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LU graduates awarded teaching fellowship

Three Ƶ University students have been awarded $10,000 from the Joy and Will Crenshaw fellowship as they kick off their journey as classroom teachers. Crenshaw Award Recipients

American Sign Language major Sarah Anderson, English major  Katherine Holly, and Studio Art Education major Katrina Whitfield were awarded the funds in early May as they wrapped up their student teaching and prepared for graduation. 

The award was established to honor the lives of Joy and Will Crenshaw – LU alumni who met as students and have shared a joint love for education for over 50 years. The endowment was established by their children to provide a $10,000 fellowship every semester to three Ƶ teaching candidates who are participating in a semester-long student teaching assignment. To be considered, students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and complete their clinical teaching on a Beaumont ISD campus. 

“This fellowship holds profound significance for me. It validates my unwavering commitment to education and alleviates financial concerns, equipping me to embark on the next chapter of empowering young minds with enhanced resources,” Anderson said. 

Whitfield, who completed her clinical teaching at Regina-Howell Elementary, said she has learned how easy it is to build relationships with students if you just sit down and talk with them.  

“A lot of my students were pleasantly surprised when I grabbed paper and did the art projects with them,” Whitfield said. “I also learned to take good notes and be self-reflective. I had a notebook where I kept track of the schedule, the classes, and when students finished assignments. It helped me and my mentor teacher so much.” Crenshaw Group Photo

Understandably nervous as she entered her first classroom environment, Holly credits the partnership with her mentor teacher as a major reason for her enriching experience.  

“I walked into my classroom on that first day and was met with the most incredible mentor teacher, Sarah K. Perez. She took me under her wing and somehow, I just knew that this would be a successful semester,” Holly said. 

Just like Whitfield, Holly admits that the most valuable lesson she learned was how important connecting with her students was. 

“I observed classes of new teachers, veteran teachers, strict teachers, nice teachers, teachers who built relationships, and teachers who did not build relationships,” Holly said. “Throughout this semester of being observed and taking over management of the classroom, I have grown in ways I never anticipated, and I can confidently say that I am prepared to be an effective and impactful educator.” 

To learn more about LU Teacher Education, visit lamar.edu/education/teacher-education.