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Largo-Tibet Elementary School students embark on eye-opening educational journey as ‘Teachers for a Day’ on Georgia Southern’s Armstrong Campus

Georgia Southern Call Me MiSTER program participants James Jenkins III, left, and Franklin Stevens, right, described what it’s like to be a college student to Largo-Tibet Elementary students.

In a recent collaboration between Georgia Southern University, Largo-Tibet Elementary School and 100 Black Men of Savannah, 12 eager children immersed themselves in a day of higher education, local civil rights history and a glimpse into the world of teaching. The program, “Teacher for a Day,” exposes young minds to the college experience and possibilities within the teaching profession.

Under the guidance of College of Education faculty members, Calvin Walton, Ph.D., Alisa Leckie, Ph.D., and Tracy Linderholm, Ph.D., and members of Georgia Southern’s Call Me MiSTER program, which focuses on attracting underrepresented individuals to the teaching profession, children from Largo-Tibet Elementary embarked on a transformative journey. 

“It was incredibly rewarding to see the impact even a single day of experiences can have on young minds, and how excited they were to experience this day on campus,” said Georgia Southern MiSTER participant Jozlynn Carson. “I also appreciate the University’s and the school community’s time and effort to help support events like these.”

The day began with a tour of the College of Education on the Armstrong Campus in Savannah. The elementary students engaged in various learning activities, giving them a taste of the academic environment and sparking curiosity about higher education. They ate lunch in the University’s dining hall, The Galley, to see what life is like as a college student.

A highlight of the day was a session hosted by Jonathan Winbush, CEO of The Beach Institute African-American Cultural Center, who discussed the importance of genealogy and tracing one’s roots, as well as local civil rights history. 

The students were also treated to a reading of the book, “Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon,” by Kelly Starling Lyons, a compelling story with themes of perseverance, education and the pursuit of dreams. The literary experience was designed to inspire and ignite a passion for learning, and the students participating in the program were asked to teach part of the story to kindergarten students at their school when they returned from the field trip.

The MiSTERS played a crucial role in guiding and mentoring the young students throughout the day as they shared their experiences as college students and helped guide learning activities.

“It was very enjoyable seeing the wonder and excitement displayed on the faces of those children,” said MiSTER Franklin Stevens. “The thought of those kids being inspired because of this event excites me greatly, and personally reinforces the passion I have for cultivating the minds of the next generation!”

The 12 participating elementary students are all a part of a year-long mentoring initiative that Georgia Southern’s Call Me MiSTER program, which is funded by donations from Georgia Power and the National Youth Advocacy and Resilience Conference, offers at Largo-Tibet Elementary. The program is under the coordination of school counselor Lawanna Rucker and social worker Jamal Piankhi, both of whom work collaboratively with Walton and MiSTER James Jenkins III to design and provide life skills-based mentoring for the Largo-Tibet students for one hour each Friday afternoon. The “Teacher for a Day” project serves as a field-based activity that is designed to provide the participating students with real-world experiences that will help them develop and clarify their education and profession.

The 100 Black Men of Savannah, an organization that seeks to improve educational and economic opportunities for Black youth in the region, and provides mentoring services in K-12 schools throughout Savannah, is the primary sponsor for Call Me MiSTER’s mentoring initiative at Largo-Tibet Elementary. Raleigh Taylor, mentoring coordinator for the 100 Black Men of Savannah, was in attendance to support the program and engage with students. The group’s presence underscored the importance of community engagement and collaboration in fostering educational opportunities as they provide tutoring and other educational activities at Largo-Tibet Elementary.

“As MiSTERs, it is crucial for us to plant the seeds of educational success in students within our community,” Jenkins said. “In the brief span of a day, I witnessed their bright, young minds take interest towards the field of education. The day allowed their young minds to develop life lessons that they will carry on with for the rest of their lives.”


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