Education students volunteer their time to brighten local schools
For college students, weekends are typically spent catching up on homework, working, relaxing, or hanging out with friends. But five UW-Green Bay Student Wisconsin Education Association members, spent a late October weekend volunteering at two local schools with other Student WEA members from across the state.
Student WEA members — 180 participants from 20 of the 26 chapters in the state — worked on 51 projects in the Green Bay Area public schools. The UW-Green Bay students worked at Washington Middle School and Danz Elementary, creating several murals and painting a teacher’s lounge.
“Student WEA members are showing they’re committed to education, the state of Wisconsin and Student WEA,” said Mary Claire Sekel, Outreach to Teach Coordinator and a senior from UW-Eau Claire. “This says we are here and that we are a voice.”
Nicole Hangartner, junior education major and a member of the UWGB Student WEA executive board, was excited that it was in Green Bay.
“Some of our students were able to volunteer in schools they already have a relationship with and they got to see the faces of their students when they saw the changes,” she said. “Kids are our main focus and this was a way we could reward them.”
Hangartner hopes this project helps to motivate students.
“For some students school is a place where they know they are safe. By creating a more safe and fun environment this will hopefully really help those students.”
Taa Egli, senior education major and vice president of the UWGB chapter, worked at Washington Middle School for two semesters and had recently returned to give a science lesson to an eighth grade class. Egli volunteered at the Outreach to Teach program and was anticipating the surprise when students returned.
Both Egli and Kayla Peterson, a junior education major, hoped that adding color would brighten the schools and the students’ days.
“It will help make students proud of their school,” Peterson said.
Dan Knudson, who teaches history and geography at Washington Middle School, said most of the students didn’t know this was going to happen. “Hopefully this will open the students’ eyes, help them to get focused and take their education seriously.”
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Story and photos by Cheyenne Makinia, editorial intern, Marketing and University Communication