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3 graduates join organization to teach at low-income schools

Students are accepted to college on the basis of elementary and secondary education. Three TCU graduates feel it is necessary to give less fortunate children the same opportunity.Teach for America is a national organization consisting of recent college graduates from all academic fields who commit two years to teaching students in less progressive and lower income public schools.

Megan Maestri, Chelsy Hall and T.J. Jordan, all 22, will join Teach for America and relocate after graduation to help educate the nation’s children.

Maestri, a psychology major from Louisiana, said she was contacted by Teach for America last semester. Maestri had joined a mailing list for the organization at a job fair during her freshman year.

“I thought it was a really neat concept,” she said. “One of the things that appealed to me is the connections they have with graduate schools.”

Hall, a double major in international communications and Spanish, from Memphis, Tenn., said she came across Teach For America by accident.

“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after graduation,” Hall said. “I ended up sitting next to the woman interviewing candidates at Einstein’s, and I eavesdropped. She was so passionate, and I liked what she had to say, so I applied.”

Jordan, a political science major from St. Louis, said he considered joining an organization such as AmeriCorps after graduation when he heard about Teach For America.

“I looked into it last fall and filled out an application online,” Jordan said.

The graduates are placed in elementary and secondary schools, and they can list their grade and regional preferences on their applications.

Maestri said middle school was her preference because she has been tutoring middle school children for a few years.

She said she will be teaching at a middle school in the Rio Grande Valley area, but she doesn’t know which school yet.

“I have been privileged my whole life,” Maestri said. “Education is a gift everyone deserves, and I feel compelled to contribute for at least two years.”

Hall will be teaching secondary education in New Haven, Conn., though she does not know if she is teaching middle school or high school.

“This will be a huge personal challenge for me,” she said. “I hope I’m not completely overwhelmed. It’s a challenge I’m excited about, and I want to be able to give back.”

Jordan will be teaching elementary school in Chicago, both his regional and grade preference.

“It’s going to open a lot of doors for me,” Jordan said. “I’m really looking forward to it.”

Teach for America started in 1990, and more than 17,000 individuals have joined the organization and helped 2.5 million children.

“The most important thing to me is that these kids get a valuable experience,” Hall said. “This is a social issue regarding poverty and education. The two years of teaching are important, but it’s the focus on changing education that’s appealing.

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