NORMAN — This weekend, Moore Norman Technology Center high school students enrolled in Zena Amer’s Career Exploration Education class will travel to Tulsa for state SkillsUSA competition this weekend.
One of their entries however, is much different than the typical written entry and scrapbook that other students will present. Their Community Service entry happens to include the hearts, energy, and well wishes of the students, teachers and staff from Kennedy Elementary School in Norman.
This past fall Amer was approached by a co-worker who told her of Kennedy Elementary’s potential need for assistance with classroom basics. Amer has often worked to boost the efforts of non-profits in Norman, is highly involved with the Cross Timbers Rotary Club and has performed personal projects around the globe such as helping to finish and supply a school in Kenya, and developing a seed project in Columbia and doing service projects in India and Bolivia. For decades, if children in Norman need help, Amer is quick to get involved or develop and organize a solution.
She took a vote of her morning and afternoon students and they overwhelmingly agreed to help and decided to call it the Dare to Make a Difference Project. After getting approval from Kennedy Elementary Principal Montie Koehn, Amer’s classes began going to the school on Wednesdays and Fridays. Morning CEE students offered third and fifth graders assistance with basic reading, spelling, telling time and math concepts. Afternoon CEE students worked with kindergarteners on letters, numbers, basic math and spelling.
“This is the right thing to do. I teach my kids that when they see or learn of a need, they are obligated to fulfill it. These are not wants – these are needs that these children in our community have. We have to help,” Amer said,
Koehn said, “Our initial hope was to give our teachers assistance with meeting the diverse needs of our learners which would help increase the level of student achievement. Not only would this benefit our students, but give the students of MNTC a hands-on experience working with children.