Two Students Accepted into Teach for America
Two Alma College students are among the 10 percent of applicants who are accepted into Teach for America each year.
Noelle Evans and Kyla Wojtas each will serve a two-year commitment in the non-profit organization, which aims to eliminate educational inequity by enlisting the nation’s most promising future leaders to teach in low-income communities.
Macomb senior Wojtas will teach English as a Second Language in Dallas, Texas. Since immigration reform is one of her passions, she says she is particularly excited about the opportunity to work with Hispanic youth.
Kyla Wojtas in Ghana
During her time at Alma, she has worked in an orphanage in Ghana through a Posey Global Fellowship and interned on the United States/Mexico border. Through these experiences, she says she has become familiar with injustices on international, domestic and local scales.
As a result, education also has become a passion of hers. Teach for America has been one of her top post-graduation options since learning about the organization her sophomore year.
“I firmly believe that one of the greatest social injustices today is happening within the education system,” she says. “The U.S. cannot allow school systems and students to fall behind, especially bearing in mind the necessity of education in regards to poverty alleviation, reduction of environmental degradation and economic stability.”
Wojtas says she also was inspired to apply to Teach for America because many of the people who have been most influential in her life have been teachers. While she acknowledges the experience will be challenging, she says she is eager to create sustainable change.
“Teachers have an incredible opportunity to change the lives of their students for better or worse,” she says. “I look forward to striving to make positive impacts in the lives of my students and their families.”
St. Clair senior Noelle Evans, who will teach in Detroit, says she is equally as excited about Teach for America. In addition to helping her grow as a person, she says she welcomes the experience for another reason: the opportunity to give back to Michigan.
Noelle Evans in Italy
“Because Detroit is so close to my hometown, I’m aware of the social issues Metro Detroiters face,” she says. “I look forward to making an immediate impact on the lives of people in my home state.”
Evans, whose past experiences working with children include a Posey Global Fellowship in India, also hopes to advocate for Detroit by challenging its negative stereotypes.
“The city has a lot of energy, and many people don’t realize the positive changes that are already being made by non-profit organizations,” she says. “Some people are working really hard to revive the city, and I want to be part of that.”
Service-Learning Coordinator Anne Ritz says the passion both Wojtas and Evans have for underserved children and youth hasn’t gone unnoticed on campus.
“Kyla has committed her time and talent to support organizations and service events that focus on equality for all children, especially in the area of education and literacy,” she says. “Noelle has focused her service in the area of hunger awareness through 30 Hour Famine. Both are well-deserving of this opportunity.”
Since 1999, over a dozen Alma students have been accepted into Teach for America, whose long-term mission is to work from inside education and other sectors to affect the fundamental changes needed to ensure that all children have an equal chance to succeed.
Posted: Wed, April 13th, 2011 at 8:26AM