A group of Deer Park High School Education Co-Op students recently participated in a Junior Achievement-sponsored program call JA Ourselves. Through the program, the students partnered with teachers at Carpenter Elementary to teach lessons to kindergarten students there. The teens presented a lesson to the younger children, including interactive activities and manipulatives, which they practice repeatedly in preparation.
Senior Kaitlyn Jaks said she enjoyed the experience. “It helps us see if this (career) is what we want to do,” she said. Alexia Trevino, also a senior, agreed. “They’re just so little,” she said. “And I like helping them. It makes me happy.”
Senior Savanah Crews sounded more like a seasoned veteran than a high school student when she compared the Carpenter students to those she taught through JA Ourselves at Dabbs Elementary last year. “The schools are so different,” she said. “Last year, we taught twice at Dabbs. They’re different kids and different teachers.”
Teacher Peggy Heatley said the program is a win-win for her students and the Carpenter children. “The lessons taught by my students introduce the kindergartners to personal economics and consumer choices and are aligned with social studies objectives,” she explained. “It’s a wonderful experience for the high school students as they get to experience the teaching/classroom part. Many of my students aspire to be teachers. The kindergartners get to see them as role models and have a great time. They discuss graduation and give the kindergartners a certificate at the end.”
Heatley said this was the fourth year in which her students have participated in JA Ourselves, and each previous year, one of her students was awarded a $2,500 scholarship.