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Teach For America brings veterans to the classroom

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Last week, Got Your 6 featured Teach For America on their blog, alongside a number of veterans who have visited and presented to local schools as part of the Teach For America Veterans Initiative, which “aims to bridge the gap between students in high need areas with veterans who are dedicated towards educational equity,” according to the blogpost. Written by Robb Platt, a veteran and TFA Corps member, the post featured a firsthand perspective of the meaning of the veterans’ visits to the classroom.

Robb-2Platt is a Special Education teacher at Sunrise Mountain High School in Las Vegas Valley, and during his two years there, a number of veterans have come to speak to his students about what it means to serve their country. Most recently, Wendell Blaylock, a former U.S. Air Force Captain assigned to a M.A.S.H. Unit and a Distinguished Man of Nevada, visited his classroom.

Using facts, maps and photos, Blaylock captivated Platt’s class: “He told his living history as though it was a book, and allowed students to pass around relics from his time in the service. He also included lessons about what it means to make that sort of commitment to your country. The students especially loved that they got to be a part of the presentation by trying on some of Wendell’s fatigues.”

William Carter, A1C, USAF, 57th Operations Support Squadron at Nellis Air Force base visited an elementary special education class as well, discussing the challenges and rewards of being an active duty serviceman.

During his years as a teacher, Platt has noticed that his students, who are diverse learners, are less likely to receive enrichment experiences than the average class. This program helps to challenge that, and Platt observed the impact of the program:

Wendell and William did not see our students for their disability; they saw them for their ability. And with great pride, these men took time to learn the names of each student, and affirm their desire to attain a high school education and continue to succeed.

Platt emphasized the importance of programs that highlight veterans and their stories in the classroom, noting that these veterans can become mentors and role models for students. At Be The Change, we are grateful for programs like Teach For America that allow veterans to continue their service after their active duty is complete.

Read Platt’s full story here.

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