WELLSBURG - Three Brooke High School seniors interested in becoming educators will compete in a state competition testing skills they will need in the future.
Seniors Angie Smith of Wellsburg and Kirsten Minger and Brianna Kowalsky, both of Follansbee, will represent the school's chapter of Future Educators of America at the West Virginia FEA Fall Leadership Conference in Roanoke in December.
The three are students in Diane Lucero's careers in education class, which is designed to prepare students, through instruction and hands-on experience, for careers in teaching and operation of daycare centers.
LEARNING EXPERIENCE — Angela Smith, a junior in Brooke High School’s careers in education class, taught Matteo Filippelli and other students at the school with special needs to cook as preparation for a career in teaching and a project for a competition held by West Virginia Future Educators of America. Smith’s classmates Kirsten Minger and Brianna Kowalsky will compete in divisions testing their skill at presenting a lesson plan and undergoing the job application and interview process.
Smith will present a report on her efforts at teaching cooking and other living skills, such as washing dishes and sweeping the floor, to youth in the school's special education program.
She said she chose the project, which she dubbed Friends Helping Friends, because she was interested in working with youth with mental and physical impairments, and that interest hasn't waned. While she's only required to work with the students until January, she plans to continue through the rest of the school year, Smith said.
"It was really fun and I got to know the kids," she said, adding she found the students, while faced with special challenges, are like other teens in many ways.
For example, they enjoyed cooking very much, but when it came to cleaning, they had as much interest as most people, she said.
But both activities helped them become more independent and they took pride in that, Smith noted.
Under the supervision of special education instructor Shari Fonner, Smith taught the students to make such food as spaghetti, mashed potatoes and turkey rollups, which she explained is turkey slices wrapped in stuffing.
The students liked taking home some of the food to their families as well as directions so they could make them again at home, Smith said.
Smith also recruited fellow students to assist with a Halloween party for the students and to aid them in practicing with Brooke Bruins football players.
She said the school's head football coach, Sean Blumette, "was a big help with that," and allowed the students to watch a junior varsity game from the sidelines.
For another division of the competition, Minger will present a videotape and report on a lesson plan on geometric shapes she presented to pupils in Barbara Pettini's second-grade class at Jefferson Primary School.
The report must include an assessment of its effectiveness by Minger, including how the lesson might be improved, and an evaluation by Pettini.
Kowalsky, who also is a state FEA officer, will enter a competition testing her ability to submit a cover letter and resume demonstrating why she is a good candidate for a position as well as her poise and effectiveness while participating in a job interview.
Other divisions of the state competition challenges students to create videotaped public serving ads promoting teaching as a career and to speak extemporaneously on a subject related to education.
Winners will advance to a national conference in Orlando, Fla., in April.
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