The "revolution" continued at the 2016 Student PSEA Conference and Convention
More than 330 future educators came together in Valley Forge for inspiration and networking at the 2016 Student PSEA Conference & Convention. The theme of this year's conference was, "Revolutionizing public education, one battle at a time."
Attendees started the conference with a presentation from PSEA President Jerry Oleksiak and former Student PSEA President Lauren Williams on the newly proposed PSEA Mission, Vision, Values, and Goals.
After hearing from Student PSEA Program Director Dr. Christopher Clayton, attendees had the opportunity to learn from a variety of education experts at breakout sessions on topics including effective classroom management, diversity in the classroom, special education, technology, and much more.
These experts included PSEA staff members Bernie Miller and Clayton, along with a University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg Professor Dr. Melissa Marks, PSEA Board of Directors member Victoria Rice-Campbell, 2015 PA Teacher of the Year Mairi Cooper, 2013 PA Teacher of the Year Ryan Devlin, and award-winning Washington state educator John Norlin, and several others.
Norlin delivered a powerful keynote speech on servant leadership, and the vital importance of character development and educating the whole child in schools today. His presentation emotionally moved many in attendance, and his message will not soon be forgotten.
Conference attendees transform an elementary school
During the annual Outreach to Teach school transformation project, more than 375 Student PSEA and PSEA volunteers descended upon Marshall Street Elementary. Over the course of the evening, more 122 different murals were painted around the school's hallways, library, multi-purpose room, and entryway, focusing on the school's mascot and character development themes.
PSEA and Student PSEA helped secure a $1,000 First Book Grant for the district to be able to purchase hundreds of new books and members donated hundreds of books to help completely modernize and update the school's library.
The volunteers sorted, organized, leveled, and shelved thousands of books and beautified the wall spaces with murals connected to contemporary children's literature and nature. The school was transformed into an entirely different place over the course of the five-hour event. Photos from the extraordinary event can be found on the Student PSEA Facebook page and the Marshall Street Elementary website.
Additionally, as part of the conference's chapter competition, thousands of food, personal toiletry, and laundry items were collected and delivered to Downtown Daily Bread in Harrisburg, in support of their soup kitchen and Food Plus program.
Student PSEA House of Delegates recap
During the Student House of Delegates, members of the 2016-17 Student PSEA Executive Board were elected, including, President Shelby Pepmeyer, Clarion University; President-elect Marie Hutchings, Kutztown University; Vice-President Maria Wittman, Slippery Rock University; Secretary Samantha Nagel, University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg; PACE Chair Mallory Piercy, Clarion University; and 10 regional presidents.
More than 33 nominations were received to attend the 2016 NEA Student Leadership Conference & RA held in Washington D.C. And history was made, as applications were unveiled for Student PSEA members to apply to attend the inaugural Student School at the annual PSEA Summer Leadership Conference held at Gettysburg College this summer.