Future Teacher Summer Academy Closing Ceremony held for District 215

Future Teacher Summer Academy Closing Ceremony held for District 215
Future Teacher Summer Academy Closing Ceremony held for District 215

18 students from the district participated in the 2nd Annual program.


LANSING, Ill. (July 22, 2022) On July 21, the second annual Future Teacher Summer Academy ended with a closing ceremony recognizing students and staff involved in the program.

Committed to Teaching

Wendy Bivins and Susan Lessner-Diversey, coordinators for the program, led the ceremony and gave background on what the students experienced, followed by remarks from Ricardo Johnson, Director of Career and Technical Education for the district.

The program lasted 20 days, which was split into two sessions. Students were led by teachers Jordan Olivia and Tim Sullivan, Reflective Leaders of the Future Teacher Summer Academy.

During session 1, students participated in seminar classes to learn about various topics in education and best practices for teaching. During the session 2, students became teachers for the Bridge program. The students taught from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM, 4 days per week.

The students were commended on their classroom presence, how well they interacted with students, and the lessons they taught.

“I’m already receiving feedback from their instructors that everyone is on their way with how well they’ve done,” said Bivins.

Student Reflections

During the next part of the ceremony, two participants of the program shared their reflections.

Initially, Favor Babatunde, an incoming sophomore, thought teachers came to work, taught, got paid, and went home. The experience she had in teaching showed her the dedication and passion teachers have.

“I truly realize the importance of teachers in our lives,” said Babatunde during her speech.

Joshua Claybrooks, graduating senior and two-time participant in the program, grew personally and professionally. He realized that being himself was the best way to connect to students.

“I truly feel that this summer academy has prepared me to be a future educator. I will be forever grateful for this experience,” said Claybrooks in his speech.

The students who participated in this year’s program are: Tiffany Allen, Favor Babatunde, Joshua Claybrooks, Dorian Correa, Brittany Garcia, Herbert Gillett, Makeela James, Morgan Kleidon, Parker Maxwell, Kenan Maxey, Nyla Olumide, Samantha Popp, Charles Prude, Litzi Ramirez, Mariyah Reed, Vivica Rivera, Mia Robinson, and Kennedi Wilbon.

Three students received scholarships from Local 683 presented by their president, Joseph Stephen. The scholarship receipients were Joshua Claybrooks, Litzi Ramirez and Parker Maxwell.

Student-Led Discussion

The final part of the program was a student-led discussion with teachers and staff in attendance. Students asked questions related budgeting for school programming, curriculum development, connecting with students and more.

After the luncheon, Thornton Fractional South Principal Jake Gourley emphasized the power of belief. Even in his own journey, he realized how empowering it is for someone to see your potential.

“We all have some people in our lives, that you just know that they believe in you. To me that is the most important function of a teacher,” said Gourley.

Students who are interested in being a part of the Future Teachers Club during the school year can email Mrs. Bivens at [email protected]

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Quinton R. Arthur
Quinton received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Northern Illinois University and his Master of Science in Journalism from Roosevelt University. In addition to reporting for The Lansing Journal and the Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle, he volunteers with 100 Black Men of Chicago, Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Burst Into Books, and various other organizations. A south suburban resident since 2004, Quinton is passionate about telling the unsung stories of the community.