With already so much accomplished by the time they finish their senior year, students at Early College High School are using their final month of high school to help other campuses succeed.
Throughout the month of May, seniors, who have already completed high school requirements, are volunteering four hours each weekday to assist elementary campuses at the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District. With their visits, ECHS students assist the teachers in any way they can. Whether it’s from classroom organization to lesson assistance, students work to help ensure the school day gives each student the best learning experience possible.
Over 30 students, which is approximately half of the graduating class, are participating in this activity.
“It is the first year the senior class has done this,” said Isabella Pellien, senior at ECHS and volunteer and Treasure Hills Elementary. “It was great to get more involved in the community. You get to know the kids, and they love you. I’ve been really enjoying the experience.”
Pellien, who is also a previous student at Treasure Hills, found that one of the most rewarding things about her community service experience was being able to volunteer at her former campus, she said.
“It’s interesting to go back,” said Pellien. “I helped teach them their ABC’s. It’s neat to know that you’re there at the start of their education, and to be able to give back to the school that was there to educate you, when you were little.”
“I hope when they get to their senior year, they have the same opportunity that I did to come here and give back to their elementary school,” said Pellien.
With their countdown to high school graduation, students have used their community service to help guide them to future career paths. Cassia Allen, senior and volunteer at Bonham Elementary School, took advantage of the opportunity to get a head start in a career in education, which is a field she has been highly considering.
“I saw how teachers work, and I was able to get hands on experience,” said Allen. “Before I started volunteering, I saw myself as a teacher, but now I think it has helped me determine that this is something I definitely want to continue with.”
Even for students that had never considered teaching as a future profession, their experience has opened their eyes to new possibilities, said Andrea Cavazos, senior at ECHS and volunteer at Bonham Elementary.
“I am planning on going into criminal justice, but when you see all that goes in to being a teacher, it makes you think,” said Cavazos. “Now it’s in the back of my mind.”
The gratification students receive from performing community service is the icing on the cake to a monumental school year. On April 26, Pellien and 28 other ECHS students graduated from Texas State Technical College with either an associate’s degree or completion of their academic core. The 29 students is an increase from the 24 students that graduated last year.