A class of Giunta Middle School sixth grade students, led by Stacy Wilson, gather for a photo following a presentation by Osprey Observer Newspaper reporter and guest speaker Tamas Mondovics, who was one of hundreds of volunteers that took part in this year's Great American Teach-In.

It’s hard to tell who benefits more, the students or the volunteer speakers, during the annual Great American Teach-In, which year after year mobilizes the community by bringing hundreds of professionals into local schools to demonstrate to children the benefits of getting a good education.

Held in mid-November, the Teach-In was again presented by SERVE, the volunteer arm of the school district.

Speakers included active members and veterans of the United States Armed Forces, police, firefighters, paramedics, animal trainers, attorneys, chefs, elected officials, entrepreneurs, musicians and school board members.
Positive comments from both students and teachers was the order of the day as the volunteers talked about their work, careers and life experiences along with the importance of education.

While most volunteers worked hard to bring the children something special, there were some that did not have to press too hard the spark the student’s interest and in the process stir their imaginations, perhaps motivate some to follow the presented career. 
A notable guest of the day at area schools included B.T. Washington Elementary School physical education teacher, Emil Milev, who won a gold medal at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico last month with a record 24 hits in the 25m Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol.

While at Giunta Middle School, the students enjoyed the presence of a full-costumed Seminole Indian historian Tom McGucken; Nelson Elementary students had a chance to see something that does not happen every day, when a Black Hawk/ Homeland Security helicopter landed in the school yard.

To put things in perspective, volunteer speaker Jarred Mitchell, a software developer with VERTEX, began his presentation by a quote from Muhammad Ali, who said, “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘don’t quit.’ Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”

“I used this quote to emphasize that by working hard in school and getting good grades, the kids give themselves a better chance of having it easier later in life,” Mitchell said, adding, “This was my first time participating and I would definitely do it again.”
Osprey Observer Newspapers Editor Marie Gilmore, who has volunteered at Bevis Elementary and has volunteered at the the Journalism and English classes at Newsome High in year’s past can vouch for the value of the Teach-In program.

“The Teach-In is a great opportunity for adults to share their careers and experiences with students and start to get them excited and engaged about their potential for the future,” Gilmore said. “I personally learn something new every time I speak to a class of students and I myself get energized about my own career by trying to inspire young minds to pursue their dreams as I pursued mine.”

For more information about the Great American Teach In, please visit the www.sdhc.k12.fl.us.

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