JESSICA R. PHILLIPS
Jessica Phillips accomplished the outstanding achievement of conceptualizing, proposing, securing funding for, planning and teaching a Spanish language program called “Viva Espanol” to be taught at the Covington Washington Street Community Center. The community center serves underprivileged children in her community, and Jessica wanted to make a difference.
She was already a volunteer at the community center and saw a need for foreign language instruction for the elementary age students that she tutored. Jessica is a bilingual high school student at Eastside High School. Spanish obviously interests her, as she has studied in school and outside of school to take her Spanish skills to the level of proficiency she possesses. She felt that the children at the community center would benefit from and be interested in such a salient topic as Spanish, given current trends in population growth.
Jessica proposed the idea to the director of the Community Center and was able to secure funding. Jessica researched a curriculum appropriate to different age levels, planned the curriculum, purchased materials and taught her program for four months at the community center. She will again be teaching this excellent Spanish program this spring. The response she received was excellent. Her classes were full and both parents and students commented on what an enjoyable and beneficial program it is.
In achieving the success of this Viva Espanol Spanish language program, Jessica showed incredible goal-setting and goal-achieving behaviors. She saw a need for foreign language education. She approached the appropriate people, sought approval, planned her program and carried out the goals she had set for her program. This is an ongoing project that she hopes will continue indefinitely.
Jessica overcame many challenges in achieving this goal of instituting a Spanish language program at her local community center. She had to “pitch” the program to the director and board of directors who make decisions about how to spend funding. She additionally sought funding within the community. Jessica had to decide what ages would be instructed and how to best instruct different age groups to achieve her goal. Jessica learned about grant proposals, networking, curriculum and instruction, selecting instructional materials, teaching styles and philosophies, how to plan a lesson, how to adapt lessons and how to assess achievement. Day by day Jessica continued to solve problems and keep on teaching. She researched teaching methodologies, planned instructional time, purchased instructional materials, taught her lessons, graded her activities, and assessed her student’s knowledge. She assessed her own teaching skills and learned what and when to change things in order to achieve better results.
She also overcame the daily obstacles that any teacher encounters. In addition to getting her program off the ground and continuing its day-to-day operation, she was still successful as a full-time high school student and student athlete.