Sarah Hawkins believes the best gifts that she can give to children are selflessness and education. During her freshman year in high school, she accepted an opportunity to tutor local children at Margaret Mitchell Elementary during her free period. Once a week, she helped a child learn basic reading and math but decided that this was not enough. For years, she aspired to be a teacher for deaf children. At the beginning of her sophomore year, she talked to her school service coordinate who provided a list of schools in the Atlanta area that had deaf education programs. After a tour of the Oral School for the deaf, she was given a job as a volunteer teacher's aide. Every Tuesday, she drove to the Speech School to teach phonics and reading to 4- and 5-year-olds.
Her experience at the Speech School was overwhelming. All of the children at the Speech School have cochlear implants, so they have partial hearing and are able to lip-read. Hawkins relished the satisfaction of helping a child correctly pronounce a word or read a sentence. This year, she is going to devote more time to the Speech School. Twice a week during her school free period, she will drive to the school and help teach a class. This year will be more challenging because she is teaching younger children who are still learning how to use their cochlear implants to hear.
In addition to tutoring at Margaret Mitchell, she began to tutor at the Emmaus House, an after school program that helps children with their schoolwork and further develops their reading skills. At the request of his grade advisor, she started weekly tutoring a 7th grade student at her school who needed help in Spanish. She now tutors a different seventh grader and a freshman student as well. A few Saturdays every month, Hawkins goes to Capitol Area Mosaic, a recreation center that provides low-income children with a place to safely play and learn. Her love for teaching has grown stronger with each project that she takes on.
Through her teaching, Hawkins has accomplished many goals. She has been a role model and a mentor to children who might not otherwise have one. She has spent hours patiently assisting children to read, while others have not given them a second chance. She has also identified needs for supplemental education in her community and gives of herself to fulfill those needs. Her work helps to combat illiteracy, neglect and lack of interest in the community.