A guest blog written by Emily Hanson, the 2013 Gold Star Intern.
Interning at the R.J. McElroy Trust and coordinating 2013 Gold Star Program has been a phenomenal experience. It’s hard for me to put into words how much I learned and enjoyed my internship. Stacy Van Gorp (R.J. McElroy Trust Executive Director) taught me many things over these last five months. One thing in particular is that people like to hear stories. So, I thought it was only fitting for my blog post to be a couple of my most memorable moments as the Gold Star Intern.
The Flat Tire Incident – One of the best parts of being the Gold Star Intern is surprising the ten teachers who receive the award. We pop in their classroom with their families members and tell them the great news; they are a Gold Star Teacher! Students applaud, hoot, and holler with glee. The excitement is contagious. We do all of the surprises within two days, on a very tight schedule. This year, on our way to Hudson Middle School to surprise Linda Shapiro, wouldn’t you know it, we go a flat tire. It was raining, cold, and we were wearing dresses. To top it all off, KWWL was meeting us in Hudson to film the surprise. Stacy pulled into a gas station to assess the situation. As we quickly formulated a plan b, two nice gentlemen came up to us and asked if they could help. While they graciously changed our tire, we got to talking. We told them who we were and why we were on our way to Hudson. Turns out, one of the guys changing our tire had had Mrs. Shapiro as a teacher! He told us how much he loved her and how excited he was that she won. It was an incredible twist on a very inconvenient situation. We made it to the surprise right one schedule, and got a great story out of the experience. Thank goodness for those kind men who were willing to help out even though it was pouring!
Inside the Classroom of a Gold Star Teacher – As the Gold Star Intern, I also got to observe all of the 2013 recipients teach while Hellman videotaped them for the KWWL vignettes. After hours of making copies, reading nominations, and sending out hundreds of emails it was fun to see the fruit of my labor. I was able to see these incredible teachers in action! I watched Ryan Haynes jump and dance around his classroom as he taught the 3rd graders how to play Orff instruments. Cristin Marshall’s students, who were supposed to be a recess while we interviewed her, were glued to the window they were so excited. Each teacher was unique, different, and special. I knew exactly why the students had nominated their teachers. My experience in Jake Youngkent’s classroom was particularly unique. It was different from any classroom setting I had been in before. One of his goals is to make writing fun for his students. Each morning, he starts off with a five minute writing assignment that asks the kids to solve a problem. After they’ve written answers he asked them to share their writing. However, they don’t just read and stand their responses, they stand on the chairs, read, and receive applause from their peers! It was fun to watch 6th graders get excited about learning!
These are just a couple of my many memories from my internship. I am extremely thankful for this wonderful opportunity. Thank you R.J. McElroy Trust!