Thank You, Student Volunteers!

Welcome to Houston! It's the middle of July, we're in our second-to-last week of training (there are six total), and our staff and trainers are not nearly as exhausted as we thought we would be at this point in the summer.

A group of volunteers gather for a quick photo

A group of volunteers gather for quick photo.

But, haven't more than 350 Houston teachers attended training over the past two weeks? Yes ... Don't you have 10 different classrooms running right now? Yes ... Isn't there, like, a lot to do? Yeah, you could say that ...

The reason we have more energy than we've had in past weeks is because we've had the help and support of an amazing group of student volunteers. As if hosting LASER i3 workshops at their amazing facility wasn't enough, Carnegie Vanguard High School staff graciously offered to us the service of 12 student volunteers.

"We put the [volunteer opportunity] online two days before workshops began," said Carnegie Student Information Officer Regina Adams. "We immediately had five volunteers, with the level of interest rising due to word of mouth and shared experiences from the volunteers."

From delivering materials to inputting data into spreadsheets, student volunteers are helping us out tremendously. Because the students are so helpful, so efficient, and so on top of everything, we can't keep up with them!

Student Volunteers helping to make the week go smoothly

"This week would not have been nearly as pleasant without them," said our Houston Regional Coordinator Kim Ottosen. "They're a joy to work with and extremely organized."

Students also have had the opportunity to visit classrooms and participate in activities and experiments. "They are intrigued," said Adams. "They've been telling their friends about it and sharing some of their experiences." Adams said many of the student volunteers are interested in the SSEC's summer internship program for high school and college students.

"I think it's interesting that teachers are teaching teachers ... I knew that teachers went to school, but I didn't know how they learned new things to teach us," said one student. "I think that it's really cool that they have fun workshops for teachers so that we can have fun classes."

Said another student, "We've been setting up binders, I moved boxes, I got to talk to a lot of teachers about stuff they needed, and some of the teachers let us mix up dirt."

Carnegie students are required to serve at least 100 community service hours before graduation. By the end of the two weeks, the group of student volunteers will have accumulated more than 500 community service hours. According to U.S. News and World Report, Carnegie Vanguard High School currently ranks #17 nationally.

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