ELPO attorneys teach JA classes

by Mandy Hicks

Cravens Priest works in a classroom at McNeill Elementary School.
In April, three ELPO attorneys taught classes at McNeill Elementary School on behalf of Junior Achievement of South Central Kentucky. The attorneys received curriculum from Junior Achievement staff, leading them through a day-long unit that taught students the importance of community and basic concepts of free enterprise.

The attorneys who taught the classes were Buzz English, Regina JacksonSamantha Propp, Cravens Priest and Park Priest.

Regina Jackson serves on the board of Junior Achievement of South Central Kentucky, which she has done for almost a decade. She’s taught in classrooms for several years to assist with the JA curriculum. “From an early age, students can grasp the concepts of community that we’re teaching,’ Regina says. “They understand the important role we all have in making our communities better. I have thoroughly enjoyed each year that I’ve taught.”

Among other activities, Cravens worked on an exercise with students to show how cities are planned and developed. The class developed their own city, which the students named  “Hamiltonville” after their third grade teacher, Ms. Hamilton.

“What I particularly enjoyed about the day was engaging with students,” says Cravens Priest, who practices primarily in the fields of school and employment law. “I often handle cases that center around school law, and have school-age children myself, so it’s an education for me to spend some time in the teacher’s seat. It gave me some perspective into how challenging it is to teach and what a gift it is to teach well.”

Samantha Propp noted that the students were bright and engaged in the classroom content, even though they were young. She taught second grade. “They were young but very interested in the subject matter.  I was amazed by how well they paid attention and how dynamic the sessions were – particularly when we made paper donuts.  It was a lot of fun.  I felt that what we brought them was really worthwhile content, and I was pleased to see them get so much out of it.”

Park Priest says his students were lively and appeared grateful for what he taught them. He received a large package of hand-written thank you notes following the presentation, and it surprised him to read what stuck with the students after the day was complete. One student mentioned that they now understand what a resume is and how to use it. “Some of the students picked up on some big concepts,” Parks says. “One student mentioned a board game that involves teaching them about the concept of resources and scarcity, and how much they enjoyed playing the game and what they learned from it.”

The attorneys participation was part of a new concept JA piloted for the 2012-2013 school year, which involved volunteers teaching for an entire day. The concept seemed to work well for students, teachers and for ELPO.