a big deal as a teacher to give a student a candy bar, the student sees that as such a big deal," she says. "They get so happy over the little things." The chapter has a lot to be proud of. Despite their challenges, ETBU students have found a way contribute to their local school, and along the way have gained powerful insights into their community and their future profession. At the same time, the group has increased its membership by more than 50 percent over the past year. "We're a growing unit," says Rachel. "We're small but steadily growing and getting ATPE's name out there." HOUSTON BAPTIST UNIVERSITY When Houston's Shearn Elementary needed volunteers to help prepare the library for its upcoming book fair, Houston Baptist University (HBU) students were eager to participate. Members of this thriving ATPE chapter, known on campus as the Association of Student Educators (ASE), spent a Saturday morning in November assisting the school's librarian by unloading boxes of books, organizing tables, and decorating the library. To make this event as successful as possible, ASE partnered with the YMCA of Greater Houston. ASE members have volunteered for local elementary schools via HBU's Campus Service Day for years. In addition to the Campus Service Day, ASE members collect box tops for donations to Houston's Sutton Elementary, contribute to Books for Africa, and read to and tutor local elementary students. ASE's project manager, senior Taylor Suarez, coordinates the group's service projects. Although Taylor admits that getting up early on a Saturday | 29 spring 2016

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