Eagle Educator starts campaign to help newly graduated teachers
Each semester, students graduating from an undergraduate teacher preparation program at Georgia Southern participate in a pinning ceremony. The ceremony is a symbolic milestone acknowledging that the educator will always be an Eagle Educator.
In fall 2017, when early childhood education majors walked across the stage of the College of Education’s auditorium, in addition to their Eagle Teacher pin, they also received something special–something they weren’t expecting. All 33 students that graduated from the B.S.Ed. Early Childhood Education program received a classroom starter kit–complete with some initial school supplies for their classrooms.
Kits included pencils, pens, crayons, markers, tape, paper clips, glue, hand sanitizer and sticky notes. Each gift bag was personally stuffed by one of their peers who also walked the stage to be pinned that December–Brandi Jackson. A fall 2017 graduate of the early childhood education program, Jackson has a heart for helping others.
“During field placements, I realized that a lot of teachers are in need of additional supplies,” Jackson said. “I just felt like I needed to help my fellow soon-to-be first year teachers in preparing for their first classrooms.”
Jackson said that when looking at school supplies she realized necessary items can be costly when considering the volume needed for a classroom.
“Even paper is expensive,” she said, “and in an elementary classroom, you go through a lot of paper!”
Jackson first had the idea of the classroom starter kits in spring 2017. She took to social media to request the help of her friends, family and COE faculty members to raise money for supplies. That semester was the first time she gave out the kits.
“It wasn’t a large amount of supplies,” Jackson said, “but I wanted them to have something to help them get their classrooms going.”
In fall, Jackson took to social media again, but this time she requested the help of John Ramfjord, associate director of annual giving and alumni engagement for the College of Education.
Together, Jackson and Ramfjord hosted a crowdfunding initiative targeting alumni of the early childhood education program. This time, she was able to provide larger and more substantial kits.
“I am proud of what we did,” said Jackson, “and I am looking forward to seeing it continue to grow.”
Even though Jackson has graduated and already landed a teaching position at Fulton County Schools, she still plans to be an active advocate for the project she helped to start.
“By moving to an online giving platform, Brandi can be an advocate no matter where she is,” explained Ramfjord.
Their vision is to see this project grow to include all undergraduate programs in the College of Education.
“This provides our alumni an opportunity to get involved in which they haven’t had an opportunity before,” Ramfjord added.
Jackson said in the future she hopes to travel back to campus and see graduates’ faces as they receive classroom starter kits.
“I am just excited to see the project grow and take off,” she said. “After my first semester here, I made several friends and never wanted to leave. I love Georgia Southern. I tell everyone to go here.”
How to get involved
This project is a great way for Georgia Southern College of Education alumni to give back at a level that is affordable. With over 20,000 living COE alums, a $5, $10 or $20 donation will go a long way towards assisting first year teachers in their classrooms.
Please click on the following link if you are interested in contributing to the College of Education first-year teacher kits. In the processing instructions section, please include “COE Classroom Starter Kits” to allocate your donation to this project.