MOORE — Moore Norman Technology Center high school students enrolled in Zena Amer’s Career Exploration Education class recently traveled to Tulsa for the state SkillsUSA competition.
One of their entries however, is much different than the typical written entry and scrapbook that other students will present. Their community service entry includes the hearts, energy and well wishes of the students, teachers and staff from Kennedy Elementary School in Norman.
This past fall, Amer was approached by a coworker who told her of Kennedy Elementary’s potential need for assistance with classroom basics. Amer has often worked to boost the efforts of non-profits in Norman. She is highly involved with the Cross Timbers Rotary Club and has performed personal projects around the globe such as helping to finish and supply a school in Kenya, developing a seed project in Columbia and doing service projects in India and Bolivia.
She took a vote of her morning and afternoon students and they agreed to help and decided to call it the Dare to Make a Difference Project.
After getting approval from Kennedy Elementary Principal Montie Koehn, Amer’s classes began going to the school on Wednesdays and Fridays. Morning CEE students offered third- and fifth-graders assistance with basic reading, spelling, telling time and math concepts. Afternoon CEE students worked with kindergartners on letters, basic math and spelling.
“This is the right thing to do. I teach my kids that when they see or learn of a need, they are obligated to fulfill it. These are not wants — these are needs that these children in our community have. We have to help,” Amer said,
“Our initial hope was to give our teachers assistance with meeting the diverse needs of our learners which would help increase the level of student achievement. This would not only benefit our students, but give the students of MNTC a hands-on experience working with children,” Koehn said. “Our hope was to provide an experience not only to demonstrate the level of commitment it takes to be a teacher, but also show how rewarding it can be when you take the responsibility to help a student improve academically and socially. That hope was fulfilled.”