students and teacher engaged in learning activity

Posted on 05/19/2022

By Tim Reaves
BCS Communications Department

After finishing their Advanced Placement (AP) tests, Enka High’s (EHS) AP U.S. History students didn’t rest on their laurels.

Instead, they’ve been tutoring and mentoring Hominy Valley Elementary School students and helping them prepare for their end-of-grade tests. Each day for the past two weeks, the high schoolers have traveled across Enka Lake Road to spend a couple hours walking in teachers’ shoes. On Wednesday, several of them assisted with art, music, and STEM Lab lessons, while others quizzed third graders to help them recall their math fundamentals.

EHS teacher Doug Jones said the two-week service-learning project teaches his students about public education as a fundamental American institution. The evolution of public education in America is the through-line of his class

“Public schools are the places where you can see the promise of America most clearly, because here we’re making a collective investment in the future and potential of all children,” he said. “Where else in American society can you see a demonstration that we believe in the equal human dignity of all people? We’re willing to invest and make it true in this place.”

Several of Mr. Jones’ students have been inspired to pursue education or education-adjacent careers, and the Hominy Valley tutoring opportunity has given them critical early experiences.

“I want to be a teacher, so I really like this, because it feels natural and matches my passion for teaching people how to learn,” said EHS junior Myles Burrill. “It just clicks.”

“The kids are always so excited to see me,” said junior Emma Judd. “And I think this is a good thing for us too, because it gives us a chance to have some responsibility and expand our learning.”

In the STEM Lab, EHS students helped students create “glove gardens” – gloves with moistened seeds in each finger that can be hung in a window until the seeds germinate. STEM Lab assistant Sam Crawford said she greatly appreciated the help, and she loves how the high schoolers make her students think about the future.

“Some of the Enka kids went to Hominy Valley when they were little, and it’s great to see the little ones realize that when they talk to the big kids,” she said. “Then they realize that one day they’ll be big too.”