Sabine Parish Educators Rising students traveled to the campus of Northwestern State University on Feb. 8 to attend the Educators Rising Regional Conference. Schools represented were Converse, Ebarb, Many, Negreet, Pleasant Hill, and Zwolle High Schools.
In total there were 53 Sabine Parish high school future educators in attendance. The conference brought together schools from across the state in order to network with future, as well as current, educators. Students competed in educational related competitions and participated in hands-on workshops. Students were welcomed by NSU’s Kristen Walker.
The program was then turned over to the guest speaker which was Louisiana’s 2019 Teacher of the Year Jessica Borland. Borland is a 4th grade teacher at South Grant Elementary School located in Dry Prong. The title of her presentation was “Plant, Grow, Bloom.” She discussed the importance of teachers needing other teachers for support, collaboration, and to uplift each other.
A scenario Borland used to help the audience visualize this was “Find Your Marigold” by Jennifer Gonzales. In the words of Gonzales, “By finding the positive, supportive, energetic teachers in your school and sticking to them, you can improve your job satisfaction.”
Borland stressed the importance of how the marigold flower aids in the growing of strong vegetables while protecting them from other weeds and insects. She related this to finding a positive person that will help you grow and thrive. On the other hand, she described walnut trees as being toxic to other plants by inhibiting their growth. This analogy was used to help the audience better understand to not allow themselves to be influenced by negative people or situations. Students were then dismissed to breakout sessions and competitions.
To close out the conference, Converse High School junior, Katelen Bennett, was asked to speak on being an Educators Rising National Officer. Katelen is the first and only National Officer from Louisiana. She will represent her school, parish, and state at the national conference held this summer in Orlando, Fla.
Katelen stated, “Educators Rising has brought me way out of my comfort zone. I would have never imagined I would go from a shy student not talking much in class to being on a stage and confidently speaking in front of thousands. This class and club have been a true blessing to me. I am very grateful for the opportunities Ed. Rising has provided me over the past year.”
Sabine Parish’s future educators participated in the following competitions; Educators Rising Moment Speech, Interactive Bulletin Board, Impromptu Speaking, and Job Interview. For Educators Rising Moment, students prepared a three to four minute speech about their passion for education and the moment they realized this was the career for them. The Interactive Bulletin Board competition required students, in teams of two, to create an original bulletin board centered around a grade level standard. Additionally, the board must be interactive to enhance student learning.
As for Impromptu Speaking, competitors are given ten minutes to formulate a speech on a current education topic as well as deliver it to a panel of judges. Lastly, the job interview competition allowed the students to go through an entire interview process for a job as a paraprofessional. Prior to the competition, students were asked to submit a professional resume and cover letter. Out of the twelve medals awarded, Sabine Parish Ed. Rising students brought home ten. Placing and earning the opportunity to compete at the state conference on March 17 in Lafayette are:
Educators Rising Moment–
2nd Place Alexis Pulzone – PHHS
3rd Place Katelen Bennett – CHS
Interactive Bulletin Board–
1st Place Abbey Phillips and Preslee Sepulvado-EHS
2nd Place (Tie) Weston Brown and Addyson Whaley-MHS;
Leah Clary and Madelyn Wilson-EHS
3rd Place Emma Penfield and Hannah Campbell-MHS
4th Place Paisleigh Rivers and Lakin Guidry-EHS
1st Place Isaac Sweet – MHS
3rd Place Riley Greer – NHS
1st Place Annabelle Bagely – CHS
From the Sabine Parish Educators Rising program, the ultimate goal is to grow our own future educators, coaches, school leaders, paraprofessionals, counselors, and various other vital education-based positions. These students are passionate about education, and it shows each day in their classes, as well as in these competitions. Students not only grow as future educators, but as individuals and future leaders.
To report an issue or typo with this article – CLICK HERE